Anti-Villains

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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.

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

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