William Nicholson

Director of Firelight

He has worked extensively in film, theatre and television. He has collaborated with some of the world’s best known actors, including Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins. He has even been nominated for an Oscar. But you may well never have heard of William Nicholson. In his own words, 'in the film world, writers are invisible'. All that could be about to change, however, as he makes his directing debut with turn-of-the-century love story Firelight.

When you speak to Nicholson, he sounds quintessentially English. Listen to his plummy voice and take a glance at the poster for Firelight, and you could be forgiven for shrugging him off as a filmmaker of the 'crumpet in crinolines’ variety of British costume drama. But there is more to his projects than authentic period detail. He has been responsible for the screenplays of

various films, including Shadow/ands (for which he received an Oscar nomination), Nell and First Knight. When it comes to Firelight, he is clear about his reasons

for setting it in a bygone age.

‘You can write love stories set in any time, but a contemporary setting creates a situation where two people are not constrained by external circumstances from loving each other,’ he says. ’They are only constrained by their own neuroses. If you want a "passion drama", with two sane, normal people, instead of a "relationship drama", then it has to be some outside force that is stopping them from being together,

which drags one into the past.’

There is also a second, less worthy reason why Nicholson decided to make his directorial debut a period

Passionate past: Sophie Marceau in Firelight

extravaganza. ’I wanted to direct it,’ he admits, ‘but I didn’t want to leave my family behind, so I needed a story that could be made locally, but which would also

be globally relevant. And then I realised that there is


particular is based in the English countryside, which is comprehended around the world. So I thought I could do a big house story in Sussex.’

Basically, Nicholson just wanted to work from home. And if you can get other people to come and join you there (and beautiful people at that), then you've got to be doing something right even if they do all have to

of story-telling which


wear silly costumes. (Sophy Bristow)

gang Related

Tne last trim made by murdered rap star Tupac Shakur, this effective cop drama gives us a poignant glimpse of tuba: imam l‘axe been For in spite of the demons tnat haunted him, the \io‘er‘t cwnpany he may have kept and

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Unfair cops: James Belushi and Tupac Shakur in Gang Related

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friendship is tested when they kill a drug dealer lor his money orin to discover that he was an undercover drug enforcement officer DIVlll(l tries to frame a drunken vagrant (Dennis Ollcllfll for the killing a man so completely wasted that even he is convinted he did rt

Aside from the curiosity value given it by Shakur's death in a drive-by shooting ‘.'.lll(ll octurred Just days after principal photography ended Gang Related follows a tight dramatic (nurse as 't weaves its way to a nicely rronir. conclusion Shakur and Belushi an intriguing partnership, seemingly with lrttle ll‘. (ommon other than being that guirky pairing more beloved of lilmmakers than, one

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Se/er ted release from Fri 74‘ Aug


Journe To The Beginning Of The World (U) 95 mins but

A nostalgic road movre by renowned 90-year-old Portuguese director Manuel de Oliveira (Abraham Valley), Journey To The Beginning Of The World stars acclaimed European actor Marcello Mastroianni, who died shortly after the film was made.

While on a shoot in Portugal, French actor Alonso (Jean-Yves Gautier) deCides to visit the birthplace of his dead father, a Village in which his aunt still lives. He is accompanied by frlm director Manuel (Mastroianni) and two other actors. During the trip, the director tells the others about his childhood memories, spent in this part of Portugal, and mentions the statue of a character called Pedro Macau,

which the group later witness themselves by the roadside. As these four approach their

destination, Alonso starts to reminisce about his father, revealing that he hopes to learn more about him from his aunt. However, on meeting her, she is Withdrawn and suspicrous because her nephew speaks no Portuguese, only French It is only through much persuasion by his Portuguese-speaking colleagues that Alonso eventually manages to soften his aunt's facade and finally learn about his father's past.

With a warm and philosophical tone, this rnovre provrdes an appropriate tribute to both its director and the career of its star, The road movre structure is perfect for the series of fond recollections. While most of the anecdotes are simple, amusing and unconnected, the Pedro Macau statue serves as a binding agent for the frlm, eventually coming to symbolise man's late on earth, Charming and

touchineg human, Journey To The Beginning Of The World is a pleasant, life-affirming lilrn, (Beth Williams)

as Edinburgh Fr/rnhouse from

Fri 74 Sun l6Aug.

Marcello Mastroianni: end of the road

STAR RATINGS l w i * 1r * Unmissable it. it ~ it Very good i t * Worth a shot «- 4r Below average l it You’ve been warned

13-420mm 1998 THE lIST130