I David Puttnam: No stranger to the Scottish ﬁlm community, Sir David Puttnam — producer of Local Hero and Being Human — kicks off this year‘s Lothian European Lecture series with a talk on ‘creating a European culture for the digital age‘. The lecture takes place at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh on Tuesday 2i January at 6.30pm. and free tickets are available from the Filmhouse box ofﬁce from noon on the day. Previous speakers have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock. Edward Heath and Jon Snow.
I Cameo Shorts: Snogging in a ‘chummy seat’ and meeting big screen stars on the day Roy Rogers and Trigger came to town are just two of the memories packed into three short documentaries of cinema nostalgia showing at Edinburgh's Cameo Cinema throughout January. Based at the city‘s Film and Video Access Centre. ﬁlmmaker Graham Drysdale sifted through the recollections of generations of Edinburgh ﬁlm-goers and has come up with a trio of shorts that celebrate the good old days.
I Stuart Banyard: Scottish Screen Location's newest employee Stuart Banyard has been tagged ‘a potential John Grierson' by his boss Celia Stevenson after his graduate ﬁlm A Day In The Life Of Barra Airport won the prestigious Royal Television Society‘s Student Video Award in the Documentary Seetion. The 22-year-old former Stirling University student‘s work has already been earmarked fora place in posterity by Scottish Film Archive curator Janet McBain.
I Irish Film Festival: It's not just Scottish cinema that’s hot on the Celtic front at the moment - a new generation of Irish talent is also on the rise. The Manchester Irish Film Festival. which will run from lO—l6 March I997. is putting out a call for submissions from Irish ﬁlmmakers. including those living and working in Scotland. This follows the city’s successful Short Film Festival in October. which featured a showcase on Scottish ﬁlmrnaking (after a similar call for submission in The List). Get your skates on: the closing date is Friday I7 January. and forms are available from the Kino Film Club on 0l6l 288 2494 (fax 237 3423).
The lights, the noise, the thrills, the tacky furry gonks that fall apart before you get home - all the fun of the fair. But when Scottish filmmaker lfannah Robinson visited the llogmanay Carnival in Edinburgh last year, the thing that stayed in her mind was the candy floss.
‘I thought this magical stuff was a brilliant metaphor for romantic love,’ she says. ‘lt’s wonderfully fluffy, but one bite and it disappears. A fairground will make a brilliant setting for a film, with all the swirling whirl. I’ll just have to make sure the cameraman isn’t scared oi heights and is willing to go on the waltzers a couple of times in a row.’
This idea has formed the core of a short film called Candy Floss, one of three projects chosen from over 150 submissions for the fifth year of the Scottish Film Production Fund/BBC Scotland Tartan Shorts scheme. llirector Robinson co-wrote the script with Maria MacDonell, whom she met at the Changing Places course for women directors, and the film will be produced by Marnie Anderson. The story, a tragi-comedy about the affair between the candy floss girl and the boy who spins the waltzers, is due to go before the cameras in April at a small fairground specially constructed for the shoot in a field near Grasslands in lanarkshire.
All three of the new Tartan Shorts projects have a strong input by women filmmakers, which redresses the balance against 1996’s male- dominated crop. Casrnan, a view of parental Infidelity seen through the
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eyes of a six-year-old girl, comes from writer-director lynne Ramsay, whose Small Deaths was named Best Short at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Kannlc Mothers, the story of two women who have survived suicide attempts, has been written by novelist and Whitbread Award-winner Kate Atkinson.
