DRAMA Code Unknown (Code inconnu) “mu Fragmented tales of modern-day life
Michael Haneke refuses to treat the audiences of his films as if they’re stupid. In the shocking Funny Games, he played with our voyeuristic expectations of the thriller genre; in Code Unknown he once more requires us to engage with what's going on on-screen, to make connections between characters, motivations and events.
l-laneke calls his new film ’an incomplete account of various journeys.’ It begins thus: On a busy Parisian boulevard an angsty teenager complains to his elder brother’s girlfriend (Juliette Binoche) about his life stuck on a farm with his father. He carelessly tosses rubbish into the lap of an Eastern European refugee beggar woman. This enrages a young African man passing by, but when he forces the boy to apologise two racist gendarmes arrest him. From here individual stories continue in a fragmented fashion, with the characters' lives occasionally overlapping by coincidence but apparently without great significance. The scene in which Binoche's character, Anne, is alone in her flat listening to a baby being battered by her neighbour seems loaded with meaning: isolation, loneliness, ill-communication. But draw your own conclusions.
Crediting audiences with intelligence, who'd ever have thought of such a straightforward means of making great films? l-laneke, that's who.
I Code Unknown, Filmhouse 7, 79 Aug, 7pm, Lumiere, 27 Aug, 7pm, £7
DRAMA Amores Perros *** Tantalising three header
Exploring the lives of a disparate group of Mexicans, Amores Perros is a tantalising triptych that connects its characters through their respective canine associations. The lives of a small-time dogfighter, a successful fashion model and a former guerrilla turned hitman are interwoven within a fragmented narrative that leaves you desperate to tie the assorted threads together. The explosive opening story of love and betrayal set in the world of underground dogfighting is not matched by the following two tales. Nevertheless first-time director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s carefully constructed film constantly entertains whilst reminding us of the consequences of our actions on others. (Davie Archibald)
I Amores Perros, Cameo 7, 78 Aug, 7.30pm, 22 Aug, 8pm, £7 (£4.50).
Chuck And Buck ***** Hilarious homoerotic love story
A homoerotic misogynistic love story! Buck (Mike White), distraught at the death of his mother, seeks out his
Childhood best friend Chuck (Chris
Weitz) for solace. Chuck is none too
pleased to see that this face from the past hasn’t outgrown his childhood mannerisms. Buck vents his anger at not being able to recreate their past friendship by writing a theatre production that mirrors reality called Hank and Frank. And in a move suggestive of life imitating art, Weitz’s brother Paul plays the hilarious lead actor Sam. This bizarre and wonderfully abstract film is not to be missed. (Kaleem Aftab)
I Chuck And Buck, Cameo 7, 78 & 20
Aug, 70.30pm, £7 (£4.50).
Charming, nostalgic kid’s adventure
Remember that delicious feeling that washed over you when the school summer holidays arrived? Six whole weeks with nothing to do but swim,
. play and annoy your parents. Well
Blinker captures that perfectly. Aimed at 7-14-year-olds, the film follows three young c0untry boys as they endeavour to win an inventing award, perform in the local play, avoid the town bullies, uncover the dark secret of a nearby lake and kiss some girls, all
before school starts back. The Scooby Doo-style ending is a bit weak, but Blinkefs combination of oddball characters and fine acting give it an innocent charm. (Kelly Apter)
I Blinker, Lumiere, 20 Aug, 70am, 25 Aug, 72.30pm, £4.50 (£2.50).
Deep In The Woods (Promenons-nous dans les bois) ***
Scores high on looks but low on scares
Films with titles like this are usually best avoided. However, this French one takes Little Red Riding Hood as its inspiration, and tells a tale of five young, beautiful, randy actors hired to perform their kids’ show to the mute son of an eccentric millionaire. With his taxidermist voyeur gamekeeper lurking in the shed and helpings of tripe for tea, he’s hardly the most relaxing host, and soon the Big Bad Wolf just has to express himself. Utterly devoid of anything remotely scary, but beautifully shot and framed, Deep In The Woods looks great but lacks atmosphere. (Adele Hartley)
I Deep In The Woods, Cameo 7, 23 Aug, 72.45am, £7 (£4.50).
DOCUMENTARY Addicted To Solitude **
Self-indulgent post-Apartheid doc
A mind-numbineg pretentious documentary from Danish film maker Jon Bang Carlsen. Tackling the fascmating subject of rural whites in post-Apartheid South Africa, Carlsen seems to believe that his whimsical voice over (’Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans and so are films’ . . . mmm) is more interesting than his interviewees. This is, of c0urse, not the case. It’s the sort of dowmentary that is often described as personal and poetic when what it really is is plain indulgent. At 60 minutes, however, it is mercifully short. (Paul Dale)
I Addicted To Solitude, Filmhouse 2, 27 Aug, 3.30pm; Filmhouse 3, 25 Aug, 6pm, £7 (£4.50).
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Sex, sun and hip-jiggling music from Brazil in the gala premiere of Eu Tu Eles (Me,
3pm, 25 Aug, 72.30pm, £7 (£4.50).
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DRAMA Chill Out **
Dull low-life drama
Slick and sexy but ultimately dull, the directorial debut of Derek Jarman’s German protege, Andreas Struck, follows a lonely slapper’s search for emotional fulfillment. Anna, by day an insurance investigator, by night the local bike, accidentally meets Johann, a rent- boy, credit card thief and despite no obvious sexual attraction, the pair immediately strike up a solid friendship. The relationship is made yet more torrid by the arrival of Anna’s bi-sexual ex-boyfriend, Max, and the en5uing drama hinges on the ’will they/won’t they have a threesome’ cliff-hanger. Superficially pleasing with its impressive clubby soundtrack and stylish cinematography, Struck’s debut unfortunately lacks depth. (Catherine Bromley)
I Chill Out, Cameo 7, 20 Aug, 8pm, Filmhouse 2, 22 Aug, 70.30pm, £7 (£4.50).
Iranian minimalist cinema
Hassan Yektapanah‘s quietly impressive film about a twenty-year- old Afghan working in Iran builds its story up out of repetitious actions and cautious exchanges. Each day Djomeh helps his farm-owning boss, Mr Mahmoud, with the latter’s milk round. As they pass along the road and through small villages Djomeh opens up, and compares and contrasts Afghan culture with Iranian expectation. In time, Djomeh reveals to Mahmoud his affection for an Iranian shop worker, and wonders if Mahmoud would help him make contact. For admirers of Iranian minimalist cinema, this is another wonderfully unforced piece of work. (Tony McKibbin)
I Djomeh, Filmhouse 3, 75 Aug,
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You, Them). Filmhouse 1, 19 Aug, 9.30pm; Cameo 1, 25 Aug, 8pm, £7 (£4.50).
88 THE ll8T FESTIVAL GUIDE 17-24 Aug 2000