FILM new releases
(15) 96 mins ****
If a story needs telling in as slow a way as possible, you can bet your last Iorryload of reindeer that Aki Kaurismaki is your man. Slow, but not dull. Indeed, Drifting Clouds is the Scandinavian director’s most sumptuous work to date (warm blues, lush reds and deep greens, for crying out loud), having rewritten the quirkbook with films such as Leningrad Cowboys ” 60 America and l Hired A Contract Killer.
Drifting Clouds tells the tale of a couple — Ilona (Kati Outinen, Finland’s answer to Shelley Duvall) and Lauri (Kari Vaananen) Kati Outinen and Kari Vaananen in - and their struggle against stagnation, D'imW 00"“ both economic and emotional. Ilona’s plans to open her own restaurant business are thwarted at most turns but fulfillment may eventually come. ’Life is short and miserable — be merry while you can,’ utters one character, probably after a fifteen second silence. While Kaurismaki may not come aCross as the partying kind, his films continue to offer warmth, wit and subtlety. Prepare for Hollywood to offer
Parent company: George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day
One Fine Day
(PG) 109 mins ****
Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer) is an ambitious architect and single mother who is run ragged by the demands of her job and her unruly five-year-old son Sammy. Jack Taylor (George Clooney) is a wisecracking newspaper columnist and every-other-weekend father who is left in charge of his five-year-old daughter when his ex-wife goes off on honeymoon. When Jack's relaxed approach to parenthood causes both kids to miss their school’s field trip ferry cruise, the parents try to juggle child- care duties, control their mutual animosity and surmount the disasters the day throws in their way.
Despite modern trappings like cellular phones and nods to feminism, One Fine Day is a defiantly old-fashioned film, right down to its sexual politics. It may purport to be even-handed, but it is uptight Melanie whose dignity is undermined by a series of pratfalls while laid-back Jack blithely sails through the day unscathed. Howard Hawks’s 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby was far more daring and radical in its approach to gender but, that said, Clooney’s cocky charm and Pfeiffer’s beauty and comic skills are so beguiling that One Fine Day will charm all but the most cynical and curmudgeonly of viewers. (Jason Best) I General release from Fri 4 Jul.
In harem's way: Naveen Andrews and Indira Varma in Kama Sutra
Kama Sutra (18) 114 mins ***
Mira Nair's first film on Indian soil since Salaam Bombay! still hasn’t been released in that country, and the director is furious that the Indian censors are apparently more comfortable with images of rape than of rapture. Kama Sutra does have some intensely erotic moments, but it’s by no means a position-by-position dramatisation of the infamous ancient text; rather it shows love in all its contrasting hues — seduction, passion, domination, jealousy — as 16th century servant girl Maya (Indira Varma) falls foul of her childhood friend, Princess Tara (Sarita Choudhury), when the latter marries the powerful king Raj Singh (The English Pa tient's Naveen Andrews).
Like Salaam Bombay! and Nair's first
24 THE IJST 27 Jun—10 Jul 1997
American movie, Mississippi Masala, sympathies lie with characters marginalised by the dominant society. Throughout her life, Maya has clothed. herself in Tara’s cast-offs, but by sleeping with the king on the eve of his wedding, she throws used goods in the direction of her former friend and retains this power by becoming Raj Singh’s chief courtesan.
In a richly atmospheric film — full of sensuality, vibrant colours, traditional music and alluring dances — the key to the Kama Sutra is not acrobatics but relationships between men and women. From Nair's perspective, it also encourages female empowerment, for as the sexual encounters progress, the women take more control and enjoy more pleasure. (Alan Morrison)
I Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 27 Jun.
him bucks aplenty to ditch all that. And pray they fail. (Brian Donaldson) I Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 27 Jun. Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 4 Jul.
ALSO OPENING Preaching To The Perverted (18) 100 mins
Somehow you get the feeling that this one has come along just a few months too late. Had it caught the pre-Election sleaze bandwagon, it might have managed to attach its story to some off- the-moment notoriety; now it seems destined to sit somewhere between Personal Services, Confessions Of A Commons Researcher and Carry On Spanking.
Peter, a devout Christian, is ordered by his employer, Henry Harding MP, to infiltrate London's S&M underworld and uncover material for a private prosecution against fetish clubs. However, our hero becomes infatuated with American dominatrix Tanya Cheex,
Guinevere Turner and equipment in Preaching To The Perverted
and the forthcoming courtroom battle is going to test his moral willpower.
Photos from the film promise much in terms of kinky costumes and set design, but the success of its comic abilities has yet to be judged. The filmmakers’ claim that it will ’do for alternative sex what Reservoir Dogs did for armed robbery' just seems like gratuitous name-dropping. (Alan Morrison)
I Selected release from Fri 4 lul.
Iovejones (15) 109 mins when:
Set around the lives of a group of articulate, decidedly middle-class twentysomethings from Chicago‘s black intelligentsia, Theodore Witcher’s debut film has much to say about the sexual politics of relationships, and the value of honesty within them.
Darius (Larenz Tate) is immediately smitten with struggling photographer Nina (Nia Long) when he meets her in a bar that specialises in performance poetry, but mystifyineg chooses to express his ill-concealed lust for her with an utterly wanky poem that he performs there and then on stage. From these dubious origins a relationship begins,
Nia Long in love jones
with Darius doggedly pursuing the cool Nina; once together, however, he switches into relationship mode, masking his true, deep feelings with a pretence of distance and smoothness. It’s a witty and perceptive account of human relations, and is not simply restricted to Darius and Nina, as Witcher’s eye falls on the varying fortunes of their eclectic group of friends.
Catching two hot young things at a crucial and vulnerable moment in their lives, it would not be overstating things to describe love jones as having echoes of The Way We Were, as it focuses on the one love that eclipses all others in your life. There is truth and honesty in this sweetly entertaining film. It’s just a shame about
that bloody poetry. (Anwar Brett)