TrevorJohnston surveys the
cominglortnight’sbumper pile olnew releases.
I THE ABYSS (15) Much troubled megabudget underwater adventure with extraterrestrial asides trom James ‘Aliens' Cameron. See leature. Odeons and UCl trom 27 Oct.
I DEAD CALM (15)Terror on the high seas as a young couple getting away trom it all on theiryacht discovera mystery vessel hiding a dark secret. Directed by Philip ‘Newstront‘ Noyce. See review. Cannons trom 3 Nov.
I HALLOWE’EN 4 (18)The unstoppable Michael Meyers livesto slash anotherday in another unwarranted sequel. Donald Pleasance picks up another paycheck. UCl Clydebanktrom 3 Nov.
I HENRYV (PG) KB and his merry gang ot Britthesps take on Shakespeare and try to excise memories otdear. dear Larry. See leature and theatre pages. Odeons from 27 Oct.
I LIFE AND NOTHING BUT (PG) French master
Bertrand Tavernierlollows up ‘Round Midnight' with this measured drama set iustaiterthe Great War. Philipe Noiret is splendid as a grizzled army otticer compiling lists otwardead. See review. Edinburgh Filmhouse 5-11 Nov.
I MELANCHOLIA(15) Film distributor turned director Andi Engel‘s debut leature hasJeroen Krabbe asa disillusioned art critic trying to recapture the spirit 011968 and allthatwitha l spot 01 political
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V3 CD 5 .— 52 —I GO F X I“ a E
:— Once again Mr Branagh
The hotel restaurant oozes pomposity; sonorous music trom Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V sets the scene for yet another triumphant mass-media appearance by the star, this one celebrating the release at his new movie and his debut as a film director.
Branagh, passed from table to table and tape-recorder to tape-recorder, is reireshingly unpompous. He is anxious that Henry V be judged ‘beyond the apparent hubris of my doing it in the first place‘, so responds eagerly to questions about his techniques and intentions. ‘We tried to keep the play and the battle scenes evocative at other periods. . . lsuppose we took awaythe page boy haircut kind at nanciness oi the medieval look; we had real people in real clothes, ratherthan "costumes".’
The emphasis on realism continued in Branagh’s decision to hire established actors who believed, like him, in ‘non-declamatory’ Shakespeare. ‘lt’s a question of having a style of delivery that can sound naturalistic but which doesn’t tight the poetic instinct when it is there.’ Having chosen the right people, he claims ‘I didn‘t feel I had much control. Paul Scholield's performance is 95 per cent him and 5 per cent me, ilthat.’ He dismisses his success in assembling such a star-studded cast: ‘Well, I wasn’t trying to tlog a second-rate script.‘
Branagh’s last port at call is with the tabloid wolves at the ‘showbiz’ table. Within seconds they turn grinning laces to ask burning questions about the unorthodox marriage between himselt and Emma Thompson (they had a church blessing before the civil service.) ’Dh no, this is the last thing i want to talk about. I’m sure the great British public. . . ’ ‘But my mother wants to know. . a wheedling lemale reporter breaks in.
Later, after Branagh has talked himselt out of numerous corners and still emerged as a decent human being —vaulting ambition and precocious autobiographies not withstanding — one ot the wolves is to be seen dour-laced at the hotel’s pay-phone lamenting his unsexy copy. ‘No, nothing much . . he tells his news-editor. Foronce, it seems, the wunderkind has tailed to deliver. (Stephanie Billen)
’lt touched me’ is how 69 year-old director Lewis Gilbert describes his initial reaction when he went to see Willy Russell’s one-woman play Shirley Valentine at the Liverpool Playhouse. Betore too long the veteran olthe British cinema had persuaded Paramount Pictures that no, they really shouldn't cast Cher, and thattelevison actress Pauline Collins should make
14 The List 27 October — 9 November 198‘)
the transition from stage to screen in the role of the bored housewife who leaves her insensitive hubby behind and nips otl tor a Greek holiday that sees her rediscovering her sell-esteem. The end result is a genuine audience winner, a film at arttully managed humour and understanding, with Collins’ standout performance already tipped for an Oscar nomination.
A lormer child actor who was started as a teaboy by legendary producer Alexander Korda, Gilbert directed his tirst lilm in 1947, and since then has been notable tor his skiltul handling 01 almost every kind of commercial project including the likes of Reach For The Sky (1956), Altle (1966), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Educating Rita (1985). A still dapper and gentlemanlyligure, Gilbert however linds it hard to choose a lavourite trom his long career. ‘Atter a certain number at years, a tilm turns up on TV that maybe wasn’t so well received at the time,’ he explains, ‘ but you look at it and it turns out to be not such a bad picture. Things change. You look back on a war lilm you made at a time at real patriotic feeling, and it looks pretty tunny today.’ (TrevorJohnston) Shirley Valentine (15) from Fri 27 Oct: key Cannon cinemas and UCI Clydebank.
Atom Egoyan‘s impressive work finds a complex formal framework for its emotionally direct material. as the Canadian film-maker explains to Trevor Johnston.
Working with the by now familiar ingredients ofsex. lies and videotape. Atom Egoyan‘s third and most accomplished film Speaking Parts makes Steven Soderbergh‘s much-lauded debut look rather simple-minded by comparison. As he demonstrated in his earlier pictures Next of Kin and Family Viewing. Egoyan‘s focus centres on human relationships‘ most basic needs. but it‘s filtered through an