Gérard Pirés Director of Taxi

It had been over twenty years since Gérard Pires had J directed a feature film, when a conversation with

France’s stylish action flick auteur Luc Besson persuaded him to return to the big screen. The result, Taxi, an action movie spoof written and produced by Besson, has taken France by storm.

'When I was younger, I shot eight feature films, but then I had a serious motorcycle accident and injured my

' neck while I was scouting locations in a forest,’ explains ; the 57-year-old Parisian in tale mirroring Bob Dylan’s

infamous accident. ’I damaged my vocal cords and it took me years to get my voice back. I started shooting

commercials, which only required two or three days’

work at a time. Then one day Luc asked me if I would like to direct a film that he would write for me.’ Pires makes no claims for any depth in Taxi, a car chase

. movie shot on the streets of Marseilles, which involves a former pizza-delivery boy and a hapless cop in pursuit 5 of a gang of German bank robbers. ’It’s for kids really,’

he explains, ’but by chance parents are flocking to see it

Girl on top: Juliette Binoche in Les Enfants Du Siécle

Accident prone: Gerard Pires directing Taxi

as well. What I personally liked about it was the balance between action and comedy. I just tried to give some humanity to the main characters. It’s certainly not a typically French movie. I like cinema for its spectacle and to escape from ordinary life. I don’t like stories about two guys and a girl in a room.’

The director brushes aside the logistical difficulties involved in choreographing the various stunts, maintaining that, ‘everything was carefully planned in advance, so it wasn't too difficult.’ Pires himself, however, had to spend the first three weeks of the shoot in hospital, nursing several fractures following a horse riding fall. 'Every evening I would watch the dailies in my hospital room with the stand-in director, Gerard Krawczyk. Then I would have a meeting with fifteen people in the room while I explained what kind of action I was looking for in the next day's shooting and show them various sketches I’d made. I think the doctors thought I was crazy.’

If not crazy, unlucky, then. And rich, too. (Tom Dawson) I Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse from Fri 26 Nov. See review

who semi-adopt a touring drag queen. France's finest actor of the 905, Charles Berling, plays the husband, Miou-Miou his frustrated wife.

Equally worth catching is Daniele Dubroux’s L’Examen De Minuit. Here Julie Depardieu (Gerard’s daughter) hooks up with Francois Cluzet’s self- absorbed writer and moves into his attic study. His wife (played by Dubroux herself) just happens to be minding her own business downstairs. Mmm. Meanwhile, director Sylvie Verheyde follows in that Gallic tradition of the personal, intimist drama that we in the more sociany inclined Ecosse might call navel-gazing. In Un Frere, Loic debates whether to pursue his

French Film Festival

Glas ow Film Theatre,

Edin urgh Filmhouse, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Fri 19 Nov-Wed 1 Dec

It was back in the mid-805 when French filmmaker Diane Kurys said, 'If this is going to be an article on woman directors, I refuse to be part of it.’ This year, however, Kurys is part of a film festival with a conspicuously woman- Ied focus. There are almost a dozen films directed by women in this year's

26 THE UST I8 Nov—2 Dec 1999

French Film Festival, as well as study days in both Glasgow and Edinburgh concentrating on women and sexuality in contemporary French film.

Central to them will be Brigitte Roijan’s superb Post-coi'tum, Animal Triste (see review), but throughout the ten-day festival there will be other equally challenging takes on sex lives both male and female. Perhaps none more so than the mini-retrospective subject Anne Fontaine's Nettoyage 3 Sec, a subtle tale of a provincial couple

photography and live in New York or Paris. It’s a question Verheyde’s film ponders without too much concern for plot or circumstance.

A little too bleak and worthy? Maybe you could try instead Kurys's new film, Les Enfants Du Siec/e, an epic take on George Sands's (Juliette Binoche) affair with Alfred de Musset. Recently released in France, its arrival at the French Film Festival is something of a coup. (Tony McKibbin)

I See index and listings.

Rough cuts

' 1 Lights, camera, action... ' THE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL, which

recently drew to a close down

: south. heads out on tour later this month, bringing seven new movies

to Scotland. Glasgow Film Theatre has Patrice Leconte's The Girl On The Bridge (Mon 29 Nov), young Brit

: drama Forgive And Forget (Tue 30

Nov), Irish thriller Night Train (Wed 1 Dec) and Being John Malkovich (Thu 2 Dec), the highly rated indie comedy from music video director Spike Jonze. The Odeon in Renfield Street screens a trio of very different American movies: ABCD (Fri 26 Nov) looks at first generation Asian Indians in the US, October Sky (Sat 27 Nov) is set in the working- class 505, while in The Virgin

Suicides (Sun 28 Nov) Sofia Coppola examines troubled teenage life in

the suburban 705. See listings and index for more details.

ROBERT DE NIRO and Johnny Depp are the subjects of two new books published on Wed 1 Dec by Creation

Books. Each contains an

introductory overview plus detailed essays on ten significant films starring the actors. Some of the contributors’ names might seem a bit familiar to List readers: former writers Rob Fraser and Peter Ross

weigh in with chapters on, E respectively, Heat and Platoon,

while of the current staff, Miles Fielder looks at Jackie Brown and

Nick Of fime, Brian Donaldson turns 5 his attention to Raging Bull and Alan Morrison dissects Dead Man.

; Each volume costs £12.95.

NEW SCREEN ADVERTS for GFT’S seat dedication scheme are now being screened in the cinema, featuring (mainly) local actors playing more famous stars who already have their names on plaques in the auditorium. Robert De Niro, Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino all feature in the ads, produced by Picardy Television in collaboration with db advertising.

Are you writing about me?: 7 Robert De Niro

. 2*?