this catharsis-l know that sounds a bit wanky, but that's the only way to describe it-when he just explodes.‘
Padraig was sympathetic to his character even it he he says he was not simply playing himsell. ‘I like the way he doesn't have any illusions about himsell, and ldon't think he has much choice in the end. ldon't believe in vigilantes, but there is the problem at who do you turn to— notthe establishment, they don't give a damn. He gets to the point where he has just had enough. ldon’t think he makes any moral decision as such. just a personal one at revenge because at the death at histriend.’
A Dubliner himsell he is all too lamiliar with the drugs environment at the lilm. ‘lt you live in a small community it's that much more visible than ityou're in London. You can seethe signs and you know people at school who’re really into smack. . . But it isa relatively new problem to Dublin. Betore about 1969 there was only really cannabis around. And it is only now with The Courier that the Irish lilm industry is reacting to that situation.‘
With a part in aTVS drama, A Guilty Thing Surprised, coming up this summer, and The Courier likelyto add to his reputation, Padraig is unsure whether or not to return to Ireland to continue his acting studies at the Drama Centre, Chalk Farm. Although this is hislirst lilm, he has acted inthe theatre and in a children's TV series. How he says he
intends to be caretul about the parts he takes. Almost. as it sick oi the subject at his blue-eyed sex appeal. he adds: ‘I don't want to be typecast as a pretty boy actor the way the Americans do. but ityou're uttered work it's crazy to turn it down.‘ It that doesn't 'happen, it will be backto
treading the boards: “I'll go
back and learn what it takes to be a protessional actor.‘
‘I did write hall a novel once, but I turned it intoa screen-play halt-way through,’ says David Kane, laughing at the memory. He seems to write drama despite himsell. Always a writer at school. he went to art college, but lelt early. ‘Well, actually I gotthrown outlor writing and not painting. It's true. They said. we can't give you a grant tor writing, you know, this is art college - and I said, lair enough. lcan't argue with that.‘
lie has been writing ever since and this month two oi his projects come to truition: a television play and a stage-play.
State at Conlusion, the stage-play, is a political larce- a lorrn that Kane has employed belore. lie has lound himsell growing more extreme, however. “State at Conlusion is more deliberate in that it's about Scotland in, say, ten years time. It's about a privatised health service and the way things seem to be goingto me. lwanted to write something about the new BightWing, about economical hypocrisy and mendacity. it's quite serious in its politics, bull don't want to tell people what to think. It never works lor me — I just tend to think, don'ttell me what to think,
” , E
I'll make up my own mind. Farce gives you that leeway.‘
Kane's politics are integral to his writing —his television drama, Shadow on the Earth, locuses on three small boys in a Scottish housing scheme (‘it's kind oi abouta generation rejecting the inlluences and prejudices at previous generations)- and comedy tends to be his chosen style. He has written one play that was entirely serious. however:
‘I did a play called Civilised Men, which was on at the Riverside Studios in London. It was about Angola, where lworked- brietly— as a cameraman, underthe most ludicrous circumstances. The play was about journalists in Angola meeting UNITA guerrillas who manipulate them, take them through the jungle and linally set up an execution tor camera. That didn't happen to me, bull heard about it happening.‘
The experience put Kane olt documentary news lilmwork. ‘You're supposed to be an objective observer -but you‘re not. You inevitably become part at what happens. It all got very unpleasant. I had to lilm quite a lew dead bodies. And I wouldn't do itagain because you do become very callous - l was asked to go back, but I justdidn't
want to become likethat. And I would. I think anybody would.’
lie lound that play ditticultto write. ‘lt'sa strong idea and it should be said, but because itwas trom personal experience it was probably a bit clouded. But that's really the most serious kind olthing I've done and tor that, probably my lavourite.‘
One at his luture projects is a dillicult subject closer to home (he livesin Edinburgh)-Aids in Craigmillar. This time he leels that lilm would be the right medium: ‘You couldn't
do it justice on stage.
lie does leel, however, that stage otters him more lreedom to express his political views. ‘I couldn't get halt the things I want to say out on TV. "you're working in lilm I think you have to write books or stage-plays it you want to keep your integrity.‘ (S.tl.) State at Conlusion opens at Theatre Workshop on B if" (See Theatre). Shadow on the Earth is on BBC2 on 13 Mar (See Media).
