PREVIEW Storyville: An American

Love Story BBCZ, starts Sat 30 Oct, 10.10pm.

Not everyone would let a camera crew follow their every move for a year and a half but Karen Wilson and Bill Sims are no ordinary couple. Having met in the summer of 1967, these two Ohio citizens took their relationship very slowly. Much was at stake and everything had to be right before they took anything like a plunge into love. For she is a white woman; he is a black man.

Thirty years on from their first meeting, they allowed documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox to enter their lives and track the ups and downs, the boredoms and life- altering events which shape any normal couple’s lives. The fact that they have two daughters Cicin (twenty) and Chaney (twelve) adds extra dimensions; they have to cope with the struggle to be accepted by both black and white communities. And do they struggle.

'An American Love Story is about how love and family do work,’ states director Fox of her nine-hour odyssey into the heart of US race relations, which made its UK debut at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. ‘lt’s about how the nature of the American family has changed, but that the core values of the classic American family can be present in an unconventional form.’

These classic cores and conventionality are all around; while the couple dangle anti-nuclear insignia from their earlobes, they worry about where their daughters are, who they are seeing, whether they have started smoking and what time they should be back home; just like any blue-blooded conservatives.

Meanwhile the couple’s own problems are exposed in

Bombay mix: Road Raj


traffrc, there would be acCrdent after

Race relations: Storyville

front of the world Karen falls increasingly into ill- health and an eventual hysterectomy; Bill fights to control his fondness for alcohol.

The series was an overwhelming triumph in the States and there is no reason why An American Love Story can’t have the same appeal in a multi-racial Britain. The success of the series here may actually rely on whether the viewer can get to like the individuals they are getting to know so intimately. And in truth, that may prove difficult.

Still, Bill and Karen undoubtedly care little about what people think of them. Were they so keen on pleasing others, they would never have become a couple in the first place. During the series, there is the feeling that Karen's relatives remain uneasy about their coupling and the mixed-race offspring that exists in the family. But as Karen and Bill so potently show, true love can indeed conquer all. (Brian Donaldson)

ever'ytnrng from the lY1Lr",(l<i"(‘ to the truly Irfe threatennrg In the fr's'. programme, we are ,l‘l'()(lt.((‘(l to toe iocal frr‘e (liref, \.' taxes as on a," emergency run \shrcl‘ takes 25 m:rnutes to get to desprte oerng only one rnrle across town

We also garn rnsrgnt rrito the hues o‘ Bombay's youth, at both ends of the sooal strata A mrdcrre—c fass teenager rs taken on her frr‘st drrvrng lesson where she follows the seemrngry kamrrca/e rules of the road Conversely, we see Sandeep, a ten-year-old street boy who sur'vrves through collectrng cans and glass bottles to sell, only to return to hrs vrllage and frnd that tragedy has befallen hrs famrly

The followrng parts Introduce a varrety of characters such as Ernan, the gay son of strrcit lvluslrm parents and Ranjana and Ashne, two asprrrng Bollywood actresses The frlm-makers haven't attempted to glamorrse nor exaggerate the stones, and the


Road Raj

Channel 4, starts Tue 2 Nov.

YOu'd thrnk rn the most crowded Clly rn the world, home to over one mrllron cars, Wrth streets choked to capacrty by

120 THE “ST Zl Oct—41 Nov 1999

accrdent You'd thrnk wrong

Set rn the grrcllocked, over-populated streets of Bombay, Indra, thrs srx-part documentary follows the lrves of a number of the Crty's rnhabrtants and therr rmrs)adventures as they deal wrtlr

naturalrstrc drrectron grve a real flavour of Irfe rn the Clly

If you can get past the puntastrc trtle, thrs serres rewards wrth a fascrnatrng look at a crty largely unexplored by the west r,l\.lark Robertson)

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'~ Unmrssable

» ~ ~ Very good Worth a shot Below average You've been warned