I Face: Robert Carlyle. star of Trainspotting and Hamish Macbeth. teams up again with director Antonia Bird for Face. a new thriller which began a seven-week shoot in London on Tuesday 5 November. Carler and Bird collaborated previously on homeless drama Safe and the widely acclaimed Priest.
Ronan Bennett‘s script tells the story of a gang who pull off a dangerous heist only to be robbed themselves. Getting back their loot becomes secondary to discovering who betrayed them. Face also stars Steven Waddington, Peter Vaughan, Lena Headey and Sue Johnston. and will raise eyebrows in some quarters as it marks the feature ﬁlm debut of Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur.
I Sharing Stories: Now established as the world’s largest conference on international co-production. Sharing Stories 96 takes place in Edinburgh from 22—24 November. The Scottish- based event celebrates its ﬁfth anniversary with a programme that includes the ﬁrst screening north of the border of Ken Loach‘s Carla '3 Song. which will be followed by a case study of the ﬁlm's unique European network of co-producers and funders.
Other events this year include a case study of Breaking The Waves: in-depth
focuses on animation. multi-media. documentary and television drama co- production; and a continuation of the live pitching sessions known as ‘Two in A Room‘. during which shortlisted proposals will be pitched on the spot to two commissioning editors from Channel 4 and Germany‘s ZDF. with a realistic opportunity of the winner going into production.
The growing reputation of Sharing Stories — which last year attracted almost 200 delegates from ﬁfteen countries - has won it a signiﬁcant boost in funding from the European Community‘s MEDIA ll project. with a speciﬁc aim to extend Sharing Stories’ reach into France and Germany.
I flew Directions: Nine filmmakers. including two Scots. have been selected to take part in the l996 New Directions showcase. organised by the First Film Foundation and Panavision. Peter Mullart and Frances Higson — respectively writer-director and producer of Fridge — will join a group heading out to New York and Los Angeles in early December for a round of high proﬁle industry screenings and meetings with studios. agents. distributors and production companies. Previous participants in the scheme have included Andrzej Sekula. director of photography on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. and Stefan Schwartz. director of Soft Top, Hard Shoulder.
it’s been a quarter of a century since Roman Polanski turned his hand to Shakespeare’s Scottish play, although countless Banquo’s ghosts have stalked the stage in the interim. llow comes a new big screen version of Macbeth from the production company who brought us Chasing The Deer and
The Bruce. Thankfully, the leap in quality between those amateurish embarrassments and this latest effort is quite remarkable.
Macbeth’s strengths lie in its cast. Jason Connery and Helen Baxendale (of cardiac Arrest fame) play the murderous husband and wife as young, sexy and fatally ambitious. Connery takes his character from loyal general, through manipulated spouse, to psychologically distressed tyrant. Daxendale’s approach is equally well paced - the opportunist begins to lose her grip on her husband (and her mind) as the bloody plan progresses. Around them are a fine collection of Scottish character actors who bring individual colour to each of the roles. Worth a special mention is Item Falconer’s Seyton, who stamps his menace on the proceedings, thereby allowing Macbeth’s hunger for power to be seen as more rash and uncontrolled titan purely evil.
In this way the film achieves a poignant sense of tragedy that many theatrical adaptations lose sight of: at the end of Macbeth’s climactic battle with Macduff, the blood on his hand minors a scene Immediately after Duncan’s murder, making him (and us) painfully aware of his crime and ready
llelen Baxendale stars in Macbeth
to accept his immediate execution.
Any criticisms of the film lie not with Shona Donaldson’s gripping and enjoyable production, but with the company behind the scenes, who have allowed the early ‘gala’ performances of the film to be screened as video proiections with an unfinished sound dub - no doubt to swiftly appease the small sum investors who backed the project. The present version is clearly a rushed job that does not do iustice to the efforts of an admirably talented cast and crew. (Alan Morrison) Macbeth is due for cinema and video release next year.
I The Passion Of Darkly lloon ( l8) Bold in style. sound and story. Philip
Ridley's follow-up to The .
