Never work with animals: John Hurt in All The Little Animals

All The Little Animals (15) 112 mins M

The last Emperor producer Jeremy Thomas has chosen a rather quirky subject for his directorial debut. Based on Walker Hamilton’s 1968 novel, it's a highly original, fable-like drama that somehow never quite manages to find the right tone.

Christian Bale plays Bobby, a rich young man who has been brain- damaged by a car accident. Left in the clutches of his money-grabbing stepfather The Fat (Daniel Benzali from Murder One), he fears for his sanity. Managing to escape, Bobby travels to Cornwall, where he meets John Hurt's lvlr Summers, a solitary misanthrope whose self-imposed mission is to give roadkill animals a proper burial. The two form a father-son bond through their detachment from everyday

human existence, a relationship strengthened by Summers' revelations of his own tragic past.

Shot with a feel for sun-dappled countryside summers, the film is suffused with an air of dreamy unreality. This - as well as Bobby’s childlike state and the seasonal, good- evil opposition between Summers and The Fat (whose real name is De Winter) reduce the complex emotional problems of, in particular, Hurt’s character to a fairytale simplicity they don’t deserve. The acting is fine. Hurt is watchably edgy, coming arms as eccentric, but never alienating. Bale does admirably in a difficult role and Benzali is Suitably menacing. But it's a picture you’ll come out of thinking something was missing.

(Simon Wardell) a Release date delayed until Sep.

Electric blue: Nastassja Kinski and Daniel Auteuil in The Lost Son

The Lost Son

(18) 102 mins “its is w

Despite haying the pedigree of one of those horribly compromised Euro- puddings, this thriller from cameraman turned director Chris Menges soon proves itself far better than such fears could have antiCipated.

Daniel AuteUIl plays Lombard, a fOrmer French cop who, fallen from grace at home, now makes his liVing as a low grade private eye in London. But he still has the instincts of a policeman and has ways of getting the job done. Which is handy when he is recruited to find a missing person in a case that soon evolves into something far more unexpected, plunging Lombard into a dangerous underworld of vice and paedophilia.

Reminiscent in its way of The Big Sleep not least for the highly charged confrontations between Auteuil and

Nastassja Kinski The Lost Son iS a stylish and, at times, riveting film that deals with its raw-edged subject with compa55ion and bravery. Fortunately this is not at the expense of credibility, for although the London setting seems almost banal in its normality, the st0ry is the stuff of film now at its blackest. Not unlike the recent Nicolas Cage film 8mm, this downbeat tale is both closer to its genre roots, and boasts a more convincing story. And With Auteuil giving a performance tinged with tragedy, strength and despair, it could well be the best, most rounded thriller you will see all year. (Anwar Brett)

in Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 25 Jun.

new releases FILM

Edinbur h College Of Art Gra uation Films 150 mins Hm

It’s impossible in such a short space to do jUSllCe to the 24 extraOrdinarily impresswe films made by the 22 Film, TV and Animation graduating students at the Edinburgh College Of Art. But here goes, anyway

Angus McPake’s stylish, knowmg take on the aging King, little Elws, and Adrian McDowall’s Witty and superbly acted story of schoolboy puberty, Who‘s My Favourite Cir/7, prowded hilarious bookends to the SCreening. In between, Matt Abbiss’s deceptively simple line drawn animation X introduced a dazzling array of animated work, to which Sara March and Rachel Everitt added fine soundtracks with Shubenacadie and The Lost Note Jorn Utkilen’s cartoon, Three Bil/y Sheep Gruff took the punchline award, while his live action film, My Job defined him as a warped genius. Robert Samuels' innovative post-apocalyptic aesthetic pleasure, 70 Virginis, was composed of black and white photographs. Kenny Gold’s hugely ambitious Economy Of Sharing, filmed in poverty stricken areas of Brazil, exemplified the strength of the documentary entries.

The award-Winning success of preVious graduates' films set high standards for this year's students to live up to Not a problem for the class of '99, whose films, Without exception, boast both high production standards and creative flair (Miles Fielder)

Screened at E dlnburgh Fi/mhouse. Thu 77 Jun,

Apocalypse now: Robert Samuels' 70 Virginis

Made In Hong Kong

(tbc) 108 mins w it w w

Fruit Chan’s audacious debut represents something of a milestone in the maturing process which has been gomg on in Hong Kong cinema throughout the 90s, primarily prompted by 1997's change of sovereignty It’s a brazen retort to the 'everything's fine' official line on the ex-colony’s future, escheWing glitzy metropolitan locations in favour of claustrophobic out-of-town housing estates with their teenage swcides, organised Crime rings and dysfunctional families

Street youth lvloon (a natural performance by newcomer Sam Lee), is the product of this World, skilled in little beyond SurVival and extortion, and seeking an escape from his predestined road to ruin. His attempts to find it through love and charity (towards kooky girlfriend Ping and Simple-minded accomplice Sylvester) dilute the pervading bleakness, but, Without givmg too much away, this ain’t no fairy tale.

With its alienated first-person v0iceover and frenetic camera work, there‘s a clear debt to Wong Kat-Wai's Chungking Express (not to mention Taxr Driver), but though Violent, harrowmg and sometimes confused, it’s not, ultimately, depressing. It’s a work of heartfelt devotion, underpinned by a genume sense of purpose, and crafted with a near-revolutionary fervour the director had to, literally, beg, steal and borrow to make it. (Steve Rose)

I E dinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 2 Jul,

STAR RATINGS 'k 4: 1i; * ii Unmissable 4r * w it Very ood * H Wort a shot * it Below average * You’ve been warned

Napier Umversrty Graduation Films 120 mins x we at . ., This year's dozen films (eleven live action, one animated) from Napier University’s Photography, Film and TeIeViSion (mostly graduating) students did JUSIICE’ [O the highly regarded college department

Some students tackled troubling sooal issues, as eVidenced by Daniel Starborg's Wasted, which deals with a woman seeking revenge on a skinhead gang who assaulted her brother; Ben Mawdsley’s Angel Crush, in which a woman tries to make sense of her brutal rape during Hogmanay; and Steve Whyte's Turnover, about a young Dubliner coming to terms With his adopted status. Jon Spira's mock mUSIC biog, You're My GUitar Hero, prowded the hilarity, as did Brian Robinson's diabolic tale of poetic Justice, Baal & Ben.

Things took a pleasurably dark turn with George Bullock's psychological drama, King Jesus (Reigns) and Keith Mottram's Kafka-esque sci-fl tale, Perfect Day. Experimentation with the medium was to be found in Ian Ritterskamp's dreamy 58, Matt Pinder’s aesthetic meditations in Veronica 's Shrouds, Ben Martin's animation Prim (I Am Vertical), and Sam Wangyal's Waiting For Rawang, about the spiritual journey of a Tibetan monk. Finally, Robert McCann used Italo Calvino as a starting mm to interrogate narrative in the hugely impressive Station. (Miles Fielder)

I Screened at E dinburgh Fi/mhouse, Mon 27 Jun.

Futuristic dystopia: Keith Mottram's Perfect Day

24 Jun—8 Jul 1999 THE “ST 25