I Blonde Fist ( 15) Margi Clarke stars as the peroxide pugilist in brother Frank‘s tale ofa down-to-earth Scouser forced into the ringto make enough money to bring her alcoholic dad back from New York.
lBoyzNThe Nood(15) An exceptionally moving and intelligent account ofthe pressures of growing up in America’s black suburbs. 23-year-old director John Singleton achieves a powerful simplicity unmatched even by Spike Lee. See preview.
. t\ I City Slickers(12) Billy
Crystal and two urbanite mates avoid the on-coming middle-age crisis by taking part in a two week cattle drive. Warm. funny fare that ate up the US box office. See review. I Dead Again ( 15) Kenneth Branagh directs this enjoyany preposterous Hitchcock hokum in which he plays an LA private detective caught up in a reincarnation murder mystery. See feature. I Drop Dead Fred (12) Rik Mayall stars as Phoebe Cates' obnoxious imaginary childhood friend who makes a foul-mouthed return to cause chaos in her adult life. Nice to see Mr Mayall is extending his comic range. I Edward II ( 18) Derek Jarman‘s reworking of Marlowe's 17th century play emphasises the homosexual connotations that were always inherent in the text. A tale of royalty and repression. iSee preview.
Outrage at court
Derek Jarman’s latest film Edward II raises wide issues of institutional violence in soeiety, as he explains to Trevor Johnston. ‘You have to have some personal motivation for making a film beyond just making a very good film.‘ reﬂects Derek Jarman. whose latest offering. a stylised and highly contentious screen adaptation of Marlowe’s Edward [1 reﬂects the filmmakers own growing involvement in gay activism. While his previous film The Garden in its punchy ‘Think Pink!‘ sequence included footage ofvarious street demos. Edward [1 goes one further in examining the state‘s role in repressing homosexuality. that runs from the 14th century story of King Edward‘s relationship with commoner Gaveston resulting in the permanent removal of the monarch from the throne. right up to the present state ofpost-Section 28 institutionalised oppression (cue riot police bashing OutRage protesters). Using a heavily selective treatment ofthe original text. Edward II retains the most conventionally accessible narrative structure in a Jarman film since Caravaggio. This
"Humour is a good weapon because you can wi
allows the central couple Steven Waddinton and Andrew Tiernan. and villainous nobles Tilda Swinton and Nigel Terry to bring off passages ofconventionally developed characterisation that lend the film much of its power. The Them (hetero establishment) and Us (gay commoners) demarcation along lines ofclass status and sexual orientation that goes right through the piece. may demand something of a leap of faith from the viewer. but Jarman is happy to describe it as simplistic because his motives do not entirely rest within the mere celluloid product.
‘Films are also made to gain a platform in the press. which actually enables me to talk about wider issues and specific situations. So many things went wrong in the 80s and we all stood by. unable to do anything, but now Mrs Thatcher‘s gone and there‘s a possibility ofprogress. “Come on. Derek. rise to it.” I said to myself. and that‘s exactly what I’ve done.’
As the country‘s best known
nthi‘hgs through ridicule andlaughter‘
HIV-positive patient. Jarman's many press interviews and~the affecting passages in his recently published journal Modern Nature have done much to give us a valuable picture ofwhat it's like to go through the process ofthe illness, but it is Queer Edward II. the book accompanying the current film. that with its in-your-face sloganeering— ‘Heterobnoxious Heteroppressive Heteroffensive‘ — most encapsulates Jarman‘s increasingly combatative stance. ‘ln the past I‘ve used the films to talk about these things,‘ explains the veteran ofa number of recent actions and interventions. 'but I have become more active generally. It‘s a very important moment and it‘s crucial that people should be involved at every possible level. The humour one finds in OutRage is a very good weapon because you can actually win things through ridicule and laughter.‘ Edward I I opens 3 I October at Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Modern Nature is published by
( 'eniury a! £16. ()9.
_ Voices from the edge
While the British film industry continually bemoans its state of terminal underlunding and the number of British cinema leatures made in the last twelve months struggles to get into double figures, those seeking a sliver of light in the gloom need look no further than Edinburgh‘s Filmhouse for proof of the wealth of lilmmaking talent that lies just under the surface of the commercial circuit. The Seventh Fringe Film and Video Festival (FFVF), which runs from the 7th to the 10th of November, is a stunning showcase of 118 pieces of independent work not normally seen in the mainstream.
‘In the past, the Festival has been difficult to watch if you don’t know anything about avant-garde or experimental lllmmaking,’ says co-ordinator Nicola Percy. ‘This year we've made the screenings more accessible and more punchy by arranging each programme on a
'and Vancouver. The audience-friendly
is year's Fringe Film Festival is the biggest and most accessible to date
theme, so that the individual works complement and contrast.’
Just as the subjects covered range widely, so too do the films' origins, which are as geographically diverse as Edinburgh's Napier Polytechnic, Milan
selection policy has whittled down the entries to seventeen screenings, but I
video copies of over a hundred pieces which did not make it onto the Filmhouse screen will be shown in the neighbouring cafe-bar over the duration of the Festival.
Another first this year is the introduction of three awards—two sponsored technical awards, and a third for the Most Popular Short, which will be voted on by each and every member of the audience. The winning film from each screening will be shown as part of the final programme, after which another round of voting will reveal the ultimate winner. John Mclnally of the FFVF explains the reason behind this innovation: ‘lt's noble to say that none of the works deserves to be put above the others, but encouragement is important at this stage of a lilmmaker’s career. At this end of the industry, the directors are often their own producers and so the works take more risks, in terms of both style and subject matter. Brave filmmaklng of the standard on show here should be rewarded.’ (Alan Morrison)
The Seventh Fringe Film and Video Festival, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, 7—10 November.
14 The List 25 October — 7 November 1991