Crime Wave

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Glasgow Film Festival officially opened last night with the European premiere of John Butler’s Irish coming-of-age comedy Handsome Devil, which is such a crowdpleaser that I’m sure it went down well. For some of us, the film festival had already begun, as I’ve been viewing some of the films for reviews or interviews already, and seen some really good work.

The first public screening I’m attending is tonight, Matchbox Cineclub’s screening of Crime Wave. Not the Sam Raimi/Coen Brothers collaboration Crimewave that you may (just) have heard of, but an extremely obscure cult Canadian comedy from the eighties that virtually no one seems to have seen, but which everyone who has seen it loves.

The film is the only feature directed by John Paisz, a postmodern comedy shot in a fifties pulp style about a screenwriter who’s good at writing beginnings and ends, but can’t do middles, made as a reaction against the naturalism of English-language Canadian cinema of the time.

I don’t know much more about the film, and haven’t done any more research. because I want to be surprised, although the fact it was made by the Winnipeg Film Group, with which one of my favourite filmmakers Guy Maddin would be affiliated, gives me high hopes.

I also trust the taste of Matchbox Cinema, who have done a great job of finding and screening films that are unavailable to view anywhere else. The film, programmed as part of a wider strand highlighting Canadian cinema, will also be introduced by its director. And for me, the chance to see extremely rare films, as well as meeting filmmakers, is definitely the most valuable aspect of going to film festivals.

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Recall seeing a short season of Canadian films back in the 90s (?). All of them were quite good. Don't remember any titles but one was about a young girl and the fallout after being raped; another about the sheer and utter desolation of urban life for a few unloved loners -both incredibly bleak; and a third one more upbeat with Jeff Goldblum (I think) as a college lecturer on the The Beatles(!).

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