FILM new releases

Relatlve Values (PG) 89 min: fir it

By the end of this comedy of manners based on Noel Coward‘s play, you'd be forgiven for thinking you‘ve just watched a new Carry On film. As the gay nephew of the wealthy Marshwood family, Colin Firth minces it up as only Kenneth Williams could. Firth, it turns out, is the best thing in Relative Values.

Set predominantly within the confines of the Marshwood country house. Relative Values is, essentially, a satire of the British class system circa 1954. When Sp0ilt brat Nigel (Edward Atterton) brings American actress Miranda (Jeanne Tripplehorn) home to announce his engagement, the Marshwood household is thrown into chaos. Nigel's mother, Countess Felicny (Julie Andrews). takes an immediate

Klkujlro (12) 122 mlne a t t is

i In a departure from the gangster films : his European reputation is built on, Takeshi Kitano’s sharply observed comic road movie shows the Japanese director/actor in more slapstick mode, ; giVing his offbeat Wit a freer rein. Kitano plays the title role (interestingly, also his father's name), a small-time criminal who finds himself 1 the surrogate father to nine-year-old ' Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) when the boy sets off in search of the mother he has never met. KlkUjll‘O, whose wife is friends With Masao's grandmother, is volunteered to chaperone him but immediately gambles away the travel money at the races, leaVing the duo With an uncertain journey ahead of them.

Although the set-up is hardly original,

28 THE ll" 22 Jun—6 Jul 2000

Noel Coward’s deted 8rltleh cleee eyetem eetlre

dislike to the American and when housemaid Moxie (Sophie Thompson) reveals Miranda to be her long lost sister, the family plot to break up the lovers. Firth looks on with a drama queen's delight, while urbane butler Crestwell (the perfectly cast Stephen Fry) provides droll commentary and the Countess is amused at the consternation caused by the arrival of Miranda's old flame, film star Don (William Baldwm).

Modern audiences may find it difficult to identify With Coward‘s now dated play - With its patroniSing upper classes, serVile lower ones and misogynist attitude to women but if you can put your own values on hold, there are some laughs to be had, particularly from Firth and Fry.

(Miles Fielder) I Selected release from Fri 23 Jun.

Klteno. In elepetlck mode. glvee hle offbeet wlt e freer reln

Kitano bends the tale in imaginative ways. His boorish layabout isn't averse to bouts of unprovoked Violence and seemingly hates kids, Circumventing this by bullying a variety of travellers into entertaining the moriosyllabic Masao. These provrde the film‘s most comic moments, as grown men, in scenes reminiscent of the beach games in Sonatine, gleefully revert to chndhood.

As an actor, Kitano is at his stone- faced best, deadpanning his way through the prosaically shot maize fields and Side streets of provmcial Japan. And as director, he is again aware of the value of understatement, the drama’s celebration of shared humanity only gradually taking hold. (Simon Wardell)

I Glasgow: GFT,‘ Edinburgh: Filmhouse from Fri 30 Jun.

. ig‘iiaa‘eiie Eve (The '

Willing to indulge its heromes for

New Eve) (18) 94 mlns t is it

Not only is French cinema frequently

capriCious behaViour, but it often Vindicates them With absurdly optimistic, even fatalistic endings. From Rohmer‘s Le Beau Mari'age, to Brigitte Roiian's recent Post-Coitum, Animal Tri'ste, exasperating female

characters have been cheerfully u If“: 5' adored by Sympatheuc directors. Indulgan lte berolnee for ceprlcloue behaviour

And has there ever been one more hair-tearineg annoying than Catherine CorSini's leading character Camille (Karin

Viard)? SWimming pool attendant Camille has a busy life clubbing and shagging,

despite haVing no money to burn. She also embarks on an affair with the wonderfully understanding Ben (Sergi Lopez). The problem, though, is that Camille's in love With someone else: married father AleXis (Pierre-Loup Raiot), whose contented domesticny she has few gualms about destroying

Is this an acerbic case study of the thirtysomething woman who wants it all and

wants it now, or a Wish fulfilment tale destined to rub every other audience

member up the wrong way? The latter seems to be the answer, With Corsini staying so close to Camille that any distance created Will be through viewer extrication. But, it should be said, even from this position there are truthful moments to observe and much to GDJOy. (Tony McKibbin)

I Edinburgh: Fi/mhouse from Mon 3 Jul.

Mal (Evil)

(18) 87 mlns is is

For Mal Portuguese director Alberto Seixas Santos has constructed a mosaic-type narrative, in which various stories run parallel and interweave across Lisbon culminating in an apocalyptic climax. There are shades here of Magnolia, albeit Without that film’s structural Virtuosity and overwhelming emotional impact.

The key figures in Mal are a pair of former 70s actiViSts, Cathy (Pauline Cadell) and Pedro (Rui Morrison), whose marriage is torn apart by the discovery, Via an AIDS test, of the husband's serial infidelities With other females Elsewhere in the capital an old man searches in vain for his mute runaway daughter, who, it transpires, has been befriended by a lonely Jeweller. And then turning up on Cathy’s door is sullen teenage iunkie Daniel (Alexandre Pinto), whose addiction has driven his own mother towards a religious cult.

A relentlessly grim and off-puttineg portentous study of blighted urban lives, Mal is shot Without Visual distinction, and is hampered by a screenplay in which the characters are weighted down With overbearing metaphoricaI/religious Significance. Santos' tone is unwaverineg bleak and the dialogue poiiderous, whilst potentially more interesting sub-plots ~ such as the revelation of Cathy’s terrorist past remain stubbornly undeveloped. (Toni Dawson)

I Edinburgh: Fi'lmhouse from Mon 3 Jul.

Broken Vessels (18) 90 mine is a is a Broken Vessels is a heart-thumping account of how to make a bad Situation worse, With a premise that bears more than a paSSing resemblance to Martin Scorsese‘s Bringing Out The Dead.

Tom (Jason London) moves to Los Angeles to become a paramedic and rid himself of the ghosts of his past. His chances of success are heavin reduced when he is put under the charge of Jimmy (Todd Field). a paramedic who has had more partners than Hugh Hefner. Jimmy introduces Tom to the benefits of driving around town With enough narcotics to keep a Columbian drugs baron occupied for a month In spite of the moral cloud hanging over his head, Tom deCIdes that the best philosophy to follow is, if you can’t beat 'em, iOin ‘em. Together they tour the underground of LA, Jiniiiiy excels at playing the mentor, and Tom Just exhales.

The action IS bolstered by several wacky characters and an unrelenting dark comic touch. Director Scott Ziehl takes every opportunity to depict the pair as heroes one minute and Villains the next, as they battle to get the most out of their seemingly meaningless existence (Kaleem Aftab)

I Selected release from Fri 30 Jun.

urban llvos

Unrelentlng dark and comlc