I- BELLE 90qu

While the rest oi the Oscar crowd were busy recognising the weighty issues highlighted by this year’s main contenders, a perky little Spanish movie nipped off with the Best Foreign Film Award, bringing a much needed breath oi ieel-good laughter to the t proceedings. Already iéted by critics i and warmly received by audiences i elsewhere in Europe, Belle Epoque ; takes a universally sunny view oi a a turbulent and unhappy period of Spanish history - playing down the bloodshed and Monarchist/Bepublican F rivalries oi the Civil War and opting ' instead ior a domestic sex comedy that brims over with a passion for living and loving.

The idiocy oi the War’s brother-

Willem Dafoe is TS. Eliot, Jeremy Irons is Franz Kafka and Bruce Willis is . . . Thomas Hardy? Yeah, well, Pittsburgh cop or Wessex writer, who can tell the difference? The List can, as we review all the new movies opening over the next fortnight.

‘like a child let loose in a sweet shop, he tastes the pleasures of a widow, a bride- to-be, a lesbian and a virgin’

And so one suspects that there’s more than a little masculine wish- against-brother carnage is quickly iuliilment going on here, as Fernando summed up when the two guards who jumps irom woman to woman with a capture army deserter Fernando (Sanz) permanent look of surprise in his shoot themselves after an unresolved puppy-dog eyes. Like a child let loose : quarrel. Finding refuge in a local in a sweet shop, he tastes the

brothel, Fernando is taken under the pleasures oi a widow, a bride-to-be, a young English lads | film lays bare the cultural wing oi elderly libertine Manolo . i lesbian and a virgin. This is his 1 covered rock ‘n’ roll hits and emotional gulfs (Gomez) and damn” to Pmlong ms personal ‘beue epoque’! a "me 0‘ in the seediest corners of ! between an older Chinese 3 stay when he spies his protector’s tDllI' sexual and romantic freedom that is Hamburg. lain Softley's : immigrant generation of extremely beautiful daughters. More too good to last and, indeed, director film concentrates less on women and their seduced than seducer, he is soon Fernando Trueba does inject a more (he "Mic and "10W 0!) the Amman-Pom daughters- enjoying a bout oi horizontal bonding realistically downbeat note into the $2603::“dJQfiS‘ré’rnhgg 0f a)::::\,2:anvayrrg?ivc {Ind after an odd cross-dressing tango or final few moments. The overall mi ,mdggomuéd mtg] gemimcmam .n I _ an attempt to oiier consolation or an reeling, however, is decidedly upbeat . . t . . y. It ()_\ . . . . . Beams Swan Sulclim,‘ [Mk CM, nevertheless . unintended swim at the very point Strictly Ballroom left us with a and German photographer draws the audience into its "new a "mum husmnd dfowned- swing in our Steps; he” is its Astrid Kirchhm The Hollywood embrace, its Even when guilt at mistreating arthouse equivalent. (Alan Morrison) acting is fab. the music 3 truths resonating with Manolo’s trust drives him to confess Belle Epoque (15) (Fernando Trueba, thunders I119"; and the ? mothers and daughters. all, he discovers that his paradise is Spain, 1992) Jorge Sanz, Fernando Perm“ dew" ‘5 “My complete when the old man blesses Fernan Gomez, Ariadna oil, Penelope repro‘jucc‘i' 5‘” his exploits with a permissiveness Cruz. 108 mins. From Fri 8. Glagsow:

CFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.

I Backbeat (15) In the I The Joy luck Club ( 15) days before Beatlemania , Based on the novel by swept the world. five i Amy Tan. Wayne Wang‘s

fathers and sons. feature. . . that is surely anachronistic.

everywhere. See preview. I (AM) STRIKING DISTANCE

From maestro Rowdy Herrington, the man who brought you what’s undoubtedly one oi the all-time great trash movies with the Patrick Swayze tackiest Roadhouse, this damp squib oi an action movie has to come as something of a disappointment. Fiith generation Pittsburgh cop Willis has been demoted from homicide to the river patrol department aiter he accuses the police department oi trying to cover up the murder of his superior oiiicer iather. llow, two years later, even though uncle Dennis Farina

I Another Girl, Another Planet ( 15) Fringe luminary writer-director Michael Almereyda shot this near-feature on a

floors in the same apartment block. their

pursuit of the eternal

mysteries of feminine caprice lying somewhere


Fisher Price PXL 2000 camera. a discontinued ‘toy' that's been taken up by a number of American indie filmmakers and artists for its unique visual qualities and marginal costs.

The ghostly monochrome results work best on an intimate scale. giving Almereyda‘s East Village chamber drama a dreamy intensity as its boho participants (among them Simple Men‘s enigmatic European Elina Lowensohn) float through a late night haze of romantic pessimism and aching longing. Married Nic (Nic Ratner) and single Bill (Barry Sherman) live on different

between the Leos Carax of Boy Meets Girl and Hal Hartley on downers.

Fascinatineg exploiting the equipment‘s

idiosyncracies. Jim

Denault‘s camerawork transforms the film's 56 minutes into an exploratory passage through hitherto uncharted

visual territory: wintry

NYC tenements acquire an undersea gloom. their denizens as silver and

evanescent as strange fish.

With an evocative score (sadly. minus The Only Ones) it's a curiosly hypnotic experience. so treat your mind‘s eye and discover the Pixelvision thing. (TJ)

has taken over in homicide and put someone behind bars for the crime, Willis remains convinced that a new spate oi killings is the work of the same hand, iinding himseli at loggerheads with the rest of the force while he and new partner Sarah Jessica Parker do a little unauthorised investigation off their own bat.

With a fresh set of loctions to explore, Willis’s talent ior hang-dog underplaying to exploit, and the dramatic situation of having your whole iamin on the force supplying a ready-made set of domestic and proiessional tensions, it’s remarkable that Striking Distance should be as dull as it is. The problem lies with what the iilmmakers do with these elements: answer, not very much. There’s a couple oi car and boat

.9 V


‘K ) K chases, Broocie getting duiied up a lot, a not unexpected iling ’twixt him

‘. . . a couple of car and boat chases, Broocie

and his female partner, but it all goes getting duiied up a lot, for naught because oi a plot that a not unexpected iling works overtime to get nowhere it’s 'twixt him and his

all development, no pay-oii. A snoozer, I’m afraid. (Trevor Johnston)

Striking Distance (18) (Rowdy Herrington, US, 1993) Bruce Willis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dennis Farina. 101 mins. From Fri 15. Glasgow: Ddeon. MGM Parkhead. Edinburgh:

female partner, but it all goes for naught. . .’

.odeon, UCl. Strathclyde: Cannon, iOdeon Ayr, UCls.

Sponsored by BACARDI BLACK

14 The List 8-2] April l994