Thursday, 17 May 2012

Festival brings screen joy to benighted masses

From today film lovers of Glasgow's South Side have an all-too-infrequent opportunity to indulge their cinematic hankerings without having to venture up to and across the River Clyde.

This evening starts a weekend-long silver-screen treat – the South Side Film Festival – set up, at least in part, to compensate for the fact that Glasgow's once legendary passion for the cinema has long-since died in the far South of the Clyde, and there are no longer any operating cinemas in that part of the city – South-siders having to rely on Pacific Quay and the I-Max on the very banks of the river itself.

The Festival, although it is largely run by volunteers and housed in all sorts of buildings from scout huts to Govan's august Pearce Institute, shows a remarkable breadth and variety, with feature films rubbing shoulders with animation workshops, cinema talks and exhibitions and, of course the obligatory pub quiz (tonight in the Bungo from 8.00pm), where self-styled 'experts' will no doubt indulge in some verbal debate over obscure details!

To single out highlights would be invidious, so I will. You have an opportunity to see again the unique film Class Struggle – film from the Clyde shot by Cinema Action – the only film crew allowed into the Clyde shipbuilding yards during the UCS Work-In forty years ago. Fittingly enough, this is being shown on Saturday at 3.00pm in the Pearce Institute in Govan. There will be a Q&A after the film with veterans from the work-in.

Elsewhere in the political scene, two films about the Northern Irish troubles look to be worth seeing. Leila Doolan's biographical documentary of fiery republican, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey is on in the Shed (Langside Ave) on Saturday and will be followed by A Million Bricks on the building of Belfast's biggest 'peace line'.

Buster Keaton features in the closing film, The General is in Pollockshaws Burgh Hall on Sunday with live Wurlitzer Organ accompaniment, and the launch film at 8.00pm Friday in The Shed is a much more up-to-date item – South-side resident, Peter Mullan's NEDS.

If you want to your way round the sites of all the long-lost cinemas on Glasgow's South Side, I suggest an afternoon visit to Tusk on Sunday (2,00pm) where Gary Painter of the website will give an illustrated talk on their sites or if they still exist in another guise (as does the Waverley cinema in which you will be sitting!

The programme for the weekend is here and tickets available from tickets scotland, on the door or at Youngs Interesting Books.

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