Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan,
As he nails his penis to a block of wood, Bob Flanagan isn't indulging in shock for shock's sake, but reclaiming his body from the constant pain of cystic fibrosis. Kirby Dick’s documentary shows the same straightforward honesty as its subject: a strong-willed man whose acts we come to celebrate, and whose decline and inevitable death we mourn. In fact, we feel more distress watching Flanagan suffer an abrasive coughing fit than when he pierces his own genitals — proof that the film takes us beyond the controversy and spectacle to a level of shared human sympathy. (Alan Morrison)
I Sick, Fi/mhouse 7, Tue 72, 9.30pm,- Fi/mhouse 2, Mon 78, 8pm; Fi/mhouse 2, Fri 22, 8pm, £6 (£4).
Santiago lies impatiently in bed. Downstairs, his family wrap his birthday presents and prepare for his entrance. They are rarely, if ever, together like this and although their bickering is vitriolic, it seems imperative that the day goes well. Fami/ia gives an unexpected, gently comic and thought-provoking twist to the charades that families play out for each other on birthdays. As events unfold, the family’s machinations — detailed with great subtlety by an all-round excellent cast — become increasingly intriguing. It Will leave you uncomfortably uncertain as to who was kidding whom, who was lonely and who was downright vicious. (Thom Dibdin)
I Familia, Cameo 7, Mon 77, 5.30pm, Cameo 7, Tue 79, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).
The Girl With Brains In Her
1* 1k at
This slice of nostalgia, revolvmg around an adolescent girl in 70s Leicester, perfectly captures the highs and lows of teenage life. 'Jacks’ is the school's star athlete, but when she finally loses her Virginity, she gets pregnant — swallowing a handful of mum's contraceptive pills an hour before having intercourse is woefully naive. DeSpite a dysfunctional relationship
with her single mother and, being of mixed race, abuse at school, Jacks's carefree spirit isn't overshadowed by potentially cliched dramas. Instead, the film celebrates the energy of adolescence with great, naturalistic performances and a rocking sound-of- the-summer-of-youth Marc Bolan soundtrack. (Miles Fielder)
I The Girl With Brains In Her Feet, Cameo 3, Wed 73, 4pm; Cameo 3, Thu 27, 4pm, £6 (£4).
The Day A Pig Fell Into The Well
Although acclaimed in other quarters, this prototype of the Korean new wave is just too confusing to these Western eyes. The film has passed its halfway point before the relationships between the four central characters become clear: a novelist betrays his girlfriend by having an affair with a married woman, whose husband is unfaithful to her with a prostitute on a business trip. Building its emotional jigsaw in a deliberate manner, the film is a portrait of barely suppressed thirtysomething disappointments and neuroses. The male characters are, respectively, obnoxious and weak, and by the end, we’re no closer to understanding what their attractive qualities could be. (Alan Morrison)
I The Day A Pig Fell Into The Well, Fi/mhouse 2, Tue 72, 5.30pm; Fi/mhouse 3, Mon 78, 9pm, £6 (£4).
Kicked In The Head
if ‘k * 3%
Similar to Martin Scorsese’s previous venture as producer - the criminally overlooked Search And Destroy — this engaging comedy has an edge due to a smart script by its star, Kevm Corrigan, which parodies all things mean on the streets. Crazy characters (particularly James Woods’s manic Uncle Sam) and unlikely events revolve around Corrigan's dopey young kid. Ignoring his lovely girlfriend Lili Taylor, he instead stalks washed-up airline stewardess Linda Fiorentino. Boy gets dream girl, but even that is flipped on its head, and the resulting downbeat, yet hilarious finale is symptomatic of this marvellous offbeat-upbeat film. (Miles Fielder)
I Kicked In The Head, Cameo 7, Tue 72, 70.30pm; Cameo 7, Thu 27, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).
