SOUTHSIDE FILM FESTIVAL 2012 | EVENTS
I am in a small hand-built dome. The smell of varnish is fresh. I love it. The walls are white and the roof octagonal and a perplexing din of red and orange images are throwing themselves at me from a 1980's television set, while a wash of shapes and waves come from another set opposite. Projected onto the wall plays a short film by Kim Stewart entitled Stigma 6. Computerised women are wandering around a lunar complex in bathing suits, their bodies expanding and contracting. One is pregnant. She falls flat on her face, while another encounters a surgeon deciding to mark her with a red square rather than a circle on the side of her neck. What is going on? What are these women being classed as and why? And why is it they do not seem to mind until it is too late?
Furthermore…how did I get into this weird dome?
It is the final day of the Southside Film Festival and I've decided to spend the afternoon at Southside Studios in Govanhill. Walking up Allison St in the sun, people are standing outside their businesses chatting to each other in Urdu while groups of teenagers ride around mock-menacingly on bikes. The sweet scent of chicken and pakora is in the air and there's something homelike and welcoming about it.
Moving on from the exhibition, I also had a chance over the festival to see Class Struggle: Film From the Clyde and The Southside Filmmakers Award Screening. In both cases I'm struck by the relatively low turn-out. In fact, speaking to local residents in a coffee shop in Shawlands, very few people have heard about any film festival going on. This is a great shame considering the standard of much of the weekend's events and the kind of community atmosphere the festival seeks to tap into. I was double booked the day the film about Bernadette Devlin, Notes From a Political Journey, was showing. Devlin was the Irish MP first elected at age 21 famous for, among other things, wearing mini-skirts to the Commons and hooking Reginald Maudling in the schnoz. Having more than one film of great politico-cultural calibre on at the same time made the weekend seem all the more a proper festival, but at the same the seeming lack of hand-distributed advertisements around is worrying.
Cinema Action's Film From the Clyde provides unique insight into the UCS work-in of 1971-72 in which workers from four Clyde shipyards took successful action against Government plans to scrap one of those yards and make a severe number of lay-offs. The film lets the workers speak for themselves and does nothing to interfere. In a particularly striking moment we see work performed at the bottom of a ship with next to no light or safety equipment. Workers show off injuries, and communicate with each other by lip-reading, as there is no way to hear anything over the noise of the welding.
The Southside Film Festival is a great way to meet people, find out about artistic projects on your doorstep and also a chance to see a bunch of interesting films you probably wouldn't otherwise.