. Maborosi: ‘slow and contemplative’


A young. happily married Japanese woman is devastated when her husband deliberately walks under a train on the way home from work for no apparent reason. She becomes convinced that she‘s some kind of Angel of Death bringing tragedy to those closest to her. while her conservative fartiin attempt to obliterate the social shame of suicide by arranging a new marriage. So off she trots with her young son to shack up with the well- meaning new bloke and his pre-teen daughter in his idyllic seaside abode. When her brother's wedding brings her back to Osaka. she begins to realise that she cannot shake off the ghost from her past so easily.

Those who like their art movies slow and contemplative with minimal dialogue should beat a path to former documentarist Hirokazu Koreeda‘s fictional feature debut. The winner of the Chicago Film Festival‘s top prize and the Special

Jury Award at Venice in I995. illalrorosi is bound to finish on every arthouse traditionalist’s year-end top ten list -- though the uninitiated should beware that. in the paint-drying

stakes. it makes The Scent

Of Green Papaya look like Independence Day. Much of the film is shot in semi-darkness. with the rest comprising lingering

, wide-angle shots of

nothing much happening often in silhouette in a meditative sort of way. accompanied by occasional bursts of a spare. mildly melancholic score courtesy of Hou Hsiau-Hsien‘s collaborator Chen Ming- Chang. Dreams and folklore play a minor role. lending a spiritual tone to what would otherwise have been a stark portrayal of grief. You'll either be hooked within the first five minutes or spend the entire time vowing never again to watch a film whose own publicity describes it as ‘poetic‘. (Robin Askew) Mahorori (PG) (Him/amt K oreeda. Japan. I 995) lisumi Makiko, Naito 'litkeshi. Ill) mins. Wed ll/llttrr.s‘ [2. Edinburgh: Film/rouse.

Boyfriends: ‘moments of Insight’



Seen earlier this year at the touring Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. this British comedy-drama dissects the relationship tensions between three couples spending a weekend together at a country cottage. Pressures of both long term partnerships and recent cop-offs are put under the microscope to good comic

effect by setting up situations similar to

Peter Zr Friends and The Big Chill. The story winds tightly around the six characters and there are enough moments of insight to make virtues of the film’s rougher edges. Boyfriends ( [8) (Neil Hunter/Tom Hunsinger. UK. I 996) James Dreyfus. Mark Sands. Andrew Ableson. 8/ mins. Sat 7—Mon 9: Edinburgh

F ilmlrouse. Tue I7/Wed [8: Glasgow Film Theatre.

I counrnoom DRAMA I i


A Time To Kill: “pet and patronising’

i The John Grisham bandwagon rolls on . in a movie where the author co- produced and had casting approval -~ but a fat lot of good it‘s done him. because this hellisth overucxtended Deep South courtroom drama wastes its l stellar cast on a crass-fuelled ride to cliche city.

it starts with a brutal sexual assault on . a ten-year-old black girl by two racist _ white thugs. a horrific event which provides the catalyst for her father (Samuel L. Jackson) to shoot the two pei‘jmtrators then seek the her of

struggling small-town lawyer Matthew McConaughey to defend him against the murder charge. This being Mississippi. getting a fair trial isn't going to be easy. especially with patrician judge Patrick McGoohan presiding. superslick state prosecutor . Kevin Spacey lining up on the other side. and the rumblings ofthe Klu Klux Klan only adding fuel to the fire.

The entrance of ambitious law student Sandra Bullock and a ‘will-they-won't- they‘." romance angle is just one subplot too many in a movie that works itself up into a mini-climax every ten minutes and leaves the viewer longing nay. desperate for the sight of some genuine characterisation that's above

mere cheap effect.

it‘s very wearing. and eventually it gets laughable. Or at least it would do if the underlying analysis weren‘t so pat and patronising: the black characters here are victims who can only achieve justice with the help of

I kind-hearted. educated white folks. The . rape ofa black child is there for dramatic colour. so legal eagle

McConaughey can burst into tears in

j the courthouse. He's a bit like the

young Paul Newman crossed with the young Tom Cruise. As such. he is evidently not human. and will go far. (Trevor Johnston)

A Time 72) Kill ( [5) (Joel Schumacher. US. I 996) Matthew MeConaug/re)‘. Sandra Bullock. Samuel L. Jackson. [49 mins. From Fri [3. General release.