-\ . $4.21.”? g.-
Cafe culture: Russell Barr and Robin Laing in The Slab Boys
The Slab Boys it
After considerable television success as a writer, John Byrne should have been ready to remake his hit 705 play for the big screen. Sadly, the end result does Byrne’s screenplay few favours, since the film’s creative ambition falls foul of his limitations as director.
In the semi-stylised surroundings of the Paisley Byrne remembers from 1957, three youngsters work in the basement paint shop of a local carpet factory. Youthful longings for escape to America, Glasgow Art College or even the arms of a voluptuous co-worker are set grimly in the context of bitter reality - no money, no prospects, no nothing - and by the time of the annual staff dance, tensions are almost at breaking point.
It's a rites-of-passage saga in classic mould, but the effect is disappointingly muffled. Byrne shows an unerring knack for cutting at the wrong time or putting the camera in the wrong place. Performances from game trio Robin Laing, Bill Gardiner and Russell Barr have little chance to breathe, so the film merely shambles along, and what was probably glittering dialogue on the page gets lost somewhere along the way.
'No Slab Boys were killed or injured during the making of this film’ say the end credits. No, just a few reputations, unfortunately.
I The Slab Boys, GFT 7, Mon 77, 7.30pm; Cameo 7, Mon 78, 70.30pm, £6 (£4). John Byrne Scene 8y Scene, GFT 7, Tue 7 2, 7.30pm, £9 (£4).
Prickly situation: the adorable Hedgehog In The Fog is part of a retrospective of work by Russian master animator Yuri Norstein (Filmhouse 1, Tue 12, noon), who also travels from Moscow to give a Scene By Scene on his work-in-progress adaptation of Gogol's The Overcoat (Filmhouse 1. Fri 15, 7pm).
Inside/Out * t it it
As befits a work set in an isolated psychiatric hospital, director- cinematographer Rob Tregenza’s remarkable film has a keen sense of confinement. Inmates try to escape; they are recaptured. Figures leave the frame; the camera pans to bring them back into the shot before the scene ends. This astonishineg creative camerawork drives the film Visually and thematically, turning the audience’s perceptions and assumptions around, leaving us as disorientated as the patients. When it's the figures of authority — a cop, a priest, an orderly — who most obwously break accepted bonds of sooal behaViour, who’s to say who’s 'normal’ and who's not7
I Inside/Out, Cameo 2, Tue 72, 7pm,- Cameo 2, Fri 75, 7pm, £6 (£4).
* 'k t *
Winner of the Camera D'Or for first- time directors at Cannes this year, Naomi Kawase’s family saga is a cinematic rarity — a Japanese film made by a woman. The story spans fifteen years of family life in a remote mountain Village, where the closure of a railway pr0ject before completion threatens to leave the community isolated from the modern world. Kawase’s detailed, deceptively low-key direction allows the rhythms and indiVidual concerns of the Tahara
household to emerge unhurriedly from wonderfully naturalistic perfi'mnances. There’s more maturity of thought and approach here than is usually evident in a debut. (Alan Morrison)
I Suzaku, Fi/mhouse 7, Thu 74, noon,“ GFT 7, Sun 77, 4pm, Fi/thI/SO 7, Tue 79, 7pm, £6 (£4).
Ma Vie En Rose
The Film Festival’s opening gala, Ma Vie En Rose is a delightful tale of sexual identity. Director Alan Berlinier’s debut film centres on Ludowc (George du Fresne), a boy who dreams of being a little girl. Ludovic's qurrky behaviour and conspicuous cross-dressing soon become intolerable to his increasingly distraught parents and the members of the close-knit community to which they belong. Beautifully surreal photography (wonderful dream sequences perpetuate the film) and a flawless performance from the young star more than make up for a fairly lacklustre conclusion.
I Ma Vie En Rose, Odeon 2, Sun 70, 6.20pm/8 30pm, Fl/lTl/IOUSO 7, Thu 74, 9 30pm, £6 (£4).
* i it * * Unmissable
i. t i: * Very good
i t it Worth seeing
it * Below average
* You’ve been warned
8--l4 Aug i997 THE UST87