donna ofthe Spanish screen (‘armen Maura and AndresPajaresstarasa cabaret double act who find themselves in trouble behind enemy lines during the Spanish Civil War. Winning black comedy
from Carlos Saura. Sec
preview. Edinburgh Cameo from Fri310l71‘
from Sun 12.
I The Best Of British Animation (PG) As the title suggests. a programme of first-rate British animated shorts. including Nick Park's wonderful ‘Creature Comforts'. which won this year's short animation Oscar. See review. Edinburgh Filmhouse Wed lSand Thurs 16. lThe Doors(18) Long-awaited opening of Oliver Stone's quirky. visionary biopic oflim Morrison. who is superbly reincarnated by Val Kilmer. who sings the soundtrack. Also stars Meg Ryan and Kyle MacLachlan. Odeons
from Fri 10.
I The Hard Way ( 15) Michael J. Fox isa I Hollywood actor ' researching a challenging part; James Woods the hard-bitten New York cop he picks as his role model. j Mismatched buddy movie with coast-to-coast satire from John Bird On A Wire Badham. See review. Cannons and L'Cls from Fri 3. i I In The Realm Oiihe Senses At No Corrida ( l8) Uncertified since its release in 1976. Oshima's shockingly erotic movie of sexual obsession has at last been certified for public screening in the UK. Makes Last Tango In Paris look like The Wit/tons. See review. lidinburgh Filmhouse. Sun .1 Thurs U; (il’l‘ from Sun 1‘).
34The List3— 16 May 1991
,Sid’s on the block;
Posing difficult questions rather than providing easy answers has always been director Sidney Lumet’s style. Now, in Q & A. Lumet has told Nick Nolte to tone down the anger of a racist cop. Kevin Bourke handled the interrogation.
When it comes to c.v.s for filmmakers, they don‘t come much more impressive than Sidney Lumet's. The energetic 66-year-old made his debut as a film director with the classic 1957 courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men starring Henry Fonda. That movie was nominated for three Oscars. including Best Picture. and since then his films have been nominated more than forty times. although. peculiarly enough. Lumet has never actually received a Best Director Oscar.
Still. when he tried to get his latest film Q & A financed by a Hollywood studio they all looked the other way. Could it be because. regardless of its pedigree. they just didn‘t want to make a tough drama which told an uncompromising. often brutal. tale of racial antagonism. scandals and cover-ups in the police and justice departments of New York and. by extension. most other places‘.’
‘l've often said.‘ he replies with barely a hint ofbitterness. ‘that Hollywood would make a musical
j aboutJosefStaliniftheythought it I would make money. Butlcan never 1
really understand what they choose to finance and what they don‘t. It‘s always hard to judge those sorts of things but I don‘t think that there was any great conspiracy.‘
He is happy to admit that his style offilm-making which. certainly in the case of Q & A. offers no easy answers is decidedly unfashionable in the face of the event-driven mega-budget movies or even the post-Ghost character comedies favoured by the studios.
‘There‘s no wrong or right in it but the tough part of movie-making today is to make a movie for a smaller group. The basic Hollywood thinking is that ifit doesn‘t gross a hundred million dollars. then it‘s a flop. I certainly don‘t feel that way and there‘s a lot of people as well. like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. who‘ve always worked quite happily in that smaller area.‘
‘Probably. ifone looks back over the history of movies. on balance the same thing has been true. I don‘t think they were ever doing anything other than trying to get that period‘s equivalent ofa block-buster.‘
From Twelve Angry Men on through Serpico. The Verdict. Prince ofthe City. and now Q & A. Lumet has shown a fascination with the process ofthe law and justice.
‘I think that the police and the justice system is a useful metaphor for where we are in society at large.‘ he agrees. ‘It‘s endlessly interesting to me because when that part of the system doesn‘t work. then I don‘t see how anything else can work.‘
A strong theme in Q & A is the brutalising effect in our society of racism. both on its victims and its practitioners. and Lumet‘s view of the problem verges on the apocalyptic.
‘Ifwe don‘t solve it. it's going to tear us apart.‘ he firmly states. ‘not only in the United States but worldwide. When I was growing up in the 30s and 4(ls. any idea that there would be such a thing as a religious war was out of the question. That
Nick Nolte is investigated for shooting a dope dealerin 0 a. A
3x. . . ~ l
was something. we thought. that had ended in the 14th century. But look at what we‘ve just been through and what we will probably go through! Now that. hopefully. Russia and America aren‘t going to blow each i other up, these divisions are the great threats we‘re facing.‘ i
‘What amazes me is that it seems t0? be happening all over the world. seemingly tied to the revival of . religious fundamentalism which has happened everywhere. Generally, that religious revivalism has manifested itself politically in support of right-wing governments and my own feeling is that right-wing. politics tend to provoke racial r hostility. I see it all around me. as if we‘re in some incredible centrifuge and we‘re fragmenting.‘
‘One ofthe things that I did on the front of all the scripts of Q & A was to make a note for the actors that they were going to find a great number ofracial epithets in this movie. but that they were never to be said in anger. “They are to be said completely casually and normally.“ I told them. because that‘s what builds racism into the system even more: that it is completely acceptable as a normal way ofconversation and behaviour.‘
In the light ofall he‘s said then. does he think that his world-view is getting bleaker or that it is what he is observing that is getting worse?
‘I think it’s the world I‘m seeing that is getting bleaker, ifanything I‘m more optimistic,‘ he thoughtfully replies. ‘Looking at the truth of things isn't necessarily depressing. 1t sure ain‘t pretty but. God knows. an awareness ofwhat‘s going on is the first step towards correcting it.‘
‘I keep plugging away at my same old stand. trying to make some sense ofit and trying to portray it truthfully.‘ (Kevin Bourke)
Q A" .-1 opens a! ( ‘annon .S'uiu'ltii'lia/l .S‘Irt'i'l. Glasgow and I '('l Edinburgh. on l-‘rin’.