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I The Cement Garden (l8) Four orphaned children regress into a self-contained family unit when their parents die and they refuse to acknowledge this to the world at large. Disturbing 'themes of death and incest are intelligently rendered by director Birkin and by ﬂawlessly tender performances by the teenage cast. Birkin’s casting of his own niece and son may add to the tabloid nature of the content, but should not overshadow the fact that this is a supremely eloquent adaptation of Ian McEwan's shocking debut novel, well worthy of the prizes it has collected at various European ﬁlm festivals. See preview. I lllrty Weekend (18) A surprisingly faithful version - both in content and tone — of Helen Zahavi’s acclaimed debut novel, given that the man behind the lens is Death ~Wish maestro Michael Winner. After a shockingly poor opening. the ﬁlm shifts up a gear when our heroine, Bella, decides that enough is enough and embarks on a seaside orgy of murder beginning with her Peeping Tom neighbour. As the corpses of the male nasties pile higher. it becomes clear that this is not a straightforward vigilante kill-a-thon, but a feminist revenge fantasy taken to extremes. Certain scenes are offensive. but necessary; however, the shoddy technical quality of the ﬁlm’s lighting, "Editing and soundtrack cannot be forgiven. See feature. 1. Dragon (15) Despite his relatively short life — he died at the age of 32 - Bruce Lee had a lasting effect on the martial arts, not only in movies, but also with his specially devised technique of Jeet Kune Do. The big screen
A dirty weekend in Brighton with Michael Winner: not perhaps one’s first choice for a holiday break. Instead, plan your cinema visits as The List reviews the ﬁlms opening in Scotland over the next two weeks.
is the natural place for Lee’s biography to play out. as he was a man who came alive for the camera. While glossing over some of the juicier aspects. particularly the mystery surrounding his death in the bed of his mistress. this is a hugely entertaining movie that succeeds on many levels: as an exciting action movie. as a socially relevent interracial love story, and as a tale of a man struggling with his destiny ﬁltered through centuries of oriental myth. Newcomer Jason Scott Lee is superb in the role of his namesake, ably coping with both the ﬁght sequences and those scenes that throw more light on the man behind the kicks and punches. See preview.
l True llomance (18) Hollywood’s hottest homme du jour, Quentin Tarantino. delivers an electric script that even director Tony (Top Gun, Days Of Thunder) Scott can't deflate. Comic bookstore assistant Clarence (Christian Slater) meets. beds and weds novice hooker Alabama (Patricia Arquette) within a matter of hours, but soon the love-birds ﬁnd themselves on the run with a suitcase of Grade A cocaine. While Clarente and Alabama work out their own twisted deﬁnition of romance, the spotlight ﬂicks back and forth over the surrounding characters, a succession of to-die-for cameos
But, as you might expect with Tarantino. the star of the show is the script and the set-piece exchanges of dialogue that become edge-of—the-seat material in their own right. The epitome of pulp ﬁction and disposable pop culture for the fast food generation. Way to go! (AM)
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The Piano: ‘exceptionally fine’
Sex is integral to both our daily vocabulary and to the language of cinema. So it is startling to watch a film which focuses quite explicitly on the sexuality and erotic tensions within a triangular relationship while giving the protagonists no sexual vernacular to express these feelings. Ada (Holly Hunter) has none as she has been wilfully mute since early childhood. All her feelings are expressed through the piano which she takes with her when sent from Shetland with her young daughter
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Bette Mldler dons lien Dodd-style false teeth for this highly costumed comic fairy-tale. She plays one of a coven of American witches, the Sanderson sisters, who find themselves one night dangling at the end of a 17th century rope in Salem, Massachussetts, after putting the hex on young Thackeray Blnx, doomed to live in a cat’s body for all eternity. The action flips forward 300 years - to Hallowe’en, naturally - where thirteen-year-old Max (0|an Kata) is making moves on high-school belle Alison (Vanessa Shaw).
