I Tartan Shorts: The 1994 trio of Tartan Shorts receives a one-off cinema screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Thursday 17 November at 6.30pm. Narance, Daddy is Gone A-Hunting and Latin ForA Dark Room premiered at the Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival and will be broadcast on the BBC in the near future. Several of the ﬁlmmakers will be on hand to take questions.
I Mike Alexander: The GFT is also showcasing the recent work of director Mike Alexander throughout November. After establishing himself as one of Scotland‘s leading documentary ﬁlmmakers — and a specialist with sports subjects — Alexander turned his hand to feature-length dramas. This stage of his career began in 1989 with the BBC Screen Two ﬁlm Dreaming, adapted from a story by William Mcllvanney and starring Ewan Bremner as a modern-day Billy Liar. He followed this in 1993 with the ﬁrst ever Gaelic language feature. As An
Eilean, and his latest work, Mairi Mhor also uses Gaelic and English dialogue in its depiction of the life of songwriter Mary McPherson. Alexander and Mairi Mhor writer John McGrath will be present at its screening on Tuesday 29; the short retrospective gets underway with As An Eilean on Saturday 12 at 2pm.
I Scottish Film Retrospective: Scottish ﬁlrnrnaking is well represented at UK-LA, a two-month festival in Los Angeles that celebrates the broad spectrum of British arts. A Scottish Film Retrospective, New Directions in Black British Cinema and a group of restorations from the National Film and Television Archive make up the festival’s British cinema contribution. Scottish ﬁlms being shown to Californians include the award-winning Tartan Short F ran: Kafka 's It 's A ll’onderful Life; The Blue Boy, starring Emma Thompson and Adrian Dunbar; John Grierson’s 1961 Best Short Film Oscar winner Seawards: The Great Ships; David Hayman’s powerful Silent Scream; and Peter Mullan’s excellent First Reels short Close. Other ﬁlms in the programme are Creatures ()fl.ight. Seal/adh, Marooned. The Last Ten Minutes. Tool. A Small Deposit, Rain. Venus Peter. The Girl In The Picture. Another Time, Another Platte. Blue Black Permanent. Tickets For The Zoo, Prague, Play Me Something and two collections of archive shorts.
_ Well travelled
Graduation films can range from surprise Indications of future genius to tedious examples of celluloid ego, but few achieve the sense of polished teamwork seen in the output of the Edinburgh Video Training Course. Established in 1986, the course recruits six young, unemployed people from the Lothians area, giving them substantial experience in various fields that should hold them in good stead when they attempt to enter the industry at large.
This year’s EVTC graduation film, which completes its week-long shoot on Friday 28, is Broadening, a twenty- minute comedy written by erstwhile list scribe and current HFTS student Stephen Chester. It tells of a young waster who, fed up with his parents nagging him to get a job, makes rash boasts about travelling the world. In order to keep up the pretence, he hides in an attic, writing exciting descriptions of foreign lands and using his stamp collection on the envelopes for authenticity. Pretty soon, the media is ready to bail him as a new celebrity travel writer.
A unique aspect of the EVTC end-of- year project has the trainees closely shadowing experienced professionals in areas such as production design, camera, sound and lighting. ‘The trainees can move on from theory and learn more in practice if they have to deal with the problems on the shoot,’ explains producer Catherine Aitken. ‘lt’s really more than just shadowing because they’re under pressure due to the compact size of the crew.’ Aitken’s
.5 s.‘ EVTC: polished teamwork
own ‘shadow’, production manager Jackie Mack, also reckons that this system encourages closer teamwork. ‘Because everyone, including the trainees, has a specific job on this production,’ she says, ‘people can approach others with questions and we’ve all got to think on our feet.’
One of Broadening’s stars is Hooked On Scotland presenter and Para Handy actor Paul Young, who also appeared a few years ago in graduation films by Douglas Mackinnon and Amanda Stewart. He sees the project as a way to ‘put a little back into an industry that’s been good to me,’ as does director Jim Shields, who first met writer Chester when acting as script tutor to the First Heels scheme. ‘At first I was a bit taken aback to hear that professionals would be working on a graduation film,’ says Shields, ‘but I can see the merits now. Hopefully, it will be a shortcut into the industry for the trainees. I had to leave Glasgow when I began in 1981 and work for eight years in England, so it’s good that there’s a course like this up here, giving people a chance on home ground.’ (Alan Morrison)
AHTIFICIAL EYE 100
The amazing growth of world cinema in the video retail market has a lot to do with the perseverance of a handful of distribution companies, with Artificial Eye blazing early trails and still leading the way. The fact that Artificial Eye Video is now celebrating its 100th sell-though release is indeed something to celebrate. It is also rather apt that the centenary title in question is Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours: White - a masterpiece of modern cinema that precisely details the linguistic and cultural problems at the heart of the new Europe. A comedy this may be, but it is no lighter in weight or impact than any of the director’s other work.
