Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
While blockbusters such as “Braveheart” may provide an introduction to the cinematic culture of Scotland, contemporary Scottish filmmakers are more likely to question the value of survival, and to use humor to examine the nature of being human.
“Being Human” is, in fact, the title of one of famed Scottish director Bill Forsyth’s films. Robin Williams plays the central character in five narrative stories spanning the history of humankind. The theme of perseverance against all odds, along with Forsyth’s vivid, unpredictable imagination make this film memorable.
Forsyth’s first international hit, “Gregory’s Girl” features a socially-challenged teen infatuated with the new girl in school, despite the fact that her soccer skills far outshine his own. Film critic Roger Ebert raved about “Gregory’s Girl,” declaring that “the movie contains so much wisdom about being teenage and vulnerable” that perhaps “only grown-ups should see this movie.”
So significant have been Forsyth’s contributions to Scottish Cinema, that in “Trainspotting” a character parodies a line from “Gregory’s Girl.” However, this cult classic has none of Forsyth’s gentle insight. Based on the Irvine Welsh novel, the film follows heroin addicts along self-destructive rambles through Edinburgh. (more…)
Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
Scottish literature dates back to well before the medieval ages, and there have been plenty of prolific writers throughout the centuries.
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Many Scottish writers produced works in English in addition to the native languages such as Scottish Gaelic and Scots.
Each era was defined by different writing styles that were influenced by a few talented authors. Overall, Scotland’s most famous writers are from the 18th and 19th century periods. Robert Burns and Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson are some of the most recognizable names in Scottish literature.
Born in the small village of Alloway, Robert Burns has risen to iconic status in Scotland and beyond. You may
be surprised to learn that one of Scotland’s most famous writers actually wrote poems rather than novels. Burns also had musical creativity, and he integrated traditional folk songs into his poems. For example, his poem “Auld Lang Syne” has been carefully written to match the musical notes of an old folk song. Written in 1788 in the Scots language, this melodic poem has become part of a New Year’s tradition in Scotland, the United Kingdom, and other countries where English is spoken. (more…)
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Scotland, a lively location promoting art, language, and song, offers numerous events to cultivate both Scottish and European culture and to continue to promote creativity among its population.
This Spring, one of the foremost events that Scotland boasts is the Glasgow Annual Film Festival. This event is held from February eighteenth to February the twenty-eight. This multi-faceted festival displays a variety of documentaries, blockbuster hits, and independent films for screening and discussion, making it the perfect event for movie critics.
For lovers of language, Scotland’s Poetry Festival mixes film, dance, and poetry in a harmonious blend. Occurring March seventeenth through March twenty-first, this activity offers the opportunity to sharpen the mind and the tongue.
For plant experts or simply lovers of beauty, the Scottish Snowdrop Festival displays Scotland’s rich and lush gardens. These gardens open for public viewing on February first, and the festival continues through March fifteenth.
Perhaps Scotland’s most celebrated event this Spring is Perth 800. Perth 800 is a year long celebration that commemorates the eight-hundredth anniversary of the Royal Burgh Charter. This important document confirmed and established land rights to Perth from King William the Lion in 1210.
Last, but not least, Scotland hosts a special international festival called New Territories. This unique festival of live arts is held during the first three weeks of March, and it includes videos, music, and art instillations. This event showcases many experimental performances by one thousand invited artists from across the globe.
Indeed, Scotland has an event for every person this Spring season.