You can guess the rest: after being told never to go near the local haunted house, Alison, Max and kid sister Dani (accompanied by the cat Binx) promptly break in, raise the witches from the dead, and then spend the rest of the movie in flight from the gruesome threesome who are searching for ever—more succulent
(Anna Paquin) to an arranged marriage in 19th century New Zealand.
Arriving at the other side of the world, they are stranded on a beach, miles from the farm which Stewart (Sam Heill), Ada’s unknown betrothed, is hacking out of the virgin bush. Incapable of expressing or comprehending any feelings, Stewart forces Ada to leave her piano on the beach. Which is where it would have . stayed, had their illiterate neighbour, Baines (Keitel) not bought it from Stewart and brought it home to his shack. Desperate for her piano, Ada strikes a bargain with Balnes - she will give him piano lessons in payment ; for the instrument’s return.
The Piano is dominated by Ada’s silence and her demanding glare. It pierces both the Victorian gloom of Stewart’s house and Baines’ clumsy fumblings for expression. Hunter’s free-ranging performance, which ably extends to playing the piano, is the fulcrum between Keitel’s forceful savagery and Heill’s savage reticence. Startling though the lack of sexual vernacular may be, it is no surprise that Jane Campion has extracted performances of such power from these three that they have no need of it. An exceptionally fine and beautifully made film. (Thom Dibdin)
The Piano (15) (Jane Campion, Australia/New Zealand, 1993) Holly Hunter, Sam Helll, Harvey Keitel. 120 mins. From Fri 29. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Cameo, UCI.
iiocusPocus: ‘pliinty of gags'
youths to give themselves immortality. The story fairly cracks along, as the kids outwit their pursuers time after time, with plenty of gags to keep the whole tamin reasonably amused, while Shaw makes a sparky enough Pc heroine as she bails the less-than- competent Max out of one sticky situation after another.
Midler delivers her customary BIG . performance, with steady support from Sarah Jessica Parker (from Honeymoon in Vegas), but the graveyard humour never manages the sharpness of The Addams Family. Moderate special effects and the occasional light-show relieve the gloom, but as teen pics go, it’s a pretty slushy affair. (Andrew Pulver)
Hocus Pocus (PG) (Kenny Ortega, US, 1993) Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, than Katz. 91 mins. From Fri 29. Glasgow: Odeon. Edinburgh: Odeon. All Bills.
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IiIIIIIIIIII runes COLOURS:BLUE
Blue: ‘a fill of profound beauty’
The ﬁrst part of Kieslowski’s symbolic tn'logy. which takes its titles from the colours of the French flag and its themes from the three central ideas of the French Revolution — Liberty, . Equality. Fraternity — has Juliette Binoche as a
; young woman freeing ; herself from grief and ' memories of the past.
Julie is the sole survivor
‘ of a car crash that kills her
composer husband and her only daughter. She
‘ attempts to cut herselfoff from her friends, from any
sense of affection and from her husband's music; but her head is ﬁlled with broken fragments of his last. unﬁnished composition. a concerto to celebrate European uniﬁcation, due to have been played simultaneously in twelve capital cities.
The expressive use of colour; the slow, unstoppable progression of the music to its completed climax; the director‘s meticulous attention to detail, focussing on the slightest tremble of a lower lip to signify deep grief— all combine to make Blue a
rare cinematic achievement. an
intellectually stimulating ﬁlm of true artistic weight. But Kieslowski’s ﬁlms are also emotionally satisfying, working as intricate portraits of people as individuals and people as they relate to others
Central to Blue is the performance by Juliette
Binoche which draws
deep from the emotional well inside a character whose preference for, and then rejection of, isolation shapes the ﬁlm’s narrative. Blue. a ﬁlm of profound beauty, surely raises Binoche to the highest international level of her craft. (Alan Morrison)
Blue (/5) (Krzvsztof
K ieslowski, F rance, I 993) Juliette Binoche, Benoit Regent, Charlotte Very. [00 mins. From Mon I Nov: Edinburgh
22 The List 22 October—4 November 1993