FILM new releases
Buttoners (Knoflikéri) (18) 122 mins it w
This Czech film pinches its episodic stF ructure, its quirky black humour and its lush visual style from an established tradition of expenswe, offbeat indie flicks by the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Wong Kar-Wai. Its focus upon what one character calls ’the everyday miracle of c0inCidence' IS the stuff of arthouse cliche; the famin relationships and chance connections that link each separate sequence of events come as no surprise, and the construction of a Mystery Train/Pulp Fiction Chinese box of interlinked stories feels a little forced.
The opening tale is set in 1945 and hinges on a neat, simple irony: bomber pilots over Kokura, Japan follow their
Atomic: the crew of the Enola Gay in Buttoners
orders to fly on to Hiroshima instead because of bad weather, whilst below them Kokura locals curse the constant rain. Shot in black and white with intercut original footage, this is a darkly funny and understated piece; but the following stories drag and are inconsistent in their impact. There are moments of wit, but again there is too much reliance upon arthouse standards — world-weary taxi drivers, naive, circular conversations, tragi-comic surcide attempts and eccentric sexual preferences. The script is not witty enough to bolster such slight stories, and the pace is soporific. Sadly, Buttoners feels more like a concerted effort to create a cult film than a genuine original. (Hannah McGill)
a Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from 3 Aug.
Immoral: Christopher Eccleston in A Price Above Rubies
A Price Above Rubies (15) 116 mins were
'A woman of fortitude’, so the Biblical proverb says, has a price 'far above rubies'. Renee Zellweger is a woman of such inestimable value and Christopher Eccleston is the man who thinks he has found her price, in this, the second film by Boaz Yakin (Fresh). Married into a Hassidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, Sonia (Zellweger) cannot find the room she needs to express her passionate nature. Indeed, when she reaches to kiss her husband in bed he pushes her away and condemns her Iustfulness. Sonia likens her repression to being on fire within, and before long she succumbs to her immoral brother-in- laW, Sender (Eccleston). Like many a heroine before her, Sonia seeks to fulfil
40 TIIE UST 22 Jul—S Aug 1999
her own nature and in doing so, rips the well-concealed heart out of her family and community (though don't expect Eccleston to have anything to do with it).
Yakin deals with the theme of a woman’s sexual awakening by drawing on magic realism, apparently to emphasise the inner life of fantasies and imaginings. This confuses matters somewhat, as Sonia's dead brother and a mysterious beggar woman are not integral to the story and are at odds with its realism. More successful is the portrait of a straight-jacketing religious community and the peOpIe who give life to it. And thanks to the cast, A Price Above Rubies is moving despite its unevenness. (Hannah Fries)
I Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 30 Jul.
Ko aanisqatsi (U) 7 mins *i***
It opens With a single deep red word, some archaic cave drawings and a mournful hum. All of which represents our collective 'life out of balance', a translation from the Hopi Indian word 'koyaanisqatsi'. While, the concept indicates instability and flux, this 1983 re-release from Godfrey Reggio is nothing short of perfect filmmaking in harmony With all its creative elements.
Philip Glass’s soundtrack and Ron Fricke's cinematography are the twin pillars Of the narrative mice in this first film of Reggio's ’qatsi’ trilogy. Beginning in the deserts of New Mexico, the director sets himself up as a fully paid-up proponent of unfettered nature — the waters, sands and volcanos go on their merry way. And then the diggers, cranes and pylons muscle in.
The half-hour segement from the speeded-up city may well blow your mind while the final image holds the simple message that humanity’s desire to outpace nature in the name of progress is a very dangerous one, indeed.
If you want to see a human being before the 25th minute of your night out at the pictures, you may Wish to steer clear of Koyaanisqatsi Which would mean denying yourself a work of filmic brilliance which holds up all that is fine about cinematic art. (Brian Donaldson)
I Cameo from Fri 23 Jul.
Filmic brilliance: Koyaanisqatsi
The Imposters (15) 100 mins
It's a crime that actor/director Stanley Tuco’s follow-up to the mouthwaterineg marvellous Big Night IS receiving such a belated release in Scotland. For this farce, set aboard a 19305 ocean liner and centring on the comic hl-jlﬂkS of two unemployed actors, Tuco has assembled a wonderful cast, including Billy Connolly, Oliver Platt, Isabelle Rosellini, Campbell Scott (Tucci’s creative partner on Big Night), Steve Buscemi and Lili Taylor.
'Oliver and l invented these two actors who were always pretending to be different people to get out of situations,’ recalls Tuco of his college years at Yale University With Platt. ’l've always been intrigued by farce and I wanted to challenge myself by bringing it to the screen.’ Tuco was inspired by the silent films of Keaton and Chaplin, but he has his own genre definition: 'It's a type of comedy that takes place under pressure in enclosed spaces With people Who have lots of secrets. There has to be an underlying logic and reality to every silly moment, to every outrageous situation. Each character's motivation must be clear, real and truthful in order for the farce to work.’ (lvliles Fielder)
I Lumiere Sat 37 Jul and Sun 7 Aug.
Nights Of Cabiria (PG) 117 mins mm
Federico Fellini was never a director to compromise his vision, revelling in his ability to divide Opinion and upset all manner of establishments. Nights Of Cabiria is one of the Italian master's more lukewarm efforts.
Cabiria (Giulietta Masina, collaborator and Wife to Fellini) works the Wastelands on the outskirts of Rome as a spunky, if soft-hearted Whore. Her naivete leads her to being chucked in the river, fleeing from a potential lover’s flat when his girlfriend returns, confessing all on stage thanks to a mean-spirited hypnotist and generally being dumped on and abandoned by every man she encOunters. It all brings her back to the opening scenario, when she is again misled down by the river. But, Fellini being Fellini, there is some glimpse of hope for her with the arrival of the carnival.
It's easy to see why Shirley Maclaine was later to play the lead role of Cabiria in Sweet Charity — the petite, Chaplinesque However, Masina IS the ideal template. She's allowed to shout a little too much when sombre pain would have been better; and the whole film is as annoying and masterly as only Fellini could be. (Brian Donaldson)
I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 23 Jul.
Giulietta Masina in Nights Of Cabiria