The 13th Glasgow Film Festival will open on February 15 with the European premiere of coming-of-age story, Handsome Devil. Directed by John Butler (The Stag), the film stars Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Spectre) alongside rising stars Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Galitzine.
Heading up a cast of bright new talent is Fionn O’Shea as gawky, sixteen year-old Ned, a bright, artistic lad who faces his own hell on earth when he is sent to an all-boys Irish boarding school where the manly pursuit of rugby is virtually a religion. He steels himself for the loneliness, ridicule and constant insinuations about his sexuality. Everything changes with the arrival of his new roommate Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), a star player in the rugby team, and inspirational English teacher Dan Sherry (Sherlock and Spectre star Andrew Scott). Ned and Conor bond over a mutual appreciation of cool music and an unlikely friendship blossoms and faces unbearable pressures from a school grimly attached to its narrow macho values.
The festival will close on February 26 with the World Premiere of Mad To Be Normal, chronicling the astonishing life of world-renowned Scottish psychiatrist R. D Laing.
Featuring an all-star cast headed by David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) as Laing, alongside Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, High-Rise), Michael Gambon (The Hollow Crown; the Harry Potter series) and Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects; In Treatment), the film is directed by Robert Mullan (We Will Sing; Gitel).
There was no more charismatic or controversial a figure during the Swinging Sixties than Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Dubbed “the white Martin Luther King” and the “high priest of anti-psychiatry”, Laing was as famous as Dylan. In 1965, he established Kingsley Hall in East London as a medication-free community for those seriously affected by schizophrenia. His methods and theories flew in the face of a medical establishment who considered Laing a dangerous radical. Mad To Be Normal offers a powerful account of Laing’s Kingsley Hall experiment with a stunning performance from David Tennant that really gets under the skin of an utterly compelling figure. Tennant’s nuanced, complex work conveys a sense of Laing’s immense personal charm and the combination of intelligence and arrogance that made him revered and reviled. The film also captures the darker side of a mercurial man who rarely made it easy for those who dared to get close to him, especially his lover Angie (Elisabeth Moss).
As a tribute to the late intellectual and storyteller John Berger, the festival will host the Scottish premiere of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger on Friday February 24, with an additional screening on Saturday 25 February. The result of a five-year project by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth in collaboration with the composer Simon Fisher Turner, The Seasons in Quincy is comprised of four essay films, each taking different aspects of Berger’s life in the Haute-Savoie. Combining ideas and motifs from Berger’s own work with the atmosphere of his mountain home, each film exists as an individual work of art but combine to make a multifaceted and multilayered portrait of a great artist.