video reviews


Ridicule (15) 102 mins hit H

In the court of Louis XVI, social climbers don’t rise through skilful swordplay but by their rapier wits. A bold young aristocrat who needs the king’s support to drain his swamp-sodden land enters this life-or—socraLdeath world, and struggles to keep his idealism alive when faced with the crushing hypocrisy of the upper classes. Patrice Leconte's rivetting movre doesn't have the wide romantic sweep of Cyrano De Bergerac, but it is no less literate. Dark and subtly vicious, it has its own brand of edge-of- the-seat excitement. (Electric; also retail at £15.99)

Love Lessons

(15) 128 mins * it

80 Widerberg, the late director of the beautiful but vapid Elvira Madigan, enters familiar territory with this tale of the affair between a teenage schoolboy and his teacher. The situation grows more complicated when the boy forms a surrogate father/son friendship with the woman's alcoholic husband. The disappointineg unerotic mood isn't helped by the period setting (the 'innocence' of the era hits a false note), and the film never becomes a study of behaviour as the teacher’s motivation isn’t made clear. (Tartan; also retail at £15.99)

Welcome To Planet Earth (18) 90 mins Hz

An alien family take a vacation on Earth so they can indulge in their hobby of killing muggers and drug dealers. Likeable George Wendt (Norm in Cheers) and Shanna Reed are the extraterrestrials, but their overplayed disguise as 'ordinary' American citizens becomes really irritating. The manufactured wackiness doesn't deveIOp naturally, and there are too many cliches re-heated from other movies to make it funny in its own

right. In fact, the whole thing smacks of yet another American pro-vigilante movie masquerading as something less offensive. (Film 2000)

Trajan Eddie

(15)105 mins 1: *1:

After Small Faces, director Gillies Mackinnon turned his attention to love and jealousy amongst Irish travellers, but he was on surer ground when dealing with Glasgow's gangs of the 60s The story has mythic power, however, as the tyrannical head of a travelling community marries a much younger woman, only to be cuckolded by her. Richard Harris brilliantly captures the sense of physical threat and psychological frustration of his character, but the narrative drive just isn’t there for the film as a whole to be counted 3 success. (Film Four)

Breaking The Waves

(18) 153 mins ****‘k

The most unexpected, astonishing and moving film of 1996 loses none of its emotional impact on video. Newcomer Emily Watson stars as a young woman who disrupts her stiflingly religious and insular Scottish Highland village when she falls in love with a foreign oil-rig worker; when he is injured in an accident, she makes a sacrifical pact with God in return for his recovery. Lars Von Trier balances the intensity of close: hand-held camerawork wrth hyper-realistic landscapes. (Guild Pathe £15.99)

The Graduate (15) 104 mins 1H 1hr

Here’s to you, Mrs Robinson, 30 years on from the original cinema release of Mike Nichols's enduring romantic comedy. Dustin Hoffman broke through to the big time With his role as an initially naive young man setting out into the world vra an affair wrth one of his parents' best friends. To mark the anniversary, this special wrdesrreen edition is released in a collectors' boxed set, With postcards and the original trailer included. (Blle £12.99)

Dance with a stranger: Ralph Fiennes and Kristen Scott Thomas get close in the Oscar-winning The English Patient (15, 155 mins, * * 'k 9:). Available to buy now at £14.99.

30 THE llS'l' 26 Sep—9 Oct 1997

Tokyo story: Chikako Hara and Miho Nikaido in Flirt


(15) 85 mins H * it

As a concept on paper, Hal Hartley’s latest sounds intriguing the same short script done by three sets of actors in three different cities (New York, Berlin, Tokyo) but how does it work in practice? Brilliantly.

Hartley's trademark touches are everywhere as three flirtatious people - straight man, gay man, straight woman are given ultimatums by their lovers regarding the future of their relationships. The literate, finely crafted dialogue, with its own peculiar rhythmic sense, is a delight in itself; but this isn't just an exercise in coolly intellectualised style. Unlike conceptual art, where the idea is all, Flirt sets out to entertain, mixing behavioural quirks

with mild philosophising.

The 'theme-and-variations’ structure isn't repetitive; instead it develops and reinforces the central ideas, working like the film equivalent of a remix EP. Do people define their surroundings, or do those surroundings have an active effect on their inhabitants? Well, on this evidence it seems that people are people, and those little human nuances that Hartley details so keenly set individuals apart while simultaneously proving that no one is all that different in the final reckoning. (Alan Morrison)

I Flirt is available to rent or buy (at 25 75.99) from Mon 29 Sep.

Lone Star (15) 130 mins it w a“ *

John Sayles fuses past wrth present ll) this intelligent thriller that ha, much to say about contemporary Arnerir a. The discovery of a skeleton in the Tex-iv’ex desert reopens an old tase (L.¢1‘.;:"l.".l:'l() the disappearant e of a universally hated sherrif, and the ( urieitt l.l‘.'.‘lllrllé reckons that his late father the town's hero could be the j,"l.'llt‘ Suspect Sayles, the US llltlf‘t)i’>1)(l(‘lll scene's (whitest \‘vriter-(liit-ttor, draws social and political themes into a rnasterpiet e that is as. entertaining as it is weighty lCr‘iiurnlria ristar {1.7. 991

Secrets And Lies

(15) 136 mins * a it a

Mike Leigh's biggest suct ms to date has rnOre narrative shape than his other wr-rks Brenda Blethyn play» a middle-aged ‘.'.’l)rll<lll who is XML“. ked to discover that her foot] lo): (laughter is black, a fact that causes some resentment in her faintly and tests the strength of the love of those around her. Blethyn i]()I the most high-profile acting acclaim (llKllldilrf) the Fest Actress Award at Carine-s: but its Marianne Jot‘lll-Rilpilfiir" performance is freihest and most affecting (Filth FourNCl £11199)

Avanti! (15) 138 mins it it w a,

When Jack Leniinon flies to Italy to pick up the hodv of his, manly der eased

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(18) 98 mins a a is a

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, 1 x A ii .+ v Unmissable i «r a + 4‘ Very good

* i it Worth a Shot l k a Below average

«r You've been warned