East Is East *****
Feelgood factor: Om Puri and Linda Bassett in Eas
t Is East
Hilarious and moving, East Is East must surely be a contender for the Film Festival's audience award. The feelgood factor runs high in this domestic drama centering on the conflicts within a multi-racial household in 19705 Northern England. But director Damien O'Donnell - whose short film, Thirty Five Aside, picked up an award in Edinburgh three years ago - and scriptwriter Ayub Khan-Din - upon whose autobiographical play the film is based - mix laughs with gritty drama and engagement with the ever- present racism issue. The result is a deeply satisfying cinematic experience. The great 0m Puri plays George Khan. a Pakistani ex-pat whose tyranny over his family and customers of his chip shop business earns him the unaffectionate knickname Genghis. Mr Khan attempts to reacquaint himself with his home country's customs through the arranged marriages of his sons, who, born to their father‘s Lancastrian wife, Ella (Linda Bassett), and
bred in Salford, are having none of it.
In contrast to the Khan family, script, direction and performances come together in perfect harmony in East Is East. And while the 705 kitsch thing isn't overplayed, check out on the superb ongoing space hopper gag. (Miles Fielder) In East Is East, Cameo 7, 22 Aug, 8pm; UCI, 24 Aug, 8pm; Filmhouse 7, 27 Aug,
4.50pm, £7 (£4.50).
The Last Yellow it Mr
Oven/veight, unemployed and single, Frank's life takes yet another turn for the worse when his mum throws him out of the house and he moves into a B&B with naive Kenny, his alcoholic dad and disabled brother. Bragging about his former SAS service involves Frank in Kenny's scheme to avenge his brother, severely brain-damaged after being mugged in a pub by a thug. The Last Yellow jerks uncomfortably from Carry On-style humour to traumatic drama, neither of which tones complement nor contrast effectively. But the fine cast
(Mark Addy, Charlie Creed-Miles, Samantha Morton) manage a partially- successful rescue mission. (Miles Fielder) ‘ The Last Yellow, Cameo 7, 25 Aug, 8pm; Cameo 3, 26 Aug, 70pm, £7 (£4.50).
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Aside from transporting the action from ancient Athens to 19th century Tuscany, director Michael Hoffman is careful not to deviate from Shakespeare's text. All the sensual magic remains in a rich and visually
Realm of the senses: Catherine Breillat's Romance. Filmhouse 1, 23 Aug, 4.30pm,
9.45pm, £7 (£4.50)
stunning piece of an that Franco Zeffirelli would have been proud of. The strict law of the Duke's court is neatly juxtaposed with the sexual freedom promised by the fairies' forest and the performances from a star studded cast are worthy of Shakespeare's evocative language. Kevin Kline, particularly, shines with his sensitive portrayal of Bottom, while Calista Flockhart manages to escape her Ally McBeal persona in a dedicated rendition of the obstinate Helena. (Catherine Bromley)
. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dominion, 22 Aug, 5pm; Lumiere, 24 Aug, 2pm, £7 (£4.50).
The Magnifying Glass (Bhoothakkannadi) 1bka
The twin themes of guilt and obsession inform this story of a watch repairer imprisoned for killing the man he thinks murdered the daughter of his lover. There are moments of fine cinematography here and the film is infused with interesting symbolism — such as the clockwork movements of the world - but the visuals are let down by poor quality subtitling. The white subtitles are barely legible against the white clothing favoured by the lead characters and the approximated translations are unintentionally amusing: 'Are you pregnant to vomit?‘ (Catherine Bromley)
. The Magnifying Glass (Bhoothakkannadl), Filmhouse 3, 21 Aug, 6pm; Filmhouse 2, 26 Aug, 7pm, £7 (£4. 50).
Berlin - Cinema
Wim Wenders has made some of the finest films in post-war European cinema. His documentary work, however, leaves much to be desired. Anyone who got through Notebook On Cities And Clothes, his turgid two- hander with Yohji Yamamoto on fashion, deserves some kind of honour. Here, Wenders ponders at great length on cinema and the city. The fact that Jean-Luc Godard is involved in a voice- over capacity with some typically Godardian musings makes the experience all the more avoidable. At one point a series of statements are made, punctuated with a questioning of their relevance to anything. Quite. (Brian Donaldson)
. Berlin - Cinema, Filmhouse 2, 23 Aug. 70.30pm; 24 Aug, 3. 30pm, £7 (£ 4.50).
Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles
Despite the rather gruesome opening scene in this tribute to Paul Bowles, this is a rarity for a documentary about a cult figure. Let It Come Down will be an obvious hit with the fans but it should also draw in anyone with little knowledge or interest in Bowles or the Beat loons he was affiliated with. Here we see Bowles reminiscing about his wife Jane (who, it is often suggested,
was the real talent in the family); the exotic landscape of North Africa, a place he adored; septuagenarians getting stoned; and, best of all, the final meeting between Burroughs, Bowles and Ginsberg. (Brian Donaldson) . Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles, Filmhouse 2, 25 Aug, 5. 30pm,- 27 Aug, 3pm, £7 (£4.50).
Producer/director/writer Chris Nolan's debut feature is a micro-budget noir-ish thriller that packs more intricate, disorientating plotting than seems wise into its modest, 70-minute running time. Fortunately, the appealing cast fleshes out its central conceit - an unemployed Londoner's innocent obsession with following complete strangers takes an unexpected swerve when he is caught in the act by Cobb, a philosophising burglar more interested in the voyeuristic thrill of invading his victim's lives than in stealing their cherished possessions. The shaky hand- held camerawork is all black and white - the motivations and morality are all shades of grey. (Nigel Floyd)
1 Following, Cameo 7, 24 Aug, 8pm; Cameo 3, 25 Aug, 4pm, £7 (£4.50).
The Quiet Family
* i *w Stick the flatmates from Shallow Grave in the motel from Psycho and relocate \ them to a remote mountain lodge in Korea, and you're approaching the horror-comedy territory of The Quiet Family. There's nothing sinister about the family who run the place; in fact it's a guest's suicide that drives them to dispose of their first body. Then circumstances snowball, the murder rate increases and the family's involvement becomes a bit more ‘direct'. The film‘s ghoulish delights lean more to Western influences than the myth-ghost-vampire brand of comic scares from the Hong Kong stable. (Alan Morrison) I The Quiet Family, Filmhouse 2, 20 Aug, 5. 30pm; Cameo 2, 25 Aug, 7pm, ‘ l
The Darkest Light
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With her brother dying from leukaemia and her farming community collapsing into decay, Catherine claims to have a godly vision that promises salvation. With a script that is low-key and muted, the film's weight is delivered by the gritty perfection and focused faith of Keri Arnold's eleven-year-old protagonist. While sentimentality is disposed of briskly, the same can at times be said of the dialogue which, although grunting with gruff realism, dips the film in occasional monotone. A meditation upon belief and wilderness, The Darkest Light is often slow, but gleaming with subdued performances, is nevertheless, bitterly moving. (Judith Ho)
. The Darkest Light, Cameo 7, 22 Aug, 5.30pm; Cameo 2, 24 Aug, 7pm; Cameo 2, 28 Aug, 9pm, £7 (£ 4.50).
Continued over page 19-26 Aug 1999 THE UST 61