first imprisoned for daring to consort with the ANC. Everything one would expect from a distinguished Oscar-winning cinematographer who has worked with the cream of craftsmen from Ken Loach to Bill Forsyth. the film glows with the steel-strong conviction of Barbara
I le rshey as Ruth First. a woman who put her life on the line for her beliefs.
Peter (ireenaway‘s Drowning by .N'umbers marked a playful return to the form he displayed in The Draughtsmun '3‘ Contract but less noteworthy was James Dearden's l’useuli‘s Island. an uneventful tale of intrigue and betrayal on a 'l‘urkish-occupied isle in 1908 that not even the trio of Ben Kingsley. (‘harles Dance and a typically underused I lelen Mirren could enhance.
In the Directors‘ Fortnight. Britain was represented by the glossy Newcastle thriller Stormy Monday. that seemed to sink somewhere in mid-Atlantic. and Mike Newell's modest adaptation olHI‘lmothy Mo’s .S‘oursu‘eet. The real. unqualified triumph was"l'erence Davies' Distant l'tﬂt't’s‘, Sit/l [.fl't’.\' a painfully honest and undoubtedly cathartic portrayal of his family life in the Liverpool of the 1950s. After the praise justifiably showered on his earlier trilogy of ('hi/t/ren. Madonna and (hi/(1 and Deth untl Trunsﬁguration. this latest work marks out Davies as a major British talent and. for once. admirably fulfilled the Festival brief ofspotlighting future greatness in the making.
Over the years. the Directors‘ I’ortnight has proved a consistently
The Big Blue
prescient talent spotter. 1988 heralded its twentieth anniversary. a momentous occasion producing a celebratory volume but also provoking dismay as the event‘s headquarters in the l’alais Croisette are to be demolished by the property developers leaving Pierre-Henri Deleau scouring the town fora new home. One wishes him well.
The other side of (‘annes is. of course. the sweet smell of dollars and deals. starlets and shlock. business and bullshit. The market place continues to overflow with eminently resistable goodies like Star Worms I I —. mack ofthe Pleasure Pods. Dipping into the hit-or-miss. pick 'n' mix atmosphere of the market. where the appeal of a title or a director‘s name may be the only indication of what‘s in store provides the unsuspecting viewer
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with some of the best and worst moments of(‘annes. I-Iere would be found the likes of Ken Russell's latest pue rile effort .S'ulome's Last Dance alongside some of the better new British productions like the gleefully intelligent. fun-filled horrors of Dream Demons and The Fruit Machine. writer I-‘rank (‘larke first script since Letter To Brezhnev which shows his blossoming sense of ambition and purpose in creating screen originals that reflect life in contemporary Britain without losing sight of the need to entertain.
The (ierman industry was particularly well represented in the marketplace with a slew of diverse titles. none more strikingly original that Linie l a sort of Hair-like socio-political musical set among the low-life inhabitants of a (ierman L'-bahn station that has to be seen to
be believed and savoured. Directed by Reinhard Hauff whose controversial .S‘tummhet'm was recently on view in Scotland. One hopes that [.inie I will become similarly available. at least through further Festival screenings.
With literally hundreds oftitles screaming for the attention of one pair ofeyes. it is impossible to comprehensively cover Cannes — all you can do is sample the heady mix of its various brews. Mention ofone title entails the omission of a dozen others. but one would wish to single out the generally disdained Miles From Home. a rural drama directed with great assurance by newcomer (iary Sinise with Richard (iere well cast as a contemporary farmer failing to measure up to his father‘s legacy. Also noteworthy in a strange and beguiling fashion was Vincent Ward‘s Australian—New Zealand co-production The .N’avigator. an unusual mixture of High/under and Ingmar Bergman. in which a group of medieval peasants. fearful ofthe approaching (irim Reaper of the Black Death. tunnel through time to 1988 New Zealand and a date with destiny. Ward's film has been acquired for British distribution by Recorded Releasing and should reach our screens ere long.
Whilst 1988 may not enter the record books as a vintage Cannes. the fate of The .\'uvigator and many other titles illustrated the Festival‘s unique and enduring ability to profitably focus world attention on celluloid for at least two weeks in every year.
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FROM FRIDAY 27: CANNON EDINBURGH; CANNON FALKIRK; CANNON KIRKCALDY; CANNON GLASGOW; CANNON KILMARNOCK; ALLAN PARK STIRLING
10'I‘he List 27 May—9June 1988