ICity of Hope(15) US independent filmmaker John Sayles. subject ofa 1991 Edinburgh Film Festival retrospective. returns with a tale of loyalty and civic corruption in working-class America. See preview.
I Doctor Petiot( 12) Michel Serrault stars as the Nosferatu-like doctor who kills and robs from the Jews he is supposedly helping escape from Nazi-occupied France. See review.
5 I The Fisher King ( 15) Disillusioned DJ Jeff Bridges and mad down-and-out Robin Williams join forces to find love. friendship and the Holy Grail in Terry Gilliam's latest fantasy epic. See feature.
I A Man Without AWorld (PG) The (iF'I's Jewish Film Festival continues with this silent melodrama set in Eastern Europe. purporting to be the work of 1930‘s Soviet filmmaker Yevgeny Antinov. but really a recent piece by [SS artist/director Eleanor Antin.
I Other People‘s Money (15) Danny DeV'ito is a rude and crude Wall Street businessman who specialises in acquiring other companies in Norman Jewison‘s comedy based on corporate greed. See review.
I Rambling Hose ( 15) Laura Dern plays a naive nymphomaniac in the American South between the wars. whose promiscuity disrupts the lives of the eclectic family who have given her a home. See preview. I Shattered ( 15) Wolfgang Petersen. director of Das Boot. makes his Hollywood debut with a scorching thriller about a man (Tom Berenger) who tries to piece his life together after a near-fatal car accident. See preview. I Strip Jack Naked ( 18) The sequel to Ron Peck‘s seminal British gay movie Nighthawks. Strip Jack Naked blends new material with old to comment on the years since the original. I What About Bob? (PU) Multi-phobic Bill Murray begins to send psychiatrist and best friend Richard Dreyfuss round the bend when he gatecrasbcs the doctor‘s family holiday. See review.
18'l‘he List 8— 21 November 1991
Fresh from an Edinburgh Film Festival retrospective, John Sayles talks to Trevor Johnston about his new movie, ‘ City of Hope.
Hoboken‘s very own John Sayles is almost unique these days in that he supports twin careers as both acclaimed independent movie writer/director and respected novelist. This autumn. the New ’ Jerseyite mounts a twin attack on our sensibilities with the publication of his latest book. Los Gusanos (The Worms). a weighty account of post-Bay ofPigs Cuban exiles in Miami. and the release of his most recent celluloid offering. City of Hope. The film is a similarly
ambitious examination ofsociety in
: denizens ofa compact fictional city V on America's east coast.
l turmoil that centres on the roughcast l texture ofcontemporary life for the '
Eminently qualified to discuss the relative merits of both media. Sayles reckons ‘there are complexities of connection that you can do in a novel but which are difficult to get into a film.‘ Yet the flipside ofthe coin. he believes. is that 'in a movie, there are things you can feel that don‘t go through your head. It‘s the definition l ofvisceral.‘ l
Putting his own current output in focus. he‘s probably not far wrong. With his customary gift for terrific dialogue and a very able cast — Vincent Spano, Joe Morton. Chris Cooper, and a curmudgeonly cameo by the director himself— City of Hope’s multi-charaeter chronicle is more winning on an emotional level than it is digestible in terms ofthe idealist politicking on display. On the other hand, Los Gusanos is immensely impressive as a piece of heavily-researched, historical recreation. but somewhere along the way loses its emotionalpull in a maelstrom ofvariously incisive points of view from a bewilderingly expansive list of dramatis personae.
However snappin scripted his movies may be. there's always the lingering sense that Sayle‘s career has been about working his way through the disenfranchised sectors ofour society — Lianna (lesbianism). Brother From Another Planet (racism). Matewan (the unions). Eight Men Out (corruption). This sense of the bleeding heart liberal on a self-congratulatory skim through
City of Hope: an ambitious examination of society in tunnoit
issue after issue is compounded by the way City ofHope seems determined to cram every available social problem into its running time. For all that, however, you do have to at least commend his willingness to consider the wider tensions in the American social fabric in a way that so few mainstream studio movies even attempt. ‘Most of the folks in America who walk into a movie theatre aren’t thinking about real life, they’re thinking about movie life.‘ he reﬂects with some stoicism, ‘and while there are some parts of the audience that take to City of Hope because it‘s not just an urban crime story, there are others for whom it‘s maybe a little unresolved. ln previews we asked which movies had offered them a satisfactory resolution and the reply was always Ghost or Home Alone. That‘s what you‘re dealing with.‘ City of Hope (15) opens at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on 17 Nov and Glasgow Film Theatre on 28 Nov. Los G usanos is published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton at £14. 99.
lull-III ; Sudden ; impact
‘What I like is that the audience just has time to sit down, have a little bit of popcorn, and then we blow them out of ; their seats in the first minute!’ With 5 barely concealed glee, German . director Wolfgang Petersen enthuses over the white-knuckle car crash sequence that opens his splendid new thriller, Shattered. Instead of the usual car-lumbering-off-the-cliff second unit long shot, he strikingly opens his first Hollywood picture with the camera inside the vehicle as it tumbles down a ravine, a sequence that’s viscerally i powerful but also serves to draw us right away into the plight of the I unfortunate Tom Berengertrapped !
behind the wheel. As property developer Dan Merrick, his severe injuries include total amnesia and his release from hospital starts him on the l path towards piecing together his life I and identity virtually from scratch. i ‘It a thriller is really good,’ comments ' Petersen, ‘it’s not just a puzzling plot; it touches you somewhere deep inside because it gets at your basic fears.
Shattered: a genuine shocker
Here we have a protagonist without a history, a man who's a blank and that's great in terms of storytelling, because he can be manipulated. He has to struggle to find his own personality, to ask ‘Who am l?’, to wonderwhether he can really trust the people around him.’ Adapted from Richard Nealy’s little-known late 60$ novel The Plastic
Nightmare, the storyline throws conflicting evidence at its increasingly disturbed central character- most significantly from his alluring spouse
? (Greta Scacchi) and his business
partner’s wife (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer). This leaves him to team up with unconventional private
investigator Bob Hoskins in the hope of 8 putting the whole jigsaw back together. ‘
The denouement (which it would be foolish to reveal) is a genuine shocker, vindicating Petersen’s enthusiasm for a piece he optioned as far back as 1979, before the worldwide success of the German-made World War Two submarine suspenser, Das Boot. Having paid his dues with a couple of years in Hollywood development hell before Shattered took off, he has nothing but praise for the technical expertise of American crews and the commitment of leading man Tom Berenger, who delivers a highly convincing performance in the most trying of circumstances. ‘He's a very intelligent actor, more sensitive than the tough guy frame would suggest, and here he did very well because there was really nothing he could hide behind. He kept asking me, “Where's my character?" and I would tell him “No, Tom, there is no character." ' Shattered (15) opens at Cannons and UCls across Central Scotland on 8 Nov.