Mark Borchardt, Orson Welles or Ed Wood?: American Movie

American Movie (no cert) 104 mins t t i:

In art and un lufe, there us something deeply unsettling and acutely embarrassing about seeing someone laud bare un front of y0u. In Chrus Smith's documentary, American Movie, thus happens to absolutely everyone on screen. Smith's SUbJGCt us one Mark Borchardt, a Midwestern, low-budget, trashy fulmmaker who thinks he's Orson Welles, but comes out looking like a fufteenth-rate Ed Wood.

There us luttle doubt that Mark Borchardt us a driven individual. However, thus us a story of aspiration Over inspiration. Hus flawed but defiant vusuon means that he feels Justified in bullying hrs family unto a corner, passing himself off as being on top of hrs game and letting nothing get in the

Black And White In Colour

(no cert) 59 mins t t it *

Vera Bila is the Mama Cass of the Romany Gypsy community, and despite being the size of a small house and chain smoking for the Czech republic, she us blessed with the voice of a nomadic angel.

Thus vuvid and painfully honest dOCtumentary follows Bila and her troubled band of Slovakian troubadours on their exploitative European tour (wuth the middle men creamung off most of their profits). The film also follows this Duva's attempts to fund her adopted son a wife un the neughbouring Gypsy communuties.

Black And White In Colour is not, however, some cute travelogue that illustrates the tragedy of dyung

way. But lusten to these bruused relatuves (hrs sweet luttle mother and 82-year-old benefactor uncle) and hear the truth, even his nearest and dearest have luttle beluef in his future as a director, though their vuews may be taunted by the humiliation suffered at his tyrannucal hands.

Still, you don’t have to like someone to have some sympathy wuth their cause. And Borchardt, alongSude his unrehabilutated druggy sudekuck Mike Schank, us among the most unsavoury leading men in cinema hustory, Chris Smuth has worked wuth medua pranksters such as Muchael Moore and Louus Theroux, but if this us a Joke then ut ranks with the cheekuest of them all. (Brian Donaldson)

I Edinburgh. Fi/mhouse from Wed 72 Jan; Glasgow: GFT from Tue 78 Jan.

Romany lives: Black And White In Colour

tradutions and communuties. Vera Bila’s story us one that debunks Romany mythology. Take away the vouce and the vubrant personality and we are left with someone whose lifestyle resembles that of our white trash equivalents: welfare benefits (which Vera has to repay or go to prison) and fruit machine adductuon. There is no romanticism here; Vera and her band Kale are shown warts and all. And all of them relatuver unimpressed by the imminent possibility of stardom. Shot on film by the untUutuve cameraman Marek Jicha, Mira Erdevucki-Charap's film us a deeply movung character portraut where divine destiny and poverty meet. (Paul Dale)

I Glasgow: GFT from Tue 7 i jan; Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Wed 79 Jan.

Angela's Ashes

new releases FILM

(15) 148 mins *ir‘k *

Frank McCourt’s childhood memo” of Limerick in the 305 and 40s usn't JUSI a Pulitzer Prize-winner. It’s a publushung phenomenOn, loved across the world by those with no connectuon to the book’s three defunung elements Ireland, Catholicism and poverty In Alan Parker's film versuon, you can almost feel the damp un your bones as raun floods the streets and a lung- cloggung fog rises stealthuly from the River Shannon.

Limerick memoir: Emily Watson in

The book has the advantage of durect Angera's Ashes first-person narration to wrap the complexity of young Frank’s feelings for his family in Hot“, and tu'itletstateitteitl Lynne Ramsay also successfully filters a story through the euutotroutal peuspet tune

of childhood in her film Ratcatcher, but that's a rare achievement, for the tauneua is essentially an objective eye.

Parker, therefore, can’t establish the same level of enztatienuent between audience and screen as McCourt does between reader and iiiurltetl pane, but he can train his lens on the faces of his remarkable tast to show a texture or emotions that leads us into the hearts of these people Sentuunent here is a

natural ingredient, not a saccharine additive and, despite the extreme poverty un evudence, the film has in rts very telling a sense of forgiveness and release that surely has its roots un the confessional box. (Alan Morrison)

I General release from Fri 74 jan. See feature

Brin ing Out The Dead

(18) 1 0 mins in“:

New York, the City that never sleeps. When darkness falls, paiainedut luank l)l(’l(t' (Nicolas Cage) descends unto a bleak world where, uuutuht after nitilit, rue tuues to help the homeless, the hookers, the mentally Ill everyone who has been swept into the cuty’s gutters. But as hus ambulance screams through the stueets, he (an do little more than frantucally patch the cracks of a (rturuuhlung dam and watt h as a tudal wave of human despaur threatens to drown hint and the ( i'u\'

Since 1976, when Martin Scorsese last created a stustauuued Visioir ol :urhauu luel: uu; Taxi Driver, Hollywood has been hit by a series of realistut war uuuovues, fuouuu Platoon to Saving Private Ryan. There's the same shell-shot Led loo). ()II the fates of Frank and his fellow paramedics as there is on any stiuuao futilttunti an unwunnable battle wuthout hope of release.

Bringing Out The Dead grafts a desperate edge onto traditional gallows humour. The film shows bursts of brilliance, but suffers from too uuuauuy itulls and, surprisingly given that its screenplay us by Paul Schuadeu, doesn't (iiirle pull off uts redemption plot. It’s the acting that really hooks the airtlueizte, homes/er (' atie slides his character closer and closer to the edge, while Patuut ua Auuuuette strikes a note of stained purity. (Alan Morruson)

I General release from Fri 7 Jan. See feature.


(15) 70 mins *‘kii

A struggling young writer, Bill (Jeremy Theobald) who randomly follows strangers around London for inspiration, encounters a compulsive burglar, Cobb (Alex Haw). Cobb takes Bill under his wung and demonstrates his modus operandu, for which the motive us not financial gaun, but to provoke a human response. (’You take it away and show them what they had,’ is Cobb’s ratuonale.) Bill is fascunated, but after robbing a flat with his new mentor, he finds himself falling in love Wuth rts occupant, a beautiful blonde (Lucy Russell) wuth connections to the criminal unden~odd.

Written, directed and photographed by twentysomething Christopher Nolan, this ultra low-budget (ruune thrriler us one the best British films made in 1999. Peopled by noirusli archetypes, FO/lovvi/ig unspools as a taut and engrossing scam movue But the fulm also touches on the theme of voyeurism with Cobb's showman exploutung Bull‘s stalker impulses

Impressiver acted by the unknown cast, and eeruly shot in blatk arud whute, Nolan successfully creates his own distinctive underworld and displays an utter assurance in playing around with the fulm's chronology Although fol/owing clocks in at a lean 70 minutes, it could prove to be as Significant a debut as Blood Simple. (Tom Dawson)

I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Fri 74 Jan, Glasgow GF T from Wed 2 Feb See

Toolin' up: Jeremy Theobald in Following


7—20 Jan 2000 THE llST 25