l l l l


How long before someone publishes a guide to movie guide books? So many are on offer now that it's worth taking time over their selection. as those that boast the biggest number of reviews may not be the best for the watcher‘s tastes. The Time Out Film Guide (Penguin £12) has over 10,000 reviews and is most in tune with The Lisr’s criteria for what makes a good movie. it‘s also far better than most when it comes to foreign films. The Variety Movie Guide 1994 (Hamlyn £12.99) has decent length reviews and more detailed crew credits. but clocks in with ‘only' 6500 entries. The choice for the buff.

Those searching for a stocking filler for a fan rather than an expert need look no further than The line FM Essential Film Guide (Harper Collins £5.99). a snappy. witty look at commercially released movies from the last decade. Simon Rose’s short reviews are followed by limited cast lists. the odd piece of trivia or on- screen gaff. and the only star-rating system I have ever remotely agreed with. Unashamedly populist and handily pocket-sized. it should help with those TV and video shop dilemmas.

The best all-round volume has to be the Radio Times Film And Video Guide (Hodder & Stoughton £14.99). More than l8.()()() films from the silents to Jurassic Park are included. with tight reviews. good cast and crew lists. a genre indication. warnings about sex/violence/bad language. the original UK certificate (an extremely useful innovation for family usage) and a creditable star rating. An appendix includes indices of directors. actors/actresses and alternative titles. At the other end of the scale. the TV Times Film & Video Guide 1994 (Mandarin £5.99) is skimpier in all departments. (Alan Morrison)


', l Most Hollywood heart-throbs complain

at one time or another that their looks make it difficult for them to be taken seriously in more challenging roles. It’s also understandable that producers, with more than one eye on the box office take, would be wary to blemish Mel Gibson’s handsome features and risk disappointing his audience. So it has been left to the actor himself, in his directorial debut, to assume the risk by playing a reclusive man whose badly scarred face is a physical manifestation of the j bitter torment that rages inside him. With one half of his face and body burned by the car crash that ended his professional teaching career, Justin Mcleod has retreated to an isolated house in Maine where he passes the time by painting. Into his life, however, comes Chuck llorstadt (newcomer flick Stahl), who needs a tutor to help him resit the exam that

I would get him into military boarding

1 school and away from his mixed-up family. llere are two lonely figures drawn together for mutual support - one troubled by his future, the other by his past - who bring to the surface the good that lies untapped in each



Something of a bogeyman figure whose disfigurement and secretive ways have stirred smalltown myth and rumour, even Mcleod’s face exhibits an easily recognisable personality split of good and possible evil. llowever, Gibson never allows the material to become emotionally two- dimensional, introducing a key twist - accusations of child abuse - that adds a sense of unease to the formula. llot only a remarkably sensitive and confident debut behind the camera, The Man Without A Face is also Gibson’s finest performance to date.

The Man Without A Face (12) (Mel Gibson, 08, 1993) Mel Gibson, flick Stahl, Fay Masterson. 114 mins. From Fri 19. Glasgow: Odeon, MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh: Odeon

The Man Without A Face: ‘remarkably sensitive’



% Jean-Pierre Melville’s impeccably

i stylish 1962 film noir may not have the

I ground-breaking credibility of

i ; Godard’s ‘A Bout De Souffle’, but it’s a 1

3 much more dangerous and seductive

._ 5 piece of cinema. Alain Delon plays a

cold-as-ice hitman (christened, in a

\ ; suitably Yankee manner, Jeff Costello) ; ; whose mission to kill a club owner ? runs into trouble when he’s witnessed ; 3 in the act, by one of the club’s

I employees.

At one end of things, ‘le Samourai’ is a quintessentially ‘nouvelle vague’ g homage to the American gangster film: shot in wonderfully steely tones of blue and grey, it’s difficult to remember afterwards that it’s in colour at all. But Melville’s

l.e Samourai: ‘lmpeccably stylish film noir' i maStefpiece “lauds “"0 the "103‘

sublime of metaphysical concerns: 3 clinical Costello is likened, through i the title, to the human-as-automaton, l and finds his moral detachment under l siege from the most unlikely of sources. Riven throughout with layers of symbolism, and sustained by faultless i; performances from the entire cast, it’s i hard not to acclaim ‘le Samourai’ as ;' simply a perfect movie. Some may find g the relentlessly controlled pace hard 9 going, but the strength of Melville’s ; iconic image-making renders the ; whole utterly captivating. The final l scene, especially, is a stunning set- i g piece, and sets the cap on the most ? inspired revival of the year. Can’t

recommend it enough. (Andrew Pulver)

: Le Samourai (15) (Jean-Pierre Melville, i France/ltaly 1967) Alain Delon. 95 g l mins. From Thurs 25. Edinburgh: ! 5 Filmhouse.


The ‘children of Paradise’ are, in the ' parlance of the French theatre, those who occupy the highest (and cheapest) seats - what we might call “the Gods’. It’s easy to see why, with this linking of heaven and ordinary people, this celebrated classic has become so identified with French national consciousness, quite apart from the conditions of its production while Paris was under llazi occupation.

The film itself is a superbly melodramatic story of love and loss in the ‘boulevard du crime’, 16th century Parisian theatreland, centring on the enigmatic Garance (Arletty), and her would-be wooers Barrault and Brasseur. The scope of the film is as huge as the emotion it contains, whirling through scene after scene in a triumphant, magnificent procession. (Andrew Pulver)

Les Enfants llu Paradis (PG) (Marcel Carne, France, 1945) From Fri 29 llov. Glasgow: GFT.

spons‘urerl by BACARDI BLACK

16 The List l9 November—2 December 1993