The Confessional: ‘vtsual panache’
ln 1%“). after three years in China. l’ierre tl.othaire liltiteau) returns to Quebec for his father's funeral. He meets tip with his adopted brother .‘ylarc tl’atrick (ioyette) arid together they delve into the past to discover the identity of Marc‘s father: they know Marc is tltc illegitimate son of l’ierre's aunt Rachel. but the most likely candidate is a priest who showed concern for Rachel after she unburdened herself of the truth in the confessional. .‘\leanwhile. in flashback. Alfred Hitchcock is in town to shoot I ('un/eiv. in which the sanctity of the confessional also brings grief for the priest played by .‘ylontgomery (‘lift
Theatre director Robert l.epage's transition to the meditnn ofcinema has been achieved with remarkable ease: he shows an absolute command of film language and frame composition. What could
have been an over- ambitiotis dual narrative
instead becomes richly cotnplex as the parallel
themes of the two time-
frames become ever
, closer. In a sense.
i l.epage‘s approach is an
intellectual equivalent of
Hitchcock's: little clues to
: the father‘s identity are
interspersed throughout as in a conventional thriller.
\vltilc tllc‘ secrets (iii the
confessional are a
formalised version of
family gossip and low-
:\bo\ e all. it's the film's visual panache that immediately impresses.
f Symbolic colours link scenes and on-screen images act as metaphors -- the marks left by old photographs on l’iet're's wall show through layers . of paint in the same way 2 that events in the past always rise to the surface 5 in the present. (Alan Morrison)
The ('a/t/evvialta/ 1/51
l995t Lat/taire Bltiteati.
I’atrii‘k (iavette. Kristen
Sean 'l‘hanrax. /()() ntins.
Fro/n l‘il'l' 7. (i/asgmr‘.‘
‘Hollywood suspense at its breathless best’
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Catalogue those classic Hitchcock scenes — the l’vvt'ho shower. the \i’I'ttt'u staircase. 'l'he Bin/v school playground -- and you'd have to add a couple from North Bv .Vrtl‘l/tln'xli Cary (irant evading the crop-duster aeroplane and then hanging from the face of Mount Rushmore. This is l-lollywood suspense at its most thrilling. breathless best; the mistaken identity plot shows a master filmmaker at his most confident.
North [iv i‘Va/‘t/twevt is
North 8y Northwest: I the first of several Hitchcock movies to be seen over the next few
weeks in sharp new prints.
i Also receiving a decent run is the .‘vlontgomery (‘lift piece I (int/tars
: (worth catching for comparisons with Robert l.epage's 'l'he (’un/esxiana/i. while Reliever: and Marine receive rare screenings. (AM)
.\'nrt/t [iv .\"(tl't/t\i'('.\‘t (PU) le/frt't/ Hitt'ltt‘at'k. CS, /‘)5‘)) Carv ()rant, liva Marie Saint, James Mason IRS Itltll.\'. lira/n ll'er/ 5—Star 9 June: Edinburgh l-‘i/Inhause. Franz Sun 30 June—Thurs 4 Jtilv: (i/axgmc I'll/n Theatre.
NOW AND THEN
After waiting so long to exhale and
audiences are — it seems — being targeted by a succession of movies designed to appeal to themes and subjects that are important to them. As sweeping an assumption as that is. the contrast between the more male-
orientated action flicks and this kind of t thoughtful. thirtysomething memory of
- a rite of passage is a healthy thing. and on this evidence points to a generation of Hollywood actresses with the clout
to make these films work.
Four women meet tip ten years after they last got together and recall a time in their lives when they could never imagine being apart. As a child. each was an easily identiﬁable ‘type' — the drama queen. the tomboy. the wiseguy and the mummy's girl — and each was deeply affected by the events that went
In fact. death brings them even closer together when they grow curious about a gravestone to ‘I)ear Johnny' and decide to seek out some answers — a bonding moment that brings comparisons to Stand By Me. Both are good films. btit Now And Then is fundamentally different in that the
irrevocably. with the onset of puberty. the discovery of boys as something other than punchbags and the opening
enjoying a few boys on the side. female
on around them. whether it was parents getting divorced or the death of a loved
characters are on the verge ofchanging
tip of new horizons.
It is. as expected. a heartwarming tale handled with admirable lightness of touch by director Lesli Linka Glatter. To some it may seem too sentimental. but sentiment comes with the territory. and the young actresses playing the girls in childhood are all excellent. The adult stars share scenes that merely bookend the main plot. but the baggage they bring to their characters is equally important to this poignant. comforting and tender story. (Anwar Brett)
NUH‘ And Then (PU) (Les/t Linka (ilatter. US. 1995) Demi Moore. Melanie Grifﬁth. Christina Rl(‘('l. 'l'hara Birch. l ()2 mins. Franz Fri 7. General release.
s ‘s~ ’ 1w
‘To some it may seem too sentimental, but sentiment comes with the territory’
The Coens’ latest film keeps together
. well in the past, with British cameraman Roger Deakins revelling in white-out snowscapes and composer
doomy undercurrent to sublime effect. What’s significant about Fargo,
5 however, is how it’s different in
r conception and tone from the
_ brothers’ past achievements while
qualities that make it very much ‘A Coen Brothers Film’.
For starters, it’s based on a true story, a 1987 case in the brothers’ native Minnesota, involving a car salesman’s ill-fated attempt to have his wife abducted by hitmen, then
extort a hefty ransom from his wealthy
father-in-law and share the proceeds
with the kidnappers. Naturally, it all goes very wrong, blood is spilt, the father-in-law turns gung-ho, more blood is spilt - and there’s a very
5 nasty incident with a wood-pulping
Bed-haired William H. Macy is wondertully harrassed and gormless as the cash-strapped salesman looking to make a desperate buck,
who fails to reckon on the wilfully
l psychotic impulses of the two
. henchmen hired for the job (Steve
Buscemi, peerless as usual, and
' Swedish actor Peter Stormare, very
I scary), and couldn’t have foreseen the , insight and dedication shown by
: Frances Mcnormand’s pregnant police
the winning crew that has served them
Carter Burwell blending folksiness and
still retaining the oddball double-take
Her Marge Gunderson is as lovable a character as the Coens have ever created, bringing a wann-hearted centre to the film while the absurdist plot gathers momentum and wiggy local colour - strange Scandinavian- toned accents and an enigmatic blink- duration cameo from a certain Minneapolis-based recording artist - adds distinctive ornamentation. Give it six months, and we’re talking cult classic. (Trevor Johnston)
Fargo (18) (Joel Coen, US, 1996) Frances McDonnand, Ste ve Buscemi, William II. Macy. 97mins. From Fri 31. Limited general release.
~.‘ ~ \
‘ "“\‘\. x“ .- .'
‘ditferent in conception and tone from the Coens’ past achievements while still retaining their oddball double-take qualities’
24 The List 3l May- I 3 Jun I996