Here’s a list of all the acts (and films) I saw at Glastonbury. My highlights are in bold, those in italic I only really saw as I was passing through and asterisk indicate where I didn’t see the whole set.
- Film: Deadpool
- Opening ceremony + fireworks
- Arcadia – Metamorphosis Show
- Gwenno (Park)
- The Infinite Monkey Cage (Cabaret) + KT Tunstall
- Blossom (Other)
- Michele Stodart (Acoustic)
- Stephen Frost Impro All Stars (Astrolabe)
- Ed Harcourt (Acoustic)
- ZZ Top*
- Explosions In The Sky (Peel)
- Aluna George (Peel)
- Sigur Ros (Peel)
- Cat’s Eyes (Park)
- Izzy Bizu (Park)
- Lady Leshurr (Park)
- (Tried to see Travis at Croisant Neuf but couldn’t get close so only heard Sing)
- Choir Of Young Believers (William’s Green)
- The Last Shadow Puppets (Pyramid)
- Chvches (Other)
- Turin Brakes (Avalon)*
- Adele (Pyramid) *
- New Order (Other)*
- Philip Glass’ Heroes Symphony (Park)
- Marcus Brigstocke’s Policy Unit (Cabaret)
- Mark Simmons? (Cabaret)*
- Spencer Jones Is the Herbert (Cabaret)
- Gregory Porter (Pyramid)
- Marcus Du Sautoy (Astrolabe)
- Jeff Lynne’s ELO (Pyramid)
- Låpsley (Introducing)
- Guy Garvey (Park)
- Grimes (Park)
- Coldplay (Pyramid)*
- Barry Gibb
- Michael Eavis
- Doreen Doreen (Summer House)*
I didn’t make it to much of the Widescreen Weekend this year but it was great to get another chance to see Interstellar, this time on 70mm (I still prefer the Imax version). Interstellar was followed by a talk Visual Effects for 70mm Filmmaking by Paul Franklin, Creative Director for Double Negative.
I also attended the Keynote Speech by Douglas Trumbull on The State of Cinema. There was some really fascinating insight into the history and future of cinema and could’ve gone on for hours (in a good way) if the room didn’t have to be cleared to show 2001: A Space Odyssey. Foolishly I didn’t stay to see the film having just seen it recently at Leeds International Film Festival but I think it was a mistake to not taken the opportunity to see it in 70mm.
For what was arguably the worst Glastonbury lineup for quite some time, it turned out there were many personal highlights (in bold below). Italics indicate acts where I didn’t see the whole set due to boredom (Kanye West) or getting food and listening (Jamie XX). I think this is the first year when I didn’t see a headline act, on all three days, nothing on Sunday and only brief moments from two on Saturday. I had hoped to see Chemical Brothers headline on Sunday but it was far too crowded half an hour before they were due on stage so I bailed but Idlewilde made up for it. Wolf Alice were the only other act I really wanted to see but didn’t make it (lazily due to rain and been on the other side of the site) but there’s probably a whole lot more to discover on iPlayer.
- Film: Kingsman
- FIlm: The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson – introduction Q&A with Wilko Johnson and Julien Temple
- New York Brass Band marriage proposal at The Park (maybe)
- Film: Kurt Cobain Montage Of Heck
- The Charlatans
- Matthew and Me
- Everything Everything
- Hooton Tennis Club
- Kevin Eldon
- Jamie XX
- Super Furry Animals
- The Unthanks With Charles Hazlewood & His Orchestra
- Courtney Barnett
- The Strypes
- Stephen Frost’s Improv All Stars with special guests Phil Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke
- Burt Bacharach
- Idris Elba (DJ)
- Father John Misty
- La Roux
- Kanye West
- The Mothership Returns: George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic & the Family Stone
- Alistair Barrie
- Tony Law
- Marcus Brigstocke’s Policy Unit
- Hozier – I only saw 1 or 2 songs and wasn’t impresses so left for…
- Cassetteboy and DJ Rubbish
- Patti Smith (and the Dalai Lama)
- Lionel Richie
- Belle and Sebastian
- End of “Midlake:Live In Denver, TX” film
- Film: 20 Feet From Stardom + interview with ??? (Morgan Neville)
- Film: Zero Theorem
- ??? (Avalon Cafe)
- “A Kiss on the Apocalypse” by Mutoid Waste Company
- Kaiser Chiefs (Other)
- Blondie (Other)
- Josie Long (Cabaret)
- Kevin Eldon (Cabaret)
- Josh Widdicombe (Cabaret)
- Haim (Other)
- Elbow (Pyramid) – walkthrough 2 songs
- Jurassic 5 (West Holts)
- Arcade Fire (Pyramid)
- Little Dragon (BBC Introducing)
- Midlake (Other)
- The Dodge Brothers (Croissant Neuf)
- Nina Persson (The Park) – from afar but most of the set
- Charles Bradley – Daptone Super Soul Review (West Holts)
- Robert Plant (Pyramid) – walkthrough 2 songs
- Jack White (Pyramid – walkthrough 3 songs
- Anna Calvi (The Park) – 2nd half
- John Grant (The Park)
- Mogwai (The Park)
- National English Ballet (Pyramid)
- Robin Ince (Cabaret)
- Possibly Juana Molina or Connan Mockasin from very afar (The Park)
- Dolly Parton (Pyramid)
- Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band (The Park) – most of the set
- Bombay Bicycle Club (Other) – partial set
- Brian Jonestown Massacre (John Peel) – partial set
- Massive Attack (Other)
Highlights in bold.