Mulhoiland Fails: ‘falis woefully short of the mark’



The Hat Squad - four cops with a taste in tailored suits and a two-listed approach to law enforcement - keep organised crime out of los Angeles in the early 50s. However, they find themselves up against an even bigger enemy than the Mob when the discovery of the mangled body of good-time girl Allison Ponds leads them into an investigation of the sinister activities of the Atomic Energy Commission and a confrontation with the us military. Hitching the story of the real-life Hat Squad onto a fictional mystery that gradually unfolds to reveal far- reaching corruption, Mulholland Falls aspires to do for 50s [A what Chinatown did for the 303. Despite the Impressive credentials of its cast and crew, however, it falls woefully short of the mark. Hew lealander lee l

Tamahori, here directing his first Hollywood feature, reproduces none of the raw intensity of his startling debut, Once Were Warriors, while Paris Trout author Pete Dexter’s script is turgid and unlnvoiving.

the four cops - played by Hick Holte, Chan Palminteri, Michael Hudson and Chris Penn - rnay josh with one another like would-be ‘larantino gangsters (even if the pop culture references are to Gene Autry rather than Madonna) but their rapport has little spark. the nuclear intrigue and ilolte’s morally compromised hero, who breaks the law to uphold it, hint at the unease beneath the bland conformity of the era, but the filnr can summon up little of the dread and paranoia that 50s filrns noirsso effortlessly evoked. (Jason Best) Mulfrollarrd Falls (18) (lee Tmralrori, (Is, 1996) Nick Nelle, dfelanie Griffith, Chan Pelminteri. 108 urine. From Fri 6. Clasgow: Ween. Edinburgh: Filmlrouse.



Hustler White: “rough and ready-for-anything’

Having made a name for himself in sleazo underground circles with the outrageous skinhead shagfest Nu Skin ()ijy Ass and the eye-popping Fellini-inspired porno take-of f Super 5' 1/2. writer-producer-director- actor Bruce LaBruce dailies somewhere marginally closer to the mainstream with this queerly picaresque rummage around in LA's seedy underside. LaBruce himself stars as visiting author and all- round filth connoisseur Jiirgen Anger (no relation to Kenneth. in case you were wondering. because everyone in the movie does) who falls for fugitive hustler Tony Ward. Henceforth. paths cross and collide as Santa Monica Boulevard’s parade of perversities provides a cavalcade of body-piercing. S&M razor tricks and back-street porno shoots. the prelude to a climactic flourish of offhand romanticism. Co-directed by gay- beefcake photographer Rick Castro. it has all the technical assurance of an early John Waters ilick (i.e. not much). but if you‘re happy to pick and choose amid a buffet of gleeful perversities ‘The chump wants to hump the stump.’ quotes one hardened observer as we cut to the action highlight: anal sex with an amputee then you might just be prepared to forgive everything else. It's rough. ready-for-anything. and never quite as funny as it thinks it is. Those eager to check out Mr Ward‘s form in soaked white shorts will. of course. be operating on their own set of aesthetic priorities. (Trevor Johnston) Hustler White (/8) (Bruce LaBruce/Rick C astro, US/Jap/Ger/Can/UK. I 996) Bruce LaBruce. Tony Ward, Kevin P Scott. 79 mins. From Fri 6: Glasgow Film Theatre. F rom Fri [3: Edinburgh: F i [In/rouse.

20 The List 6-l9 Sept I996