cinema · GFF23

Film review: How to Blow Up a Pipeline

 Inspired by the ideas in Andreas Malm’s non-fiction book of the same name, How to Blow Up a Pipeline marks the sophomore feature from American writer and director Daniel Goldhaber. The eco-action-thriller follows a group of young people as they plot to sabotage the development of an oil pipeline in West Texas. Assembled by ringleaders Xochitl (Ariela Barer) and Shawn (Marcus Scribner), they share common ground in their fight for environmental social justice, but their daring mission comes with huge risks and consequences.

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cinema · GFF23

Film review: Sanctuary

Confined to a lavish hotel room, the sophomore feature from director Zachary Wigon playfully straddles between black comedy and erotic thriller. The plot focuses on Hal (Christopher Abbott), the wealthy heir to a hotel empire. At his behest, he is joined by dominatrix Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) whilst ordering obscene amounts of food from room service. As they embark upon their business, a surprise announcement flips the dynamic of their working relationship.

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cinema · GFF23

Film review: Prison 77

 After the death of tyrannical dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain began its transition to democracy as the constitutional monarchy was established. Writer and director Alberto Rodriguez looks at this turbulent period through his Barcelona-based thriller Prison 77 (Modelo 77). Penned with his regular collaborator Rafael Cobos, the story follows young accountant Manuel (Miguel Herrán) who faces years in jail for embezzlement. As he adjusts to the brutality of life behind bars, he befriends wise veteran inmate José Pino (Javier Gutiérrez), who reluctantly takes him under his wing. As the conditions worsen during the prisoners’ fight for amnesty, a union is formed which leads to riotous rebellion.

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cinema · GFF23

Film review: The Five Devils

Collaborating with her partner and cinematographer Paul Guilhaume on the script, this is the second feature from French director Léa Mysius. Set in a picturesque alpine village, The Five Devils (Les cinq diables) centres around swimming instructor Joanne (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who is married to fireman Jimmy (Moustapha Mbengue), though they appear to be stuck in a rut. Their young daughter Vicky (Sally Dramé) has an unusually strong sense of smell, and secretly recreates scents in little jars that she stores in her bedroom. Tensions run high in the community when Jimmy’s sister Julia (Swala Emati) moves in with the family after being released from prison, and Vicky’s strange gift leads her to a shocking revelation.

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cinema · GFF23

Film review: BlackBerry

In the social media-obsessed era we live in today, it’s almost difficult to remember a time before smartphones; when we didn’t have a world of information available to us at the mere touch of a button. Indie filmmaker Matt Johnson transports us back to that period, adapting Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry into what can be described as a comedy biopic of sorts.

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cinema · GFF23

Film review: Skin Deep

Skin Deep (Aus meiner Haut) is a high concept sci-fi drama that marks the first feature from German writer and director Alex Schaad. The story centres around couple Leyla (Mala Emde) and Tristan (Jonas Dassler) as they take a ferry to an island retreat in the hope that they can revive their relationship from its rough patch.  They’re soon paired up with Mo (Dimitrij Schaad) and Fabienne (Maryam Zaree) for a double date and are presented with a strange opportunity; the chance to swap bodies and experience the world in someone else’s shoes. Whilst some participants aren’t entirely sold on the idea, others thrive on the new lease of life the experiment provides.

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DVD & Digital · GFF23

Film review: Other People’s Children

Cinema can often reflect the change in our societal norms, as has been evidenced with delayed coming-of-age stories such as Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha or, more recently, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World. As the 2.4 children model of the traditional nuclear family becomes outdated by our increasingly progressive culture, writer and director Rebecca Zlotowski’s latest drama centres around a woman approaching middle-age without the apparent need or want for marriage or a child. Other People’s Children follows 40-year-old schoolteacher Rachel (Virginie Efira), whose comfortable Parisian lifestyle becomes complicated when she starts dating Ali (Roschdy Zem) and becomes emotionally attached to his young daughter Leila.

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Top 5 Must-See Movies of Glasgow Film Festival 2023

In the year that Allan Hunter is set to step down from his duties as co-director after 15 years at the helm, Glasgow Film Festival is back with a typically exciting and eclectic line-up. Opening with Adura Onashile’s mother-daughter drama Girl (my podcast review) and closing with Nida Manzoor’s action comedy Polite Society, the selection is split into strands that include its Official Competition, Viva el Cine Español, and of course Frightfest! After perusing the programme, here are five that I have my eye on…

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