Best Documentary

Lost in France – Film Review


Lost in France – Film Review by Killian Laher

Irish Film Institute –  Tomorrow @ 20:15 – “The screening will be followed by a live satellite performance by Alex Kapranos, Stuart Braithwaite, R.M. Hubbert, Emma Pollock, and Paul Savage.”

Up and coming Irish director Niall McCann has made a documentary about a trip to France by a bunch Scottish musicians. Confused yet? The movie is about the Glasgow music scene of the late 1990s, centred around the Chemikal Underground record label. It charts how a French promoter invited bands like Mogwai, Arab Strap, Bis and The Delgados (who ran the label) to France in 1997, and how they returned 18 years later.

The film talks to key players like Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai, Alex Kapranos (who played in Kareli at the time), and RM Hubbert, and it’s clear from talking to them that this period was a key time in their musical development. But it’s the Delgados who emerge as the central characters who connect all the bands. As the ones who actually run the label, Stewart Henderson (of the Delgados) is candid about how idealistic (arrogant) they were when they started the label, and how difficult it is now to make a similar impact. Emma Pollock and Paul Savage manage to describe the development of the label through the prism of their own developing relationship.

There are lighter moments, including the tale of a Govan gangsta rapper, a Gaviscon drinking dog and a crazy Rangers top wearing bus driver. But Braithwaite added: “I like fun and I like music but I don’t like the two together. Fuck that!”

All the bands agree that none of this would have been possible without the help of the dole, which provided a vital resource. The music itself, is several shades of exquisite Glasgow indie. So the film is a love letter to the Glasgow music scene and making music in general. A must-see for fans of the bands.

On Limited Release



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