Lynne Stopkewrcz Director of Kissed
As word-of-mouth movies go, Lynne Stopkewicz’s debut, Kissed, is a tough sell. You rave about how poetic it is, how tenderly the subject is handled, and then you're asked, 'But what's it about?'. Well, you say, it's about Sandra, a female necrophiliac who works in a mortuary, and . . .
You can see why the British Board of Film Classification spent months fretting over this one. The images on screen are probably ’15' material at worst, but there's no getting over the fact it's about a girl who makes love to dead people. Eventually the BBFC passed Kissed uncut with an ’18' certificate. Ironically, their job might have been easier if it had been a perverse horror tale rather than an insightful portrait of a strong, independent woman in control of her sexuality.
'It was a much more subversive choice to do the film this way than make a genre picture,’ agrees Stopkewicz. ’Kissed presents people with really challenging material in terms of the ideas and morality behind it.’
Fortunately, the dark but undeniably romantic tone works perfectly and the film — based on a short story by Stopkewicz's fellow
matter with a delicate hand.
order to engage with her.
Wim Wenders Director of The End Of Violence
Los Angeles and Wim Wenders aren't exactly the best of friends. Back in 1982, the German director was sorely disenchanted by the Hollywood production and editing wrangles that followed the completion of Hammett Two years later, when he returned to America tO shoot Paris, Texas, it was the Wide open deserts of the mythical West that drew him rather than the studio machine
His critical attitude towards L A filters into The End Of Violence, a thoughtful
40 THE “ST 9~22 Jan 1998
Canadian Barbara Gowdy — handles its difficult subject
’The original story had a much harder edge to it,’ explains the director, 'but I wanted people to be seduced by the film and to care about Sandra, because I'm asking them to take a really big leap morally in
‘When I started making the film,’ she continues, ’l’d just turned 30 and was thinking about death and mortality and all the kind of things that people want to put off forever. Even though I couldn't really relate to the necrophile aspects of the personality — because that’s obviously not something that I'm into by any means - I could relate to the larger issues of the film:
Death and the maiden: Lynne Stopkewicz directs Kissed
going through puberty, dealing with your first date,
your first kiss, your first sexual relationship. Constantly I
was trying to figure out a way to make a character, who most people would see as a freak, seem normal and be someone who lives next door.’
Stopkewicz's efforts have paid off to the extent that
this humble 16mm debut, made in a friend's mother’s
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Eyes in the sky: Daniel Benzali and Gabriel Byrne in The End Of Violence
paranoia thriller that brings together plot strands concerning cinematic Violence and a double murder caught on urban surveillance cameras Everyone in his film from a successful action rnovre producer, to a gangsta rapper, to a computer genius working for the government » has their lives touched by Violence almost by necessity Wenders is not one to condone gratuitous blood and guts on screen, however, and believes that directors should be aware of the knot k-on effects of their work
'It’s important that Violence in society is acknowledged as a possible
basement by a cast and crew full of first-timers, was nominated for eight of Canada‘s prestigious Genie Awards, winning Best Actress for Molly Parker. Maybe that girl next door is just a bit weirder in the country that produced David Cronenberg. (Alan Morrison) Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 9 Jan. Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 30 Jan See revrew,
phenomenon of the irresponsibility of filmmakers towards the representation of vroIence,’ he argues in a quiet, precise manner. ‘They should make rt the subject of their films and refrain from treating it as the topping on the cake Movres can really say something about it, can clarify it, can transcend it. I refuse to make Violence Just an ingredient '
He also has strong vrews on the debate over city centre surveillance cameras —~ a useful tool for safety or an intrusion of CIVIl liberties7 ’The thing about technology,’ he says, 'rs that, as soon as yoci start working With rt, you realise its never only good or only had. A tool to control Violence might be a good idea, and the technology is already there, even if it was developed for war situations But the more I think about it, the more I realise that, as good as it could be, it erI necessarily be just as bad as you could possibly make it It has both potentials '
In Wim Wenders' City of the angels, Big Brother is watching you And the sibling rivalry he shows can be particularly deadly (Alan Morrison) Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 16 Jan Edinburgh Film/rouse from Fri 23 Jan See review
Star of Bring Me The Head Of Mavis Davis
Oh dear. Rik Mayall has just discovered that the magazine he's talking to is on sale in Edinburgh Back come nightmares from a stand-up tour at the Playhouse in I985. 'It was the worst gig I’ve ever done,’ he groans. 'I didn‘t know my material. I was inSide a rabbit suit, which wasn't funny. The microphone wasn’t working, And one of the revrewers got beaten up by the bouncers on the way rn.’
Unfortunately, his latest offering isn't much cop either. In the black comedy Bring Me The Head Of Mavis Davis, Mayall plays a down-on-his-Iuck agent who plans to assassinate a singer on his books in order to make some quick cash from her posthumous publicity The result is dolefully short of laughs, but it did offer Mayall the chance to take on a more complex leading role than his cinema debut, Drop Dead Fred.
'I can see my acting confidence changing as I work With different people,’ he says, praising current co- stars Jane Horrocks and Danny Arello. 'Not havrng been to drama school, I don’t really know how to put a character together. I've always just hung around until I've felt something inside that I wanted to do.’
There’s a touch of modesty here, for his comic creations in The Young Ones, Bottom and The New Statesman have won him a legion of fans. 'I come from a live tradition originally, and that's where I’ve always felt more comfortable,’ he admits. 'I would classrfy the sitcoms I've been in as live because I always asked for a studio audience. They just make me behave better.’
A break into more serious territory came wrth the stage play, Gel/mates, but that success was short-lived when co-star Stephen Fry did his infamous runner to Bruges. Nevertheless, Mayall is content wrth the path hrs career is taking.
'When I was yOung, I just wanted to be Little Richard,' he admits. ’Get up, go "Waaaaaaaahhhl" and have a whacking great time People say I'm slowrng down, I'm gureter now and I'm not as funny as I used to be. That's bollocks. I'm just as funny as I used to be — when I want to be. But there are other things I want to do as well. Life rs broader than just "Waaaaaaaahhhl are Selected release from Fri 76 Jan See rewew
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