Reﬂecting Skirt proves that the modern adult fairy tale can be potently rendered on ﬁlm. Brendan Fraser plays a young man who shelters with a beautiful woman and her mute boyfriend in a forest clearing after his religious community is wiped out in a Waco-like shoot-out. Gradually repressed sexuality and religious fanaticism turn his desires into madness. Some of the images arejust jaw- dropping: this is close to genius. (Entertainment)
I line Femme Francaise (l8) Regis Wargnier. director of Indochine. packs too tnuch incident into too little development time as he charts the unhappy relationship between a French soldier and his chronically unfaithful wife over the decades. Daniel Auteuil captures his character‘s suffering and bewilderment. but Emmanuelle Beart is cold and far too self-conscious. Despite the plot. the ﬁlm is curiously devoid of passion. Very disappointing. (Guild World Cinema; also retail. £l5.99)
I New And Then (PC) in the summer of l‘)7(). four 12-year-old girls learn about the realities of life while trying to solve art old murder mystery that’s plotted like a bad Scoth Doo episode. An unnecessary indulgence in sentimental nostalgia by producer Demi Moore (who plays one of the grown-up girls in book- end sequences). this is a girls' movie only in the worst stereotypical sense: it's pink. ﬂuffy and doesn‘t have the balls of. say. Stand By Me. And for the future hope of ﬁlm acting. pray that in real life a talented youngster like Thora Birch doesn't grow up to become Melanie Grifﬁth. (First independent)
I Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead (18) When a supposedly simple 'lastjob‘ goes disastroust wrong. Jimmy The Saint (Andy Garcia) is given two days to get out of town or meet his maker. instead he puts
Exit 4' er
Also out: Woody llarrelson and
A: ﬂlchl down the law in court—room-
thriller Primal Fear (Clo rental)
his affairs in order and tries to fulﬁl his obligations to his colleagues. And so. on a very poignant level. this modem crime noir is actually an allegory for terminal illness. This thematic depth. coupled with Garcia's restrained and digniﬁed performance. makes for a genre movie that‘s. in terms of literacy. way above its contemporaries. (Buena Vista)
I The last 0! The Dogmen (PG) A bounty hunter. chasing three escaped convicts. stumbles upon a lost Indian tribe who have kept their presence hidden by bloody means. but to prove his case. he has to team up with a female anthropologist. Tom Berenger perfectly captures the old-fashioned anti-hero style of a character haunted by his past. while Barbara Hershey is an able match. They may not be Bogart and Hepburn in The African Queen. but their performances are excellent. the story grips throughout and the setting is spectacular. One of the year’s most underrated
I movies. (Fox Guild)
I Denise Calls lip (15) To sustain a movie where all the characters only inter- relate over the telephone is no mean feat. but debut director Hal Salwen pulls it off with a consistently funny and increasingly engaging movie. Denise Calls Up bites as a metaphor for a modern world where career demands are leading to social alienation. but it's on the more personal level — where technology has become an obstacle to love and romance — that the ﬁlm really hits home. To win a copy. see Competitions Page next issue. (Artiﬁcial Eye _£l5.99)
Wesley Snipes flnd subway
action in Money Train (20:20 Vision rental)
I Babe (U) An instant classic and delight for all ages. this Australian comedy about an orphaned piglet who rises to glory at national sheepdog trials has a hilariously skewed sense of humour. You don‘t need the excuse of kids to enjoy it because. remember. this talking pig's not just for Christmas. (ClC £14.99) I The Confessional (IS) A regular visitor to Scotland with his ground- breaking theatrical works. Robert l-epage‘s debut as ﬁlm director is no less impressive. An intricately constructed narrative shifts from Lothaire Bluteau‘s quest for identity artd search for his true father back to the time that Alfred Hitchcock came to Quebec to shoot I Confess with Montgomery Clift. Guilt. truth and the sharing of secrets bind tighter and tighter together over the years in a ﬁlm that shows absolute command of cinema language and frame composition. (Artiﬁcial Eye £l5.99) I Unseen Fantasy Football ( l8) Out of context. people swearing isn‘t always funny in itself. so this cotnpilation of risque’ moments excised from the cult TV show only makes Baddiel and Skinner come over as laddish equivalents of Terry Wogan and Dennis Norden. Painfully dull even to devotees of the beautiful game: (fantasy) football might be coming home. but not to my house. (PNE £12.99) I To Die For ( l8) Nicole Kidman comes into her own as an over-ambitious weather presenter whose desire for media stardom spills over into murder. Attacks on modern America's obsession with the media have been done on ﬁlm before. but the central performance lifts this tragically comic satire into a realm of its own. Stylistically. Gus Van Sant‘s mix of straight-to- camera interviews and video documentary methods gives the impression that the subject matter and its presentation on screen are disturbingly close. (PolyGram £ l 2.99)
24 The List l5-28 Nov 1996