The past two years. with Back To The Future and Betty Blue respectively. have seen the opening gala provide one of the Edinburgh Film Festival's most memorable moments. This time however. it was not to be. Allan Parker‘s stylish helping of nothing Angel Heart. a would-be occult version ofthe same old Chandleresque detection schtick. dumps another dud in the Mickey Rourke filmography and drew the simple comment of (assumes brusque Scots accent) ‘shite' from a goodly few of the punters on the way out.
Yea. there were rnutterings of discontent. Big names and big films were unhappin missing from the programme. Yet. as the next week was to prove. despite the odd aggrieving absence. that the festival importantly continues to proffer valuable support for the areas of film—making in which it has almost come to specialise. The 4 1 st Film Festival may not go down in history as one of the starriest. but the process of consolidation much in evidence is just as important a factor in the event‘s ongoing identity.
This year saw Edinburgh further establish itself as a prime outlet for new British cinema. Messrs Greenaway. Frears and Jordan have all gained from valuable festival exposure in recent times: as has Derek Jarman. who this year premiered perhaps his most striking work to date in The Last OfEngland. which is discussed at length elsewhere (see feature). Newcomer Lezli-Ann Barrett's debut Business As Usual. a stirring study ofunion struggle against unfair dismissal and sexual harassment with Glenda Jackson and Cathy Tyson both excelling received an enthusiastic reception. and its spot-on observation of domestic detail and everyday emotion indicate a talent to watch. David Leland continued to excavate ('ynthia Payne's mine of autobiographical anecdotes with Wish You Were Here. a (9505‘ female rites ofpassage movie set in a sleepy seaside town devastated by 16 year-old Emily Lloyd‘s whirlwind central performance;
FILM FESTIVAL DAY BY DAY DIARY
‘ disposal. I’olloyyedby audience discussion with
Body Contact ( Bernard Rose. LK. I98") 11.15pm. Futuristic draina-nuisical set in a
l Londonstalk ‘dbythe militiabutrulZdby
Brightness (Souleymane (‘isse. Mali. 1987) 2.3(lpm. A beautifully filmed drama combining magic and mysticism Brightness tells of a young Barnbaras w ho sets out on a journey to acquire the special pow ers that have been the preserve of his tribe down through the generations. His father is determined that he will not become his equal and plots to kill him en route. Thus his trek becomes both an adventure and a rite of passage. ()utstanding (‘annesprize winner that is one ofthe highlightsof Iidinburgh this year.
The Journey ( Peter Watkins. Sweden. 1987) 5. 15pm. The final part of Watkins' exhaustive survey ofthe impact ofthe nuclear age on the common man. his attitudes and the lack of information at his
gangsters. Plus Chuck Norris-The Man. His Music (14mins).
O FILMHOUSE 2
GDR Documentaries ~Ipm. Three short documentary films portraying the many facets of women under socialism.
Through Thick and Thin (Margarcta l leinrich. Austria. 1986) S..‘~llprn. lantcrtaining independent feature taking a humorous look at a serious problem of weight. Plus Call Me Madame (52 mins). Shooting in Berlin ( i lelga Reidemeister. West Germany. l9.\’7).\’pm. Portrait of Berlin. liast and West. the dividing
w all between the two and the effect of that structure on the psychology of the people living there. Landslides (Sarah (iibson and Susan Lambert. Australia. 1986) 11pm. ‘Landslides is about “the body” in all senses ofthat word — the body of
j woman. of man. a body of past work. the body of earth. It revealsand questions the assumed dichotomiesof mind and body. body and soul.’
Beverly Hills Cop ll (Tony Scott. LS. 1987) 1 1pm. Wildly successful
sequel clone with Murphy back in lotus land. partnered by Judge Reinhold andJohn Ashton and encountering Brigitte Nielsen. Plus Paramount 75th Anniversary — a twenty-minute celebration of the studio narrated by Bob I lope.
E.P. Sculptor (Murray Grigor. LIK. 1987) 2pm. Documentary portrait of Iiduardo Paolozzi. Plus Southwestern Ballet ( 29 mins)
Keeping Love Alive (Stephen Garrett and David Robinson. 1.1K. 1987) 4pm. A warm tribute to the enduring talent of Elisabeth Welch filmed during a London concert appearance earlier this year.
The Black Cannon Incident TlluangJianxin. China.
Trevor Johnston looks back at the
while Peter Greenaway further worked his own particular cinematic vein in The Belly OfAn Architect. Brian Dennehy splendid as an American architect being cuckolded and maybe even poisoned on a trip to Rome to mount an
More British movies worth catching over the final weekend include Clive Barker‘s gleeful horror affair Hellraiser (Cannon Film Centre, Lothian Road; Fri 21 . ll. 15pm) and sensitive documentarist Jana Bokova‘s first fiction feature Hotel Du Paradis (Filmhouse; Thurs 20, 2.30pm). A good year for production in this
From the early Seventies onwards and the days of the young Martin Scorsese, American independent film-makers have become another of the festival's specialist subjects. with directors including Jim Jarmusch. and The Coen Brothers some of the eighties discoveries. This year Jim McBride‘s sultry New Orleans cop corruption thriller The Big Easy with Ellen Barkin as straight DA and Dennis Quaid as the rule bending half-cajun ‘tec. turned up as the best American policier for absolutely ages. On the other side of the law. Tim Hunter’s The River's Edge. a numbing portrayal of adolescent alienation based on a true story whereby a 16 year-old quite unaccountably strangled his 14 year-old girlfriend and left her naked corpse by a local riverside. was made ofstrong enough stuff not to be totally overawed by another Dennis Hopper speciality psycho. By the way. watch out for Mary Lambert‘s bizarre erotic concoction Siesta (Cannon Film Centre, Lothian Road; Sun 23.
