I Glasgow Film Fund: With its name soon to be known across the world on account of its credits on S/rallmr (frat-e , the Glasgow Film Fund has recently struck another deal that will consolidate; its international statrrs. Distributors Smart Egg signed a major cash package for a dark thriller called The Near Room. due to begin shooting in 1 Glasgow in late February. after the GFF; pledged £l50.000 for the project. The 1 ﬁlm. which stars Adrian Dunbar. will i be directed by David Hayrnan. of Silent Scream and Cardiac Arrest fame. "lire Near Room is only the second project to have received backing from the Glasgow Film Fund. and to have an 3 international distributor come in on a project at such an early stage is a signiﬁcant achievement.‘ said Steve lnch. head ofeconornic development at Glasgow City Council. one of the GFF's funders. The ﬁlm's producer. Len Crooks. added: ‘Having a distribution deal signed before The Near Roam goes into production is a tremendous vote of conﬁdence in the script and in the creative team. lt should also give heart to other independents seeking the elusive deal.‘ I flew Visions: Last year‘s New Visions festival in Glasgow showcased international ﬁlm and video work. the best of which is being re-screened in special packages at the Glasgow Film Theatre. First up. on Tuesday 31
January at 6.30pm. is a compilation of some of New Visions‘ Scottish input. Included in this programme are Gillian Steel‘s Chemicals & Il/rmrinanrs. Drew Mulholland‘s Smrmamlntlisr. David
Oswald's My Burning Bus/r. Louise
Crawford’s Claiming 'l'errirm'y. Mike Kelly‘s Serious Fun. Michael Curran‘s Disclaimer. Chris Byme‘s Sensaria and Dead Red by Stephanie Smith and Edward Stewart. After the screening, some of the ﬁlmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work.
I Shallow Grave: After a spectacular opening in Scotland and London‘s West End (breaking ﬁve house records), Scottish thriller S/ra/lmr (irar'e receives its American premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, held in Salt Lake City. Utah. under the auspices of Robert Redford. Also screening at the Festival is Peter Capaldi’s double BAETA-winning short. Franz, Kafka 's Its A Wander/id Life. This is the ﬁrst time that Scottish
- ﬁlms have played at Strndanee.
I Dead By Dawn 95: Due to difﬁculties
3 obtaining prints. the line-up for
Scotland‘s festival of fun and fear. Dead By Dawn. has undergone a radical shake-up. Screenings take place
at the Edinburgh Filrnhouse from
around midnight on Saturday 1 1 February. and should include the following: The Legend ()fHe/l House, The Thing. 'I‘enebrae and Beef. with high hopes that the latest Stephen King adaptation. The ll/Iangler. which stars Robert Englund. will also be on show. Other highlights include a personal appearance by Hel/raiser‘s Doug Bradley and a workshop by sfx specialists lrnage Animation. Further details and tickets are available on 0131 553 5859 (24 hour answerphone). by post from I l4/4 Springfield. Leith. E116 SSD. or over the counter from AKA Comics in Glasgow.
HEEL— 1 spirii
The Beltane Fire Festival has. in recent years. become one of the liveliest entries in the capital‘s diary. tapping . into a seam of fresh interest in shamanism and pagan beliefs.
Beltane is one of the key components in Morag McKinnon‘s ﬁlm. 3. Begun as a short project at the Scottish Film School. 3 has now developed into a 90- 3 minute feature that has been shot and edited to the cutting copy stage for a mere £20000; but the same amount again is needed for post-production. and that‘s the sum that is proving elusive.
McKinnon, whose previous work includes the brilliant Diary ()f/l Madman. the short which helped her graduate with a First from Edinburgh I College Of Art. has a strong visual eye } that frequently reveals an 4 unconventional outlook on life. Perhaps! it's this unconventionality that will
prove to be 3‘s best quality as a ﬁlm. while also providing its biggest
stumbling block in terms of funding. All the traditional funding bodies have turned McKinnon down. something she claims to understand. recognising that her script was really more ofan ‘elaborate synopsis‘ and that such an experimental work. coming without an established producer in tow. could scare
1 off those hoping for something more
recognisany commercial. Not that 3 is
r by any means inaccessible.
The story follows a graphic designer. not the most pleasant of chaps at the
; beginning. who ﬁnds himself with the ; opportunity of saving a life after a
series of weird dreams and hallucinations. It was McKinnon‘s own research into shamanism that provided the starting point. ‘lt's a new way of seeing life that I think is more liberating than a materialistic world view.‘ she says. ‘lt‘s to do with opening tip. showing more compassion and dealing with your fears.‘
The ﬁlm. which stars Neall Greig
5 Fulton. Tam Dean Burn and Jacqui
Joyce (from Scottish band Mouth Music). should be well received on the festival circuit once completed. Further information is available from Morag McKinnon at 6 Royal Crescent. Edinburgh (0l31 557 1715). (AM)
Winner of the Palme d’Dr at Cannes in 1951 and the first of three new titles added to Electric Pictures’ superb luis Bunuel Collection, Viridiana (15, £15.99) is famous for its once scandalous parody of The Last Supper. However, its anti-clerical targets are much wider, as it shows the impracticality and pointlessness of searching for personal salvation when the moral plan is set out by the Christian establishment. A young novice (Sylvia Pinal) visits her uncle’s estate and is seduced by him; his guilt causes his suicide, and so she sets about using his riches to aid the local beggars.
