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recluse and a woman he pays to undress in front of him in the enigmatic .llan off/(mars; a couple in the throes of marriage breakdown in My first ll'ifv; and a couple brought together by blindess in (arms. (in/den Braid deals with another twist on the theme. centring on a clock-maker obsessed with the past. and a woman trapped in a restrictive relationship who tries to haul him into the present. It seems that such liaisons - in a variety of forms — have been at the heart of his work all along.
‘Well. I think that happens more or ?
less subconsciously.‘ says Cox. ‘and it is only in retrospect that I see certain similarities between films I have made. I think that (in/den Braid is some kind of celebration of the dream world. because most of the film is a dream. and I think that aspect of it is getting a little lost. When he detaches himself from the past and from his obsession. for instance. it happens within his dream. but it brings him to a realisation that the reality of now is more important than relying on his dreams. and on the past.~
The film also takes tip another persistent theme in ('ox's work. that ofthe outsider. All ofhis characters are somehow marginalised in the societies in which they operate. and many are. like (‘ox himself. immigrants within those societies. His previous film. Island. which was not neleased over here. is perhaps the most overt statement of that position. but (‘ox acknowledges the hold it has on him. It is easy to see a parallel with his own experience. but
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the director feels it runs deeper than that.
‘Wcll. of course. my own experience has a lot to do with it. but I also think that anybody who feels and thinks and struggles is an outsider in a society which is totally geared to consumerism. Society is conditioned to embrace anything technologically new. like digital watches. but in the process we have thrown away the family watch which would have been handed down from father to son.
‘We have changed for no good reason. which I find very disturbing. because there was nothing wrong with that system. but we discarded it anyway. The little routine ofwinding the watch was very good. and it was the same routine as your mother or your grandfather had gone through. and it made for a continuity which we have lost. But ifyou like that too
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much. it also makes you an outsider.‘ ;
Time. and the hold of— or the attempt to hold onto — the past are familiar sub-themes in his earlier work. but (Ia/den Braid plays more openly with them. That. too. reflects one of his own obsessions.
‘l low time slips away is very much the central thing. I always collected clocks. and I bought most of them at a time when they were being thrown away. and I picked them up very cheaply. Now. ofcourse. their value is recognised again. and they have become very expensive. I have about fifty clocks which are probably worth a fortune.‘
Ifthere are distinct thematic links in his work. though. (‘ox‘s films are equally identified by their striking
visual style. and a highly imaginative use ofthe medium.
‘Film is one of the most wonderful inventions of the times we live in. but also one of the most abused and mis-used. because it has become dominated by consumerism and instant gratification. Films are here today and gone tomorrow. and audiences are now conditioned to believe that they should simply be entertained. without having to give anything back themselves.
‘I find that quite frustrating. but at the same time I keep total control over my own films. and make them within what I call responsible budgets. and I am encouraged by the fact that there are enough people who still want to come and see them to get me the money back. lfyou look at the US. where most films are very aggressive. the average youth in America has seen about 80.000 murders by the time they are m.
‘A film like (in/den Braid cannot be swallowed by an audience raised on that kind of film. because it is far too peaceful and requires a little thought. My next film. A Woman's Talc. which is about euthanasia in a way. but investigating what it means to love. may have a much larger audience. The way I make films is very much a family business. but it works. and I cannot see any point in changing it. lfthe medium falls totally into the hands of the exploiters. though. there is no future for film-makers like me.‘
(Io/den Braid opens at Edinburgh Film/muse on Sunday [4; and a! Glasgow Film Theatre on Monday 29.
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The List 5— 18 April 199117
I Highlanderll:The Quickeningi 15) Christopher lambert and Sean (‘onnery return. complete w ith ridiculous clothes and hairstyles. to reprise their roles as time-hopping marauders from the IUSooi-iginul Director Russell .Vlulcahy is in charge again. See review. \"cry wide release from Fri 12.
I Life Is Sweet ( 15) And life is a whole lot ofother thingstoo— including extremely funny — when projected through the hyperordinarinessof Mike Leigh's characters. Also discussed in his latest dissection of British family life are a whole range of topics from Accordions to Zest. See feature. Iidinburgh (‘ameo from liri S.
I MrAnd Mrs Bridge i PG) Real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward star in .‘vlerchant lvory'slatest glossy period piece. this time based on two novels by Iivan S. (‘onnell. which span two decades of rise and decline in the marriage and family life of an upper-middle-class American couple. See review. Edinburgh Dominion from l’ri 5.
nderilzi Rootin' tootin' sharp-shootin' Tom Selleck is the maverick Ouigley. an ole-sty le cowboy~ who takes employment in the Australian outback. only to find that villainous rancher Alan Rickman's hired him to keep down the Aboriginal \ ermin. lIe ain't hay in' none olit. and luckily (‘razy (‘ora (alluringlaura San (iiacomo) is on his \MIL‘. See review. Wide release
lrom hi 5. J