Robinson, who has made several short films and commercials and is currently shadowing Gillies Mackinnon on the set of Regeneration, doesn’t think the swing in favour of female filmmakers was a deliberate piece of positive discrimination. ‘A lot of women felt more confident this year,’ she says, ‘so there were stronger applications from women.’ Given that the recent BAFTA Scotland flew Talent Awards featured only three female nominees in all categories, it’s clear the feminine perspective played more of a role on the Scottish cinema
_ scene. (Alan Morrison)
When Irishman Harry (John lynch) falls in love with young Australian Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie), complications ensue. What sounds like the basis for hundreds of romantic comedies has a more serious edge here, for liarry is a schizophrenic and the fragile Kate believes that she receives messages through the answers on television’s Wheel Of Fortune. When she becomes pregnant, the couple’s initial icy turns dark as both stop taking their medication for the sake of the baby. Writer-director Michael Rymer tells the story of a difficult love affair with tenderness, feeling and a little
Jacqueline McKenzie and John lynch begin a doomed romance in Angel Baby
humour. By refusing to sensationalise the central characters’ illnesses, he manages a balance of tone that is not sentimental, swallowed by a Ken leach-style realism. Because we know the delicate state of Harry and Kate’s mental health - which is effectively rendered by stylised devices at moments of key stress - we’re always waiting for an emotional explosion, and this gives their affair a powerful sense of tragic inevitability. The ultimate accolades go, however, to the leads: the unforgivably underrated lynch and McKenzie, currently proving to be Australia’s hottest young actress. (Alan Morrison)
Angel Baby is available for rental on the EIecfric/Pclytiram label.
but neither is it
I Strictly Business ( 15) Successful but uptight black businessman Waymon. is knocked for six when he spots the beautiful Natalie (Halle Berry) and uses the help of streetsmart mailroom boy Bobby to engineer an introduction. This may sound like the basis for a bland romantic comedy. but by introducing themes of corporate back-biting and racism in the workplace. director Kevin Hooks (whose recent cinema movie Fled is a step backwards in comparison) lets this snappy. sassy ﬁlm come alive in an altogether unexpected manner. (First Independent)
I The Tit And The Moon (l8) The characters in Bigas Luna's latest and most mature ﬁlm are a ruder. but not cruder. tn'be who could stand alongside Fellini's comic grotesques: the boy who falls in love with the breast of a French dancer when he becomes jealous of his new-born brother. the motorcyclist and his performing farts. the love- struck ﬂamenco singer. A bizarre childhood fantasy ﬁlled with surreal mammery-ﬁxated humour. this follow-up to Jammi. mem and Golden Bulls also is touched by a sense of unrequited love and adolescent tragedy.
(Tartan; also retail. £15.99)
I Hackers ( l2) Unfairly treated by most critics at the time of its release. Ian Softley's follow-up to Bar/(heat should be accepted for what it is — an enjoyable and mildly subversive movie for computer-obsessed teenagers. who'll be dazzled by the flashy effects. and will pant at the gorgeous stars ('I'minspotting's Jonny Lee Miller and real-life wife Angelina Jolie). After all. what audience could be more suitable for such a blatant anti-adult movie. in which a group of misfits use their hacking skills to prove themselves innocent of a corporate conspiracy. (MGM/UA)
Also out: it's underdogs against corporate takeover in the lackadaisically characterised slacker comedy Empire Records (Warner); prison escape veteran Sean Connery takes on the militaristic madmen in undemanding actioner The Rock (Buena Vista); Tom Cruise ﬁnds himselfcaught up in spy intrigue in Mission: Impossible (CIC); Uma Thurman woos Ben Chaplin on her neighbour's behalf in The Truth About Cats And Bogs; Peter Weller makes war on self-replicating killer devices in outer space in Screamers (Columbia Trista-c); and ‘
love-befuddled Winona Ryder draws on generations of female wisdom in the slushy and formulaic New To Make An American iiuilt (CIC).
I Murder In The First (I5) Kevin Bacon delivers a career-best performance as mentally and physically scarred inmate of notorious island prison Alcatraz, whose horriﬁc injuries impel reckless young lawyer Christian Slater to take on the US prison system in open court. This gripping character thriller could have been a modem classic ifonly director Marc Rocco had calmed down the flashy camera movements and not distracted our attention from the actors. (20th Century Fox. £l2.99)
I The End Of St Petersburg (PG) Tartan Video launches an impressive catalogue of Russian classics with Pudovkin's celebration of the l9l7 October Revolution. as seen through the eyes of a peasant boy. His ﬁrst- hand view of exploitation and class violence at work and at war gives the ﬁlm a human focus. while the director dazzles us with powerful images and montage sequences that show just how stirring silent cinema can be. (Tartan. £15.99)
34 The List lO-23 Jan I997