Unmissable music movies to watch at Glasgow Film Festival

From rock and roll biopics to punk documentaries

Today sees the launch of the 17th Glasgow Film Festival. Although COVID means that this year’s slate of films can only be viewed online, the organisers have spared no expense: the 62-film programme includes a whopping 10 world premieres – and three European premieres to boot. Some of the most exciting films that are playing at the festival are about music. Here are some you should definitely keep an eye out for…

Creation Stories

An adaptation of Alan McGee’s acclaimed autobiography of the same name, Creation Stories follows the rise of the legendary Scot as he navigates a sea of obstacles en route to changing the face of British culture by founding Creation Records, which launched the careers of Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream and more. That this is a Trainspotting reunion of sorts – Ewen Bremner stars as the charismatic McGee himself, and the film is written by Irvine Welsh – only makes us more excited.

For fans of: Trainspotting, Oasis: Supersonic

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Tina

‘Icon’ is not a status that’s given lightly, but Tina Turner is one of the few who are worthy of it. The rock singer has had an incredible career, including but not limited to providing the voice for one of the greatest Bond songs ever in Goldeneye. In addition to reliving some of her memorable highs thanks to a wealth of archive footage, this documentary feature will also explore her troubled personal life, thanks in no small part to the involvement of Turner herself.

For fans of: What Happened, Miss Simone?, What’s Love Got To Do With It

Underplayed

As is the case with most of the music industry, electronic dance music is dominated by white males. But Stacey Lee’s uplifting documentary – which was filmed over the summer festival season – puts the focus on the many talented women who are striving to make their mark, whether they be musicians, technicians, or producers. Through them, we learn of the external and internal struggles women in EDM face, and how they stand up to and overcome them.

For fans of: True Stories, Leave The World Behind

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Da Capo

Da Capo sees Hong Isaac star as Tae-il, a struggling musician who returns to his hometown and reconnects with former bandmate turned music teacher Ji-won (Jang Haeun). Four of the latter’s teenage pupils have formed a metal band in a bid to win a local music competition, and in helping them Tae-il rediscovers his own passion for music. Focusing more on the process than the success which follows leads to many intimate yet joyful scenes, as well as some catchy tunes you’ll be singing long after the credits roll.

For fans of: School of Rock, Sing Street

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, Anglo-Somali musician Poly Styrene was the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band – and she did it in some style. Idolised for her pioneering punk aesthetic – as well as new wave bangers like ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours!’ and ‘The Day The World Turned Day-Glo’ – the icon born Marianne Elliott-Said offered an alternative to the homogenous merry-go-round of white male-fronted punk bands in the late ’70s. This new doc, featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar nominee Ruth Negga, is an unflinching account of her life.

For fans of: White Riot, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Glasgow Film Festival runs from February 24 to March 7 – all titles will be available to view online 

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