of the most important releases of recent years. and one recommended with caution. Edinburgh: Cameo. I Hots La Vie(15)(Mamoun Bagdadi. France. 1991 ) Hippolyte Girardot. Rafic Ali Ahmad. Hussein Sbeity. 97 mins. A French photo-journalist. sent to cover the war in Beirut. is taken hostage by Arab terrorists. themselves the victims of the ongoing conflict. Based on the true life experiences of Roger Auque and with a Lebanese director. the film has a gritty reality that concentrates on individuals rather than the larger issues. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Hot Shots( 12) (Jim Abrahams. US. 1991) Charlie Sheen. Cary Elwes. Valeria Golino. Lloyd Bridges. 87 mins. 1n the hands of. say. Tony Scott. this could have been a star-Spangled action adventure; in the hands ofJim Abrahams. however. it becomes another Airplanef/Top Secret spoof that sends tip the macho world of fighter pilots. Thankfully the rapid-fire wit and visual gags score as many hits as misses. but post-Gulf War timing and an ad line that bills itas ‘the mother ofall movies' kick it into a rather dubious satirical league. Strathclyde: Motherwell Theatre. I The icicle Thief ( PG) (Maurizio Nichetti. Italy. 1989) Maurizio Nichetti. Caterina Sylos1.abini. Heidi Komarek. Claudio Fulva. 98 mins. In a multi-layered satire. Nichetti plays both himself— appearing on television to present his new art movie The Icicle 'I'Iltt'f— arid Antonio. the main character within the film. A ‘typical' Italian family watch the film at home. switching channelsand making 'phone calls. and every few minutesthe elegant monochrome is interrupted by crass. lull~CUiUUT commercials. while the director despairs. intelligent and veryentertaining. Glasgow: (ii-T. I The lndian Bunner(15)(Seun Penn. US. 1991 ) David Morse. Viggo Mortensen. Valeria Golino. Dennis Hopper. Patricia Arquette. 135 mins. Penn‘s self-consciously earnest writing/directing debut concerns the fraternal tensions ofa respected local cop and an itinerant ne'er-do-well. A highly auspicious first film that capturesa strong sense of place and character. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. IJacob's Ladder ( 18) (Adrian Lyne. US. 1990) Tim Robbins. Elizabeth Pena. Danny Aiello. 113 mins. Vietnam vet Jacob Singer is seeingsome very strange things. like nurses with demons' horns and people with faces straight out of a Francis Bacon painting. As his grip on the reality of his present life begins to slip. he has recurring flashbacks to the night his platoon was wiped out during the war. The director of Fara/Attractt'mi and the writer of Ghost combine to pull off one of the most terrifying. yet ultintately moving. paranoia thrillers of recent years. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. I Jetsons: The Movie (U) (William Hanna 8.: Joseph Barbcra. US. 1991 ) With the voicesof George ()‘Hanlon. Mel Blane. Penny Singleton. Tiffany. Patric Zimmerman. 83 mins. America‘s favourite family of the future (it says here). as animated by the celebrated duo. move to a new home in outer space when George Jetson gets promotion at Spacely Sprockets. His new job is jeopardised by a sabotage campaign. however. which leads to a struggle between the astral green movement and the technocrats from the stratosphere. Strathclyde: UCI East Kilbride. I JFK ( 15) (Oliver Stone. US. 1991 ) Kevin Costner. Joe Pesci. Gary ()Idman. Tommy Lee Jones. 1911 ntins. Based on the controversial theories of New Orleans district attorneyJim Garrison. Stone's epic account ofwhat did or did not happen when President Kennedy made an untimely exit from this world makes for enthralling cinema. A fine performance by Costner is supported by one of the finest castsever assembled before the camera. Regardless of verity of his argument. this is Stone's most powerful effort to date. General release. I Jll Dou ( 15) (Zhang Yimou.China/Japan.199(1) Gong Li. Li Wei. Li Bao-Tian. 94 mins. In 1920s China. a young man (Li Wei) falls innocently for his tyrannical uncle's third wife Ju Dou (Gongl.i). and they embark on a forbidden romance. But the truth will out. with tragic consequences. In the confines of the uncle's dyeing factory. the story‘s cruel logic is offset by an intense beautyand eroticism. Exceptional film-making from the director of Red Sorghum. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. IJubilco(18) (Derek Jarman. UK. 1978)Jenny Runacre. Little Nell. Toyah Wilcox. 104 mins. Queen Elizabeth 1 is transported through time to visit the decaying nation of her namesake successor as exemplified by punk London. Dated-looking now ofcourse. but amidst the determination to shock there's a good deal oftart black humour and a few typically lovelyJarman images. Glasgow: GFT. I The Land Before Time (U) (Don Bluth. US. 1989) 86 mins. Latest animated feature from Disney graduate Bluth follows the fortunes of orphaned Brontosaurus Littlefoot. who loses his mum to the claws of a nasty Tyrannosaurus Rex

