September's Best Film Events in Scotland

The Scottish film events you should make time for this month, from Take One Action and Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival to Scotland's first Kung Fu Film Festival

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 02 Sep 2019
  • Heathers

1. Take One Action

The current political climate may have put you in a revolutionary mood. In terms of cinema, there’s no better place to express your frustrations and debates solutions to take back control than at Scotland’s annual socially conscious film festival, Take One Action. Rising rents are on the agenda in opening documentary Push while the strain that the gig economy puts on an ordinary working-class family in Newcastle comes under the spotlight in closer Sorry We Missed You, the latest from the great Ken Loach.

In between there’s a timely film focused on forest preservation (Time of Forests), a look at the threat of rising sea levels to the remote Easter Island (Eating up Easter) and the story of a young woman who finds her voice as an activist when her community is devastated by a fracking disaster (Grit). Closer to home, there's a chance to see the extraordinary Scheme Birds, a lyrical doc concerned with the life of young people growing up on working-class Motherwell. Read our news story.

18-29 Sep, various venues in Glasgow & Edinburgh – more info here

2. Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

OK, this is not quite Scotland. But just across the border, you’ll find the vibrant Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, where the border town’s historic venues become installation spaces, while its Maltings Theatre plays host to some of the most daring voices in world cinema.

The great Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz will be in town to introduce his new film, The Halt, and present a dusk-to-dawn screening of his epic A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery. We’d also urge you to check out the new film from ace German director Angela Schanelec; I Was at Home, But is a brilliantly enigmatic study of a mother’s reaction to her son’s mysterious disappearance and then reappearance.

Other highlights look to be the UK’s first retrospective of the late, great Ukrainian director Kira Muratova, installations from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Bambitchell and Ben Rivers, and the full 170 hours of Gérard Courant's epic film Cinématon, which consists of silent, three-and-a-half minute portraits of artistic and cultural personalities. Jean-Luc Godard, Julie Delpy, Terry Gilliam, Sondrine Bonaire and Sergei Parajanov are among its cast of thousands. Read our full BFMAF preview here.

19-22 Sep, various venues, Berwick-upon-Tweed – more info here

3. Kung Fu Season

Scotland's first-ever Kung Fu Film Festival arrives at Summerhall this month with a line-up mixing bonafide kung fu classics with bonkers kung fu comedy and classy martial arts Oscar-winners. In the classics camp, there are films featuring Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon) and Jackie Chan (Drunken Master). The arty end of the spectrum is catered for by Ang Lee’s Oscar-winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou's visually sumptuous Hero. And the festival also includes two batshit efforts from Stephen Chow: his 2001 sports comedy Shaolin Soccer and 2005 gangster film Kung Fu Hustle. Find more info on the festival here.

16-22 Sep, Summerhall, Edinburgh – more details here

4. Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy

Gen Y’s most beloved LGBT films tend towards the tasteful (think Call Me By Your Name and Carol), but Gen X offerings were much more in-your-face and, well, queer, in form as well as content. Take Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, which is screening in an unmissable triple bill this month. Totally Fucked Up (1993), Doom Generation (1995) and Nowhere (1997) offered a scabrous alternative to the teen flicks of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe that flourished in the 80s, giving youth culture new queer heroes working their way through the hostile post-AIDS climate that was the 1990s.

26 Sep, CCA Glasgow – more details here

5. Glasgow Youth Film Festival

Talking of youth in revolt, Glasgow Film have once again handed over their cinema screens to a team of Youth Programmers aged 15-18 who’re presenting a zesty lineup of films, both new and old, that speak directly to their generation’s concerns and sensibilities. The eclectic programme includes coming-of-age dramas (Norweigian film Phoenix, French comedy Stars by the Pound), uplifting documentaries (Drag Kids, The Biggest Little Farm) and a couple of modern classics (Heathers, Scott Pilgrim vs the World).

GYFF also features two free to attend creative workshops for young people – Into Industry: Finding Your Feet in Film and A Day in the Director’s Life.

13-15 Sep, various venues, Glasgow – more info here

6. Pedro Almodóvar: CineMaster season

Pedro Almodóvar is currently packing them in with new film Pain & Glory, and as such Glasgow Film have taken the opportunity to crown the great Spanish filmmaker their latest CineMaster. Four of his most celebrated films screen: All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver and The Skin I Live In.

If you’re in the mood for some of Almodóvar's earlier, scrappier efforts, you’ll find the likes of Dark Habits, What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Law of Desire and Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown playing on streaming site Mubi.

8 Sep-1 Oct, GFT – more info here

7. Taiwan Film Festival

Taiwan has a legitimate claim to having the most exciting filmmakers working today (think Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Ang Lee and the Seoul-based Tsai Ming-liang), therefore this annual spotlight on contemporary Taiwanese filmmaking is always worth a look. Five Taiwanese films feature in this showcase, including Ya-Chuan Hsia’s Father to Son, seven-years-in-the-making doc Love Talk and coming-of-age animation On Happiness Road.

13-17 Sep, Filmhouse, Edinburgh – more info here

8. Suitable Women: Vol 2

Pity Party Film Club are back with volume 2 of Suitable Women: Films of Female Friendship. This second edition features 90s teen masterpiece Clueless, the hilarious and tender Aussie comedy Muriel’s Wedding and two lesser-spotted titles: Time Square, the punky tale of teen runaways in pre-gentrified 80s New York, and hipster satire Fort Tilden, from 2015.

7 Sep, CCA, Glasgow – more info here

9. Velvet Goldmine on 35mm

Todd Haynes celebrates glam-rock and bisexuality in the brilliant Velvet Goldmine, a kind-of biopic of a fictional rock star (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Bowie). It's a tale told with wit, glitter and energy from the point of view of a journalist investigating the musician's story, which blends with his own memories of being a gauche teen coming-of-age during the glam-rock era. Screening on 35mm and followed by panel discussion Glam Idols: Making Bi Mainstream, hosted by the Scottish Bi+ Network and featuring local bi+ activists.

22 Sep, GFT – more info here

10. 50s Monster Movie Double Feature

A couple of 50s monster movie classics are lined up by Glasgow's Trash Cinema team, but it's the newly minted atomic bomb that's the real monster keeping people awake at night. First, there’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, where an atomic bomb test in the Arctic Circle awakens a long-hibernating Rhedosaurus. Meanwhile, a colony of ants are souped-up by some more nuclear testing, this time in the New Mexico desert, in peerless giant killer bug movie Them!.

29 Sep, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow – more info here

Looking ahead: SQIFF

Scottish Queer International Film Festival is back with a programme featuring a celebration of ballroom culture, Latinx legends and Janelle Monáe. 2-6 Oct, various venues, Glasgow – more info here