- Beady Eye
- Marcus Brigstock’s Policy Unit*
- Jake Bugg*
- Rita Ora*
- Brother Bill’s Radical Round-Up (Billy Bragg)*
- Phill Jupitas
- Toro Y Moi*
- Josie Long
- Tom Tom Club*
- Glen Hansard
- Mundo Jazz
- Infinite Monkey Cage
- Ed Harcourt
- Noah and The Whale
- Alabama Shakes*
- Two Door Cinema Club
- The Rolling Stones
- Mark Watson
- Feeding The Fish
- Les Ooh la Las
- Brendon Burns
- Tim Burgess
- Public Image Ltd
- Of Monsters and Men
- Cat Power
- The XX
* Partial set/Listening from another field
Last weekend I made my annual pilgrimage to Keswick Film Festival. It all started on the Thursday evening, there was a great selection of food at the opening party but I didn’t get chance to try much of it as I was too busy catching up with old friend and trying to find more clean plates for people. The opening film was Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday a film which was premièred on C4 last November and I had been keen to see. It’s been sat on my PVR since that broadcast but when I knew it would be showing at the festival it made sense to wait. Mark Kermode was correct to say it is worth seeing in the cinema but the film felt more like an interesting experiment than anything else. I wanted something dramatic to happen and when it didn’t it felt like a wasted opportunity.
Friday started for me by seeing Men At Lunch, a fascinating documentary focussing on the iconic photo taken during the building of the Rockefeller building. Unfortunately the end of the film undoes all the great work of setting up the story and mystery by focussing on only two of the men from a village in Ireland. Perhaps this was a results of funding by the Irish Film Board but it’s a huge mistake and a massive shame. The film starts repeating and even contradicting itself whilst tightening the focus on the two most boring people interviewed in the film.
I Wish and I wish I’d liked it more, I’d heard great things and it’s a charming film but for one reason or another it didn’t quite work for me. The following film was Play and this worked much better for me but not the rest of the audience with walk outs and one of the lowest audience scores at the festival, I even heard that one person had claimed the film should never have been allowed to me made. For me it remains one of the best films of the festival; wonderfully shot and performed, funny in places, mysterious in others and utterly terrifying throughout. Along with I Wish and Everyday, Play contains some wonderful performances from children. My final film of the day was Nightbreed – The Cabal Cut, I’d have preferred to see About Elly showing at the same time but realised I could see that another time and there wouldn’t be another chance to see this strange work in progress edit pieced back together from found footage and introduced by the restoration director. It was fascinating to see even if it was more work-on-progress than I expected, some parts were unwatchably poor VHS quality but they expect to be able to clean it up a lot more. I was expecting a horror film and perhaps this is what was originally released but this version is a monster love story which reminded me more of Guillermo del Toro than anything else.
A lot of my Saturday was taken up with my work on the Osprey Short Film Awards from finalising the winners with the judges, meeting the film makers, showing the films and seeing the prize given out. I shouldn’t divulge the inner workings of the judging panel but the standard of films was incredibly high and I’d have been happy for most of the films to have won one of the prizes. From the back of the cinema it felt like most of the films went down well, especially New Deal which went on to win the Audience Award. I thought Believe might win the Audience Award, it only narrowly missed out on one of the main prizes but at least John Hurt gave it a special mention which hopefully will do the film more favours than our little award. As always, I wondered if we’d given the prizes to the right films but I’d be doing that whoever the winners were and as clichéd as it sounds everyone deserved to win. It helped make the following tweet so I’m happy with that:
— Heather Smith (@HeatherRobyn) February 25, 2013
I stayed at The Alhambra for the rest of the evening, even managing to squeeze it a quick pint at The Square Orange between films. Good Vibrations was a great music biopic (I was expecting it to be a documentary), I enjoyed John Hurt’s choice of Tulpan a lot more than I expected (how do they make films like this) and Owning Mahowny is one of my newest favourite films.
