Black & White & Red All Over
A cross-section of Black American youth shares an apartment, sits around and discusses its lot, and inevitably gets caught up in gang violence. The style is strong, but the thematic stomping ground has been muddied by countless other, heavier footprints. Everything is confined to these few rooms, with only the TV set as an eye on the outside world, and the film is at its most interesting when criticisrng the second-rate depiction of black culture in the media. But questions of self- identity eventually are swamped by cliched gun-play, and a Mexican stand- off ending that is pure rubbish.
I Black 87 White 8: Red All Over, Fi/mhouse 2, Tue 72, 8pm; Fi/mhouse 2, Sun 77, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).
* ‘II t *
Sibling rivalry takes on an acutely dangerous edge in this impressive first film by American director Derek Cianfrance, receiving its world premiere at Edinburgh. In a deliberately obscure opening sequence, one man savagely beats another with a chain. Only through an extended year-long flashback does the justification become clear, as brotherly bonding is shown up for all its complexities — love, jealousy, vengeance. Cianfrance uses a few too many gratuitious visual tricks (which nevertheless hold our attention and admiration) but his editing technique (properly called ’montage’ in the credits) IS self-consciously stylish and effective. There are few better debuts
I Brother Tied, Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 73, 8pm, Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 20, 3.30pm, £6 (£4).
* * *
Beyond horrific news footage, there lies a South Africa the cameras rarely catch. Johannesburg Stories attempts to redress the balance. Followrng the lives of a range of city-dwellers, the
as THE usr 8—14 Aug 1997
on show at the Festival this or any year.
cinema audience become eavesdroppers. This documentary is gritty and disturbing, portraying prostitution, violence and homelessness — but it deals with social problems as ordinary people relate to them, not as abstract political conundrums. A more upbeat Jo’burg is also revealed, with hedonistic gay clubs and a thriving music scene. The idea may be to flesh out the capital on- screen, but ultimately Johannesburg remains as incomprehensible as any modern city. (Peter Ross)
I Johannesburg Stories, Fi/mhouse 3, Thu 74, 72.30pm, £6 (£4).
Life is growing more complicated for Iaidback Marc deSpite his cool new pad in New York's gay, arty haven of Greenwhich Village. His overweight flatmate Cynthia is a spoilt brat on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he's struggling as an actor, his latest lover disappears for long night-time periods, and his best friend Robert is harbouring great but unrequited love for him, Blowing away cyniCism with a fresh breeze of old-style romance, Victor Mignatti’s gentle gay comedy plays out in a modern world where casual sex doesn't exclude tender kisses. (Alan Morrison)
I Broadway Damage, Cameo 7, Mon 77, 70.30pm; Cameo 3, Mon 78, 7.30pm, £6 (£4).
it i * * ~k
In the jungle of budding construction in Potsdammer Platz, Berlin, during April 1996, labourers from all over Europe are filmed at their work. These rough-hewn men, concentrating on the machines and materials under their hands, are surrounded by mayhem. Juxtaposed with these beautifully framed, black and white industrial images are recordings of the same men, recalling some place of tranqurlity which has touched their lives. Industry and nature, nOise and peace, man and machine collide, and each complements the other to create an effect which is both stunning and thought-provoking. Documentaries do
Fairy dance: Toby Stephens and Rachel Shelley are unaware tragedy is about to strike in the Edwardian romantic mystery Photographing Fairies (Cameo 2, Wed 13, 9pm; Cameo 2, Wed 20, 9pm).
All mod cons: Stuart Townsend and Dan Futterman in Shooting Fish.
Shooting Fish *****
A colloquial phrase meaning to ‘rip off‘, Shooting Fish certainly bites the bait, since it tells the tale of two smart twenty-year-olds who have perfected the art of swindling to virtuoso levels. Dyslexic Dylan (Dan Futterman) and genius Jez (Stuart Townsend) are like chalk and cheese. Together, however. they make a brilliant team as they pursue their ultimate dream - to make a million pounds by outwitting every loaded
fool they come across.
Things change when these partners-in-crime take Georgie (Kate Beckinsale) on board as a typist in order to pull off one particular scam. Their cute but astute assistant is not as gullible as she seems, and it's not long before Dylan and Jez realise that she has a mind for blagging as
inventive as theirs.
Funny and strangely easy to believe, this tale of modernoday Robin Hoods is filled with clever twists and turns. An Aladdin's cave of atmospheric visual contrasts combined with a catchy feelgood soundtrack, Stefan (Soft Top, Hard Shoulder) Schwartz's film is an imaginative, romantic satire of our commercial world, which is increasingly overladen with marketing giveaways and promotional competitions. (Beth Williams) I Shooting Fish, ABC Wester Hailes, Thu 74, 8pm; Cameo 7, Fri 22, 70.30pm, £6 (£4).
not come much more poetic than this. (Thom Dibdin)
I Der Platz, Fi/mhouse 2, Thu 74, 5.30pm, Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 20, 8pm, £6 (£4).
Every Little Thing
* ‘k t * 1r
In a quiet wood, a woman croons an ode to torment and pain. In her slippers. This is not merely an expression of internal turmOiI but an improvised rehearsal for the annual theatre show by the inmates of the La Borde clinic. Led by the saintly Marie Leydier, the patients are encouraged to partiCipate and, inevrtably, some are more willing than others to put their fears to the back of their troubled minds. Fortunately, the camera never quite lingers to the point of gross exploitation but Succeeds in portraying characters in a real tragedy. Heartbreaking and hair-raising.
I Every Little Thing, Fi/mhouse 2, Wed 73, 5.30pm, Fi/mhouse 2, Tue 79, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).
Under The Skin
1* t t *
Boasting a title that's an accurate description of its effect on the viewer, Under The Skin charts the grieving process of two sisters after the death of their mother. Rose finds support in a husband, home and soon-to-be-born child, while Iris withdraws into emotional and physical isolation, bingeing on alcohol and casual sex. The film draws its
conSIderable dramatic force from Samantha Morton’s astonishing central performance as Iris, easily as powerful as Emily Watson’s in Breaking The Waves. Writer-director Carine Adler handles the relationships between the women with magnificent surety, sensitivity and insight. (Miles Fielder)
I Under The Skin, Filmhouse 7, Mon 7 7, 7pm, Fi/mhouse 7, Thu 27, 7pm, £6 (£4).
Michael Haneke's second new film screening at the Festival (along With the higher profile Funny Games - see prevnew) is a very straight telling of Kafka’s unfinished novel. A stranger arrives in an inhospitable town, appomts himself Land Surveyor, but meets with suspicion and hostility. On its Own, it's rather dull; but taken With Funny Games, both films become companion essays on opposing rules and regulations of sooety. In The Castle. rigid bureaucracy ensures that the castle remains distant and unassailed; in Funny Games, behaViour and film structure break down and the home is eaSin violated. (Alan Morrison)
I The Castle, Fi/mhouse 3, Tue 72, 3pm, GFT 2, Wed 73, 5.45pm, Fi/mhouse 3, Mon 78, 6pm, £6 (£4).
a: r ** * Unmissable
t a: it * Very ood
* t at Wort seeing
it t Below average
it You've been warned