5 v I . c Angelic Upstarts: Natacha Regnier and
La Vie Révée Des Anges (15) 113 mins *ihkstr
Erick Zonca’s first feature isn’t the freshest film to come out of France in recent years, but it’s certainly one of the most sensitive. It follows Elodie Bouchez's young backpacker, who arrives in Lille without a job and with her one contact elsewhere. After managing to wrangle a menial job, she strikes up a friendship with fellow worker Natacha Regnier, who offers her a place to stay in the flat she’s looking after.
From there they both fall in love. Not with each other, but, in Regnier’s case, with a wealthy local boy (Gregoire Colin) who casually mistreats her; Bouchez, more tentatively, with the comatose girl who lies in the hospital instead of the bed Bouchez is temporarily sleeping in.
Elodie Bouchez in La Vie Révée Des Anges
What Zonca details here are contrasting approaches to love: the poor Regnier loses herself in the moneyed possibilities Colin provides; Bouchez finds a little more meaning in her life through empathy after reading the hospitalised girl’s diary. Zonca (who spent years moving from one odd job to the next) busily explores the world of low-paid work, casual commitments and the restless need to live on terms which aren’t concomitant with careerist expectation.
La Vie Réve’e Des Anges may be top- heavy with precedents — The Lacemaker, Vagabonde and last year's En Avoir Ou Pas come to mind. Nevertheless, there’s always room for films in acute sympathy with their leading characters. (Tony McKibbin)
l Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 76 Oct. Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 23 Oct.
Hamam - The Turkish Bath
(18) 94 mins 3? 1r sir
Italian-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpertek wisely sticks to familiar territory for his confident debut, a sensuous slice of cultural contrast and smouldering emotion.
It's the tale of Francesco, a cool, independent Italian professional who discovers he has inherited a run-down 'hamam' (a Turkish bath) in Istanbul from his aunt. Visiting wrth the intention of a quick sale and a respite from his bickering wife, he — and the viewer — are instantly beguiled: by the alien city, by the tales and letters describing his bohemian aunt, and by the welcoming family who look after the property.
Even more persuasive is the steamy, dreamy experience of the Turkish bath,
Hamam: letting off steam
rendered with a trancelike eroticism. Francesco elects to stay and restore the hamam, and by the time his wife turns up, he is a different person. Plenty has been going on behind her back (and ours), and 'spellbinding’ has imperceptibly turned to ’sinister’, building towards a climactic release which will ensure that neither of them return to Italy.
Hamam’s combination of travel- brochure exotica, forbidden romance and brooding solemnity could easily consign it to the skip marked ’arty European', but the film's credible characterisation, and its intoxicating sensory finesse — not just visual; there's a throbbing percussion soundtrack — make it worth sticking with, for a rewarding conclusion which will leave a wry smile of satisfaction. (Steve Rose) I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 76 Oct.
new releases FILM
(15) 100 mins ****
Translating as ’crazy foreigner’, Gadjo Dilo is the term used bya community of gypsies to describe an obsessive Frenchman in this colourful film from French director, Tony Gatlif.
Stephane (Romain Duris), a young Parisian, is on a personal mission which takes him to Romania in search of Nora Luca, a gypsy singer whose music his father used to listen to before he died. Armed with a tape and driving determination, he arrives in the dark and muddy countrySide near Bucharest to fulfil his quest. Here
Romain Duris in Gadjo Dilo
he is introduced to the quirks and customs of the gypsy community by the clan leader lsidor (lzidor Serban) and gradually falls in love with this world, as well as with a beautiful wild outlaw called Sabina (Rona Hartner).
The simple stony of a man’s enriching experience of a new and unusual culture provides a clever excuse for Gatlif to celebrate his passion for the gypsy people. Strong performances from Duris and Hartner drive the story along, but it is Gatlif’s presentation of the nomadic world which is most memorable. Striking visual contrasts between a murky countryside setting and vibrant red gypsy clothes combine with music that's both rousing and haunting, making Gadjo Dilo a truly sensual celebration of a scarcely documented community. (Beth Williams)
a Glasgow Film Theatre from Mon 72—Wed 74 Oct.
Brian Pendreigh (Orion £16.99) ****
Desserts (15) 4 mins it i: iwr
Now that Ewan McGregor is officially more omnipresent than God, it's no surprise to find that this fortnight finds him not only in feature films, but also in a memorable short and subject of a superior biography.
Former Scotsman journalist Brian Pendreigh's book is the third McGregor title to hit the shelves, but it’s easily the best. Pendreigh is obviously in the actor’s (and his mother Carol's) good books, so not only have their interviews provided first-hand information, they’ve opened
Ewan McGrego in Desserts
doors to family and friends in McGregor's home town of Crieff, making the early
sections exceptionally detailed.
The book then goes on to chart McGregor's career and subsequent life, with full synopses and assessments of every film and TV drama the boy has been in. Perhaps Pendreigh is a little soft on McGregor’s least successful performances, but it's a well-written account that conveys the whirlwind nature of this actor’s life
with a balance of knowledge and humour.
McGregor can also be seen in Desserts, Jeff' Stark's short film that's currently on show with Divorcing Jack. Essentially a one-joke sketch, it features a beach near Turnberry, Ewan McGregor and a tempting chocolate eclair. Laugh-out-l0ud humour is darkened by a mood of menace, heightened by photography so startlingly widescreen, they could bring on agorophobia. (Alan Morrison)
FILM FESTIVAL New German Films
Glasgow: GFT. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Fri l6—Sun 25 Oct.
For the past couple of decades, German cinema hasn't enjoyed the same international recognition as it did in the 70s, when Fassbinder, Wenders and Herzog were in their element. Commercial comedies may have done well at the domestic box office, but they didn't travel beyond the country's borders. This fourth German Film Festival, however, proves that there's a flurry of activity going
on that deserves more than a passing glance.
Highlights of the I998 event include Oscar-nominated drama Beyond Silence, Edinburgh International Film Festival hit The Pharmacist (which received a four star reView in The List), fascmating documentary Wittstock Wittstock (described by Variety as 'an exceptional record of passing time') and Through Roses, which contains a devastating performance by actor Maximilian Schell as a Jewish
violinist forced to play in the Nazi death camps.
The festival also recognises the centenary of the birth of Bertolt Brecht, as director Jutta Bri'ickner comes to Scotland to introduce her exploration of the Brecht myth, Love, Revolution And Other Dangerous Things. Meanwhile, Brecht’s artistic collaborator, composer Hanns Eisler, comes under the spotlight in the
documentary Solidarity Song. (Alan Morrison)
5 For details on individual films, see Listings and Index.
8—7.2 Oct I998 THE LIST 29