A Handful 0f Dust (PG) (Charles Sturridge, UK, 1987) James Wilby, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Rupert Graves. 118 mins. A Handful Dt Dust is perceived to have been written by Evelyn Waugh as a twofold response to events in his own life. It was a creative means of addressing the hurt and betrayal entailed in the break-up of his shortlived marriage and a savagely critical rebuff to the bright young things whose shallow society he had once
exuberantly entertained but now felt disillusioned by. This beautifully acted and crafted tilm captures the period, dialogue and settings of the novel with impeccable ease but somehow seems so enamoured with a sense of lair play in its characterization and perspective on events that it is frequently in danger olemerging as a toothless chocolate-box version of a venomously rancid original.
Tony and Brenda Last live with their young son John at the ancestral home of Hetton Hall. Despite surface appearances of happy contentment, they are an ill-matched couple; he is a tradionalist lord of the manor, devoted father and a bit of a dull stick who would readily spend all his days buried in the country with his loved ones. She longs for the bright lights and sparkling gossip of the London social scene and, despite determined efforts to enjoy her privileged life at Hetton, is clearly bored and susceptible to the slightest distraction. That distraction appears in the form of the sponging social climber Tony Beaver who invited himself to stay one weekend. Brenda enjoys his company and chooses to take him
the run trotn the [.A police attemptsto escape to Mekico with his girlfriend. a french student. Forget the fact that thisis a remake of the sacred 1959 ( iodard classic and enjoy it on its own terms. for it‘s a fine. American love-on-the-run movie. ladinhurgh: Filmltotlse
I Bright Lights. Big City( lls‘) (.lames Bridges. CS. 1937) Michael .1. Fox. Phoebe Cates. Kieler Sutherland. Dianne \\'ic~st. lilts’ mins. Would-he literarytalent Fox responds to the painful death of his mother and the break-up of his seemingly perfect marriage by going on a hinge of booze. drugs and had company in the shape of Sutherland's Lucifer-like buddy. liv cntually he crawls out of a self-made pit arid rediscovers his integrity.
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under herwing in a Pygmalion-like situation. Soon she is nipping up to London all the time, testing Tony with the notion of acquiring a small flat there and has embarked on a course of events that will bring the ruination of both their lives.
Although A Handlul Df Dust is indubitably a period piece, both the direction and acting breathe life into it and hint at parallels with the Thatcherite values of fifty years later. Tony and Brenda come across as a prototype Charles and Diana, and Judi Dench - as a socially ambitious property developer and designer— is an embryonic yuppie if everthere was one. As one would expect from the makers of Brideshead Revisited, there is an almost flawless perfection in the costumes, locations, baubles, mores
Although Fox seems a little too cute and youthful to portray the tormented protagonist of .lay Mclnerney 's novel he struggles valiantly to shrug off his inadequacies and. like the movie. rewards the patient viewer. Along the way there is a splendid series ofcamcos from the likes of Wiest and .lason Rohards as a booze-cmbalmed editor who has seen happier days and more condtreiv e drinking companions. (ilasgow : ()deon. lidinhurgh: ()deon.
I Can‘t Buy Me Love ( l’(i ) (Steve Rash. US. 1987) Patrick Dempsey. Amanda Peterson. Courtney (iains. 9-1 mins. College nerd Dempsey is so concerned to he in with the cool clique that he hires cheerleader goddess Peterson todanglc on his arm for a month. However. socool does he hecorne that he fails to notice the very real affections she is beginning to develop for him.
Desperately moralising but otherwise fairly amiable American tecn fare. Glasgow: ()deon. Strathclyde: Rialto.
I Children of a Lesser Godt 15) ( Rantla llairies. LS. 1986) William Hurt. Marlee Matlin. Piper Laurie. 119 mins. Capable but empty filmed theatre. with hrilliant but unconventional teacher 1 lurt first challenged by. then enamoured of Oscar-winning Ms Matlin. lidinburgh: Filmhouse
I Club De Femmes ( l5 ) (Jacques Deval. France. 1936) Danielle Dar'rieux. live Francis. Heavily censored on itsinitial Thirties release. this is a rare chance tosec a restored version of a deliciously frothy (iallic comedy. Set in a splendid art deco hostel for women. the plot manages to involve prostitution. pregnancy. murder. rape. and early screen lesbianism in a
and star cameos. The central trio of married couple and cuckolder are extremely ably played by Wilby, Scott-Thomas and Graves and there is a definite subtle scent of cool irony wafting around the depiction of their wasted lives. However, the director has chosen to go beyond acid caricature to rounded characterization and that decision tends to undermine all else.
