Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network
PLAY ME SOMETHING
Timothy Neat | Scotland, 1989 | 72 minutes | Rated 15
Featuring Hamish Henderson, Tilda Swinton, Liz Lochhead and Margaret Bennett, Play Me Something is one of the great, unsung gems of Scottish cinema. Beginning with the arrival of a mysterious stranger at Barra airport, Timothy Neat’s film stages a playful celebration of oral storytelling and international solidarity that roots Scottish folk tradition within a truly global perspective.
The film was preceded by When the Song Dies (Jamie Chambers / Scotland, 2013 / 15 minutes), a poetic documentary featuring Norman Maclean, Margaret Bennett, and the late Sheila Stewart MBE, about community memory and the Scottish oral tradition.
UP THE JUNCTION
Ken Loach | England, 1965 | 72 minutes | Rated 12
One of Ken Loach’s early films for the BBC, Up the Junction is a ‘breathless’ celebration of working class culture old and new, set in 60’s Clapham. Mixing cine-verite style docu-drama with Loach’s staple social commentary, Up the Junction places the lives of a group of young women within the stories of their wider community, amidst an exuberant evocation of oral culture and popular music.
The film was preceded by The Shutdown (Adam Stafford / Scotland, 2009 / 10 minutes), a poetic documentary focussing on Scottish playwright Alan Bissett’s memories of his father’s work at the Grangemouth Oil Refinery.
Amber | England. 1991 | 115 minutes | Rated 15
Tyneside’s Amber Collective are one of the most important and under-appreciated forces in British cinema, creating images of working class and subaltern life that are startling in their rare, hard-won sense of integrity and authenticity. Dream On charts the fortunes of three women on a pub darts team in North Shields amidst the shake-up when a mysterious stranger comes to town. The screening was followed by a Q + A with members of the Amber Collective; Ellin Hare the film’s director, and Peter Roberts, its cinematographer.
The film was preceded by Copycat (Sumaiya Alim, Viktoria Karbowniczek, Megan Thomson / Scotland, 2014 / 14 minutes), a short film made by schoolchildren in Prestonpans.
SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS
Sergei Parajanov | Ukraine, 1965 | 97 minutes | Rated 12
Sergei Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a one-of-a-kind cinematic folk rhapsody, a dizzying portrayal of the ancient people’s culture of the Carpathian mountains. The story of star-crossed lovers Ivan and Marichka accounts for only half of the film, which moves outwards to encompass the multi-layered perspective of the onlooking folk. Costume, dance, song and gossipy orality combine with some of the most spectacular imagery ever caught on camera to create an unmissable slice of pure cinema.
The film was preceeded by The Fisherman’s Daughter (Tom Chick / Scotland, 2011 / 7 minutes), a cine-poem based on the Scottish storyteller Duncan's story Williamson of a girl who falls in love with a selkie.
Taviani Brothers | Italy, 1984 | 188 minutes | Rated 15
Based on the short stories of Pirandello, Kaos marries Italian cinematic neorealism with the lyricism of folk tales, among them the story of the bride who discovers her husband is a werewolf on their wedding night, and the hapless landlord who becomes stuck in an enormous clay pot. Effortlessly combining the comic, the tragic, the uncanny and the profound, Kaos is a rich, kaleidoscopic work of folk cinema.
CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI
Alexey Fedorchenko | Russia, 2012 | 106 minutes | Advised rating 15
The second feature from Alexey Fedorchenko and Denis Osokin, Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari plays as a series of cinematic folk tales, each focussing on a woman from the Mari people whose name begins with ‘O’. Equal parts absurd, hilarious, tragic and surreal, Celestial Wives is a joyous and profound celebration of the feminine as filtered through folk tale.
The film was preceded by Cailleach (Rosie Reed Hillman / Scotland, 2014 / 14 minutes), a short documentary about an elderly woman on the Isle of Harris who lives alone with her sheep.
A LETTER FROM MY VILLAGE
Safi Faye | Senegal, 1976 | 90 minutes | Advised rating PG
An artful fusion of the political and the poetic, Safi Faye’s first film situates the local within the global, focusing on the daily lives of community members from the director’s Senegalese hometown, Fad’jal. The first feature by a Sub-Saharan African woman to gain international distribution, Kaddu Beykat mounts a powerful critique on colonial administration, looking outwards from individual lives and livelihoods in Fad’jal to the wider issues which overshadow them.
The film was preceded by No Hope for Men Below (Adam Stafford / Scotland, 2014 / 11 minutes), a powerful docu-drama about the Redding pit disaster, featuring a Scots dialect voiceover from Scottish poet Janet Paisley.
FOLK FILM GATHERING | 2015 SCREENINGS
1956 & 2016 | Dawn Cine Group & Minttu Mäntynen | Scotland | PG
A special commission by Glasgow Short Film Festival for the 60th anniversary of a lost archive film that never was. In 1956 a Glasgow-based socialist filmmaking collective embarked on an ambitious project confronting Scotland’s rural de-population crisis. Lost Treasure is a beautifully atmospheric audio-visual performance responding to the abandoned film: assembled by filmmaker Minttu Mäntynen and accompanied live by musicians Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee) and Hamish Brown (Swimmer One).
Supported by PRS for Music Foundation and Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network. With thanks to National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.
