FILM PREVIEW Ordinary People

Director Jasmin Dizdar tackles Balkan independence and British devolution in the Film Festival's closing night film, Beautiful People. Dizdar is a Bosnian Muslim who was fortunate to have left the former Yugoslavia in 1984 when the only concern for a 23-year-old living in the Balkans was where to find the next party. By the time his course in Film and Television Direction at the FAMU school in Prague had finished, the unthinkable had happened - the Berlin Wall had fallen and his birthplace was changed forever.

‘People were asking me to write something about Bosnia in the early 90s and I was reluctant,’ says Dizdar. ‘I lived in the former Yugoslavia for five years and then I moved to London. So, when the war started, I did not know exactly what was going on.‘

Instead, he wrote a book on Milos Forman and continued making short films until he was finally persuaded to write on Bosnia by the British Film Institute in 1995. But Dizdar was determined not to make a traditional war film, dwelling on historical facts and public figures. He wanted to compare the Balkans

war to family conflict and deal with ordinary people. In this way, Dizdar was able to draw upon personal experience. He arrived in London unable to speak a word of English. He had to battle with the bureaucracy of immigration. And when he told people he was Bosnian, the response was often a gasp of horror.

Struck by the similarities between the independence movements in Britain and Yugoslavia, Dizdar feels that Edinburgh is the perfect showcase for his film. 'I think

Far from ordinary: Jasmin Dizdar

Britain is facing uncertainty about its future,‘ he says. ‘What defines a new Great Britain? What defines Scotland? England? Wales? You have devolution problems in Ireland. Beautiful People deals with all this using humour. It satirises certain issues that people in this country find quite serious.’

Satire might well be the definition of a great British film. (Kaleem Aftab) . Beautiful People, Odeon, 29 Aug, 9.30pm, £7 (£4.50)

Felicia's Journey **

Atom Egoyan's film of novelist Russell Banks‘ The Sweet Hereafter seemed like the first, tentative step on a new creative path. This woefully misjudged adaptation of William Trevor’s Felicia ’s Journey is a clumsy sideways stumble. Mystifying in his

Bob‘s your uncle: Elaine Cassidy and Bob Hoskins in Felicia‘s Journey

choices of what to exclude, change or introduce, Egoyan substitutes melodramatic overstatement for psychological subtlety, distorting an affecting, quotidian study of loneliness, despair and survival into an unconvincing and oddly religious vision of redemption.

Bob Hoskins is dapper and twitchy as Hilditch, the mother-fixated, food-

obsessed Birmingham catering manager who helps and befriends Felicia (Elaine Cassidy), a naIve seventeen-year-old Irish girl vainly searching for the father of her unborn child. By tipping his hand far too early regarding Hilditch's ulterior motives, the director short-circuits all ambiguity and suspense, then tricks out the foregone narrative with fractured flashbacks and gimmicky video footage of a TV cookery show presented by Hilditch’s late mother (Arsinée Khanjian).

Egoyan’s inspired re-imagining of the Midlands’ industrial landscape pleases the eye, but the soundtrack by long- time collaborator Mychael Danna is more jarring than complementary. A travesty of Trevor’s source novel and a crushing disappointment for admirers of Atom Egoyan's extraordinary body of work. (Nigel Floyd)

I Felicia's Journey, Filmhouse 7, 28 Aug, 7pm, £ 7 (£4.50).

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The eight wonders of the Film Festival’s world. Beautiful People See preview, left. Beautiful People, Odeon 7, 29 Aug, 9.30pm, £7 (£4.50). Best Of The Fest The cream of this year’s crop, all day, all venues. For individual film titles, times and ticket prices call the info hotline 0131 229 2550 or check the Filmhouse info desk.

Milestones Well-written, tragi- comic, very French road movie on course all the way to its very moving conclusion. Milestones, Glasgow Film Theatre 2, 27 Aug, 6. 75pm, £7 (£4.50).

Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles Documentary featuring Bowles and fellow beat loons Ginsberg and Burroughs. See review. Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles, 27 Aug, 3pm, £7 (£4.50).

Peau Neuve This superb film might be the hardest sell of the 905: a tale of unemployed truck drivers. Peau Neuve, Filmhouse 7, 26 Aug, 9.30pm; Filmhouse 2, 28 Aug, 8pm, £7 (£4.50).

A Room For Romeo Brass Shane Meadows's follow-up to Small Time and Twentyfour Seven and he's here in town to talk about it. See feature. A Room For Romeo Brass, Cameo 7, 27 Aug, 8pm; 28 Aug, 3pm, £7 (£4. 50).

Run Lola Run The fastest moving film of the Fest sees Lola pounding the streets of Berlin frantically searching for 100,000 marks. Run Lola Run. Cameo 7, 28 Aug, 8pm, £7 (£4.50).

The Wounds Mean Streets meets Trainspotting in this uncompromising portrait of youth in war-ravaged former Yugoslavia. See review. The Wounds, Filmhouse 7, 27 Aug, 9.30pm; Filmhouse 3, 28 Aug, 9pm, £7 (£4.50).

26 Aug—9 Sep 1999 THE LIST 49