A it ian nights: S


Hideous Kinky

(15) 99 mins k a k a

Drawn from her middle-class English background to the exotic teachings of the Sufi religion, young Englishwoman Julia (Kate Winslet) takes her two daughters, Bea (Bella Riza) and Lucy (Carrie Mullan), to Morocco in 1972. Reduced to a state of near poverty whenever the girls' father 'forgets’ to send money, the trio eke out a liVing selling dolls. Julia continues her GXIstence Without much focus, so it's up to her daughters to demand some stability in their lives: education, a home, a father figure in Julia’s lover native acrobat Bilal (Said Taghmaoui). At first, some Viewers might be irritated by the knowledge that 23- year-old Winslet isn’t really old enough to have daughters aged eight and six, however, such triwality is quickly

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aid Taghmaoui and Kate Winslet in Hideous Kinky

dismissed by the actress's best performance to date. Taghmaoui (best known for his whiny, motor-mouth role in La Haine) shines With a charisma that’s hotter than the desert sun, while Riza and Mullan both bring a child’s inherent wisdom and common sense to the screen.

Adapted from Esther Freud's semi- autobiographical novel, Hideous Kinky gains strength from an episodic structure rather than a straight-arrow story, from atmosphere and ethnic richness rather than flashy effects. For these reasons, it takes time for the audience to settle into the film's rhythm, but Scottish director Gillies Mackinnon VlVldly captures the spirit of time and place in a work that leaves a deep, lasting impression.

(Alan Morrison) Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 5 Feb. See prewew

A taste of paradise: Angela Bassett in How Stella Got Her Groove Back

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (15) 125 mins we Angela Bassett has probably cried a few Cinematic rivers in her time and, as Stella, she gets a chance to do so again. Unfortunately, no one spared a thought fOi the poor audience who Will have filled a few buckets themselves through tedium and frustration

Grabbing a chance for a couple of weeks away from the strain of her life on the stock market, havmg to deal With a difficult pair of siblings and all the attendant problems of single parenthood, Stella Jets off to Jamaica With her life-long mate Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg at her most irritating). Barely seconds after havmg

landed in Montego Bay, Stella meets Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs) and they fall in love.

All hunky dory so far, except he is half her age and marries his natural intelligence With a naive immaturity - he chomps on Coco Pops in bed and seems happier playing Video games With Stella's son. Both families are bound to obiect, so what is the pomt7

What, indeed, You would hardly know from KeVin Rodney Sullivan’s film that Jamaica is one of the most crime- riddled spots in the universe. What you get here is an elongated Lilt advert. Only Angela Bassett can save this, but at the end she is crippled by a non- stOry and even worse writing.

(Brian Donaldson) a Selected release from Fri 5 Feb.

new releases FILM

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

(PG) 95mins * 3% w

Suzanne (Jenny Seagrove) is a WidOW with two young children, surrounded by a group of loving friends who are - it seems intent on fixing her up with a new man.

One in particular, randy dentist Frank (Charles Dance), is determined that man should be him and is prepared to employ unethical subterfuge to make this happen. But, wouldn't ya know, mix up and coincidence conspire to obstruct his best and naughtiest efforts, and he suddenly finds he has a rival in American sports therapist Tony (ER's Anthony Edwards).

Effortlessly watchable while hardly pushing the envelope of screen romance, entertainment or dentistry, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart proves to be a charming enough effort by all concerned.

Seagrove, if anything, is a little mannered in the lead, but the roster of familiar character actors that surround her give the film a certain comforting atmosphere, as Edwards lends glamour and Dance offers some mild villainy almost stealing the film in the process.

In the end, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is perhaps just a little too lightweight to be remembered much after the credits have rolled, but it is consistently amusing and amiable enough entertainment for Valentine's Day and beyond. Hardly Four Weddings, but no funeral either. (Anwar Brett)

I Selected release from Fri 72 Feb.

Doctor's orders: Anthony Edwards in Don't Go Breaking My Heart


(U) 89 mins *

Madeline is a hybrid of the ‘adorable’ pre-teen children's heroine. As intelligent as Matilda, she’s also as precocious as Pippi Longstocking and, like Annie, she's an orphan. She lives in a boarding school under the tutelage of Sister Clavel (Frances McDormand in nun's habit, inevitably recalling Julie Andrews).

Madeline also shares Pippi Longstocking’s literary origins, appearing in 1939 in the first of a series of illustrated st0rybooks by Ludwig Bemelmans. Six decades on, she is transported to mid-SOs Paris for her screen debut, adapted from four Bemelmans books which are condensed into a rather hackneyed plot. After loosing her hat and appendix in quick succession then being saved from drowning by a dog, Madeline (Hatty Jones) runs away with a circus, foils a kidnapping attempt and saves her school from being sold by grumpy owner Lord Covington (Nigel Hawthorne).

Made in the spirit of childrens' films of bygone times (The Railway Children, The Sound Of Music), this well-intentioned film is nevertheless desperately dull. Adult viewers will be bored and younger audiences won't appreciate its cinematic legacy and, while it's mean to say it, the pivotal children’s performances are bad. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 12 Feb.


Great Danes Edinburgh: Lumiere from Fri 5 Fe .

You would be wrong for thinking that Danish Cinema is one of the qmeter industries in Europe. Next month, all eyes Will be on Festen, Thomas Vinterberg’s startling dissection of family secrets, which receives a UK Cinema release and may well be an Oscar contender if Academy voters are in a daring mood

Other Danes have been making a name for themselves recently. Bille August found international success with Pelle The Conqueror. Last year, Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher was one of The List's mowes of the year. Ole Bornedal became the latest remake casualty when, despite the presence of Ewan McGregor, his American version of Nightwatch failed to live up to the Danish original. And few directors anywhere in the world have built up as intrigumg a resume as Lars Von Trier.

Throughout February, Edinburgh’s newest Cinema The Lumiere at the Royal Museum Will celebrate the work of the filmmakers above and some of their fellow countrymen. Highlights include Tranceformer, a rare documentary insight into the mind of Von Trier (Breaking The Waves, Europa and The Kingdom also screen) and Vinterberg’s The Greatest Heroes, a modern-day Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid drama. (Alan Morrison)

I For details, see Film Listings and Index.

iii; K ‘5 (V .

Doll's hospital: Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom

4—18 Feb 1999 TIIE LIST 23