Oeathtripping: ‘wider agendas‘ .l ‘t Enema
ot 'l ransgi esszoii
'l‘llt' \t‘i? 1.15334.“ principally New York's nit/pant. tiiniei‘giotiiiil tiiniinakiiig scene. is an aittoint «iii :lt. o1" aetepzabtlity. iotiiaieJ on aesthetics tlta: at; Hiteit .itiliiotts. lli Oeathtripping (( 'Zt‘alliiii 3. il W‘- *. .l;..'f-; Sate-eon: thin-is an .lli eticoizit‘tssiiig Ettsto‘._. oi lliis negleete i .tt'ca getting l‘eyiiiiil llt.‘
approach by .ietinziis
w tilt-r patterns and ageinlas w tilitii il-‘Lli‘ilc'tl personal \isioi‘.s. 'l'lieie ate liltll's itlLi.:E sections antlp'eztty i ii1'\‘i‘it“-\\‘ with 'ilt' liles oi Nip}.
/.e.it‘ l’ .‘li;t?.l Kort! .:Yt,l l Hit». 1 'iiel‘ ;' "'1 E‘llti :l\ iL‘ .i' ' s \ 'li ltil‘scli“. \
l'imt‘i flit” \.;lii.'
ptibiisiia. iznwei. .li
llttttici 's inside Teradome
it‘ieatio; :11 4." -wztiairts
oxei Hill ‘lci,t‘lllil:J photos that are ltata lt‘ net'sntl. Stilitztleil '."\.'i liilisllitic‘il llistoiy ( it'l ieai. l-ilni‘. the i‘itttb lilt‘\ ;‘ li‘tilli .iecotntts o: ileluinnty in early te\1's. tliiottgl: lﬁiii‘giiitiiyl sitfesliows, to 'l‘Ull iti'ow intth / but!» Mr lit pliant .lliiit Lliltl beyoiiii Sine. li‘..llli\11l.i l1;ts.tl‘.‘..i_\s entoy I'll soine \oyenz‘istze powei met those \\illt pit). \ic‘.tl aiioiiiaiies. i‘iit 'ilt'IL is I‘m need to ttie‘iit,l'.‘ siiiits «it wai :titztilazmn 2;) 'ins essay 'I lie .112'i1o: . l.:il‘.‘.s ll‘it‘st‘ litti‘. l:‘\ iii: 'piiinaei.‘ i~2 ciiieiiiattc .i:t'.siiggest:iie13mins t.-\! is .is .i.s'.o::e.i the l‘tttltcs llL' si‘
'l'\Il‘..,‘ 1:: :ili El; czii'i'eni \izel"..:el \s;‘,-i LL‘lt'\ lslitit st‘l‘!;‘\. '.l‘.'.‘ i'ltissy.ilitll‘c.:1ti1lttil\ pi‘itilttcetl Lights. Camera. Action! l .itlic. it'owz. Lil“ W)! i“. ’l‘itll‘s lilll‘tt‘J. and John (in: ci|?'.'.".il\ .. glaiiztg e1io1‘ in lls \ l'ti'st paiagiapli tinloi‘giy .ible. .is etei: .i si\-_\e:ii»olti lat! would lunow which i ii.ii’.icl.‘i was
winch i: ’
tin/mm; lll'.’ feeling is that tins l‘tiiti. was lint g‘ti'. tire-ether will: .t lot. i'oi tlze
nioy tes. but .is .i cash-iii on the centenary liype that \lr‘k'lll} L‘L‘it‘l‘l.tl;‘\ Hollywood's tillllillELlile'L‘ of tire lllL‘tlltll’.) It's so stipei'iictal iltal. .is a coilee table publication. it :ittist be ilecat ,-\i;:ii Moi'iison‘n
fed a villain’s motives. In this latest
resolving this by making sweeping
cuts to the text and telling the story in images as much as words. Purists
i might grumble, but an increased
esque writer Robert Walser, whose
mm:- INSTITUTE BENJAMENTA ;
Adapted from the work of Swiss Kafka- '
novella Jakob l/on Gunter is the basis
for this debut feature, Institute
Brothers Quay (most famous for the
Benjamenta is a film of undoubted
aesthetic brilliance that comes at
some cost to its accessibility. Although American animators The
short Street at Crocodiles) are heavily in debt to the trail blazed by their Czech counterpart Jan Svankmaier - whose most recent film, Faust, showed the same live action leanings — their instinct appears towards the obscure, often wilfully so. Where Svankmajer’s full-length films tap into well-known cultural standpoints (Alice
being another example), Institute Beniamenta’s direction is hard to fathom on any other level than a dreamscape.
That, certainly, is its intention:
Jakob, played by Shakespearian thespian Mark Rylance, is the hopeful
applicant to the Beniamenta servants’
academy. Once admitted, in Kafka-
esque manner, he undergoes a journey of discovery, mixing the boredom and
L repression of such anonymous lives. Although the film is rendered in black
and white imagery of often startling beauty, it rapidly becomes a mixture
that’s far too rich to be sustained over
100 minutes. (Andrew Pulver)
Institute Beniamenta (15) (The Brothers Ouay, UK, 1995) Mark
Bylance, Alice Krige, Gottfried John. 104 mins. Tue 13-Thurs 15. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.