So to the final day, Thursday evening felt like such a long time ago as I settled into watching The Man With The Jazz Guitar, I may have selected this film because they are active on Twitter I certainly had no immediate interest in the subject. The film was the first real disappointment of the festival, an interesting man and life story to be told but a mess of a documentary which lacked any structure. The next choice was perhaps the most difficult an potentially great film I’d never heard of (Kauwboy), the nearly-première of Peace And Conflict with the film makers or McCullin a film I’ve been wanted to see since it’s release but could be easily seen elsewhere. I’m glad I went for McCullin, it was the best film I saw at the festival (and possibly so far in 2013) and deserved the Audience Award.
I made up for not seeing Peace And Conflict by going to the on stage In Conversation with director Tony Britten and Don Boyd, it was an interesting chat but focussed too much on Benjamin Britten which if I’d known in advance might have persuaded me to see Touch instead. I stayed on to watch War Requiem which again I saw because it seemed like a more interesting choice and chance to see something I wouldn’t normally see. It lived up to my expectations of something that wouldn’t be to my taste but I’m still glad I saw it. I also didn’t have high expectations for the closing film which I hadn’t heard of and knew it had a failed to get a theatrical release. As it turned out I really enjoyed Ashes, fantastic performance from Ray Winstone (shocking to think he probably made this around the same time as The Sweeney) and stylishly made, I knew how it was going to turn out but I enjoyed the ride.
- The Story of Asya Klyachina
- The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope
- Uncle Vanya
- Alois Nebel
- Persistence of Vision
- The Fourth Dimension
- Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
- The Hunt
- Beyond the Black Rainbow
- Seven Psychopaths
- Now, Forager
- Before Dawn
- Paris, Texas
- Room 237
- Black Brush
- The Shining
- Charles Bradley: Soul of America
- Robot & Frank
- John Dies at the End
- King Kong vs. Godzilla
- Ernest & Celestine
- In the House
- In Another Country
- Rust and Bone
- Berlin Recyclers
- Body Memory
- Deep Shit!
- Dr Breakfast
- Fear Of Flying
- Fly Mill
- The Great Rabbit (tech problems, no ending)
- It’s Such A Beautiful Day
- The Last Bus
- Much Better Now
- My My
- Next Door Letters
- The Pub
- Red River, Song Hong
- Snail Trail
- Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
- Dylan’s Room
- Firewater Dreams
- I Am Tom Moody
- Return Of The Sun
- Walk Tall
- Chicken Shop Shakespeare
- The Farmer’s Wife
- The Mind’s Wood
Leaf Label Night
- 11 Leaf Shorts
- Red Balloon
- Un Chien Andalou
Into the final week and fitting films in around the Animated Shorts and Leaf Label Night where I finally got to see The Red Balloon and Un chien Andalou, which I hadn’t ever realised was only a short but was remarkable especially for the time it was made. Monday was Wrinkles a animated Spanish film which told a moving story in an entertaining way. Three longer shorts made up The Fourth Dimension which started with a great performance and song from Val Kilmer in Harmony Korine’s Lotus Community Workshop, a solid segment in Chronoeye but led down by meandering hipsters in Fawns.
Persistence Of Vision was another documentary which told a really interesting (and completely unknown to me) story but didn’t much to impress as a documentary and had the weird side-effect of making me want to track down and watch what looks like a truly terribly film. Alois Nebel was another film I’d wanted to see based on the visual style in the trailer and unfortunately that style remained the only thing that kept me interested, perhaps it was tiredness but I couldn’t get involved in the story and was pleased when it came to an end. I also struggled with Uncle Vanya, I was really impressed with the opening and switching of styles but once again tiredness got the better of me and I lost interest.
It’s fairly safe to say I only bought a ticket to see Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope to fill the gap before 2001, so it was a bit annoying when a repeat of the one film I really wanted but had failed to see, Beauty Is Embarrassing was scheduled against it. It all worked out good in the end because Comic-Con… was one of the best films of the festival. Incredibly well made, laugh out loud funny, fascinated stories held together with common theme, edge of your seat tension and tears. I thought I may be alone in my high praise of the film (after all who cares about a bunch of comic geeks) but it came 6th in the Audience Award results.
