The Herald Magazine - - COVER STORY -

Bill Forsyth is revered around the world as one of the most orig­i­nal film­mak­ers of the last 40 years. The Glaswe­gian’s movies are unique – whim­si­cal, nat­u­ral­is­tic and sur­real all at the same time, and he has in­spired scores of Scot­tish writ­ers and di­rec­tors. Lo­cal Hero, from 1983, brought him in­ter­na­tional fame and is ar­guably the best-loved Scot­tish film of all time. But it’s not his only no­table work…


In many peo­ple’s eyes this 1981 clas­sic ri­vals Lo­cal Hero as Forsyth’s best film. At turns funny, adorable and odd, it fol­lows the tra­vails of un­re­quited teenage love as Gregory (John Gor­don Sin­clair) falls for foot­balling sen­sa­tion Dorothy (Dee Hep­burn) but ends up catch­ing the eye of Su­san, played by Clare Gro­gan. It fa­mously fea­tures a scene where Gregory shows Su­san how not to fall off the side of the world while danc­ing. Cum­ber­nauld has never looked so ro­man­tic.


Also star­ring a young John Gor­don Sin­clair and made for £2000, this 1979 film was the cheap­est movie ever to get a cin­e­matic re­lease. Cen­tring on four bored, skint Glas­gow teenagers who get into trou­ble while sell­ing kitchen sinks, it showed Forsyth’s mas­tery of sur­real hu­mour on a shoe­string bud­get. It also fea­tures a cameo by arts im­pre­sario Richard De­marco.


Star­ring Bill Paterson as a frus­trated DJ whose life goes off the rails af­ter his girl­friend leaves him, this 1984 film is funny and bizarre in equal mea­sures. Klep­to­ma­nia, a rab­bit and a turf war be­tween ri­val fam­i­lies all find a place in this gem, set in Glas­gow just days be­fore Christ­mas. Ricky Ful­ton, Alex Nor­ton and Clare Gro­gan all turn up in this one.


This 1994 com­edy drama stars Robin Wil­liams, John Tur­turro and Bill Nighy in Forsyth’s ex­plo­ration of the ex­pe­ri­ence of a sin­gle hu­man soul through the ages. A flop on its re­lease, it di­vides both crit­ics and Forsyth afi­ciona­dos.


Pick­ing up Gregory’s story in 1999, John Gor­don Sin­clair re­turned as the epony­mous, still awk­ward and un­lucky-in-love hero, now a teacher at his old school in Cum­ber­nauld. Warm and thor­oughly watch­able.

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