FOLK FILM GATHERING | 2016 SCREENINGS
THE SELFISH GIANT
2013 | Clio Barnard | England | 15
This contemporary masterpiece of British cinema is one of two films at this year’s Gathering exploring close community ties to horses and harness racing. Developed from documentary work exploring Bradford’s scrap metal trade, Barnard’s film portrays the mixed fortunes of Arbor and Swifty, two energetic young boys who become involved in the scrap business. Where Swifty is quiet, gentle and loves horses, Arbor is charismatic, hyperactive and has a keen eye for profit. Will the boys survive their encounter with menacing local scrap dealer Kitten unscathed?
1995 | Amber Collective | England | 15
Hoggy’s life is turned upside down when his estranged son Billy arrives needing a place to stay. As Billy once again becomes part of Hoggy’s life, their shared fortunes amidst the County Durham trotting community are gradually put to the test. The second of our films about community ties to horses and harness racing, Eden Valley provides an opportunity to see the essential work of Tyneside’s Amber Collective alongside the filmmakers themselves.
This screening was followed by a Q&A session with Amber members Ellin Hare and Peter Roberts.
1992 | Julio Medem | Spain | 15
An act of wartime cowardice comes to haunt three generations of Basque country farmers. Vacas chronicles the bitter feud emerging between two neighbouring families after Carmelo is killed because of his neighbour Manuel’s cowardice. Will Ignacio (Manuel’s son) and Catalina (Carmelo’s daughter) escape the fates assigned to them by their families, or will they be crushed under the weight of history? Deeply immersed in Basque traditions – notably featuring a stunning, traditional ‘aizcolari’ woodcutting sequence – Medem’s masterpiece marries the mythical with the historical in a thrilling and profound treatment of Basque history.
LA CHASSE AU LION A L’ARC (LION HUNTERS)
1965 | Jean Rouch | Niger | PG
A rare opportunity to see one of the most remarkable documentaries in film history, currently unavailable to watch for UK audiences. Using collaborative working methods and in conversation with Songhoy comnunities, celebrated documentary maker Jean Rouch documents the journey of traditional gow lion hunters in Niger to confront “the American”: a ferocious lion that has been killing their livestock. Opening with the words of a traditional griot, Rouch fuses aspects of oral culture with magical realist documentary, evoking a dizzying sense of participatory experience.
1977 | Taviani Brothers | Italy | 18
Described by Pauline Kael as one of the world’s few truly animist films, Padre Padrone is a classic of Italian cinema and features some of the most vivid imagery ever committed to screen. A magical realist account of the life of a young Sardinian shepherd, the film tells the story of Gavino, an intense young man in the shadow of his overbearing father who is taken out of school to look after his family’s flock of goats in the Sardinian mountains.
SONG OF THE SEA
2014 | Tomm Moore | Ireland | PG
A gorgeous, animated treatment of Irish selkie myths for all the family. 10-year-old Ben can’t help but resent his little sister when their mother disappears mysteriously after she is born. But when Ben discovers his wee sister Saorise is actually a selkie, and that her life is in danger from Macha the Owl Witch, can he put aside his sadness to bring their family together once again? Weaving together mythic Irish folk tales with the poignant realities of every day life, Song Of The Sea is a rhapsodic, magical-realist celebration of folk tale, imagery, and the importance of passing on tradition.
1989 | Ian Sellar | Scotland | 12
A rare opportunity to see Ian Sellar and Christopher Young’s lost classic of Scottish cinema on the big screen. Growing up in 40’s Stromness amongst a family of fishermen, Peter’s life is deeply influenced by dreams, his grandparents’ folk tales and his own powerful imagination. Who is the mysterious woman Peter sees down by the shore, and will he ever know the truth about how his father disappeared?
This screening was followed by a Q&A with celebrated Scottish film producer of Bannan and Seachd, Christopher Young.
TEMPUS DE BARISTAS
1993 | David MacDougall | Italy | Unrated
One of two films at this year’s Gathering exploring the lives of Sardinian shepherds, David MacDougall’s poetic ethnography portrays the different experiences of Franchiscu (62), his son Pietro (17) and their friend Miminu (43) who – although being born 20 years apart – are united by ties of family, friendship and common experience. Will Pietro, still a schoolboy, continue the way of life that has been in his family for generations?
And will Miminu and Franchiscu manage to hold onto their heritage as times change in Sardinia?
HARVEST 3000 YEARS
1976 | Haile Gerima | Ethiopia | Unrated
A striking work of Ethiopian cinema fusing traditional oral culture with cinematic poetry and and a classic of the socialist, anti-imperialist Third Cinema movement. Reminiscent of John McGrath’s celebrated The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil, and highly pertinent to Scotland’s long history of land reform, Gerima’s film tells the story of a family of peasants rising up against their oppressive landlord, situated against the day-to-day rhythms of work and communal storytelling.
This screening was supported by the Africa in Motion Film Festival.
SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME
2015 | Chloe Zhao | USA | Unrated
A gentle, profound portrait of a community under pressure, Chloe Zhao’s debut feature is a considered collaboration with native American residents living on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Highschooler Johnny and his 11 year old sister JaShaun face difficult questions after the death of their errant father. Looking to the future, what sort of life can Johnny and JaShuan expect on the Res? Is it better to cut and run, or stand and fight? Shot entirely on location, and featuring a remarkable cast of non-actors, Zhao’s debut is a moving testament to community dignity and the ties that bind.