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The anti-villain is the inverse of the anti-hero, the opposite of the Rebel Heroes of Glasgow Film Festival’s retrospective strand. They’re the complicated or conflicted baddie or the sympathetic antagonist. To explain this concept, for Anti-Villains at Glasgow Film Festival, we developed the Gregory Personality S-Peck-trum.

On one end, Gregory Peck as one of literature and cinema’s greatest heroes, Atticus Finch, in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962). On the other, Peck as mad Nazi Josef Mengele in The Boys From Brazil (1978). Clearly a villain.

Then there’s Peck as the equivocal protagonist of The Gunfighter (1950), Jimmy Ringo. The fastest gun in the west, he’s certainly not squeaky-clean (look at that black hat) but ultimately redeems himself in the eyes of his estranged wife and child. Anti-hero!

And finally, there’s Gregory Peck again, in Duel in the Sun (1946), where he’s a murderous outlaw cowboy romantically entangled with “half-breed” Jennifer Jones. The film climaxes with a shoot out between them, though they ultimately die in each other’s arms. Anti-villain!

Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective and often a story told from another direction would recast its heroes and villains. The point is, it’s a (Gregory) spectrum and sometimes the only difference between an anti-hero and an anti-villain is just shades of grey.

Sean Welsh

Physical Impossibility presents Anti-Villains took place at Glasgow Film Festival 2018. Buy back issues of Physical Impossibility at our Big Cartel shop here.

This entry was posted in 2017, Cinema, GFF 2018, Glasgow, Movies, Physical Impossibility, Zine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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