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Review: Phil Collins--Tomorrow is Always Too Long *****

Lorna Irvine reviews 'a masterpiece'.

From Barlinnie to bingo hall, Phil Collins' film, co-written with Ewan Morrison, is nothing short of a masterpiece. This homage to Glasgow is at once surreal, poignant and gritty, using a panoply of voices—from a ten-year-old girl to eighty-three-year old man.

Soundtracked by the wonderful Cate Le Bon, who is backed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, her songs are performed by non-professional singers in prosaic settings. Here, a bored teenage schoolgirl covers Sisters, antenatal classes are rendered cinematic, and over in Maryhill, Framptons comes alive, with a Nancy and Lee-esque segment sung by a barmaid and customer. It's glorious—almost heartbreakingly melancholic. Michael McDonough's cinematography is breathtaking in its detailed intimacy, reminiscent of a Scottish version of Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia.

Golden Teacher pop up too, soundtracking a section filmed at Langside Hall. Archive footage of street protest shows Glasgow at its most defiant, and this theme of everyday struggle permeates throughout. Late-night cable TV advertising is neatly skewered with Kate Dickie's troubled psychic, Burlesque performer Tina Warren talks animal rights in full showgirl outfit, and live artists playfully perform covered in paint and plastic. Talking heads on illness, love and loss have the no-nonsense language of true Glaswegian voices.

But it's not all film footage: Matthew Robins' animations soundtracked by Barry Burns, come on like Lotte Reiniger, warped through dark series Monkey Dust and feature sexual encounters in forests, alcoholic giraffes and dark alleyways.

This Glasgow may not always be pretty, or plucked from a tourist board vision of unattainable perfection, but the audience is presented as they sit in the striped deck chairs with an assured, uniquely poetic trip into a vibrant 3D landscape, full of incongruous poetry.

HD Video, Hi8 and VHS; colour and b/w, sound, 82 min, 2014

Audio-visual installation: Sue MacDiarmid

At GOMA, Glasgow until 17th August, 2015

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