Glasgow Film Festival kicks off with Populaire

 

Glasgow Film Festival has officially kicked off with the UK premiere of French film Populaire.

In total, there will be 368 film screenings, 57 UK premieres and nine world premieres during the 10-day event.

Much of it will take place at the Glasgow Film Theatre, but there are also unique events programmed for the city's Tall Ship, the Arches and Glasgow Cathedral.

Populaire is a romantic comedy which tells the story of a young French woman in the 1950s who aspires to become a secretary. She moves town in order to get a job, and when her boss sees she only types with two fingers rather than all 10, he enrols her in a nationwide competition.

It is director Regis Roinsard's first feature film, and he said it was an "honour" to have it open Glasgow Film Festival.

"It's an honour to open the festival and it's gala premiere," he said at last night's event.

"It's a very elegant premiere for me - Valentine's Day, Scotland, UK premiere - it's a magnificent mix, and I'm very honoured to present my movie here today."

He described his film as a love story, which is a "mix between My Fair Lady (but more modern), Rocky and Mad Men - but in a French style".

"I think it's a very good film for Valentine's Day because the principal thing in the movie is that it's a love story, so for that audience it's very cool," said Roinsard, who is from Paris.

Now in its ninth year, organisers said they wanted to keep the festival's biggest ever programme "fresh", with panel discussions, live events and contributions from fashion designers, comedians and musicians.

On Sunday, the UK's first ever public screening of Cloud Atlas will be shown - a day before it has its official premiere in London.

Hollywood star Halle Berry was spotted on the streets of Glasgow when part of the film, based on the novel by British author David Mitchell, was being shot in locations around the city.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will also take part at the festival as he teams up with comic book writer Mark Millar in a special "Geek Night" event.

Special guests, including Joss Whedon, who has directed Much Ado About Nothing, chosen to close the festival, and actor James D'Arcy, who co-stars in Cloud Atlas, will walk the festival's red carpet.

Allison Gardner, co-director of the festival, said: "The ethos remains the same; the audience are king. The audience makes the festival one of the best film festivals in the world.

"It's really good fun, a party that everyone's invited to and one that everybody can enjoy.

"There is something for everyone in there (the programme). I'm really proud to be part of it.

"People travel from far and wide for the festival and what Glasgow brings to them is that it's very friendly; they are sitting next to people who will always talk to them - our audience are not backwards in coming forwards in letting you know what they think about the films.

"Glasgow is a great city to visit - when you are here there's lots of other things to do as well."

The festival runs until February 24.

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