I British Short Film Festival: Hot on the heels ofa particularly strong line-up of international and Scottish (see Preview below) shorts at the Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival, the British Short Film Festival promises to push the short ﬁlm format further into the spotlight. From Thursday 31 August to Thursday 7 September. London‘s Plaza 2 Cinema boasts an outstanding series of programmes, including Back '12) Film School, which features the ﬁrst short works of Steven Spielbero, Woody Allen. John Waters and Oliver Stone: premieres of work by banned Georgian ﬁlmmaker Mikhail Kobakhidze: Atlantic Crossing. with screenings of the best new US work, including San Francisco and Sundanee Festival winners; and a programme of early
American shorts as part of the Centenary of Cinema celebrations. Peter Capaldi‘s Oscar-winning Fran: Kafka 's It Is A ll’amletjful Life heads The Best QfBl'ilfS/l section. with two daily programmes of independently produced and student ﬁlms from the UK.
I Video Information Project: A new six—month training course in video production for unwaged people begins on 14 August in Glasgow. The Video Information Project course covers research. development. camera. editing. sound. lighting and computer graphics. and gives an opportunity to gain Scotvec modules. The course is also open to the deaf and hard of hearing. and free zonecards will be provided. Attendance is two days per week (Mon/Wed or Tue/Thurs) for twenty weeks. beneﬁt not affected. For details. contact Robert Booth on 0141 550 2485.
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The Hunger Artist is poetry on screen. flaw, gritty, metaphysical stuff. A cross between Ted Hughes at his most visceral and a Glaswegian ranter, perhaps. Poetry which grabs your brain and kicks the thought processes into action.
It is the story of a young man who displays his hunger as art. Once famous, he was lauded by the press, attracted thousands of spectators and went on record-breaking fasts. Now the fad is past but he still displays his art behind the bars of a zoo. Until he gets kidnapped by art thieves and passed around the netherworld of a bleak city, his moves followed by a journalist seeking to write up his story.
‘The images used and the type of convention come from much more unconscious or dreamlike streams of association rather than social realists or direct naturalism,’ explains director Bernard Budden. ‘I tried to keep the story very easy to understand, but there is also this secondary level, which has the journalist pursue the story as a kind of National Enquirer thing. As she says: “The public love freaks”. I tried to use the freak to signal all kinds of metaphorical and
Starving artists w
The Hunger Artist: ‘poetry on screen’
symbolic values to society.’
As metaphors, hunger and artistry are evenly balanced. Is it a film about starvation, or one about artistry? Even Budden has difficulty in deciding which carries more weight. ‘I don’t think the idea of performers and hunger are mutually exclusive,’ he says. ‘Artists struggle over what they have to do next, or why they have to survive. There is a hunger for soul food, or the food of expression. We can’t say, “I’m going to stop being an artist now, I’m going to stop communicating”.’
Shot in gritty black-and-white with a ghostly soundtrack from The Blue Nile, The Hunger Artist is not cinema to be taken lightly. Just as every person who comes into contact with the Artist on screen brings their own agenda to the relationship but goes away slightly changed, so will the film leave its audience re-examining their own attitudes to both hunger and art. (Thom Dibdin)
The Hunger Artist receives its world premiere at the Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival as part of the Grim
Realities short films programme on 1 Mon 14 at 4pm.
Most lavish costume epics suffer on video because, by cramming as much into the crowd shots as possible, the director loses all detail on the small screen. Not so with Patrice Chereau’s approach to the greed and scheming of the 16th century Medici clan in la Reine Margot. Yes, there is still plenty of spectacle in this widescreen transfer, but a lot of attention is also paid to close-ups of the characters — the ruthlessness etched on the face of matriarch Catherine (Virna Lisi), the luminous beauty of Margot (Isabelle Adjani), the glowering passion of la Mole (Vincent Perez), Henri de llavarre’s (Daniel Auteuil) frightened eyes like a rabbit caught in headlights. It’s here, the camera in tight, where this story is really told. As political games are played and the dynasty proves itself to be morally, sexually and physically decaying from
LA REINE MARGOT
la Beine Margot: ‘an
atmosphere of constant intrigue | within, Chereau keeps up an atmosphere of constant intrigue. In the chambers, in the streets, you can almost taste the dust, sweat and dirt. llot to mention blood, for this is gorier than most of its peers. The infamous St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of thousands of Protestants (genocide based on religious differences is a timeless marker of humankind) is horror on a large scale; while, in the film’s second half, King Charles IX’s (Jean-Hughes Anglade) drawn out death by poisoning, as the lifeblood literally sweats out of him, is Grand Guignol at the opposing, intimate, but no less terrifying extreme. (Alan
la Reine Margot (Guild Home Video/Fox Video) is released simultaneously for rental and sell- through (£15.99).
