A SUMMER’S TALE
The third in Erie Rohmer‘s ‘Tales Of The Four Seasons’ ﬁnds him on top form after the agreeable diversion of Rendezvous In Paris. This time round. the Channel resort of Dinard is the setting for a characteristically wise account of youthful romantic caprices.
Gaspard (Melvil Popaud). a gauche and indecisive holidaying muso. stumbles into two- timing complications while waiting for his nominal girlfriend Lena (Aurelia Nolin) to arrive in town. Margot (Amanda Langlet). a student doing a bit of waitressing during the holidays. makes him feel at ease on their seaside walks; but then again the voluptuous Solene (Gwenae'lle Simon). whom he meets by chance in a disco. seems more openly assertive of her sexual interest. Whilejuggling the two of them. what‘s he to tell Léna when she
actually does turn up?
Although his status in French cinema is almost taken for granted. it's still astonishing how much richness of insight and incident Rohmer packs into a relatively conﬁned canvas. From four characters and a few settings in and around Dinard. he creates a teasineg witty and touchingly humane portrait of youthful indecision and the ongoing dislocation between words. thoughts and feelings.
While the narrative control that keeps conjuring surprises out of nothing is just the sort of thing they should really be examining at screenwriting classes. poor old Gaspard’s romantic fumblings. observed with amused sympathy. should be required viewing for all who take the New Lad thing far too seriously. Terriﬁc. (Trevor Johnston) A Summer 3‘ Tale (U) (Eric Rohmer. France. I 996) Melvil Popaud. Aurelia Nolin, Amanda Langlet, Gwenae'lle Simon. [[3 mins. Subtitles. Front Fri 4. Glasgoit‘.‘ OFT:
A Summer’s Tale: ‘teaslngly witty’
Jennifer Jason Leigh and the Oscar-nominated Mare Winningham play two sisters locked in a love/hate relationship in this powerful drama, which receives a special one-off preview screening this month prior to release later this year. Winningham plays Georgia. a successful, happily married folk-rock singer, with Leigh again tapping into the high-
strung territory she has made her own as Georgia's troubled younger sibling.
Director Ulu Grosbard's latest work is a raw, evocative film with two great performances that are ﬁlled with emotional truth and. on Leigh’s side, an aching sense of vulnerability. (AM)
Georgia ([8) (Ulu Grosbard. US/France, 1995) Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mare Winningham, Ted Levine. I 17mins. Tue I5 only. Glasgow: GFT
October’s short animation season at the Glasgow Film Theatre includes three new pieces of ‘anime’ - Japanese animation - which should get the tastebuds of the city's Manga fans salivating.
Yugen Kaisha (Tue 8) is a comedy and horror package set in a
supernatural detective agency; The Hakkenden (Tue 8) mixes the mystical with the mythical in a Samurai actioner; and El Hazard (Wed l6) throws two high school rivals into an inter- planetary war in another dimension. Britain's leading anime expert. Helen McCarthy, will give an illustrated introduction to the El Hazard screening. See index. (AM)
COMEDY THE NUTTY PROFESSOR
The Nutty Professor is very much a one-man show, as Eddie Murphy plays three quarters of the parts in a not particularly funny version of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde. The contemporary twist is tackling the fattism issue.
Professor Sherman Klump is brilliant. with a heart of gold. but he‘s so fat. he rubs the chalk off the blackboard as he waddles past. Having tried diets. acupuncture and exercise without success, it appears the solution lies in the test tube, after he cracks the fat gene formula. When all his guinea pigs escape from the lab — cuc slapstick scenes ofsmall furry creatures llying through the air at Wellman College » he tries the potion on himself.
Suddenly he emerges as a streamlined.
The Nutty Professor: ‘the territory is all too familiar’
hip-talking playboy called Buddy Love. a character ideally placed to woo Sherman's dream woman Carla (Jada Pinkett). Unfortunately ~ and predictably — his invention proves to be unstable and he can balloon to his normal gargantuan size without waming and usually at the most inconvenient moments.
