I THE BIG PICTURE (15) Intelligent satire on the Hollywood movie machine starring Kevin Bacon as a lllm school graduate seduced by glitz, girls and carphones into compromising his talent. With Emily Longstreth, Jenniler Jason Leigh. Edinburgh Fllmhouse Thurs 7-Sat 9 Feb.
I BREAKING lit (15)
Bill Forsyth's latest opus finally makes it to Scotland. A pair ot burglars, one veteran (Burt Reynolds), and one novice (Casey Siemaszco), break into a house at the same time and strike up an unusual triendship. See review. Glasgow Film Theatre Thurs 7-Sat 9 Feb.
I FAHTASIA (U)
A 50th anniversary re-release tor the Disney classic, the work otBtl animators and eleven directors, with a newly restored print. Find a child to take - show them there’s more to lite than pizza-chomping turtles. Odeons Glasgow and Edinburgh, Cannon Parkhead and UCls lrom Fri 1 Feb.
I THE FOOL (U)
Director Christine (Little Dorrit) Edzard returns to 19th-century London with this tale at a clerk leading a double lite. An array ottlne perlormances combines with a biting critique of the corrupting ettects ol wealth. See preview. Glasgow Odeon and Edinburgh Cameo lrom Fri 1 Feb.
The US government wouldn’t let Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford film Havana in Havana. The director told Andrew Pulver why.
Huddled round the script-table, it must have sounded a great idea. There‘s this guy, see, he’s a poker king in Havana. Then there’s this dame, she‘s political, a revolutionary — but she‘s married. But that don‘t stop him, he falls in love. Then the husband gets wasted by the secret police and they‘re about to skip Havana because of the revolution when the poker king finds out the husband‘s alive. So he gets the dame to go back to her husband, who‘s this fine noble leader. . . hold it, boys— haven’t we heard this somewhere before. Morocco? World War II? ‘Hey Louis. this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship“? Director-producer Sydney Pollack is disarming and reasonably upfront about the ﬂak he has received in the American press over his latest film’s resemblance to the classic of American cinema: ‘1 don‘t know how to explain my naivety about this — probably because the picture went through many changes. No one in their right mind would try and re-make Casablanca. That’s a losing proposition; you just don’t do those things ifyou‘re even semi-sane. I knew the story, and when we got a Swedish actress I knew my doom was sealed.‘ A film maker of Pollack‘s
experience shouldn‘t have to be in this position: on the defensive even
before the film has had its British release. The director of Out of Africa, Tootsie and, further back The Way We Were and They Shoot Horses Don ’t They? doesn’t need this kind of treatment. The sort of thing he prefers to enlarge upon are the more thematic and historical aspects of the project. The political context is an easy route: “What I wanted to do was arrive at some viewpoint I considered uncontestable. The universal view, except for a few disenfranchised Cubans, was that Batista was more evil than not, and deserved to go. The US supported Batista for a while, much the same way we did with Marcos; I remember vividly that Castro was welcomed in New York as a hero, went on the chat shows- it only went bad later.‘
One thing is clear: that Havana is founded upon Pollack‘s own nostalgia for the period, and for the fevered atmosphere of the pre-revolutionary city: ‘I feel very nostalgic about the 505 as a decade, because it was the last simple time I can remember— it was the last time I could feel totally virtuous as an American, it‘s the last time there was a pervasive innocence; what we loosely and lazily refer to as the American Dream was still a reality. It was a very attractive time in many ways.‘ Considerable research and effort has gone into capturing the tone ofthe era: even to the extent of re-creating Havana‘s main boulevard in a Santo Domingo airbase. Ironically enough, US currency regulations forbade Pollack’s crew to shoot in Cuba itself, because ofthe technical state of war that exists between the two
w‘ﬁﬂg‘irxébii ‘ ‘
Robert Redford cuts a Cuban deck in Havana
Havana also marks the seventh collaboration between Pollack and veteran superstar Robert Redford. Redford‘s film presence is beginning to resurface after a quiet decade in which he turned increasingly to political and organisational activity; aside from his directorial success with Ordinary People, the Pollack-directed Out of Africa made the biggest impact. Redford is making the transition to craggy maturity with quiet dignity, and Pollack clearly has great respect for his star: ‘I think he’s a lot more gifted actor than many people give him credit for: a lot ofpeople have never got past his looks. He has the same dilemma that happens to a pretty girl . . . but he‘s a great character actor— a character actor in a leading man‘s body. He works as a minimalist — he doesn‘t seduce the audience, he makes them come to him.‘
In a recent interview, Redford, who plays poker king Jack Weil, made it clear that he didn‘t share Pollack‘s warm feeling about the 50s, and he can hardly be blamed. There is a typically American ambivalence in Pollack‘s attitude to the Cuban revolution celebrating a false innocence behind which covert operations were consistently being carried out on a worldwide scale. Casablanca carried the hopes of, and to a large extent made, the old American Dream: to attempt a reprise in 1991, after Vietnam, Marcos, Panama and Saddam Hussein, is asking for trouble. (Andrew Pulver)
Havana (15) opens on Fri 25 Jan at Glasgow Cannons; Edinburgh
Cannon and UCI; Strathclyde UCls.
18 The List 25 January — 7 February 1991