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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.
One of the best of Scotland’s newest films is “Skeletons”, produced by Paul Welsh. “Skeletons” is a tale of a pair of salesmen travelling across Britain whose business is cleaning “skeletons” from people’s psychic closets. “Skeletons” won the award for Best New British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.