Filmgoers are in for a feast in February

ONCE again offering the promise of something for everyone, the Glasgow Film Festival, now firmly established as the third biggest film festival in the UK, returns for its 9th edition from February 14-24.

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With over 270 films and events across the main and youth festivals, not to mention many dozens more in the Short Film Festival, it's a feast for filmgoers throughout February.

Appropriately for Valentine's Day, the opening film is the delightful romantic comedy, Populaire, which brings together such luminaries of French cinema as Roman Durais and The Artist's Berenice Bejo in a frothy 1950s-set confection.

Still riding high on the triumph of Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon delivers the closing film, his long-cherished adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

Broad, inclusive and open to everyone is the philosophy of the festival organisers, who promise no red rope and that the audience are the VIPs, and for the ten days there's a great selection of premieres, rarities and special events leaping from the pages of the brochure.

If you're looking to see upcoming cinema releases before anyone else, then highlights include James McAvoy and Peter Mullan in the stylish thriller Welcome To The Punch; Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in the dazzling fantasy epic Cloud Atlas, parts of which were filmed in Glasgow; Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in layered crime saga The Place Beyond the Pines; and Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron in delirious deep-south potboiler The Paperboy.

But as well the chance to see the pick of the spring releases early, the festival is also an opportunity to see discoveries from around the world, from documentaries to foreign films and the brightest talent independent cinema has to offer.

The finest films of James Cagney, from his gangster classics The Public Enemy and White Heat, to his Oscar winning song-and-dance turn in Yankee Doodle Dandy, form the retrospective tribute to one of the greatest ever stars of Hollywood.

The country focus is on Brazil, and with the Olympics and World Cup both soon to be held there, it's a great and rare chance to discover the joys of their cinema, and maybe indulge in the odd samba party.

Then there are the events which are truly unique to Glasgow, like the nautical-themed movies showing aboard The Tall Ship, and Secret Subway, where only 50 lucky audience members will experience a surprise somewhere deep within the bowels of the underground system.

l Glasgow Film Festival runs from February 14-24. Glasgow Youth Film Festival runs from February 3-13. Glasgow Short Film Festival runs from February 7-10. The full programmes are available at www.glasgowfilm.org and tickets are on sale now.

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