I Clive Barker Shorts (18) Back in the 70s. when gore landmark HUI/raiser was a far off dream. Clive Barker was making silent. black-and- white. avant garde shorts with his mates itt Liverpool. Available for the first time. this collection consists of Sir/mite. T/It‘ l'iil'liit/t/ut and interviews relevent to this work with Barker. Peter Atkins and Doug Bradley. The former title. shows shades of a Derek Jarman nightmare captured itt hauntingly beautiful. grainy images: the latter may please the fans more. as it delves into areas of sado- masochism. sexual ritual and flesh rending — only here with homoerotieism rather than horror to the fore. Intriguing stuff. but more Anger than Argento. (Redemption £13.99)
I The Sexual Life Of The Belgians ( 18) This dramatised autobiography of Belgian's top nutter and self-confessed anarchist. Jan Bucquoy. is surer one of the year's most beguiling oddities. We last—forward through domestic scenes in young Jan's childhood and later episodes from his adolescence; politics play a part. but sex is the foremost thing on his mind. Quaint rather than outrageous. it shows a skewed perspective of a
meek country where everyone is eccentric in their own manner. (Tartan £15.99)
I Dreamscape ( 15 ) Dennis Quaid is a psychic
reluctantly drawn into an t experiment to penetrate
and play apart in the dreams of sleeping
. humans. An interesting
enough plot in itself. but
when political conspiracy.
potential holocaust arid
; presidential assassination are added. there's a great narrative coursing away
here. even if some of the visual effects have been surpassed iii the last
decade. (Lumiere £4.99)
1 I Fear City (18) A sure
bet for quality
exploitation material (if that's not a contradiction). from the lurid red titles. to Abel l"errara's name as director. to the sex of the strip-joint settings. to the violence of boxer-turned-
Berenger hunting the
. killer of his list ofgirls.
As in [tail Lieutenant. it attetnpts tnore than most
; by injecting a little
religious redemption into its hero's mission. but the
censor's cuts mean that barely a nipple is left on
show iii this version. crippling the overall atmosphere. (Lumiere £4.99)
I Jean de Florette (PG) Along with its sequel .llamm Dr's .S'uurt'es'. the Claude Berri favourite is now available for the ﬁrst
| Pagnol landscapes are to
— a must. if the Marcel
: be done justice. A ﬁne
time in widescreen format
duo with which to celebrate the relaunch of the lilectric Pictures Video label. now releasing through PolyGram. (Electric £14.99)
I Strange Invaders (PG) Scarier than its certiﬁcate suggests. this must be one of the best 50s sci-ft movies not made in the 50s. instead. it's the early 80s. so the monster make- up is gratifyingly gory: but otherwise the old- fasltioned plot elements are all here »— the inﬁltration of alien beings into everyday America. threatening the family unit (kidnapping children). hinting at government involvement. A real sleeper that has both affection for the genre and sympathy for the characters. (Lumiere £4.99)
I World Classics The second batch of releases in Tartan Video's new range ofessential titles for under a tenner will be itt your shops from 7 August. and again it‘s a fine selection. all iii the widescreen format — Pedro Almodovar‘s law ()_/'l)c.rire ( 18). Krzyzstof Kieslowski's magniﬁcent A Short Film A/mul Killing (18). Agnieska Holland's Olivier Olivier ( 15) and. from Britain. Richard liyre's 'l'lte Plough/nan '.v Lil/It‘ll ( 15). (Tartan £9.99 each).
30 The List 1.2 Jul- If) Aug I995