Pinal opts for the other end of the saintly spectrum, appearing as the Devil in Simon Of The Desert (12, £12.99), and again Bunuel shows the poor to be an opportunistic and ungrateful lot. It’s a situation that is almost Pythonesque: such is holy man Simon’s faith in God (who never seems to give him anything in return) that he spends his life standing on a column in a wasteland - literally putting his
Simon of the Desert
Bunuel’ devotion on a pedestal. Unfortunately, also like a Python sketch, this 45- minute long comedy fizzles out to a lame ending.
Dunuel’s satirical drive in The Exterminating Angel (12, £15.99) may not be as fine as in, say, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, but his attack on middle-class pretensions is still masterly. A group of dinner guests find that they are unable to leave the room in which they ate; soon their polite small-talk descends to insults and they become the great unwashed that they so despise. A brilliant depiction of how breaches in social etiquette become the breakdown of society’s laws, this is classic Cinema of the Absurd. (AM)
I London (U) This ﬁctionalised documentary may open with a shot of Tower Bridge. but it is as far from a tourist‘s view of the capital as possible. instead. writer-director Patrick Keiller constructs a very British ‘story‘ about a man visiting his friend Robinson and joining him on three journeys across a literary and intellectual London. The background is IRA attacks and the last General Election. but this is more than the portrait of a single city. it‘s an insight into 90s Britain. (Academy £15.99)
I The Legend Of The Kings ( l5) Tire first two instalments of this six-part epic show a perfect blend of strong story and good drawing. The plot centres on the four Ryudo brothers. whose ordinary lives in modern Japan are about to be transformed. Episode 1 succinctly introduces us to the main characters and sets up the conflict; Episode 2 delves into their past and tightens the contemporary political intrigue. (Manga £13.99) I Season Of The Witch (18) Also known as Jm‘k's Wife. this early piece by
George Romero may disappoint his gore fans. but it’s actually one of his most fascinating ﬁlms. A bored suburban housewife turns to witchcraft for kicks. but ﬁnds her sanity and ordered lifestyle suffering. A brilliant depiction of domestic restlessness. sharpened with a sense of satire and disorientating dream sequences. Also out is Victor Sjostrom‘s silent gothic morality tale. The Monastery OfSendmnir. (Redemption £12.99 each) I The Wings Df
? llonneamise (15) By far the best anime release for years. this feature combines superb animation with a story about the space race in a land which is similar to, but is clearly not. Japan. Military might clashes
E with personal endeavour : and is set against a well-
i background. Different class. (Manga £13.99)
I Visions Of light (U) Cinematography is. perhaps. the one essential component in the craft of ﬁlmmaking, and this sublimely illustrated documentary celebrates those artists — the directors of photography — who transform light into the visual images that tell stories on screen. There’s a good measure of technical talk for the buffs courtesy of the greatest exponents of the medium. but the real stars are the glorious clips. (Academy
I la Cri Du Hibou(18) Adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith. but 1 1 nor a patch on Strangers l
()n A Train or The American Friend. Claude Chabrol’s 1987 movie is pretty dull for its ﬁrst half. as infatuated Robert causes the beautiful Juliette to split with her boyfriend. As the ﬁlm develops. the set-up that frames Robert for murder is interesting but ultimately obvious. Uninspired work from the former master. (Lumiere. £14.99)
I lancelot Du Lac (PG) Robert Bresson’s retelling of the Arthurian legend begins as a spiritual ﬁlm in which the knights return from their quest without the Grail. sensing that in some way they have offended God. Disillusioned and without purpose. they ﬁght amongst themselves. using Lancelot's treacherous affair with Guinevere as the catalyst. At all times the director
. avoids the obvious
I spectacle that such
I medieval swordplay
usually calls for. yet the impression is still of a profound work. steeped in atmosphere. (Artiﬁcial Eye £15.99)
I Darkness In Tallinn (l8) A cracking heist thriller in anyone’s book. the ﬁrst ﬁlm from the newly independent Estonia is as tense as they come. The mood is heightened by superb high contrast. black-and-white photography. while parallels between the
. effects of the botched robbery and the dangers of corruption in the new state's economy don't go unnoticed. (Tartan £15.99)
The List 27 Jan-9 Feb I995 21