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While much of this year’s Film Festival emphasises the American independents as a source of inspiration, Scottish filmmakers could do worse that take a glance above and to the right in order to learn a thing or two from the Scandinavians. A group of countries with relatively small populations, they have nevertheless made a relentless assault on the
. Oscars and the international arthouse
box office. In recent years, the more popular appeal of Scandinavian movies has become more obvious, and the likes of House of Angels has broken down audience preconceptions of stuffy period dramas filled with chilly northern angst.
Fans of the above movie should check out fellow Swedish offering Dreaming of llita (Cameo 1, Sun 15, 6.15pm), a wicked comedy about death, senility and the family that Tom Selleck’s Folks could only hope to be. When Bob’s wife dies, he goes off in search of the lost love of his life - a Rita ilayworth lookalike - with his daughter, her husband, their daughter and infant son and a hitchhiker in close pursuit. Genuinely funny, it’s a road movie that has meaningful things to say about cross—generation relationships.
Dreaming of ill
llorway gives us Stella Polaris (Cameo 1, Tue 17, 2pm; Cameo 3, Thurs 19, 8.45pm), a surreal, poetic vision of a community fractured by llazi occupation during World War ll. Virtually free of dialogue, it has some of the most impressive individual shots I have ever seen. Other scenes, showing the graphic slaughter of animals, work as a metaphor for a way of life hacked to pieces, but may repel some viewers. From Iceland comes The Men’s Choir (Cameo 2, Mon 16, 5.30pm), a slow-burning tale of a group of singers on tour in Sweden and Germany in memory of a recently deceased member. its warm humour and wonderful singing will win over the most stubborn critic. Other screenings - including some in the children’s and documentary sections - help build up a sense of the wide variety of work that is going on under the Scandinavian banner, and provides Edinburgh with a fulfilling festival. (AM)
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The out-and-out commercialism of most of the Mexican film industry meant that the country was under- represented at the world’s film festivals for several years. However, with the Mexican Institute of Cinematographers becoming operational in the late 1980s, a new generation of filmmakers has been able to pour its talent into a wide range of productions. What is immediately noticeable about the Mexican films at the EIFF is, first of all, the diversity of styles and, secondly, their refusal to shy away from socially relevant issues. Francisco Athie’s Lolo (Cameo 3, Tue
17, 8.45pm; Cameo 1, Wed 25, 6.30pm) is a gripping portrait of moral decline. Teenager Dolores (nicknamed Lolo) loses his job after spending five days in hospital following a mugging. In a narrative shift that recalls Crime and Punishment, he kills the sister of the local moneylender but allows suspicion to fall on someone else. lloberto Sosa gives a wonderful performance as the doe-eyed boy whose sense of right and wrong is eroded by a violent twist of fate.
Sosa also features in Dana ltotberg’s Angel De Fuego (Cameo 1, Mon 16, 6.30pm; Cameo 3, Wed 18, 8.45pm) , which tells the tale of a young trapeze artist who is expelled from a tacky circus when she refuses to abort the baby of her now-dead father. Falling in with a troupe of evangalist puppeteers, she searches for the forgiveness and salvation from God that their texts preach. Both Angel De Fuego and Lolo dwell on themes of lost innocence, suggesting that cinematic happy endings are themselves lust false hopes.
Elsewhere in the strand there is the startling vampire variation Oronos, AIDS-aware Don Juan comedy Solo Don Tu Pareia, and Gabriel lietes's El Bulto, the story of a man who emerges from a coma twenty years after he was hit by the state police, only to find he has to reassess modern society. A metaphor for many things, not least the recent history of Mexican cinema. (AM)
I Passion Fish After his complete retrospective at the l99l ElFF. it‘s a pleasure to welcome John Sayles latest ﬁlm. doubly welcome because it may well be his ﬁnest work to date. Oscar-nominated Mary McDonnell is a soap opera star in a wheelchair after a car accident. who retires to her backwater home town to recuperate under the watchful eye of nurse Alfre Woodard. She in turn is beset by demons of her own, and the pair's path towards peace of mind threads touchineg through self-recrimination and the salving powers of the Cajun environment. lncisively written. brilliantly performed. it’s a wise and humane achievement. An American classic. period. (Tl)
Passion Fish. Cameo 1. Sun 15. 10.45pm; Film/muse 1. Mon [6. [.30pm.
Eraser/read when a tiny mutant baby is born into a rat-and-bug infested household. Taken away by men in black coats, our Tom escapes experimentation only to wander wide-eyed and innocent through a cruel, inhuman world in search of his parents. This hour-long gem, directed by Dave Borthwick of the bolexbrothers studio in Bristol. uses its technique to render both flesh and plasticine actors puppet-like. One of the best entries in an impressive Post Ofﬁce McLaren Award line-up of new British animation. (AM)
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb. F ilmhouse 2. Tue I 7. 5.45pm.
The List l3-l9 August l993 59