I Script Factory Scottish screenwriter Allan Scott also known. in the guise of Allan Shiach, as chair of the new Scottish Screen Agency - is one of several writers whose new. unproduced screenplays will be performed by professional actors in front of live audiences as part of the British Film lnstitute‘s ‘The Script Factory' series which kicks off in London in late September. The Practical Heart. which is set in 19th century Chicago and tells of a woman trying to hold together her family after personal and financial disaster. will receive the Script Factory treatment at the October Gallery in Holbom on Wednesday 4 December. Other writers in the season include Christopher Hampton. Troy Kennedy Martin and David Mercer.

Scott, whose collaborations with Nicholas Roeg have produced Don ’I Look Now. The Witches and Tim Deaths is currently producing his screenplay of Pat Barker's World War 1 novel Regeneration. due to begin shooting in Scotland under the direction ofGillies Mackinnon (Small Faces) in November. The roles of war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are still to be cast. but Jonathan Pryce will play the doctor

who cares for them at Edinburgh's Craiglockhart Hospital.

I EFT Open Day As part ofGlasgow Building Preservation Trust‘s Door‘s Open Day 1996. the Glasgow Film Theatre is offering an opportunity for film fans to peek behind the scenes on Saturday 21 September between l()am and 3.30pm. To mark the event. the specially commissioned GI'T— The Movie. which features various stars visiting the cinema. will be screened at 30-minute intervals in Cinema 2. It‘s also worth noting that at 2.45pm. art historian and writer Bruce Peter will talk about cinema architecture in the newly refurbished Cinema 1.

I Pile 0T Clothes Alan Saywell's short musical about an introverted young man who fancies the girl in the local laundrette screens as part of the British Short Film Festival in London later this month. Saywell. about to begin his final year on the film course at Napier University. is part of the Edinburgh- based ‘lndependents‘ collective of filmmakers. Pile Qt'C‘lurlie.s. refreshingly silly and entertaining. plays Notre Dame Hall in Leicester Place (just off Leicester Square) on Monday 30 September at 8.30pm in a programme put together by The Halloween Society.


Number’s up

lormal expectations, when faced with a production that has a budget of £600, are that the acting will be ropey and the ideas rather stunted. lot so for the short drama life’s A Bitch, which in terms of its story, performances and technical achievements can stand proudly beside the best work by Scottish students and young filmmakers.

Written by John Wight and directed by Walld Salhab, the ten-minute short captures the sense oi everyday frustration and simmering anger experienced by Jake, a young father- of-two whose long hours in a hospital laundry are beginning to take their toll on his marriage. Jake, like most of the population, dreams that his problems will disappear with a ifational lottery windfall, but gradually comes to realise that, even if his numbers don’t come up, there are people in hospital who are in a much worse situation tin himself.

Life’s A Bitch

Wight and Sale decided to take the Independent route alter earlier scripts had been turned down by various filmmdting initiatives. Pulling together a dedicated cast and crew who offered their services for no monetary reward, and equipment and editing faciilities provided by Pilton Video and Jewel and Esk Valley College, they began shooting in June after months of pre-production.

The result is a film that shows remarkable stylistic texture, given its financial limitations. Most of the drama is shot on video in black-and- white, with an impressive expressionistic nightmare sequence and a colour daydream sequence for variety. The latter gives a simple, literal, but effective and direct illustration of the manner in which millions of people have become hooked on the lottery as the only means of brightening up their lives. Wight and Salhab are now planning a feature together and one can only hope that, on the strength of this production, the official funding bodies treat them a bit more positively this time around. (Ala Morrison)

Also out: John Travolta breaks into the movie world in

I Original Gangsters (18) A host of 70s hlaxploitation star's Fred Williamson. Richard Roundtree. Patti Grier. Jim Brown team up for a 90s street drama in which the old school kick new punk ass in Indiana. The vigilante ‘violence- against-violence‘ scenario might displease some. but there‘s actually a strong thematic undercurrent as comtnunity members of all ages unite to beat a common problem. Old- style ethics. complete with loyaltries and betrayals. take on the more vicious modern-day gang situation in an entertaining surprise with a relevant message. (First Independent)

