Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV

This week Drew has chosen 21 Grams, as our Top Pick, while our four other recommendations come from Morvern.

21 Grams (2003, 15)
Sony Movies, 1am on Wednesday 1 July
Set your recorders for this drama by Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant). Starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Benicio Del Toro in stellar form, they play three people whose lives change and interconnect after a car crash, similar to Iñárritu’s excellent Amorres perros (2000). It can be a bit of a heavy watch – the title refers the weight you supposedly lose when you die, the weight of the soul – but it is a masterclass in non-linear editing and storytelling. Iñárritu contrasts past, present, and future in clever ways to show contradictions in character, teasing events through ambiguity, before all the narrative threads converge to a powerful climax.


Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015, U)
STV, 5.05pm on Saturday 27 June
Is this animated sequel full of slapstick fun, Count Dracula is determined to prove his half-human grandson has inherited his vampiric ways. He gathers his undead friends to help him educate his grandson, but a visit from his own father shows there is still much for him to learn. Featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Selena Gomez.


Night of the Demon (1957, PG)
Talking Pictures TV, 11.55pm on Sunday 28 June
“It’s in the trees! It’s coming!” So starts the classic Kate Bush track ‘Hounds of Love’ with this excerpt lifted from Jacques Tourneur’s masterpiece Night of the Demon (also known as ‘Curse of the Demon’), based on M.R. James ghost story ‘Casting the Runes’. The contentious topic of whether the monster should have been shown on screen, allegedly without Tourneur’s consent, aside – this is one late-night chiller you don’t want to miss!


12 Years a Slave (2013, 15)
Film4, 9pm on Monday 29 June
British director Steven McQueen demonstrates great directorial poise in this historical drama about a freeborn American man kidnapped and sold into slavery. He doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the time, while depicting the courage and humanity of characters with grace. There are commanding performances across the board, but those of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michael Fassbender are truly exceptional.


Touching the Void (2003, 15)
Channel 4, 10pm on Thursday 2 July
Through dramatised recreations, Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland) depicts mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates’ desperate fight for survival in the Peruvian Andes. Intercut with interviews with the two men, we see them pushing their bodies to the limit, making impossible life-or-death decisions, and somehow emerging with their lives.



Islands in Film

A Portrait of Life in Lockdown on Mull, Iona, Ulva & Gometra

We’re delighted to have the chance to showcase a new project by a good friend of Screen Machine, Alasdair Satchel.

Islands in Film uses footage from 75 people on Mull, Iona, Ulva, and Gometra to document life under lockdown the during week of 18th to 24th of May. It offers a moment of connection so we know we’re not alone, and that others are experiencing the same things as us, but in their own ways. It lets the viewer escape the confinement of lockdown through the sharing of spaces of the islands in the authentic voices of the people living there.

Directed and edited by Alasdair and Georgia Satchel, and featuring music by Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean, Islands in Film is made from 255 submissions from 75 local people sharing their own takes on the situation to create a unique archive of this moment in time. A call for submissions was made on Alasdair’s podcast What We Do in the Winter about life on Mull, Iona, Ulva, Gometra, and Erraid. The film is a Struthach Films and Screen Argyll co-production for What We Do in the Winter in collaboration with Mull Museum, Tobermory.

Islands in Film will premiere on Friday 26th June at 8pm. You can watch it on the What We Do in the Winter’s YouTube channel. After the screening, viewers will be asked, if able, to make a financial donation to the Mull & Iona food bank.

You can watch the trailer, and read more at the What We Do in the Winter’s website.


Into Film

More Ways to Keep Children and Young People Meaningfully Occupied

Having featured Into Film and their film education resources in our eighth issue, we’re delighted to include this follow-up article about some of their other opportunities.

Into Film is an education charity that puts film at the heart of the educational, cultural, and personal development of children and young people. Our Scotland team promotes the Into Film programme across the nation by delivering resources in school and non-school settings, supporting the specific needs of the Curriculum for Excellence, and working collaboratively with our Scottish partners to enhance the film education offer. Covid-19 has been a strange time for us all, and we are constantly inspired by the ways educators have adapted. In response to current circumstances, we have set up a Home Learning Hub to host our new competitions and repurposed resources to support children, young people, and their families so they can gain fun and educational benefits from watching films, as well as allowing them to explore the various careers within the film industry.

Below are some of our latest opportunities and resources for young people:

Youth Advisory Council
Our Youth Advisory Council is a group of young people aged 10-18 from all over Scotland who have a passion for film and want their voices heard. Meeting three times a year, YAC members get to provide feedback on our programme, receive insight about career opportunities within film, and learn more about the industry in general. It’s perfect for any young film fan who wants greater exposure to film, the chance to meet new people, and to have their views heard.