I was worried about seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey but also excited because surely this is a film that has to be seen on a cinema screen. I remember forcing myself to watch the film as a teenager and it taking several attempts to make it all the way through. Trapped in a cinema I knew I’d have to sit through it all and was worried if it would be too much hard work at the end of a two week festival. It turned out I needn’t have worried, it really is an amazing film and only let down by a saggy middle part. If I were to sum it up I’d say that all the dialogue that doesn’t feature HAL doesn’t work or at least those are the scenes which have dated badly.
A repeat screening of Wolf Children at Saturday lunchtime was a welcomed delight and another great film which I thought was much better than The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. I’d calculated at this point I’d been to 39 screenings and so it seemed rude not to try and squeeze in one more. The sensible option was to stay at Hyde Park for The Story of Asya Klyachina although I was tempted to come back for the Creatures Of The Night Buttgereit double bill, both had the director attending which is something that had been lacking from this festival. Wine got the better of me and I never made it back for the late night screenings so Asya Klyachina became my 40th and final screening. It was great to have Andrei Konchalovsky introduce the film and come back for a Q&A, even if he didn’t seem too keen to answer questions and made a swift exit.
All the films I saw at LIFF26 are logged and listed on letterboxd and I love the site so expect to continue logging all my films there (and hopefully integrate or replace my Film Diary. It’s been nearly a week since I watched a film and this feels strange.
The Artist always seemed like a wonderful way to finish of the fantastic Leeds International Film Festival and it turned out to be my favourite film of the festival. I wasn’t alone in praising the Palme d’Or nominated film as it also won the Official Selection Audience Award at Leeds.
The film is a complete joy to watch, the performances and attention to detail are fantastic and compensate excessively for the somewhat obvious story (although I’m starting to feel I’ve seen too many films and every story is obvious). One strange problem I had with the film was a result of seeing too many other silent films during the festival; Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns, Professor Vanessa, The Phantom Of The Opera were all accompanied by live music and so the pre recorded soundtrack of The Artist seemed out of place. It didn’t take long to forget about that though but how amazing would it be with live music?
My only other problem with the film was a feeling of dread growing inside me as we reached the finale. To me there seemed an obvious and cheap way the film could end and I had a horrible feeling that if were to be used it would undo all the great work up until that point. A scene with a glass and a dressing room table about half way through the film scared me more but when that was so wonderfully handled it restored some faith in the film makers. Unfortunately the eventual ending turned out to be more or less what I thought it would be. It was met with rapturous laughter and delight from the full Hyde Park Picture House audience but to me it felt like such a disappointing way to end the great film. Fortunately it didn’t really take anything away from the rest of the experience and I was happy to join in the spontaneous round of applause the film received.
Can we forget all the 3D malarky and go back to making films the way they were supposed to be… silent.
Leeds International Film Festival started on Thursday and for the first time, this year I have a pass. I already seem to have spent ages staring at the programme and still haven’t made my mind up about what to see, there’s far too much to choose from.
Like many, my festival started with the opening gala of Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights. I have been looking forward to this since it was announced, I’ve always liked the story, the casting seemed inspired and I like Arnold’s previous work. As is often the case my high expectations weren’t met, the film looked great but it didn’t grab me like I hoped it would. I wasn’t really in the mood for the film and think I would like it a lot more on a second viewing.
Friday was a music double bill, starting with Inni. I love Sigur Ros and the music was great but the film didn’t seem to be doing anything that special but then all of a sudden got quite good but then sadly ended. The Beat Is The Law – Fanfare For The Common People was the type of inspirational music documentary I really like and will hopefully make it to BBC4 one Friday night soon.
I started Saturday with Invasion of The Body Snatchers which I couldn’t remember if I had seen before. It’s a great film but my “lose a third” rule definitely applies, I was completely gripped but it should have finished before the final third, it just get’s boring and silly after the reveal of the pods.
I enjoyed the first session of Animated Short Films, a fantastic selection of short films although I thought the word “animated” was used some what liberally. Rating the films for the Festival audience scores reminded me of the joy and hard work of trying to rate the entries for Keswick’s Osprey Short Film Awards.
Another classic film followed and there isn’t a lot more to say about Psycho. Curiously watching it again made me want to see Gus Van Sant’s version because I can’t help but wonder how it can be so bad.
Finally a trip across town to Hyde Park Picture House for the 22nd May. By this time I couldn’t remember what the film was about which is probably the best way to see any film. I really liked this film a lot, it’s the kind of film I wish that I’d made not that I’ve ever come close to making a film.
There’s still another 2 weeks of the festival to get through, I still don’t know what to see today, there’s so many clashes today but I’m sure I’ll find something to see.