I The Blue Kite ( IS) At the moment. it would appear that the only cinema that really matters is coming out of the Far East. Here is another case in point. In l‘)53 Beijing. a couple of newly-weds move into a bustling courtyard where their young son is a first-hand witness to the turmoils domestic and national -— caused by Mao's political reforms. Genuine brotherly affection is
Oskar for the Oscar, as the Academy Awards get ready to hear a round of thanks from Hanks. See them before the big night, with the help ofle List’s review round-up of the next fortnight’s Scottish releases.
AIDS and gay consciousness as far as is
possible in a Hollywood
movie in the current climate with this courtroom drama about a lawyer suing his former employers for wrongful dismissal. Tom Hanks reveals all the potential that we knew he had. even in his most lightweight comedy roles. while the omnipresent Denzel Washington provides another solid turn as the
I I— THE PELIGAN BRIEF
As Hollywood churns out its latest . addition to the legal eagle bandwagon, you can’t help thinking
The Pelican Brief: ‘unlikely and unenthralling plot'
a forgettable piece of hokum based on an unlikely and unenthralling plot.
and implicates the highest levels of
unsolicited homework hits some raw
man who takes on the case despite his personal prejudices. Philadelphia should be applauded for avoiding the easy cliches of death-bed sensationalism. See feature.
I Schindler’s List 1 l5) ()skar Schindler was a German industrialist and Nazi Party member who risked everything to secure the safety of his employees during WW2. Steven Spielberg‘s magnificent film captures
broken by forced ‘comradeship'. while paranoia festers as friends inform on one another at the supposedly opposite end of the political spectrum from McCarthyism.
Director Tian Zhuangzhuang delivers his message in the style of a mother-and-son drama. and it is when the all- itnportant family unit is splintered that the movie has most impact. More direct than the
the enigmatic nature of
3 this unlikely hero. while
i creating another psychologically complex
, figure in Ralph l‘iennes‘s
perfectly realised SS officer. Words can barely express the emotional and artistic heights that Sr/ii/n/lt'ris l.i\I reaches: it is simply one of the best films ever made. See preview.
metaphorical approach of many contemporary (‘hinese films. lllt’ Blue Kile is interesting as an alternative take on the same historical period as Farewell My (.‘a/it'irlririe but. for many viewers. will be the more emotionally resonant and approachable of the two. See preview.
I Philadelphia 1 IS)
Jonathan Demme takes
fairytale figure. A tiny
1 mutant baby. he‘s born into a rat-infested
i household before being
taken away for experimentation. When he escapes. however. he finds himselfwandering wide eyed and innocent through a cruel. inhuman world in search of his parents. l)ave liorthw ick renders both flesh and plasticine actors puppet-like. If you saw it on ’l‘\’ at Christmas. see ll again at the (ii-'l‘. because it‘s a gem of British animation.
I The Secret Adventures Of Tom Thumb r 12) linter the post-industrial nightmare world of our animated hero Tour. more like Lynch's lz'rawr/ieurl offspring than any
16 The List 25 February ll) March l‘)‘)4
that what works as a disposable holiday read becomes a bit of a plod as a ‘thriller’ clocking up over 140 minutes. The big-screen adaptation of John Grisham’s The Firm was flabby in the middle, and his Pelican Brief is anything but short. Even in the hands of Alan J. Pakula — the thriller veteran
who brought us Presumed Innocent and Klute - this Julia Roberts vehicle can’t shrug off the accusation that it’s
When two Supreme Court judges are assassinated, New Orleans law student Darby Shaw (Roberts) writes a speculative brief that names an industrialist as the man behind it all
government. But what began as an amusing diversion turns nasty as her
nerves and leaves a trail of death around her. Afraid of everyone, including the FBI, Oarby turns to Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington), an investigative reporter who may be the only person who can keep her alive. Unlike the novel, the film introduces the contents of the brief fairly early on, releasing the audience far too easily from one narrative hook and turning the proceedings into nothing more than a drawn-out chase movie. Washington’s character also comes on the scene prematurely, perhaps so that his beefed-up presence can help Roberts, in her much-needed return to the spotlight, carry the weight of this overlong movie. And despite the in- fighting between the FBI, CIA and the White House, which renders the US Government ridiculous and faintly immoral, the sheer implausibility of the case at the story’s core means this programme filler only has the nip of a chihuahua rather than the rottweiler bite of the director’s masterpiece, All The President’s Men. (Alan Morrison)
The Pelican Brief (12) (Alan J. Pakula, US, 1993) Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard. 141 mins. From Fri 25. General release.