By allowing us the psychological insights to comperehend these individuals, Sturridge has robbed them of their value as emblems of Waugh‘s profound ire and frustration. The film remains a considerable achievement but genteel fair-mindedness has replaced the lacerating pen of revenge and a roaring literary lion now merely clears it throat. (Allan Hunter)
manner that can only he described as lightheartedly humanist. A curiosity well worth catching. [idinhurghz Filrnhouse. I Coast to Coast ( l’( i ) (Sandy Johnson. l'K. l9S6)John Shea. l.ennyHenry. 96 mins. l-‘ondly-regardcd television production about a rnohile disco run by a footloose white American and a black Brit. Part of the Black ( ‘omedy season. (ilasgow: (il'vl‘ I ‘Crocodile' Dundee 11 (PG) ‘5‘: (John Cornell. Attstralia. 1988) Paul Hogan. Linda Ko/low ski. .lohn Meillon. 111 mins. See Panel. (ilasgow: Cannon ('larkston Rd. Cannon Sauchiehall St. (irosvenor. 1idinhurgh: Cannon. Central: Cannon. Strathclyde: Cannon. Kelhurne. ()deon Ayr. ()deon Hamilton. I Cry Freedom (l’( i i ( Richard Attcnhor'ough. CS. 1987) [)enzel Washington. Kevin Kline. John Thaw. 158 mitts. Although not without its ﬂaws. Attenhorougli‘s biographical recreation of the friendship between black civil rights activist Steve Biko and white liberal newspaperman Donald Woods is his best film to date; an epic. moving drama that also stands as a vigorous condemnation of the obscenity of apartheid. (ilasgow: (if-'1'. I Day ofthe Dead ( 18) ((ieorge A. Romero. (IS. 1985) Lori Cardille.Terry Alexander. Joseph Pilato. 100 mins. The conclusion of Romero's zombie trilogy has the last people not infected by the virus holding out underground in a Florida government bunker while the undeadon the surface outnumber them by 4(K).()()()to
At once an ultra black gross-out comedy and a very dark satire on the American public's ignorance of the nuclear threat.
the film is sabotaged by shaky pacing and overheated performances. but benefits from some truly gut-wrenching effects. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I Dirty Dancing ( 15) (Emile Ardolino. US. 1987) Jennifer Grey. Patrick Swayze. Jerry Orbach. 1le mins. Remarkably ordinary but staggerineg popular girl meets boy from the wrong side ofthe tracks musical set in an American summer camp in the year 1963. Glasgow: Grosvenor.
I Dogs in Space ( 18) 9: (Richard Lowenstein. Australia. 1986) Michael Hutchence. Saskia Post. Chris 1 laywood. 109 mins. The young and infuriatingly talented director of Sui/rebound returns with something completely different ; a punk-era version of Nashville brimming with raw energy. a multiplicity of characters and the expected interlocking stories.
Set in 1978 Melbourne. the ramshackle plot centres around Sam. the lead singer in a punk band called Dogs in Space. and his girlfriend Anna. who are two ofthe inhabitantsofa drop-in anytime house populated by punks. vegetarians. students and anyone else interested in an alternative lifestyle incoporating parties. gigs. TV. random discussions and loadsa drugs. Lots of ephemeral incidents transpire the most significant of which is the arrival of a new supply of heroin that leads to one death by overdose.
Critic-dividingjamboree hailed as a serious work about ‘the end of an era and the coming down to earth out of theorhit of fun-seeking irresponsibility" or dismissed as a loosely-directed seriesof diverse elements lacking ‘style and suhtlety' . A certain sympathy with the punk ethos probably helps. Edinburgh: Filmhouse I The Duellists ( P(i ) ( Ridley Scott. UK. 1977) Keith Carradine. Harvey Keitel. Albert Finney. 101 mins. Duringthe Napoleonic era a young 1 lussar isobliged to fight a duel with a fellow officer butthe matter does not rest there as his implacable opponent turns the matter into a compulsive vendetta that continues through four separate encounters over the next two decades.
Scott‘s first feature is a competent version of Joseph Conrad‘s The Duel with a strong supporting cast and almost absurdly beautiful photography that established his reputation as a man who overwhelms content with style. (ilasgow: (if-'1‘
I Eddie Murphy Haw( l8) ( Robert Townsend. US. 1987) Eddie Murphy. 90 mins. Competently directed record of Murphy live. recorded at two New York concerts in which he struts his mainly four-letter stand-up act. Fine. if you're a fan. Glasgow: Cannon Sauchiehall Street. Central: Cannon. Strathclyde: Cannon. La Scala
I The Easy Lite (PG) (Dino Rosi. Italy. 1962) Vittorio (iassman. Catherine Spaak.Jean-LouisTrintignant. 105 mins. Middle-aged. fun-seeking playboy (iassman takes meek student Trintignant in hand one weekend and introduces him to the high life on a journey from Rometo Viareggio. Cynical. well-played satire on the Italian consumer boom culture ofthe 1960s. Edinburgh: Filmhouse
I Gardens of Stone ( 15) (Francis Coppola. US. 1987) James Caan. Angelica Huston. D.B.Sweeney. lllmins. The (iardensof Stone are the headstones in the military cemetery at Arlington. Coppola‘s choice of location to make his second Vietnam movie. (.‘aan is the hard-nosed Sargeant _ Hazard. who becomes the focus of a young soldier's admiration. but refuses to legitimise his desire for action in this particular war. Huston plays a journalist who becomes involved with Hazard. Disappointing from this director. Edinburgh: Cameo.
I The Gig(15) (Frank D. Gilroy. US. 1985) Wayne Rogers. Cleavon Little. Ron
12 The List 2-1 June — 7 July 1988