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.
THAT SINKING FEELING
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.
COMFORT AND JOY
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.
GREGORY’S TWO GIRLS
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.