Institute Benjamenta: ‘wilfully obscure’
.\'either the ntusical (thankt‘tilly) nor tlte
latest straight adaptation ol the
mammoth historical chronicle
we have here is Victor Hugo \ ia the
typically expansne \ isioit ol‘ ('lattile
Lelouclt. who eoniexttialises the
novel‘s ii'i'epressil‘ile protagonist .leaii
Valjean against a personal memoir til
the worst ilecailes ot the Ztltli century. Jean-Paul Belmondo. showing all the
ntagnetic screen presence ol‘ a (’onnei'y
or an Eastwood, leads us through a
three-hour cayalcaile ol' trial. tribulation
and exhilarating cross-cutting iii the
triple role ol‘ lleiii'i liortin. a petty thiel‘
who liyes by his wits ill the chaos oi
Nazi-occupied France; his lather.
‘ whose struggle against unjust
'2 imprisonment sets the film rolling; and
i as Hugo’s Valiean himself in the
) sequences where l’oi'tin thaws
inspiration from his fictional alter-ego. the villain who became a hero w hen the
times ileittaiiiletl it.
What giycs tltis /.('.\ .lli.\' its grit is the very thing that puts l’ortiii on the spot and pushes hint towards a new —l'otiiiil sense ol' moral responsibility. The help
he giyes to a Jewish litiiiily escaping ‘ the .\'a/.is not oiin whips tip the film's
teiisest moments. but it ;tl.s.) e\pos‘es the
aiili-Seinitis‘nt tile in \iehy l'i'ancc iwliieli slightly elotiils the national character ex en toilay t, You'd be w row;
to reckon l.elotieli‘s picture .i lxllltl ol'
(iallie Still/till} I‘ :\ /.l\.'. litt‘~.‘.'c‘\c‘l'.
. because for the most pail the tone is a
roundly celebratory one. wallowing iit
i explosiy e action set-pieces romantic
iiilei'liiiles. .‘iiiil a w inning: l'i'esco ol' actiy ity to lti\tiii;int et't'eel, Raptttrotisly
i entertaining. it’s the sort ol‘olil- i lasltionetl slto‘.‘.'-stop)\cl' you thought i they didn't make any tiioie. lint they
tlo. l'l‘i‘enir Johnston) In .ilis‘r‘i'ri/rt’ex 1 /3i it 'i’iiiiili’ [chine/1.
l-i'iirir'i'. FMS) ./( till I’iiii/ li’i liiiiiriii’u. .llir‘lti'l [it’ll/('li'tllil. .'ll.’li‘1(' (fruitful. l’lii/i/i/ie Irritant. .l/('.\\‘((l.’i/l'i’i .l/(il'lllt‘l’X.
l7? lllll1.\'. Stilt/tiles. /"i'iiiii i’Vri ll). ltiti’n/itii'g/i l'i/iii/zitiiii: .Vei' )ii'i'i'ii'ii.
The problem with Othello (the play) is that the meagre circumstantial evidence that fires the jealousy of the African general against his new wife Oesdemona does not really balance with the extreme nature of his actions at the end; nor are the roots of lago’s treachery defined clearly enough for a modern audience used to being spoon~ ,
film version, however, debut director Oliver Parker goes some way to
acceleration towards the tragic climax ; does give the plot more credibility. The essence remains the same.
Othello, a Moor in service of the ' Venetian court, marries the beautiful
Oesdemona, much to the outrage of ;
her senator father. Once she declares her true love for him, however, the i happy couple are posted to Cyprus, l where tragedy looms when Iago, a l soldier buddy of Othello, wreaks his
. lago, Kenneth Branagh is allowed one or two too many asides to the camera, E but succeeds in making the audience complicit with lago’s plot before
revenge for being passed over for I promotion. The very same love that I gives Oesdemona strength makes Othello vulnerable, and he becomes a ‘ victim of lago’s lies and his own fiery passions. » Laurence Fishburne, the first black
actor to play Othello on screen, is a i
powerful presence and brings a dangerous physicality to Parker’s
v vision of the play as an erotic thriller. Irene Jacob, as Oesdemona, is perhaps j
the weakest link in a fine cast that
v includes a tremendous turn by Anne . Patrick as Emilia (who holds together
in those difficult final scenes). As
betraying our trust with his shameless villainy. With a llamlet, a Romeo And Juliet and a Richard III still to come in 1996, this Shakespeare bloke looks like being the next big thing. (Alan Morrison)
Othello (12) (Oliver Parker, arr/us, 1996) Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irene Jacob. 124 mins. From Fri 16: Edinburgh Odeon. From Fri 1: Glasgow Film Theatre.
Othello: ‘flne cast‘
28 Th. Hg,- 9 a: (3.1.. (QC:st