I The American Friend ( l5 i ( wim \Veiiders. l 'S l‘rance \\'.(ieimany. l‘) Bruno ( ianl. Dennis l lopper. lisa Kreuzer. l23 mins. Based on l’atricia llighsmith‘s iioy'el Rip/ev‘y (iunii'. this stars ( ian/ as an inconspicuous l lainbui'g picture-framer suffering from a fatal blood disease. One day he is offered a great deal of money to cotnmit a murder. assuring financial security for his family but one murder is not the end of lhestory.
Suspenselul mystery that is both a tribute to the Hollywood film noir of yore that also serves as an examination ofthe Americanization of liiiropean life and culture. Directors Nicholas Ray and Sam Fuller contribute cameos. lzdinburgh: Filmhouse. (ilasgow, (if-'l' I Beetleiuice ( IS) (Tim Burton. t'.s‘. toss) (ieena Davis. Alec Baldwin. Michael Keaton. 92 mitts. Recently deceased. and very charming New lingland couple. the Maitlands. have difficulty in adjusting to the afterlife. Not the least of their worries is the tasteless refurbishment of their old home by a nasty New York yuppie family. and they eventually call on freelance bio-exorcist Betelgeuse (pronounced ‘Bcetle-juicc'l to deal with the problem in his own inimitable fashion.
lixuberantly eccentric cartoonish capers. a movie that creates its own comic cosmos where the unexpected is the norm. (ireat fun it all is too. (ilasgow ; (‘annon Sauchiehall Street. lidinburgh: Dominion. Strathcly'de: .»\.\l('('lydebank ll) I Bicycle Thieves ( P( i i ( Vittorio Dc siea. Italy. 1948) Lamberto Maggiorani. fin/o Staiola. An umemploy ed Italian workman has the bicycle stolen that he so badly needs for a new job. so he and his small son search the busy streets of Rome for it.
The epitome of ltaliari neo-realism. with the Roman setting vividly sketched and the performances compellingly' natural. so that this unromantic human drama takes on an overwheming power. Masterly stuff. that really ought to be seen. (ilasgow: (if’I‘. I Big(P(i) 2‘: (Penny Marshall. l‘S. 1938) Tom Hanks. Elizabeth Perkins. Robert
loggia. 104 mins. See caption review. (ilasgow : ('annon Sauchiehall St. ( )deon. Salon. l-ldinbtirgh: ()deon. (‘entral: (‘annon Strathclyde: (‘annon Kilmarnock. ()deon Ayr. ( )deon Hamilton. Rialto.
I Big Business ( Pt i i (.lim Abrahaiiis. t 'S. 1038) Bette Midler. l.in Tomlin. l‘red Ward. l€dward llerrmann. 03 mins. You've seen identical twin moy ies. now meet the double identical twin movie. Rose and Sadie (Tomlin and Midler ) are
— DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES
Distant Voices, Still Lives (15) (Terence Davies, UK, 1988) Peter Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams. 85 mins. As in his earlierTrilogy, Terence Davies here displays the courage to lay bare his most painful experiences on celluloid. With this diptych of two short films seamlesslyjoined togetherto make a full-length feature, he tells the story of his own Liverpool family through the Forties and Fifties, concentrating in the first half on the domineering violence of his autocratic father, and in the second on the marital tensions of the household‘s next generation.
From such a description the content might seem ratherfamiliar ground, but what marks out Distant Voices, Still Lives as a quite superb piece of lilm-making is the manner in which the form so eloquently explicates the thematic thrust of the material. Davies creates a complex, almost mosaic structure by intercutting a number of short scenes each containing a fragment of narrative information, so that before long the pieces cohere into a rounded picture of all those tiny nuggets of memory that make up a domestic history. Crucial too is the way in which a packed soundtrack of contemporary popular songs often plays against the visuals, the ironic
the heads of corporate giant Moramax. about to take oy‘er a small rural firm and in so doing attract the resistance of the local community that they send Rose and Sadie (Tomlin and Midler) to the big city tofight their case. (’ould the resemblenccs between the w omen have something todo with a hospital mix-up many yearshelore. ()utrageously creaky comic farce. with rampant oy eractiiig pummelling even the most hard-hearted old codger into smiling. (ilasgow: ()deon. lidinburgh: Dominion. Strathclyde: .-\.\l(‘('lydcbank It). I Bigloot and the Hendersons ( l’( i) (“'illiam Dear. l'S. l‘)iS"7).lohn l.ithgow. Melinda Dillon. Don Ameche. l l l mins Disneyesque family adyenttlre in which the all-American l lenderson family crash into the legendary Bigfoot and adopt the suprisingly genial beastie as a domestic pet with predictable complications from the neighbours and blood~htingry hunters. (ilasgow: ('aiinon Sauchiehall Street. I The Big Parade ( 15) ((‘hen Kiage. China. WHO) Wang Xueqi. Sun (him. In lei. 94 mins. Kaige‘s long-delayedsecond feature is a contemporary drama following the fate of four hundred volunteers embarking on one year‘s gruelling.
combination of sound and image teasing out another layer of meaning, as in a pub singalong scene where the daughter's heartfelt rendition of a saccharine ballad ‘Taking A Chance On Love‘ underscores the emotional sterility of her marriage.
Davies' film is an extraordinary achievement for the way in which it manages to preserve a working class way of life with its close-knit sense of community and family that may now have faded forever, whilst also retaining a highly critical sense of the terrible price paid by the women in such a male-dominated cultural
intensive training to w in a place in the troop parade across l’eking's'l'iaiiaiimcii Square on National Day in IVS-1.
Although altered tocoiiiply with [’1 .»\ concern at its less than flattering iniageot the army . this has still been hailed asaii ironic commentary on the issue of how far the ' long march of (‘hinesc history has actually progressed ' and is a y isually arresting and stirring slice of cinema to boot that more than confirms the promise of Yellow [tart/i. ladinburgh. l-dinbui'gh l'niyersity l-‘ilm Society.
I The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kanti is)
( Raine r \Verner l’assbindci . \y'
(icrttiatiy. W'J'Z) Margit Kai'stciiscii. llanna Schy‘gulla. lrm l lermann ll-l mins. In a sumptuous apartment liy cs a lashioii designer. slay islily attended by her assistant. but the ai l iy al of an attractiyc young woman w limit the former w ishcs to iise as a model. changes the domestic
()ne of the great l'assbindcr films. incisiyely examining the way in which social positions influence romantic relationships. ladinbtiigh. l‘ilmhousc.
I The Blues Brothersi 15) (John I .antlis. l'S. l‘)t\‘(l).lohn Belushi. Dan .-\y kioyd. ('arric l-isher. l.‘~llmins Bloated.
enclave. At the same time, his effortless use of the medium's fullest potential is something to celebrate in our traditionally word-bound native cinema, particularly as it captures a beautifully performed, humane and moving chronicle of quiet parlour bravery, shared laughter and tears, that has power enough to pierce the depths of the viewer's own emotional resources. This reviewer would certainly not argue with the claims made for Terence Davies as perhaps the most significant film-maker working in Britain today. (Trevor Johnston)
The List 14 — 27 October 198813