nearer— Wake up call

Sandra Bullock tells Anwar Brett how While You Were Sleeping slows the pace on her Speed fame.

Twelve months ago. Sandra Bullock was just another straight-to-video starlet: now. one explosive bus ride later. she‘s Hollywood‘s hottest young actress. it was Speed that first established her as more than just another pretty face. and so far this year. she's shouldered two surprise hits at the US box office While You Were Sleeping and The Net. Following years of struggle in comparative obscurity. the resultant change in her life is as significant as it is clearly enjoyable.

‘You'd be amazed at the garbage that is being made out there.‘ she grins. ‘and i should know. l've made some of it. Beggars can‘t be choosers. The great thing is that. with everything that's happened. l‘ve been able to work fairly steadily. Ninety-eight per cent ofthe actors in the whole world aren‘t able to say that.'

Sandra Bullock has paid her dues. as she modestly pointed out. The first time she won notice in a major Hollywood movie was for her fleeting role as Kiefer Sutherland’s missing girlfriend in the disappointing remake of The liinishing. There followed a perky performance in Demolition Man and a supporting part in Wrestling Iii-nest

Hemingway before she was cast in Speed. A thriller. an action-adventure. a drama and another action-adventure which makes the warmly nostalgic. It's A Wonderful Life atmosphere of While You Were Sleeping yet another change of pace for the young actress. ;

‘I love comedies and l‘ve always been drawn to them.‘ she explains. ‘lf anything. my character in While You Were Sleeping reminded me of a Tom Hanks sort of role. it reminded me of , all the male roles that i used to fall in love with when l was reading scripts. I They were always the funniest and the i quirkiest.‘

As Lucy. a lonely. single but perkily pretty employee with The Chicago Transit Authority. who spends her days fantasising about one of her regular passengers (Peter Gallagher). she becomes an unexpected heroine when she saves his life after he is mugged and pushed onto the train tracks. in ;

While Yu Were Sleeping: ‘warmly nostalgic atmosphere’

5 hospital. he lapses into a coma. and

Lucy‘s fantasy comes bizarrely to life

. as. through happenstance and delightful contrivance. her bcau‘s family come to ; believe that the two are actually

engaged to be married. As if that was

not complicated enough. the

‘Speed was much more restful than While You Were Sleeping. All I had to do in Speed was sit there in the same place for three months, which wasn’t a bad job to have.’

i appearance of her ‘liancce‘s‘ brother 9 (Bill Pullman) throws a spanner in the

audiences might find themselves split. but it is a dilemma that Bullock and the other women who worked on the film clearly enjoyed. ‘l like guys that are fairly normal and goofy.’ she smiles. ‘Bill Pullman was turned into the ideal male by all the women on the set. He's funny. he dresses right. with those jeans and the boots and so on. We would literally dress him and send him back if he didn't look right.‘

if there was pressure on Bullock to succeed with her first film since Speed. she has done so quite admirably. steering the picture towards the magic

$l()() million mark. But it would be

easy to assume that While You Were Sleeping was a personal reward to herself. a chance to take it easy. play it gentle and stretch her acting muscles as opposed to every other muscle required for her previous physical roles. Easy. but wrong.

‘Speed was much more restful than While You Woe Sleeping.‘ she says. as a look of shock crosses her face. ‘All I had to do in Speed was sit there in the same place for three months. which wasn't a bad job to have. It‘s very different when you have the lead role. Making this film. we were constantly playing around. but I never once felt exhausted. We had some crazy days. but you have your good and your bad. Especially in Chicago where there's great music and food and shopping.‘ With a wistful tone in her voice that echoes Lucy's loneliness and. perhaps.

3 recalls the tough years in her own

romantic works as he and Lucy begin to I

fall in love for real.

Given the choice between classically

5 handsome Peter Gallagher and

universal nice guy Bill Pullman.

career. she adds. ‘When you've nothing to do. then you realise just how long the

; days are.‘

While You Were l’riddv / Sept.

Sleeping opens on

marm— Latin passions

lf South America was conspicuously absent from the world fare at the Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival this year (with the exception of five excellent shorts from Chile), then eyes should turn westward as the 6th Latin American Film Festival returns to the Glasgow Film Theatre. Unlike other special festival packages that open in a blaze of glory in London, then tour around the country in a much meeker fashion, the Latin American Film Festival runs concurrently in Glasgow and London. A few years ago, when one particular Glasgow audience kept a visiting Mexican director busy with post-screening questions, Festival Director Eva Tarr found herself impressed by the Scottish crowd’s passionate interest in this part of the cinematic world. Since then, distribution company Metro Pictures has continued to show an admirable commitment to Glasgow, bringing the highlights of the Festival north of the border as soon as they fly in from their countries of origin.

Eight of the twenty-four films screening in the core London event will be shown in Glasgow, covering Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico and, for the first time,

Guatemala. This is a festival that can always be relied upon to deliver a , wide range of styles and subjects, but i this time the Scottish selection has a I leaning towards political issues, an i area that Latin American cinema 1 handles extremely well. ‘Latin l American countries have all gone l through political upheavals and lived l under dictatorships,’ says Eva Tarr. ‘When they are suffering that, the filmmakers and intelligensia are prohibited from talking, they cannot say anything about what is happening. But somehow they hold that inside, and as soon as they are free to talk about it, they do it. You see it with Chilean films, Argentinian films. They are very good at rebuilding their own anguish, even if the real events only happened a few years before. This makes the films very fresh.’ ! Gonzalo Justiniano’s Amnesia falls into this category. It brings together a ; now respectable, ordinary man and his former commander who forced him to commit atrocities when they both served in Chile’s Army of Shadows. interesting comparisons can be made with Death And The Maiden, as the , psychological consequences of Chile’s ? recent history come to the fore, but are allowed more of a comic touch. The Guatemalan film industry arrives on the scene with The Silence 0! lleto, a coming-of-age tale set during the country’s military takeover during the 19508, while the confused cultural Ideology of an entire nation traumatised by political upheavals is examined in Shipwreckedfrom Chile.

The rest of the line-up consists of

3 the colourful and oddly comic

Brazilian historical epic Carlota Joaquina Princess 0! Brazil: We ’re

All Stars, which places the drive for

money and TV fame in Peru; living

' Together, in which the stagnant

friendship of two middle-aged Argentinian men is freshened by the arrival of a young woman; [Don’t Want To Talk About It Now, a complex look at Rio de Janeiro’s underworld; and Shortcut To Paradise, which stars Charles Dance as a master manipulator who becomes obsessed with a young girl in a Puerto Rican residential apartment block.

The fact that this last film uses English dialogue and has internationally known stars in Charles


Dance and Assumpta Serna is one example of how Latin American cinema is branching out into the wider cinematic world. The box office and critical successes of the likes of Cranes, like Water For Chocolate and Strawberry And Chocolate have brought in audiences that might have dismissed this continent’s film industry without much thought. The fact that these titles were all part of previous Metro Latin American Film Festivals only goes to show that this is one event that really does have its finger on a fast-beating pulse. (Alan Morrison)

The latin American Film Festival begins at the Glasgow Film Theatre on

Monday 4 September. See listings for details.

74 The List 25 Aug-7 Sept 1995