‘Bertolucci came to me and told me the one about the little kid who becomes Emperor Dl China yet who lies a gardener. l was sold on it there and then, a story like that just has to be a movie.‘ Thus, English protessor Jeremy Thomas (Bad Timing, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) describes the genesis at his latest and most ambitious project to date, the lavish lilm biography ot Pu Yi, The Last Emperor, which is currently on release in Central Scotland. Surprisingly, it's a British movie- Thomas's powers at persuasion having parted tour British merchant banks lrom a combined total at $25 million (‘Forthem it's a business proposition, there are huge prolits to be made in the lilm industry so it's an investment like any other'); yet. it’s also, he is
somewhat proud to point out, ‘the biggest cultural collaboration to date between China and the West.’
Co-operation with the Chinese authorities lumished the lilm with the astonishing locations and hordes ot extras which are the keystone at its visual splendour. Thomas agrees that ‘certainly the way the lilm has been received, especially in areas like the American Mid-West, vindicates our beliel that people still have an appetite tor spectacle that's not just special eltects, lor the big movie thatdoesn't insult their intelligence elther.’
Nine Academy Award nominations have helped the box-oltlce response at course, and to win some oi the precious little statuettes could easily add tens ol millions ol dollars to the takings. ‘Dscamess is next to Godlinessl' quips Thomas, who will be in
Tinseltown torthe awards ceremony. ln movie terms, an Oscar tor a British independent movie made by an Italian in China does reek ot the miraculous.
The Last Emperor (15) is currently playing Glasgow and Edinburgh Ddeons. see Film Listings.
Sharing the honours with Wish You Were Here asthe toast ol the town atlast year‘s Cannes Film Festival was the wry Canadianlllm l've Heard The Mermaids Singing. A quirky comedy-lantasy about the everyday cares and woes ol the socially maladroit Polly (Sheila McCarthy) it isa lirstlull-length lilm tor writer. director, editorand co-producer Patricia Bozema.
‘I had done a shortlilm, Passion: A Letter, abouta successlul career woman and l was very sick at herso lthought I'd do an unsuccesstul career woman and that's sort ol the start at the whole idea.‘ Polly is one oi lite's observers rather than an active participant. tilting hertime as an amateur photographer and imaginative daydreamer. ‘The whole thing was designed to make you love Polly. I listen to when people laugh in the ﬁlm- they laugh at things like the typing mistakes. because everyone’s done it, everyone’s been just a little bit out at their depth, even it they were ten years old. It‘s all lairly intuitive, but alter the tact I'm now tryingto analyse what's happening. ltleels to me likethe humour is the recognisable, amplilied— I'm sure someone's said that more eloquently somewhere.’
Although imbued with a vivacious sense at the ridiculous, the lilm is not without a measure at serious intent. ‘Dne review in Chicago called the lilm a mean-spirited revenge lantasy disguised as a bouncy comedy. It isn't revenge, it's a ﬂash ol anger at having lelt really betrayed. The aggression and the emotions that come into it and the sense at sell-respect are mine, and I have tell in the pastthe dilliculty to really say “It doesn't matter what my judges or the authorities think oi me." It's reallya complaint againstthe nature otthings. Not anybody in particular, not even society, but justthe tact that you can'tdo everything. That's the biggest tragedy in my lite. Because I don't have the
timelor everything. Ireally wish there were tour olme that could have tour completely ditlerent lives; one writing constantly. one making movies, one doing the promoting and another one just tucking the day away.‘ (Jeremy Clarke) I've Heard The Mermaids Singing is at the Edinburgh Filhouse 13—26 March and the Glasgow Film Theatre 28 March—2 April. See Film Listings tor details.
Atthe moment the Cramond Sculpture Park is a piece at open ground, a bit at woodland, a walled garden and a spectacular view at the Forth. It is up to Fiona Byme-Sutton, the lirst curatorol these assorted spaces, to bring inthe sculpture culture and make the place work.
With no major arena tor sculpture in the Central Belt as yet (though the Gallery at Modern Art have imaginative plans lora sculpture court) Cramond would seem set torsuccess. The catch is that Fiona has no budget. It's one olthese jobs with tuna-raising at the top ol the list. The Scottish Arts Council pay her a salary lorthree years and alterthat no salary either. The Sculpture Park will be expected to pay its own way.
That does not seem to deter Fiona who is looking tor an ambititious target llgure ol£250,000. ‘We'll open gradually this year and then have a big bang at next year's Festival.‘ Between now and then she will be developing a policy which as tar as Fiona is concerned must be ambititious and high-risk it it is to succeed. ‘I want to establish Edinburgh as a centre tor sculpture and go intemational.‘ Brought up in Switzerland and France and a lluent speaker at both Italian and French, Fiona is well-‘equipped lorthis European task.
Having established the international accent ol the project, she stresses that Scottish sculpture will be well-represented and encouraged. And as well as showing known artists. young Scottish sculptors J
The List 4 — 17 March 1988 3