I Cazon Maudit (18) A philandering husband. a beautiful but duped wife. go for the latter if you wouldn‘t approach a French movie otherwise. (Guild; also retail £15.99) I Cutthroat island (PG) lfever a film deserved widescreen to do it justice. it‘s Renny Harlin‘s pirate adventure; but although this is a fullscreen release. there‘s still more action packed into the frames than most other tapes on the rental shelf. It‘s by no means the disaster its box office receipts suggest. and should now find its place as an entertaining family romp in good. old- fashioned matinee style. (Guild)

I Spanking The Monkey (18) When Ray returns home for a couple of days during summer recess. he doesn‘t expect to have to care for his bedridden mother. David O. Russell‘s debut movie has time for comic moments. but also finds some psychological depth beyond taboo sniggers in its incest theme. Teasineg shot and constructed with an uneasy eroticism. (Tartan; also retail £14.99)


I Iliysses’ Gaze (PG) Harvey Keitel plays a Greek director following in two sets of footsteps an earlier filmmaker and the Greek hero of the title - as he searches for the cinematic Holy Grail of three reels of undeveloped


Cet Shorty (MGM/0A rental) a a friendly. charming lesbian: this delightfully subversive movie is sparklineg written and directed by Josiane Balasko. who also gives a tremendous performance

as the catalyst for a

bizarre manage a truis. Funny and touching. raunchy and romantic. it's available in two formats -< subtitled and dubbed; only film from the turn of the century. Theo Angelopoulos‘s movie has some long tracking takes 1 that are just astonishing. A masterpiece about cinema. about Europe and about personal discovery. (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Butterfly Kiss ( 18) Michael Winterbottom's lesbian suspense drama strays a little into hysterical characterisation as the unpredictable Eunice (Amanda Plummer) searches for her lover around the motorways of North England. Unusual. certainly. but it doesn't quite fall together. See competitions page. (Electric £15.99)

I Country life ( 12) Just when it seemed that cinema was all

C hekhoved out (your fault. Anthony Hopkins) along comes this sprightly ; Australian take on Uncle 1’anyu. An academic snob and his young wife (Greta Scacchi) return to his sheep farm where his daughter (Kerry Fox) and brother-in-law have slaved away for years. and romantic entanglements ensue. particularly with the dashing local doctor (Sam Neill). Faster pacing. down-to-earth dialogue and no theatrical nonsense in the characterisations make this a bit of a treat. (Tartan £15.99)

I Smithereens(15) Before making her name with Desperately Seeking Susan. Susan Seidelman


made this excellent low- budget portrait of a run- down American Dream within the grubby urban reality of the New York punk scene. An indicator of good things to come from the director but. strangely enough. Seidelman never did anything better. (Arrow £9.99)

I Cat 0’ iline Tails ( 18) To put plot before style is unusual for Dario Argento. but this tnurder mystery revolving around a genetics lab keeps the viewer‘s attention right up until its disposable outcome. A cracking crime time-filler. with Karl Malden and James Franciscus as the Yanks on board. the rest being dubbed Italians. (Terror

Vision £9.99) , I A Century Of Cinema

(E) The subtitle A Personal Journey With

Marlin .S'mrsese Through

American Movies tells you all you need to know. Almost four hours of

wonderful clips. with the ~ master director talking to

camera. drawing in the viewer with his natural balance of enthusiasm and knowledge. It's like having a cinema encyclopedia at your fingertips. (Academy £15.99)

I Exorcist ii: The iieretic ( 18) One of the tnost terrifying and influential

horror films of all time . . . is followed by this waste

of space. Richard Burton

' is the priest trying to

secure Linda Blair's soul for the goodies. but

{ director John Boorman seems more intent on

avoiding the scares. opting intead for American psychobabble and African anthropology. (Terror Vision £9.99)

I A iiandful 0f 0ust (PG)

After TV success with

Brides/teat! Revistetl.

Charles Sturridge brought

Evelyn Waugh to the big

screen. but the result is a disappointment. A young married couple fall apart when their son is killed. showing the fragility of the aristocracy. Waugh‘s satirical bite is lost as the film. like the characters. glides along on the superficial level. Kristen Scott-Thomas delivers a wonderful peforrnance. however. (Arrow £9.99)

Also out: Irene Jacob and laurence Fishburne get passionate, Shirespeare-style, in Othello (20:20 Vision rental)

The List 20 Sept-3 Oct I996 23