. « I. \I. ‘5“ SM» * U
‘ A We Don’tWant To Talk About It
is also this company who distributed such hits as Farewell My Concubine,
Artificial Eye, formed eighteen years ago, continues to release major new titles theatrically, which then make their way to the video market. The company has also built up a tremendous back catalogue of older films, breathing new life into such classics as Les Enfants Du Paradis, Boudu Saved From Drowning and a series of films by Francois Truffaut. France may be their speciality, but it
Tokyo Story, Parsifal and Short Cuts. There’s no resting on the laurels of number 100, however. Catalogue number ART1 D1 is also out this month - Maria Luisa Bemberg’s moving romance We Don’t Want To Talk About It, where denial and love battle as an ageing bachelor decides to marry a young female midget. For an opportunity to win Three Colours: Blue and White videos, see next issue. (AM)
I Made in Hong Kong The second quartet of releases from the specialist label contains several treats. 1f Hammer had ever tried their hand at dubbed kung fu in hokey sets. it might have ended up like Five Venoms (18). which devises an array of martial arts styles for its comic book heroes. There is also virtuoso clowning on show in a pair ofearly Jackie Chan vehicles — Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (18) and Drunken Master (15) — which is more in the slapstick than action tradition: in fact, Chan is the Harold Lloyd of the Eastern underdog pratfall. A far bloodier outcome awaits the good gangsters and undercover cops of A Better Tomorrow II. This may not be the polished touch of the John Woo we’ve come to know, and the resurrection of Chow Yuri-Fat as the original’s twin brother might make Citv Shelters 2 seem credible, but the director does still deliver the most graphic bullet holes in the business. (Made in Hong Kong £12.99 each)
I The Blue Kite (PG) A tale ofeveryday life, suffused with political and social relevance, Tian Zhangzhang’s magniﬁcent movie brings home to a Western audience the ever-changing recent history of China in a far more emotionally direct manner than, say. Farewell My Coiufuhine and To Live. By concentrating on simple domestic life — and particularly on the
coming-of—age of one child — the ﬁlm captures the human dilemmas of brotherly betrayal and paranoia created by epic political events. (lCA £13.99)
I Appleseed (15) There’s more titan a touch of ambiguity in the futuristic world depicted in this latest Manga release — Utopia or urban prison? So, for some viewers, there may be more sympathy for the terrorists trying to blow the city’s central computer than the techno-police who are out to stop them. These moral aspects give a twist of
.interest to some routine
animation. although it has to be said that the hardware and body armour is particularly well drawn. (Manga £10.99) I The Wedding Banquet (15) Aug Lee‘s surprise arthouse hit is virtually impossible to dislike. Cultural and sexual problems rear their heads when Wai-Tung. a Taiwanese yuppie making good in New York, is pressurised by his parents into marrying. Despite the fact that he’s happily shacked up with lover Simon, he agrees to go through the motions with illegal immigrant Wei- Wei — a plan that should beneﬁt all concerned. until Wai-Tung’s parents arrive on the next plane. The ﬁlm’s comic charm and gentle sense of romance should make it irresistible even for mainstream viewers. (Mainline £15.99)
I Bodies, Best And Motion (15) Twentysomething romantic complications as experienced by Bridget
Fonda, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz and Phoebe Cates, this is maybe just a little too self-satisﬁed for its own good. On every level — acting, writing, directing -— there’s a conscious striving to be cool and noticeably hip, which does get in the way of enjoyment. Mind you, it’s observations on modem ‘slacker’ life do hit home. (Electric £15.99)
I The Dark Side Of love (18) Jezebel’s most erotically charged release to date, this psycho-sexual drama about a reclusive teenage boy’s awakenings is lifted by two strong central performances. It’s at its best when the fantasies are being enticineg recounted rather than straightforwardly shown. (Jezebel £12.99)
I La Terra Trema (U) A genuine masterpiece, Luchino Visconti‘s portrait of a Sicilian fishing village has a strong political dimension that is in no way naive. The efforts of one family to break away from poverty is followed by working class jealousy and suspicion. with an unsentimentally tragic air shrouding the whole. Shot in dialect using non- professional actors, it has a quality of honesty that has rarely been n'valled. (Connoisseur £15.99) I Kevin Costner has one ofhis better turns as a convict on the run with a young boy in tow in A Perfect World (15, Warner); and the late Federico Fellini brings an outrageously camp vision to the worlds of Satyricon (18) and Home (15) (MGM/UA).
20 The List 4—17 November 1994