FILM preview

Tommy O'Haver

Director of Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss

'It just sort of happened that way, to be honest,’ says O’Haver of his film debut, a homage to 19505 melodrama and 19605 sex comedies. ’At first I wanted to shoot the film in black and white and I was going to try and make it look like La Dolce Vita and L’Avventura, give it a real kind of poetic look. But when we finally got our money the one thing the money guy said was that the film needed to be shot in colour. I thought: "If I’m going to shoot it in colour, then it’s really going to be in colour." So I started showing the production designer Douglas Sirk films and The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg - that film was a big influence. Having said that, when I first started writing the film it was going to be a homage to Fellini's Satyricon, which is kind of bizarre. I really loved that movie and I wanted to do a modern version

with a young man chasing his slave

boy through the decadent streets of Los Angeles. But then it began to make more sense that Billy would mimick old Hollywood romances with his photo shoot. With that the film became a little bit more conservative - or seemingly conservative - but also much more organic.’

Flirting With Success: Tommy O‘Haver

What he wrote in Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss is a

Fellini, Antonioni, Sirk, Resnais - impressive references which sound as though they come from a well-schooled film lover. In fact, O’Haver's film education was no breeze. He got off to a good start reviewing films for his Indianapolis high school paper. But there were no film schools in Indiana and so O'Haver had to make do with majoring in journalism. After graduating he went to Los Angeles to join a friend working in film as a production assistant. at which point it dawned on him: ’I don’t have to review films. I can make them. I went to USC,’ says O’Haver, 'made a bunch of shorts that were pretty popular and

universal story about love and relationship anxieties with a cast of gay and straight characters. 'I wasn’t really thinking about it,’ recalls O’Haver. ‘It just came out that way, because I am gay. I wanted to be honest about who I was.

’I’m just not that involved in gay culture,’ O’Haver continues. 'I go to the gay film festivals, but I abhor most gay films. They get so laden down with politics; I am not a political person. I’m more concerned with living life and trying to be true to myself and others.’ (Miles Fielder) we Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss opens on Fri 9 Jul. See

that was all she wrote.’


London calling: Gina McKee in Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Edinburgh: Sun 15-Sun 29 Aug. August is fast approaching and with it Edinburgh's 53rd International Film Festival (EIFF). The List exclusively reveals more tantaliSing titbits from the forthcoming Festival programme. British film is experiencing a

i renaissance and the EIFF has been

supporting homegrown talent for the past two years with its Focus on British Cinema, supported by Patlie. Everyone

20 THE LIST 8~~22 liil l999

knows that; it's old news. What everyone doesn’t know is that the Focus will feature nineteen new British films, four of which will be world premieres, screened nightly over the Festival fortnight. mining the previously announced films Beautiful People, The War Zone and East Is East will be Michael Winterbottom's ironically titled portrait of the harsh reality of life in contemporary London, Wonder/and. Also set in London is Following, an ingenious tale about the tables being turned on a stalker Moving north of the border for Hold Back The Night,

actor-turned-director Phil Davis's rugged love story was shot in the Highlands and stars Edinburgh-born Stuart Sinclair Blyth.

Two star guests have thus far been announced in the Reel Life section (formerly Scene By Scenes) writer/director Paul Schrader and producer Art Linson. Linson, who has been churning out big Hollywood movies Since the 19705 including Car Wash, The Untouchables and Casualties Of War, will present a frame by frame examination of his new film, Pushing Tin, which stars John Cusack and Cate Blanchett. Schrader Will be in town to discuss the work of Festival retrospective subject, Robert Bresson and its influence on his own films, Taxi Driver and American Gigolo.

Bresson isn't the only retrospective subject this year. One of Japan’s most exciting contemporary directors, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, whose film, Cure played at the EIFF in 1997, will be honoured with a mini-retrospective. Kurosawa will come to Edinburgh to attend screenings of Licence To Live, Eyes Of The Spider, Serpents Path and his latest and twentieth film, Charisma. (Miles Fielder)

Nick A ate

The columnymat pgviews the summer’s movies from the streets of New York.

Now Zeus forgive me if I bitch, but the American cinematic experience confounds me Not wholly; l’m wrlling to understand the stadium seats and the air conditioning, the promotional gimmickry thrust in my frozen hands as I leave, maybe even the need for eight documentary length trailers. But something just isn't right.

New Yorkers don't go to the cinema because they want to see a particular film. They go to get away from the heat, to escape the wife, to spend twenty bucks on a ticket and a large vat of popcorn. This weekend, There’s Something About Mary’s Ben Stiller was queuing behind me at my local screening room, waiting to see Summer Of Sam, the much-anticipated new Spike Lee film. I got the last tickets, but did he wait for the next show or throw a starlit tantrum? Did he hell. He simply bought tickets for Southpark instead.

Summer Of Sam was this week’s hot ticket, selling out at 11am on the day of its release, and sees Spike Lee back on incoherently aesthetic form. A film more about the dysfunctional lives of the Bronx pseudo-Mafiosi than the legendary David Berkowitz, it uses the Son of Sam's reign of terror as a backdrop to the messed-up culture clashes of 1977. It's beautifully shot and intensely astute, exploring psychological meltdown and the power of urban myth, and despite its indulgent length and disjunctive narrative strands, it manages to morph into an insightful and enjoyable alternative to the world of Boogie Nights.

Yet it was still over-shadowed by a 30-second vignette. Hidden between five-minute trailers for upcoming summer trash was the brief, mute teaser for Eyes Wide Shut, a half- minute of visual bliss set to the mind- game sound of Chris Isaak. Much as I enjoyed the Lee, I could have left the cinema then. Picked up my free condom on departure. Ignored the fact that I'd just spent ten dollars on 30 seconds worth of pleasure. Come 16 July, Kidman and Cruise will inherit the earth. Kubrick’s swansong will swiftly sell out, And other New Yorkers will Simply watch Southpark.