They’re holding off showing F our Rooms, the new ﬁlm by Quentin Tarantino and friends, to the press, but Gill Harris susses out likely reactions on the Internet.
It's amazing. Quentin Tarantino is the most talked about auteur since Martin Scorcese and yet it‘s virtually impossible to ﬁnd out anything of value about his latest ﬁlm. Four Rooms. All we know is that Variety panned it. nobody in Britain has seen it and it hasn't even opened in the States yet. Word has it that the much-awaited third movie from the maker of Reservoir Dogs is a dog itself. Well. well. well. If you want to know anything at all about Four Rooms. it seems the only thing to do is go on a quick hitchhike down the Information Superhighway. where Q.T. die-bards have written reams on the subject. Some ofthem were among test audiences. some seem to have viewed bootleg copies and others claim to have a hot line to Mr T. himself. Who knows ifthey're telling
the truth (who even eares‘?). but webbies world-wide are reviewing Four Rooms like mad.
'larantino World. in particular. has collected comments from the four comers ofthe globe. inciting webbies with its intrepid challenge: please tell us how Four Rooms can change the world. The answers vary slightly. but are largely the sycophantic ramblings of wannabe-Quents. While one brave user dared to dismiss Q.T. as an ‘overhyped ﬁltn geek'. a cinematographer from Hawaii raved ‘anything Mr T. does is outrageous to watch'. The world's greatest optimist is to be found surﬁng away in Texas; he reckons that. ‘being released at
Christmas. [Four Rooms] will unite the
Four Rooms: tlme tot Tarantlno to check out?
world in peace. and in turn make Iran and Iraq good pals.‘ ()ther relatively mindless tit-bits include speculation that Tim Roth (in the role ofthe bell- boy) is tipped for an Oscar and that the ﬁlm is to be huge among foot fetishists The mind boggles.
The world is divided into two camps: ﬂuent lovers and ﬂuent haters.
Interestingly. none of these so-called critics make any corntnents about the style or content of the ﬁlm itself. which just goes to show that it doesn't matter what Tarantino does. all that matters is that he does something. Also glarineg obvious is the way in which the ﬁlm's
other three directors are largely . ignored. Sold on Tarantino's name alone and talked about purely for his involvement. Four Rooms must also be credited to Robert Rodriguez. Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell. The four met at Sundance in I992 and. having bonded instantly. decided to make a movie together — voila!
The movie is divided into four parts. each about a different room in a hotel. the sections linked together by the presence of Ted the bell-boy. In one room. a coven of witches hold their AGM. In another. a man ties his wife to a chair and holds a gun to her head. A third room is trashed by the children of a gangster while their parents are out on the town. And in Q.T.'s room. two men bet that one ofthem can‘t light a Zippo ten times in a row: the prize is a car. the penalty cutting offa ﬁnger. Based on a short from the old Alfred Hitchcock Show. it's apparently by far the longest and most self-indulgent section of the ﬁlm. and the main reason the ensemble has been slated.
It doesn't seem to matter whether Four Rooms is good or bad, for the world is divided into two camps: Quent lovers and Quent haters. Opinions of the ﬁlm seem to be dictated entirely by which camp one falls into. rather any aspect ofthe ﬁltn itself. The overall view from the Net? Well. according to the interactive clickable voting system. a grand total ofeight people have given Four Rooms an average of 7.4 out of I0. I wonder how they'll vote when they've seen it. (Gill Ham's)
Four Rooms opens on Boxing Day.
ROAD MOVIE '
In from the cold '
Filmmaker Fridrik Thor Fridriksson put ':
Icelandic cinema on the map when his bleak I991 drama Children ()fNature garnered an Oscar Nomination as Best Foreign Film. His major breakthrough into international cult status. however. could come with his latest project. a left-ﬁeld road movie titled Cold Fever that teams him with hotshot American indie producer Jim Stark (whose credits include Jim Jarmusch‘s Down By law and Gregg Araki's The Living End).
In an ostensibly bizarre collection of plot elements. Masatoshi Nagase (of Mystery Train fame) plays the young
Japanese who follows the advice of his old grandpa and travels to wintry Reykjavik to pay tribute to his late parents by performing long-delayed burial ceremonies on the isolated spot where they perished some years previously. In Fridriksson's hands. it‘s hardly a straightforward odyssey — these things never are — but it's done with an engagineg wry humour. a eye for the extraordinarily bleak local landscapes. and. in the ﬁnal reel especially. a touching degree of genuine emotion.
All in all. a ﬁlm to expand anyone's horizons. but one that's left the 41- year-old director trying to explain just how he managed to capture the stoic Japanese sensibility to such remarkable
‘ "‘ ‘ / o a .,.,« .. r
effect. ‘It may sound strange.‘ he reflects in slow-buming English with a fairly thick Scandinavian-sounding accent. ‘but. you know. the Icelandic people and the Japanese are actually quite alike. Both these islands have
3. been quite isolated in the past. both peoples had to travel a lot. and both of
us are ﬁrm believers that if you eat a lot
I of ﬁsh oil you‘ll be okay with your
I brain. What fascinated me about this story though. was the notion of marking the “death birthday". I thought it was very beautiful to say a
t ﬁnal goodbye to a spirit like that.‘
I Although Fridriksson admits that it
[.1 '2 '. Ftldtllt Thor Fridriksson by Chris Blott hasn't been easy developing an international ﬁlm proﬁle front an Icelandic base. it was actually a chance 7 encounter at the Reykjavik Film Festival as far back as I989 that actually started things moving on Cold Fever in the ﬁrst place. Jim Stark was . there with Mystery Train. found himself impressed by Fridriksson's tyro feature White Whales. and wondered if the ; locally-bom ﬁlmmaker could cook up an idea that would somehow bring Japanese star Nagase over to Iceland. I When Fridriksson heard a real story about the families of three Japanese scientists who travelled to the rernotest
part of the country to perform the correct funeral rituals for their relatives. all the pieces fell into place and. eventually. there was a movie there.
‘We were the ﬁrst project ever to shoot in Iceland in winter.’ explains the former documentarist who spent the 70s running up a ZOOO-member ﬁlm society in Reykjavik. ‘Some ofthe Icelandic actors hadn't been to the locations where we were ﬁlming. I mean. it was really not so cold. Maybe minus twenty or so. But when you got the wind blowing. it went down to. like. minus forty and that was tough. I have to say that Nagase went through it all without a murmur of complaint. He was incredibly professional. and so quick to get into the character. I really admired him a Iot.‘
While winning the Channel 4 New Director's Prize at this year's Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival started the ball rolling on the ﬁlm‘s critical buzz. Fridriksson himself shows no sign of being affected by the acclaim and scooting offto Hollywood. for instance. ‘No. I have strong roots in lceland.‘ he shrugs. ‘l've seen people who've left their own culture and lost their identity. You may be isolated here. but at least it gives you time to think. When things get too crazy. I really like to get on with my trout ﬁshing.'. (Trevor Johnston)
Cold Fever opens at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Fri I 5 and the Edinburgh Film/louse on Fri 22. The photograph of F ridrik Thor F ridrilt'sson is part of an exhibition of Edinburgh Film Festival portraits by Chris Blott. which opens at the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh on Fri I 5.
“The List IS Dec I995-ll Jan I996