Ladd behaviour

Gill Harris checks out the international premiere of Mrs Munck, actress Diane Ladd’s directorial debut.

Mrs Munck: ’dark and uncomiortable’

For her debut as both writer and director, Diane [add has made a stylish and powerful film which thIs the tale of Mrs Rose Munck. a recent widow who. seemineg out of compassion. takes in her crippled and cantankerous stepfather—in-Iaw Mr Leary after the death of her husband. She then treats him to a series of violent humiliations while the old man does his best to antagonise her. This narrative is intercut with flashbacks from when Leary. then a debonair businessman. seduced the young. innocent Rose. As the two stories gradually unfold. both relationships are explained and. to

; some extent. resolved.

Mrs Mum'k has taken almost twenty

, years to come to fruition. Ladd first read the book in the late 70s. but due to lack of interest from backers. the

project was shelved. Until. that is. two and a half years ago when she finally decided to take matters into her own

j hands. going on to write. direct and star in it. This is a film close to her heart.

containing several parallels with her

own life. Ladd’s real name is Rose. the

same as her character's. Rose chooses

to be with a man with whom she once

had a failed relationship and. interestingly. Ladd has cast her ex- husband Bruce Dern in the role of Leary. a decision which undoubtedly lends an added edge to their

performances. as Ladd herself

recognises: ‘We‘ve had to be willing to

be mature. honest and vulnerable.‘

This is a brave debut in that it is not wholly palatable to everyone. It would have been easy for Ladd to make a film

that would charm everybody and

achieve universal mainstream success: however. Mrs Mrmrrk does more than

that. While it has all the qualities of a typical big budget Hollywood movie

§ stylish cinematography. a host of stars

_ and a gripping storyline it is also ; unusually dark and uncomfortable.

Ladd proves her artistic integrity by ignoring America‘s penchant for sentimentality and staying true to the book's sadistic, bitter and deliciously funny kookiness. a decision which

allows the film to slip effortlessly into the same category as such classic black

comedies as Harold And Mum/e. Its

most commendable feature is that it manages to be as shocking in its cruelty as Misery. while retaining a

humanitarian warmth about it: these two people are thoroughly horrible to each other. but as Bruce Dern says. ‘it becomes a bit of a love story.‘

Mrs Munck. 15 Aug. Dominion. 7.30pm; 21 Aug. Cameo /. lpm. £6

(£4). Diane Ladd Scene By Scene ()It

1 Wild/it Heart. 16 Aug. Film/muse l. 10.30pm. £8(£4).

Guitural life V ‘s

Gave Di Gold: ‘romantlc elemental lmages’

Gave 01 Gold (Uamh an Dir) is a visual and musical exploration oi Gaelic culture. Its golden treasures are the twenty-odd ioIk-songs which are sung In iull through the illm, accompanied by some beautitui photography at the Highlands and Islands. Perhaps director David Halllday wanted to get this heritage captured on celluloid ior posterity, as the inevitable question asked in the illm is whether Gaelic culture can survive. A second

question, to which Halliday oiiers his

iilm as the answer, is why should anyone care?

‘We’re not living in the same world,’ acknowledges writer Finlay Macleod on camera; but ior him, tradition holds the key to salt-knowledge. ‘Dur Gaelic ancestors were closer to the subconscious,’ he says. Romantic elemental images, together with scenes oi pub drinkers and aeroplanes, coniinn that Halliday too makes a connection between the unchanging topography oi Gaelic Scotland and the enduring ‘truth’ oi the songs, some oi which date back to the 10th century.

Halliday’s commitment to Scottish

‘1 culture is evident irom his twenty

years oi work in communities here as

: an experienced documentary

l tilmmaker, and one oi his most recent

; projects has been to produce a series i at Gaelic language animated iilms ior

I BBC Scotland. (Hannah Fries)

. Gave 0! Gold, 15 Aug, Filmhouse 1, . 1pm; 17 Aug, Cameo 1, 1pm. £6 (£4).

i .

Terence Davies’s long-awaited adaptation oi an early novel by John Kennedy Toole is a movie that everyone will be talking about. Some long-time admirers may not respond, while detractors may iind themselves unexpectedly drawn to it. This unabashed Davies ian reckons it contains some oi his best work to date, while consolidating his proioundly emotive iormal style in a setting tar removed irom his native Liverpool. In the poverty-stricken Bible Belt oi the 1940s, young Jacob Tierney is the sensitive teenager who iorms a close bond with Gena Howlands’ visiting Aunt Mae, 3 sometime night club singer who ioments the boy’s dreams oi a better liie. Family tragedy is however, not iar away, providing a poweriul culmination to a film whose iinely balanced periormances have an aiiecting tremulousness only the hardest hearts could ignore. Davies will be in Edinburgh himseii to introduce the film and, earlier the same day, provide a iascinating scene by scene reilection on his work. (Trevor Johnston)

The Neon Bible, 17 Aug, Cameo 1, 9.30pm. £6 (£4). Terence Davies Scene By Scene, 17Aug, Filmhouse 1, 5.15pm. £8 (£4).


Enchantment could be described as lndia’s answer to Jean de Florette- slow, thoughtful and, yes, thoroughly enchanting. A strange but beautitui young woman turns up in a small farming village in Northern India, looking ior her uncle, the village sage, who has recently died. Her good looks and ethereal

manner provoke lust in the men and disgust in the women; and, beiore long, she has aiiairs with two at the villagers, causing a bloody teud and. needless to say, a great deal at anguish. Eventually, she sets up home with a wandering merchant, but her visit has left the village and its inhabitants permanently changed. C.P. Padmakumar’s beautiiully shot illm combines the mythology oi iolklore with the harsh reality oi everyday rural lite. Without being over-serious, it explores themes oi pride and lust, while examining both humanity’s ialiibility and spirituality. (Gill Harris)

Enchantment (Film Festival) 16 Aug, Filmhouse 2, 6.30pm; 24 Aug, Cameo 3, 6pm. £6 (£4).




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“The List 11-17 Aug 1995