This version of The Nutty Professor was ‘inspired' by the 1963 Jerry Lewis film in which a meek. accident-prone Prof transformed himself into a cool cat and back again. Murphy has gone one better by not only playing rivals Sherman and Buddy. but also all the members ofthe bizarre Klump family: Ma. Pa. Grandma and the awful younger brother. They live to eat, but their table manners leave something to be desired. There aren‘t actually any farting jokes. just plain farting. Unfurrny.
it‘s hard to fault the make-up and effects which transform Murphy into the endearing Sherman and the rest of his less endearing family. Directed by Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura. Pet Detective). The Nutty Professor bowls along with some nice touches ~ Sherman‘s Fatzilla nightmare up to the point where the giant fart intervened —‘ but the territory is all too familiar. The message is ‘size doesn’t matter’. And who believes that? (Sue Greenway) The Nutty Professor (l 2 ) ( 'Iom .S'luulyac. US. 1996) Eddie Murphy. Jada Pinkett. James Cohurn. 95 mins. From Fri 4 Oct. General release.
Jude: ‘alternately hard-edged and tenderperformances’
At a time when every new period drama’s publicity boasts a modern feel (read: humour, whimsy, brevity), Jude infuses the genre with real contemporary relevance. Arriving late in the cycle of literary adaptations that first achieved widespread popularity with the Merchant-Ivory films, Jude does what the others have only obliquely hinted at by interrogating the shameful hypocrisy and preludice of the English class system.
The inequality of education, marriage, work and housing between the classes is powerfully and, at times, horriflcaily illustrated through the story of Jude Fawley and his cousin Sue Bridehead. Jude’s efforts to put himself through a formal education are met at first with condescension and finally closed
doors at Christminster (Thomas Hardy’s version of Oxford). Poverty, homelessness and failed previous marriages contrive to destroy the lovers’ brief romantic happiness. The drama is acute: the romance is made more sincere by its underlying tragedy, the tragedy more devastating by its origin in social conditions.
Jude's success lies partly in the choice of source material - Hardy, like Winterbottom, champions the disenfranchised class. However, it’s the alternately hard-edged and tender performances of the leads, the location work from as far afield as Edinburgh and flew Zealand that conjures an authentic Hardy’s Wessex, and Winterbottom’s very cinematic eye - behold the stunning grey opening shot - that raises Jude above period romances, elevating it to classic status. (Miles Fielder)
Jude (15) (Michael Winferboftom, UK, 1996) christoplier Eccleston, Kate Winslet, llach Griffiths. 120 mins. From Fri 4. limited general release.
DRAMA OOURAOE UNDER FIRE
Courage Under Fire: ‘intelilgent, understated’
‘Friendly‘ and not-so- friendly fire ﬂare in this moving Gulf War drama with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan.
Washington plays Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling, a tank commander unable to come to terms with killing one of his own crews during a desperate night- time incident at Al Bathra. There is a cover-up. and he is sidelined to the White House by sympathetic commanding officer Michael Moriarty who expects him to rubber-stamp a decoration recommendation for a young rnedevac pilot. Captain Karen Walden (Ryan). who died saving two helicopter crews. Serling is confronted with a barrage of lies and half- truths from Walden’s unit and so. unable to uncover the facts and harassed by relentless journalist Scott Glenn. he separates from his wife and retreats into :dcohohsnr
This may be Washington's most complex role yet. Always an honourable hero. here he has a dangerous vulnerability. The support is excellent. and Ryan proves a good choice for Walden. Her time on screen is fairly short. but exploits both Walden‘s anonymity and Ryan's fame (and talent) to make the character sympathetic.
Edward Zwick directed Washington previously in Glory, and has a way of unearthing integrity from the futility of war. Courage Under Fire is slightly slushy. but it's an intelligent. often understated ﬁlm which confronts chauvinisrn by contrasting truth with desire. Perhaps it’s typiﬁed by the brief. unassuming scene where Serling rights his child's bicycle. left on its side to conceal the fact that it has a stabiliser. (Gio MacDonald)
Courage Under Fire ([5) (Edward Zwick, US, I 996) Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan. LOU Diamond Phillips. 1 16 nrins. From 4 Oct. General release.
22 The List 4-17 Oct 1996