THE LAST DAYS OF THE FILM FESTIVA l
1986) 5.45pm. Sophisticated black comedy in which an ordinary if eccentric individual becomes hopelessly enmeshed in political manoeuvring. Plus The Web ( 18 mins). China Girl (Abel Ferrara. US. 1987) 8:30pm. Romeo andJuliet updated once again as star-crossed lovers are caught up in gang warfare between neighbouring rivals in New York‘s Chinatown and Little Italy. PlusThe Mini Sagas (3(1mins). Disorder (Olivier Assayas. France. 1987) 11.15pm. Much-lauded debut feature by Assayas focusing on the disharmony in a rock group after an accidental slaying.
O FILMNOUSE 2
son Documentaries 4pm. Three more documentaries focusing on the lives ofarchitects Ilermann llensclmanna Hermann Glockner and ducks.
Paper Bridge (Ruth Beckerman. Austria. 1986) 5.30pm. Documentary on Beckerman‘sJewish grand-mother and her ambiguous feelings
8.30pm) where the extraordinary Ms Barkin pops up again as an obsessive tightrope walker on the run and in love in Spain. Weird man.
Edinburgh’s commitment to the new wave of Chinese cinema instituted by Chen Kaige‘s Yellow Earth, continued with Tian Zhuang Zhuang‘s The Horse Thief. a similarly exotic evocation of rural tribal culture. The bureaucratic satire The Black Cannon Incident (Filmhouse; Sat 22. 5.45pm) by Huang Jianxin also comes highly recommended. One can only hope that British distributors ICA Projects will be successful in persuading the Chinese powers that be to reveal more of this strangely compelling film-making to the West.
Certainly. the Soviet authorities have given them a worthy lead in this respect. 1988 will see a major Russian Cinema event at Edinburgh. for which this year‘s excellent Soviet selection provided but a taster. Konstantin Lopushansky‘s Letters From A Dead Man. a harrowing tale of post-Apocalypse existence achieved a visual texture ofoverpowering desolation often reminiscent ofTarkovsky and has been consequently and fortunately picked up for British release; and the painfully honest documentary on Russian youth problems Is It Easy To Be Young? displayed a disarming openness that has generated great controversy at home. Banned for six years then winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin last year. Gleb Panfilov‘s Theme (Filmhouse; Sun 23. 8.30pm). which considers the question of artistic freedom in communist society. looks like another fine prospect for the closing night.
thft goes another year and time to bathe those square eyes. But not before a final recommendation: Souleymane Cisse‘s magical adventure from Mali. Brightness (Filmhouse: Fri 21 , 2.30pm) delighted audiences at Cannes and looks set to do the same over here. Now where did those dark glasses go. (Trevor Johnston)
(“wiij the [mm M l Long unreleased feature l inwhichawriter.andby i implication the whole I Sovietartisticcommunity. is accused of sacrificing talent to obtain celebrity andcoinfort. OFILMI‘IOUSEZ the Sixth Sentence (Stefan L'hcr. Czechoslovakia.
Vienna. Plus Future Block (ltlmins).
Bell Diamond (Jon Jost. US. 1986) 8pm. An improvisational drama in which the decline ofa mining community is mirrored in the gradual break-up of a marriage.
PIUS Boom Babies (34 t‘ib’b) Shillan ' I mins) Biographical depiction of O CANNON the life of Slovak writer
Bozena Slancikova- 'l‘imrava.
Tomorrow (Julia Rosina. Finland. 1980) Spin. The last days of a ciy il war necessitate decision- making with far-reaching consequences. Bibni Andersseon features in the cast.
Siesta (Mary Lambert. L'S. 1987) 8.30pm. A weird and wonderful cast. ranging from Alexei Sayle and Isabella Rossellini to Grace Jones and Martin Sheen. inhabits this mystery from first time feature director Lambert. Iillen Barkin is a daredevil stuntwoinan fleeing to Spain in the hopes of escaping a professional crisis. Instead she awakcs on an airport runway with blood on her hands and no memory of the recent past.
Hellraiser((‘live Barker. UK. 1987) llprn. A much praised shiver and quake horror feast from novelist turned filmmaker Barker. Plus Crash ( ll) mins).
Das Herz Der Konigin ( Karl Froelich. Germany. 1940) 2.30pm. Special Archive screeningofthis Nazi propaganda version of Mary's life slanted towards an expose of English treachery.
Five Corners (Tony Bill. UK. 1987) 5.45pm. The Bronxin 1964 isthe setting for this affectionate but purposeful nostalgia involving ‘urban violence. revenge and retribution‘. Plus Howard ( 13mins). Theme (Gleb Panfilov. USSR. l979)8.3(lpm.
The List 21 Aug - 3 Sept 39