"I." new releases

Billy's Hollywood

Screen Kiss (15) 89 mins sir-eve

Technicolour. Cinemascope. Melo- drama. Three words that conjure up images of a Golden Age of Hollywood cinema. Director Tommy O’Haver almost perfectly recreates those bygone celluIOid times with his feature film debut, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss. Primary coloured sets and saturated lighting suggest 19505 domestic dramas and 19605 sex comedies. Think Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

The look is' not just a film buff’s whim, rather it sets the tone for and mirrors the stay of Billy Collier (Sean P. Hayes), a young gay photographer living in modern-day Los Angeles, intent on taking a series of photographs mimicking classic screen

Modern romance: Sean P. Hayes and Brad Rowe in Billy‘s llollywood Screen Kiss

kisses from, yep, Hollywood's Golden Age. Among the motley crew of drag queens and friends Billy rounds up is angelic Brad Pitt lookalike, Gabriel (Brad Rowe), a straight friend of a gay friend whom Billy immediately falls for. As their friendship develops, Gabriel's sexuality becomes increasingly ambiguous. But is this just wishful thinking on the part of Billy, a confirmed daydream believer?

Billy’s anxiety about his chances with Gabriel, and more general tortuous soul searching about both his work and love life, is somewhat precious and becomes a little irritating. More admirable is O‘Haver’s pleasingly understated take on homosexuality. Not a 'gay movie' per se, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss will appeal to anyone who has suffered the trials of a modern romance. (Miles Fielder)

3 Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 2 Jul.

The Polish Bride

(15) 90 mins were

lf sluggish, largely uneventful, little dialogue hour and a halves are your thing, The Polish Bride will ring your bell. Otherwise, get yourself to anywhere else on time, rather than sit through a 90 minute period which seems so very much longer.

In the Highlands of Holland, Polish woman Anna Krzyzanowska (Monic Hendrickx) escapes the clutches of two deeply unpleasant men who want her to work in a brothel. She is found

' semi-conscious and taken in by the

kindly Henk Woldring (Jaap Spijkers) who lives a lonely farm life with only

chicken feeding to look forward to

while the bailiffs have him constantly glancing over his shoulder. Slowly

22 TIIELIST 8-22 Jul 1999


How slow can you 90?: The Polish Bride

(well, very slowly actually), their faltering, non-tactile friendship grows into something much stronger, and the true test of their devotion comes when danger is brought to their door.

Karim Traidia's theme is very much of the ‘stranger in a strange land' variety, being himself a Netherlands-domiciled Algerian who cut his filmmaking teeth on short films covering the issues that raised. So, natural sympathy lies with his eponymous character (though less so in the scenes where she is trudging around his house in her pyjamas looking too much like a doped-up Marilyn Manson). It’s just all too snail- paced to be loved with a passion. (Brian Donaldson)

I Glasgow GF T and Edinburgh Filmhouse from 16 Jul.


(12) 117 mins suit

Unless you thought this was going to be a film about fruit-flavoured fizzy drinks, you'll prettymuch know what to expect here,~ and apart from virtuoso cinematography, you won't find a great deal more. Veteran director Carlos Saura has become something of a Hispanic cultural authority after films like Carmen and Flamenco, and he explores a similar theme in a similar way here, clearing the decks of virtually everything else (plot, characterisation, location) for a passionate celebration of the tango tradition.

The film is almost entirely set in a semi-abstract rehearsal studio, where a Saura alter-ego is attempting to mount a tango-based musical, the dance scenes strung together by his forbidden romance with seductive lead Mia Maestro. What remains is top-flight dancing, choreography, and musicianship; a stirring score by Lalo 'Mission lmpossible’ Schifrin; and above all (and the likely reason for its Oscar nomination last year), extremely stylish camerawork from Apocalypse Now cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The camera glides gracefully through the set of screens and mirrors, sometimes filming its own reflection, and you're never quite sure what you're seeing: reflection or real image, rehearsal or performance, dream or reality. If you're taken in, it’s a feat of pure filmmaking, if you're not, however, it’s closer to pure tedium. (Steve Rose)

I Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 2 Jul; Glasgow GF T from Fri 23 Jul.

Come dancing: Carlos Saura's Tango


(18) 118 mins mu:

Agnes Merlet’s study of the first woman painter in the history of art has finally been released in Scotland, two years after it was made. Like some of the more successful recent French period dramas - La Reine Margot, Ridicule, Le Bossu Artemesia is visually lavish. The composition of the shots and, particularly, the lighting (much of which is natural) is extremely painterly.

Italy, 1610. Seventeen-year-old Artemesia studies painting with her father, a renowned, if not very passionate artist. Artemesia's tastes are more adventurous than her father’s, not least because her painting skills are developing concurrently with her sexual awakening. Unable to pursue her studies at school women were models rather than painters in this unenlightend age ArtemeSIa is apprenticed to her father's colleague, Agostino, a visionary artist and womaniser. The ensuing affair comes as no surprise to anyone except Artemesia's father and when he discovers the true nature of her studies he has Agostino arrested. The messy court case which ensues becomes an inquisition focusing on ArtemeSIa, learned thinking being: she paints nudes so she’s a whore.

Merlet's expansion of what was originally a 30-minute short remains slight in terms of narrative. Nevertheless, it’s well-crafted, solidly-acted cinema.

(Miles Fielder) I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Tue 73 Jul.

The Re-edit Of Touch Of EVII (12)111minser-t I Orson Welles's classic 505 noir has been re-released yet again. But, fourth time round, it‘s not a hatchet job by the studio, rather a re-jig by Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now), based on a long- lost SB-page memo by Welles himself. Set in an American-Mexican border town where a VIP has just been blown up in his car, Touch Of Evil has Welles as detective Hank Quinlan, a monstrosity of a cop, gorging candy bars and planting evidence. A tanned- up Charlton Heston plays Mexican special narcotics investigator Vargas, on honeymoon with his American wife Susan (Janet Leigh). Local mobster Uncle Joe Grandi proves a necessary evil for Quinlan when Vargas clocks his methods, and, as his past returns to haunt him, he embarks on a sinister campaign to gag the newlyweds. A serious study of racism and malfeasance, there is a great deal to enjoy about Touch Of Evil, from its virtuoso central performance, backed up by a grotesquerie of Hollywood stars, classic lines and set pieces, to Henri Mancini's bristling score. The famous opening shot is the most obvious re-edit. Free of overlaid credits, Russell Metty's wonderful, prowling camera work is even more impressive. (John MacKenzie) I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 16 Jul; Glasgow GF T from Fri 23 Jul.

Framed: Orson Welles in the ire-edit of Touch Of Evil