We are currently recruiting for new members! We recognise the positive value of diversity, promote equality, and challenge discrimination. As such, we welcome and encourage applications from young people of all backgrounds. Follow the link above to apply and read more information.

Artemis Fowl Competition
To celebrate the release of Disney’s Artemis Fowl we have created a brand new package of home learning resources full of great activities. Tasks include: learning how to decipher coded messages; completing coding puzzles; analysing character through exploration of thoughts and actions; and a creative writing competition. Participants get the chance to win a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera for themselves, plus an Artemis Fowl goody bag for themselves and each member of their school class (containing a copy of the original ‘Artemis Fowl’ book by Eoin Colfer, a backpack, and a journal).

Eco Explorers Resource
We have a brand new Eco Explorers resource that explores key environmental issues through various activities, and features great films like Wall-E, Watership Down, and Artic Tale. Young people are also encouraged to make their own film that highlights some of the environmental issues we face today.

#Review100 Competition
We’ve launched a review writing competition on our social media channels to help young people flex and develop their literacy and analytical skills. To get involved, young people to write a review of any film they watch in 100 words or less. Then, simply send us a photo of their review on Twitter or Facebook, and include the entrant’s age, and the winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.  We will look to celebrate a variety of winners, taking into consideration age, effort and originality. A winner will be awarded each week – just remember to tag us in each post and use the hashtag #Review100.

Note: Due to safeguarding issues regarding young people on social media, entries may only be submitted by parents, carers, guardians or educators on behalf of young people. Please see our website for full terms and conditions.

All the materials are accessible from the links above. If you’re new to Into Film, you’ll need to sign up for a free account and log in to download our resources.

Katherine Auld and Kirsty Gallacher
Into Film




Futureproof 2017 and MUBI

Futureproof 2017– You can still watch Futureproof 2017, a Photography on Screen production produced in collaboration with Street Level Photoworks, and first shown on the Screen Machine back in 2017. It includes a selection of that year’s graduates with images and commentary that is still highly relevant today. The exhibition took place in Glasgow in 2017 and was also shown at Scotland House in Brussels as part of the Year of Young People.

MUBI – You can still sign up for a free three-month membership with MUBI, who recently added a library of hundreds of previously curated films for you to choose from. If you cancel before the end of your trial then you won’t be charged. If you decide to stay on, you’ll be charged a standard paid subscription with MUBI. (You’ll be entering into a contract with MUBI, not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.)

BFI Japan 2020 – The BFI are releasing featured collections of some of Japan’s most lauded films on their online player, including the work of directors Akira Kurasawa and Yasujirō Ozu, as well as selections of anime, J-horror, and other classics. To watch, you need to sign up to the BFI Player for £4.99 per month. Please note that you’ll be entering a contract with the BFI and not with Regional Screen Scotland or Screen Machine.




Screen Machine Movie Trivia Quiz

Ten more questions for you to test your general movie knowledge. Once you are done, highlight the hidden text at the bottom for the answers.

1. What 1995 film opens with this dialogue: “All right everyone! This… is a stick-up! Don’t anybody move! Now empty that safe!”
2. What film replaced ‘Citizen Kane’ as the greatest film ever made in Sight & Sound magazine’s 2012 critics’ poll?
3. In the 2008 film ‘Hunger’, a conversation between Bobby Sands and Father Dominic Moran is filmed in one long, unbroken shot. How long does this shot last?
4. What is the name of the cat in ‘Alien’?
5. After winning the Best Actor Oscar for ‘Joker’, Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger became the second pair of actors to win Oscars for playing the same character. Who was the first pair to achieve this?
6. Under what pseudonym do the Coen Brothers edit their films?
7. In ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, what does the Black Knight propose after King Arthur chops off all his arms and legs?
8. The 1963 novel ‘La Planète des singes’ by Pierre Boulle was adapted into what 1968 film?
9. When he was designing Yoda for ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’, makeup artist Stuart Freeborn used which famous scientist’s face as inspiration?
10. Cate Blanchett has appeared in nine films that feature her character’s name in the title. How many can you name?

1. ‘Toy Story’. 2. ‘Vertigo’ by Alfred Hitchcock. 3. 17 minutes 10 seconds. (It only took them 5 takes to get it right.) 4. Jones. 5. Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro for portraying Vito Corleone in ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Godfather Part II’. 6. Roderick Jaynes. 7. That they should call their fight a draw. 8. ‘Planet of the Apes’. 9. Albert Einstein. (Freeborn also used his own face as partial inspiration.) 10. ‘Thank God He Met Lizzie’ (1997), ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ (1997), ‘Elizabeth’ (1998), ‘Charlotte Gray’ (2001), ‘Veronica Guerin’ (2003), ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’ (2007), ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013), ‘Carol’ (2015), ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette?’ (2019).

We’ll be back with more news next Friday. We hope that you all have a great week and stay well.

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