i_ LA GRISE
Written and directed by Goline Serreau - whose facility for cute domestic farce resulted a few years back in the megabuck Hollywood remake of her Trois Rommes Et Un Couffin (Three Men And A Baby) - La Crise promises the sharp eye and winning charm that she also displayed in the immensely popular Romuald And Juliette. It’s a story about a man who wakes up one morning to find that his wife and job have both left him, thereby offering up a fistful of ultra-contemporary issues: divorce, insecurity, family and communication (or the lack of it).
In the end, it’s the last of these that proves the film’s most significant subject and plot-motor. Victor (Vincent Lindon), the unlucky Parisian at the centre of things, tries time after time to find some sympathy among a gallery of obnoxious and self- absorbed friends. Only Michou (Patrick Timsit), a soft-voiced simpleton he meets in the street, shows any disposition to listen; but it’s only when Victor shrugs off his instinctive reaction that Michou is an annoying git that his character begins to grow. Other people have problems
With the director, however, playing
sponsored by BACARDI BLACK
La Crise: ‘playing for farce-style Iaughs’
for farce-style laughs, Victor’s personal disasters are, to any objective observer, a pretty weary ride. One or two flashes of inspiration apart — including some spectacular landscapes - you can’t help feeling that Serreau has got her eye on a transatlantic hook-up, and the upshot is unavoidably anodyne. (Andrew Pulver)
La Grise (15) (Celine Serreau, France, 1993) Vincent lindon, Patrick Timsit, Annick Alame. 95 mins. From Fri 25: Glasgow Film Theatre. From m 11 ; Edinburgh Cameo.
in Bertolucci's own US-
l minute cut. this most
welcome of reissues
i showcases one of the most
visual style that still looks
despite the ravages of the ’ intervening years. Shot by Vittorio Storaro. designed f by l-‘erdinando Scarfiotti
' (both regular Bertolucci
on their achievements
period drama gives celluloid expression to the
between the political and
. conforming to the dictates
this ‘conformist' is all
The Oonformist: ‘a masterpiece of visual style’
Showing for the first time
influential films ofthe 1970s. a masterpiece of
fresh and contemporary
collaborators to this day. who also subsequently built Hollywood careers
here). this remarkable
empty rhetoric of Fascism and draws disturbing links
The memory of a pubescent experience behind him. Jean-Louis Trintignant‘s protagonist seeks to sublimate his own homosexuality by
of 30s ltaly's Fascist state.
marrying dull wife
Stefania Sandrelli and agreeing to carry out the assassination of a former philosophy professor. now living in Paris. on behalf
of the Party. Framed in
flashback. Bertolucci‘s story unfolds the man's underlying sexual insecurities and the facile display of hypocritical moralising that barely keeps his desires in check. Like the lavish Fascist architecture around him.
surface. which sets off Bertolucci's stylistic extravagance — the exaggerated colour. gliding camera 1 movements. oddly framed 1 composition - to perfection. (Trevor Johnston)
The (‘anjin‘nzlxt (l8) (Berna/Ila Berta/urn} ltalv/l-‘rarit‘e/(Iermarrv. [970) Jean-Louis i 'l'ri'nlignant. Stefania Sandrelli. (iaslmtc ‘ Mose/tin. [)mninique Sam/a. [/5 mins. From Fri 4.‘ (Ilusgmv Film Theatre.