Barton Fink (15) (Joel Coen, US,1991)

'John Turturro. John Goodman, Judy

Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney. 116 mins. Unprecedented winner of best film, best actor and best direction in Cannes last May, the Coen Brothers’ latest offering arrives on these shores trailing a critical response that virtually redefines the word ‘ecstatic’. A unique amalgam of wry comedy, Grand Guignol fantasy, Hollywood expose and expressionist howl, which culminates in a climactic pay-off that will have your chin dropping to the floor, Barton Fink is surely one for the file marked ‘weird-and-wondertul’. But for many viewers there‘ll be one Big Question: iust WHAT is it all actually about?

Well, at a basic story level, it’s set in 1941 and follows the misadventures of John Turturro’s socially-committed playwright Barton Fink, who has been bought up by the Hollywood studio machine and consigned to write a low-budget wrestling picture, when all he really wants to do is create great and uplifting works of art. Virtually incarcerated in the gloomy Hotel Earle and shocked by the drink-sudden state of his literary hero W.P. Mayhew (John Mahoney) - a distinguished novelist, now a fellow Tinseltown toiler- Barton begins to slump into a writer’s block of major proportions until inspiration seems at hand courtesy of chummy insurance salesman Charlie Meadows (John Goodman).

Here in the shape of his avuncular neighbour is the so-called ‘Common Man’ Barton has been trying to capture in print, Mr Average in every way except for the strange noises emanating from his room at night. The satirical comedy of wormy ideologue Fink‘s exchanges with the dream factory's penny-pinching pragmatism


Barton Fink: ‘a fascinating ioumey into the absurd’

soon gives way to a darkly diabolical swerve in tone as hotel corridors burst into flames, the contents of a hat box assume a chilling significance and a scene-stealing seagull makes a last ditch bid for screen immortality. From the late-night typewriter trauma of the pressurised hack to the wrestling ring‘s ‘big men in tights’ to the caprices of the ornithological world, the Coens will take you there and back.

Although the travails of Fink and Mayhew bear more than a superficial resemblence to the unfortunate Hollywood experiences of Clifford Odets and William Faulkner, Barton Fink 'unfolds within a fictional landscape that has more to do with 1941 Los Angeles as we might imagine it than the city as it actually was. Here the Coens explore how idealism can’t quite cut it in the real world as Barton’s high-falutin' ideas about art and social change sit rather hilariously amidst the philistinism and greed of the studio


While Turiurro and Goodman’s perfectly-judged performances strike exactly the right balance between laughter and psychosis, there is still some degree of genuine despair on display here. The film’s hallucinatory final stages might even be the by-product of a complete mental breakdown, but of course the Coens offer up not a whit of confirmation one way or other. A fascinating journey into the absurd in both comic and existential senses of the word, Barton Fink is a film that restores new relevance to that much-abused critical stand-by ‘Not to be missed.‘ (Trevor Johnston)

From Fri 28: Edinburgh Cameo. From Sun 15 Mar: Glasgow Film Theatre. A special List/Cameo preview screening, free to those bringing along this copy of The List (168), will take place at 1.30pm on Sat 22 Feb at the Cameo.

before teaming up with a gang ofsimilarly parentless wee dinos to undertake the hazardous journey across country to the safety of the Great Valley. Classically drawn and chockful ofedifying moral lessons. this is solid entertainment perfectly tailored to the demands of its target audience of very young children. Glasgow: GFT.

I Last Tango in Paris ( 18) (Bernardo Bertolucci. France ’ltaly. 1973) Marlon Brando. Maria Schneider. 130 mins. A young Parisienne meetsa middle-aged man with whom she develops an increasingly violent and purely sexual relationship. ()ne of the key films ofits decade. Bertolucci‘s powerful drama is a meditation on the expression and communication ofpersonal identity through intense sexualcontact. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

I The Little Gang (U) (Michel Deville. France. 1982) 91 mins. A group of children stowaway on a cross-channel ferry and go exploring the countryside and villages of nothcrn France. But not everyone they come across is just what they seem. An unusual children‘s film. told without dialogue. Glasgow: GFT.

