Eyes wide open: Penelope Cruz in Open Your Eyes
Open Your Eyes (15) 117 mins * r
Smooth looking, three car owning, inheritance spending Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) has the sort of Madrid life many would dream of. He even gets the best looking girl at the party, the ripe-lipped, olive skinned and obvrously stunning Sofia (Penelope Cruz).
However, there’s an ex-grrlfriend who won’t let go, a best friend who’s a bit miffed that every attractive female ends up in Cesar's arms, and a sense that Cesar pushes his luck beyond the limits of good fortune’s endurance. Ce’sar may be our central character, but schadenfreude demands a turn for the worst, and sure enOugh, there it is literally round the corner.
Alejandro Amenabar's second feature shares with much modern Spanish cinema, a surrealist’s delight in playing
Transition (no cert) 75 mins * a: t
Transition, Andy Mackinnon’s labour of love about a changing Scotland, took five years to make and is clearly the product of blood, sweat and tears. Following its Glasgow premiere this month, the feature length documentary will hit the festival circuit later this year.
It's an ambitious and technically brilliant project wrth backing from big guns like BBC Scotland, Channel Four and production company Wark/ Clements. Using specially developed time lapse photography as well as Super 8 film, Transition aims to explore the changing Scottish landscape; contrasting the natural beauty of the country’s wildest places with the industrial cityscape.
During the period he made the film huge swathes of industrial Scotland
wrth reality and imagination and fine spinning of the most complicated narratives, but he seems caught between the light comic touch of AlmodOvar and the penSive subtleties of Medem When at one stage in the filn‘ a lvlephistophelian cryogenician says to Cesar that all the other characters are a product of his imagination, it feels like speCIal pleading. Amenabar’s ciphers are underpinned by what looks suspiciously like the sort of facile solipsism that serves as an introduction to many a philosophy course. The pert Cruz, Amenabar’s battery of camera angles and the presence in supporting roles of the lovestruck couple from Medem’s Lovers Of The Arctic Circle, can’t compensate for an inherent emptiness. (Tony McKibbin)
I Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 25 Feb.
Romantic Scotland: Transition
done us a great favour by recording around 40 sites including Scott Lithgow on the Clyde and - most dramatically — the Ravenscraig steelworks in the process of demolition. But Mackinnon gets caught in hyperbole. The Scotland that most folk live in — low rise estates, light industry, retail parks, brown field sites — is curiously missing and instead we’re left with the idea that the nation is a post-industrial wasteland, a gridlocked LA nightmare or a wilderness. That romanticism quickly jars — most sequences of the film including storm clouds scudding across glowering Scottish skies. Unfortunately, Transition will only reinforce the image of Scotland awash in its own sentiment; a little more muscle might just have worked the miracle Mackinnon had within reach. (Moira Jeffrey)
I Screened at Glasgow: GFT Tue I
The Bachelor (12) 102 mins
A romantic comedy .‘.’l7_l‘ a rm-i“ concept (Hollyt'iood tc-rviwucilr often denoting a one jokciixcte wonder) that's a remake of the 192‘: Buster Keaton classic, Seven (l‘d'iii‘s — outrage! ln the Original, Keaton "aid mere hours to marry himself off (il‘Cl inherit £7 million The contemporary update (a term usually reset-.ed Shakespeare, Dickens and Austin; tips the finanCIal ante considerably, so t‘ta' CW" 1"[7 ii "M" ' =. ll‘t)fl()(ltl.’lllsl has 24 hours to change his Wicked boy ma,» 7‘ :3» tr; rix'wi-i 3: cool, cool $100 million. And the former Boy \i‘vondc‘r has star w I‘llr; talent to ' nip or impede nim deliver the goods Renee Zellweqe' as me acre/air axl‘rr'ir if) flt‘lt'it‘ll falls for and is subsequently dumped by, Edward Asher, '-l.r ili;‘hroi~rc .iiiri raii es c l()lll‘.\’(’ll as the professionals from 'i.".'ll(fil‘l he seeks ail.“ :i".t’l E-Y'rir‘rI-ce \l: mitt“ and Jennifer EspOSIto among his many ex's
’For the first 60 seconds or so, The liar in»! mutants .tstn' goirky yet real potential,’ wrote the fox >\lr(l'.‘lt“‘ iiiiirs flat the rnotie never shows what those qualities rttioltt be And r‘c‘ ’«i'iri after ttose first of) seconds, we even stop wondering.’ And that is so litter) ti»- f.irl no of Hollywood's hicth concept films. (MIIQS Fielder: I General release from Fri 78 Fe!)
(15) 91 mins t at it are ﬁt
A marvellous exposition of the contintiing importance of cinema in highlighting social barriers and conflict, the Dardenne hrothers' Rosetta was rewarded With both the Palme d'Or and best actress pit/es at Cannes last year.
Rosetta (Emilie Deciriennel is seventeen and has one Wish: to find a job that Will enable her to move out of the caravan that she cohabits with her a.co"iolic inotltel (Anne \r’einaux) Despite continual disappointments in the jol; 'iiarlct, Rosetta lt'frl‘sf") to give tip hope and battles on like a bull facing a matador She attracts the attention of Riquet (Fabri2io Rongione) and he organises a job for her N) a lritchen alongside his boss, but when an economic downturn Illlt‘iiit'll‘; 'ri mate Rosetta redundant, she exposes a scam Riquet operates to male extra iiioiir-y selling waffles Rosetta takes Riquet's job but he toi‘inents lit! with constant li‘llll.’l(lt‘l's of her self- centered motivation —r he, after all, also needs a job to survive
It’s easy to feel great sympathy for Rosetta's plicjlit, but equally dillic ult to like her — and herein lies the strength of Decjtieirrte’<-. e;-:traorci'inary performance ~ while the turbulent hand held camera underi'nc-s the irripossibility of making simple ch0ices in a 500er where only the fittest \'.ill Slll‘.l‘/t’ (Kaleem Aftab)
-~‘ - 37")”; " L Serial monogamist: Chris O'Donnell is The Bachelor
Ii) e a l‘lt)‘.lt’ \i\.ltll
Soldiers of misfortune: Emile Dequenne in Rossetta
- I Glasgow: GFT,’ Edinburgh: Film/rouse from Fri 2‘) Feb See prevrew
To 5 -Turvy
This ain’t the nightmare suburban Essex of Abigail’s Party, nor the bad old days of Naked’s Thatcher-era London. No, this is William Schwenck Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s glorious Victorian operatic world, Topsy- Turvydom. This might be lvlike Leigh’s first period drama, but it's another ensemble piece engaging wrth the filmmaker’s usual preoccupation: people at work, play and rest.
At the film's core lS the turbulent creative partnership between dour writer/director Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) and playboy genius composer Sullivan (Allan Corduner). But preparations for their greatest show, The Mikado, involve a whole cast whose emotional lives are as well defined as the ‘leads’. Hand-iit~ltancl with the all round flawless performances -- Broadbent, who’s already picked up Best Actor at the Venrce Film Festival, and relative unknown lvlartin Savage are particularly good — IS the engrossing period detail, perfect from drapes to etiquette
A good portion of the lengthy running time is devoted to songs (mainly from The Mikado and very impressrver sung by the cast) if ’low burlesque' (as Gilbert referred to his work) is your thing, then you're in for a musical treat. If not, then sit back and admire (and laugh) at the back stage antics.
Not a departure for Leigh, then. Rather, another very fine film. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri 78 Feb. See preview.
Showman: Jim Broadbent as Gilbert in Topsy-Turvy
were laid to waste. Mackinnon has Feb.
22 THE LIST l7 Feb—2 Mar 2000