Told in flashback by a sad, drunken Inuit man, Vincent Ward’s sweeping romantic epic begins with a chance meeting between an eleven-year-old Inuit boy, Avik, and ambitious RAF map-maker Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin), for whom Avik acts as a guide. When Avik falls ill, the fatherly Walter arranges for his transfer to a Montreal sanatorium, where he meets half-Indian, half-French girl Albertine (Anne Parillaud). Separated soon afterwards, Avik and Albertine’s paths are destined to cross again and again, most significantly during World War II. Avik (Jason Scott Lee) is now a bomber pilot with the RAF, while Albertine works in London for her lover and boss, Walter (Bergin), studying the aerial photographs which the air crew bring back from their night time raids. Few filmmakers would have the

nerve or imagination to conceive, let alone realise such waywardly inspired ideas as a series of romantic trysts arranged through unauthorised aerial photos of famous london landmarks. Ward’s unique vision, however, embraces everything from the obscene fire-bombing of Dresden to the unadulterated romanticism of Avik and Albertine’s making love on top of a floating barrage balloon. Like the shifting ice floes of the Arctic, Ward’s film is in a constant state of flux, sounds and images echoing across time to form layer on layer of meaning. A technically astonishing and profoundly moving exploration of the idea that our lives are, literally, mapped out in advance. (lligel Floyd)

Map Of The Human Heart (Vincent Ward, 1993, H Australia/Canada/France/GB) Patrick Bergin, Anne Parillaud, Jason Scott Lee, Ben Mendleson. 106 mins. From Sun 20. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.


Like many latterday John Landis pictures, this promises much but fatally fails to deliver. While ‘An American Werewolf in London’ showed a good deal oi ilair in putting a fish- out-of-water spin on a comically- undercut horror genre piece, the notion that we might profitably return to the same terrain with this latest offering, waggishly dubbed ‘A French Vampire in Pittsburgh’, aroused not a little anticipation before the actual evidence arrived to disappoint us. llikita’s Anne Parillaud is inspired casting as Marie, a lonely vampire who haunts the city streets dining only on the kind of scuzzball who won’t be missed. As an undying being, she’s been hurt by falling in love with mere mortals in the past, yet it’s about to happen again when she finds herself

involved with undercover cop Joe Gennaro (Anthony LaPaglia) when their paths cross in hunting down mafia boss Sal Macelli (Robert Loggia). After a little nibble on the neck from Marie, he has discovered that being undead is the best career move a crime kingpin can possibly make.

By mixing the central romance with a touch of vampiric existential angst and ample amounts oi psychotic blood-letting, it all ends up a bit of a mish-mash - nowhere near as much of a piece as the earlier ‘Werewolf’ - while rather ilat performances from Parillaud and LaPaglia certainly don’t make matters any better.

(Trevor Johnston)

Innocent Blood (15) (John Landis, US, 1992) Anne Parillaud, Anthony LaPaglia, Robert Loggia. 113 mins. From Fri 25. Glasgow: MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: MGM. All UGls.


_ Julio Medem’s debut feature is one of those films that defy categorisation. Part historical epic, part surreal fantasy, part lyrical love story, Vacas ranges across three generations of Spanish history, from the Garlist wars of the 18305 to the Spanish Civil War itself.

Set in the Basque countryside, early scenes show a grandfather, wounded in the wars, returning home to sit and paint cows: his family meanwhile embark on rural vendettas with their neighbours. The images of cows are somehow symbolic of the state of Spain - at one point they bleed, at another they lose their feet and as the animals themselves succumb to the power of the paintings, Medem’s film evokes the kind oi primitive, musical forces represented by traditional folk figures erected in nearby woods.

Mysterious, haunting and resonant, Vacas will work some people’s patience very hard. but brings its own rewards. (AP)

Vacas (15) (Julio Medem, Spain, 1992) Emma Saurez, Carmelo Gomez, Ana Torrent. 96 mins. From Mon 21. Glasgow: GFT.

Vacas: ‘haunting and resonant’

i I EIFF: The 47m

Edinburgh lntemational Film Festival kicks off on 1-1 August with Kenneth Branagh‘s lively adaptation of Shakespeare‘s Much Ado About Nothing. starring the man himself. his Oscar-winning missus. and a quartet of Americans —- Denzel Washington. Robert Sean Leonard. Michael Keaton and Keanu Reeves. Between the opening gala and the final awards ceremony on Sunday 2‘) August. the festival will screen hundreds of features. documentaries and shorts at the city's Filmhouse and Cameo cinemas.

Highlights include special focuses on recent work from Scandinavia and Mexico. as well as masterclass sessions with James Bond production designer Ken Adams and Martin Scorsese's longtime editor. Thelma Schmnniaker. The New British Films‘ strand is beefed up this year with offerings from Ken Loach (Raining Stones). Elaine Proctor ( Friends). and 25- year-old National Film School graduate Danny Cannon (The Young Americans. starring Harvey Keitel). The ever- popular American lndependents' strand features the latest from John Sayles (Passion FIX/l). Allison Anders (Mi Vii/u Lora) and Anthony Minghella (Mr ll’mtrlt'rjir/ ).

I Pass the sickbag: Refusing to have the audience outgrossed by Peter Jackson‘s recently

released gore nieisterwork

Bruinrlr'ml. the Allanpark cinema in Stirling is offering free bartbags to ticket-holders for the film‘s one-off late-night screening on Saturday 26 June at llpm. The specially commissioned souvenir should save the management a few pounds in the long run. in redecoration cost if nothing else.

I African lecture: Asa late addition to the Edinburgh Filmhouse's fascinating African Film Festival. the first of its kind in Scotland. Kwesi ()wusu programmer of the Festival and writer/co- director of Ann: - will give a talk on developments in Africa's lilm industries at 4pm on Saturday 1‘) June in the hall opposite Cinema 2. Based now in Britain and currently working on a documentary for Channel 4. the Ghana-born ()wusu is an expert on Africa's struggle to represent itself on screen and the storytelling techniques used by the continent's filmmakers. (AM)

The List is June- I July 199315