Scottish Film Events: December 2023

The mighty Take One Action returns, Queer East comes to Edinburgh and there are a trio of all-nighters at Cameo to look forward to

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 29 Nov 2023
  • White Plastic Sky

Take One Action (6-10 Dec, GFT & CCA), the UK’s leading global change film festival, makes a much-welcome return this month with a programme aiming to examine the idea of ‘renewal’ – of art, material, environment and society. Among the highlights are three films with a focus on the renewing power of nature: specifically trees. There’s Uýra: The Rising Forest (8 Dec, CCA), in which a trans-indigenous artist travels through the Amazon forest on a journey of self-discovery; Forest for the Trees (10 Dec, GFT) examines the gruelling but transformative work of tree planting in the wilderness of British Columbia, and animation White Plastic Sky (9 Dec, GFT) takes us to a society where at the age of 50, every citizen is turned into a tree – imagine Logan’s Run with an ecological message. 

Also look out for TOA gathering Imagining Better Futures for the Arts (CCA, 8 Dec) which will offer a space for people from across the Scottish art scene to imagine how the art sector could look without precarity, burnout, and capitalism, and there's a day of action for Palestine which coincides with the Global COP Day of Action, underlining that there is no climate justice without a free Palestine (9 Dec).

A still from the John Waters film Polyester.
Polyester, directed by John Waters.

The other festival to look out for this month is Queer East, which comes to Summerhall in Edinburgh with five screenings (until 2 Dec). Among them are Rebels of the Neon God, the 1992 film that introduced the world to the filmmaking genius of Tsai Ming-liang, and dreamy romance The Love Eterne, from 1963, in which a young woman convinces her parents to allow her to dress as a boy and attend university. 

Pack a thermos of coffee because all-nighters are back at Cameo cinema in Edinburgh. On 2 December you can stay up into the early hours with three tantalising programmes. One is a Detective All-Nighter featuring top-notch noirs and whodunits like The Long Goodbye, The Big Lebowski and Knives Out. Another pays tribute to the Pope of Trash; John Waters, and if anyone’s filmography is perfect for after hours, it’s his. And for the adventurous, there’s a Pot Luck screening with five mystery films.

And of course, it being December, there are Christmas films galore playing at cinemas across Scotland. Glasgow Film Theatre go particularly hard with all the usual suspects (It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard, Elf etc etc) but they also have some lesser-spotted Christmas titles to look out for too. We recommend the Jacques Demy musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (13 Dec), Satoshi Kon’s delightful chosen family anime Tokyo Godfathers (18 & 21 Dec) and David Lowery’s sorely underrated fantasy The Green Knight (23 & 24 Dec).