I Little Man Tate (PG) (Jodie Foster. US. 1991) Jodie Foster. Dianne Wiest. Adam Hahn-Byrd. Harry (Tonnick Jr. 99 mins. Seven-year-old Fred Tate is ostracised by his schoolmates and generally misunderstood due to the fact that he is a child genius. While succeeding in engaging both adults and children in the audience . Foster’s directorial debut suffers from thematically one-sided characters psychologist Wiest is purely academic growth. Foster (as the working-class mum) purely emotional. But Hahn-Byrd as the kid is superb. All UCls.

I London Filmmakers Co-opcrativc (18) A programme of films by the Co-op‘s Stan Brakhagc which reveals the extremes of his work . from experiments with light in 1972‘s The Riddle of Lumen to examinations of language and material

in the recently completed Babylon trilogy. Glasgow: GFT.

I Meeting Venus (12) (lstvan Szabo. UK‘USA. 1991 ) Glenn Close. Niels Arestrup. Erland Josephson. 119 mins.Zo1tan Szanto. an unknown Hungarian conductor. is given the chance to conduct Wagner‘s Tannhauser in Paris; lstvan Szabo. a well-known Hungarian director. directed the same Wagner masterpiece in the same European capital a few years ago. From its autobiographical roots. Meeting Venus builds into a metaphor for the squabbling of a unified Europe. but despite the great music. it‘s let down by a tacky and distracting love subplot. Central: MacRobert Arts Centre.

I Merci La Vie ( 18) (Bertrand Biier. France. 199()) Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anouk Grinberg. Gerard Depardieu. Michel Blane. 117 mins. Two French teenagers embark on a road journey that takes them back to the Occupation as well as acrossthe country. Blier's ferocious wit takes on big themes like AIDS and the Holocaust. creating an effective but self-conscious blend ofbuffoonery and sobriety. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Mignon Has Left ( 12) (Francesca Archibugi. Italy/France. 1988) Stefania Sandrelli. Celine Beauvallet. Leonardo Rota. Francesca Antonelli. 90mins. Archibugi's debut feature bringsthe beautiful and self-assured Mignon intothe turbulent middle-class life of her Italian cousins. She becomes the catalyst as family relationships and emotions go through various stages of adolescent unrest. Refreshingly free of stereotypes. Mignon Has Left manages to capture a slice of European life with subtle wit and tenderness. Glasgow: GFT.

I Miller's Crossing(18) (Joel Coen. US. 1990) Gabriel Byrne. Albert Finney. Marcia Gay Harden. John Turturro. Jon Polito.J.E. Freeman. 115 mins. The Coen Brothers‘ latest opus is a predictably quirkyobut-stylish reworking

ofgenre material in this case the gangster flick. Set in an unnamed East-coast city in the 19305. it centres on the falling-out between mob~leader Finney and his right-hand man Byrne when both take a shine to the same broad (Harden). Possibly the most under-rated film of 1991. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

IThc Miracle (15) (Neil Jordan. UKJ’Eire. 1991) Beverly D'Angelo. Donal McCann. Niall Byrne. Lorraine Pilkington. 98 mins. Symbol-laden and myth-like. Jordan‘s latest is the story ofa father (McCann). a son (Byrne) and the odd emotional responses they feel on encountering a mysterious American woman (D‘Angelo) in a small Irish seaside resort. Their already unconventional relationship (the mother being missing. presumed dead) is deepened when they compete for the woman‘s affections. while the son's girlfriend (Pilkington) is alienated by the whole situation. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

I Mississippi Masala ( 15) (Mira Nair. US. 1991) Denzel Washington. Sarita Choudhury. Roshan Seth. 112 mins. Expelled from Uganda. an Asian family face further upheaval in the American South when the daughter falls for a struggling carpet cleaner. An unusual slant on inter-racial hostility from the director of Salaam Bombay.’. which could have benefitted from a little more grit. Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Cameo.

I Mixed Blood ( 18) (Paul Morrissey. USA/France. 1984) Marilla Pera. Richard Ulacia. Angel David. Geraldine Smith. 99 mins. Former Warhol collaborator Morrissey continues to revel in sleaze with this low-life tale ofdrugs. gangsters and murder. At the centre is matriarch Rita La Punta (Pera). whose adolescent hitmen are being picked off by a rival gang. For those who love to laugh at camp dialogue and splattery violence. Glasgow: GFT.

I My Bloody Valentino (18) (George Mihalka. US. 1981 ) Lori Hallier. Paul Kelman. Neil Affleck. 91

The List 14 27 February 199219