' (12) 106 mins st *

The season of goodWiIl has a lot to answer for. Adman Buddy (Ben

: Affleck), overwhelmed by Christmas i spirit, bestows his ticket home on a

fellow reveller. However, the plane

crashes and Buddy's relief is tempered

by responsibility for the dead man's family. Thus follows an incognito check up on widow Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow) that inevitably leads to romance.

This is one courtship rather less

convincmg than director Don Roos's

previous effort in The Opposite Of Sex

and that had Christina Ricci seducmg

her gay brother’s boyfriend. Something untoward has clearly happened; gone is the arch dialogue and pop postmodernism. Instead, we have Paltrow trundling out monologues of


Suzhou River (12) 83 mins *‘k‘k*

Suzhou River is the Asian Vertigo, but

don’t expect Hitchcock-style camerawork in writer-director Lou Ye’s film. Ye is in the vanguard of China’s ’6th Generation’ filmmakers, a loose collective who have accepted Western

: culture where their forerunners (Zhang

Yimou, Chen Kaige) concerned themselves With past traditions. Ye's style is shaky hand-held camerawork representing the video diaries of a lonely videographer (a cipher for China's diSillu5ioned youth?) who lives on the eponymous Shanghai waterway and who is the film’s narrator. The plot, however, riffs on Hitchcock’s classic about obsession and mistaken identity. The videographer's beloved go-go dancer girlfriend, Meimei, has vanished

Neither bouncy nor romantic

absurd banality. And why would a love rat like Buddy fall for someone Who's idea of a good chat up line is a tedious anecdote about her dead husband? This is a tearjerker through and through, and so manipulative you can even see the Wires tugging at the heartstrings. It’s not all bad, some of Roos’ preViously displayed cynicism surVives in the form of Buddy’s queenly aSSIstant Seth (Johnny Galecki) who offers slivers of bitchy relief. However, as razor sharp as these one liners are, there are just not enough of them. Such token humour Will not appease the disappomted. The unfeasibly horizontal love scene says it all: dull, tedious and plodding. All words that would more accurately describe this film with a misnomer of a title. (Judith Ho) I General release from Fri 79 Jan.


Wonderfully vertiginous experience

without explanation. One day he meets a motorbike courier named Mardar, who tells him he’s just been released from prison for extorting money from his girlfriend Moudan's wealthy father. The kidnapping resulted in Moudan committing SUicide, but Mardar is conVinced she lives. In fact, he believes Moudan and Meimei are the same girl .

As With Kim Novak in Vertigo, both characters are played by the same actress, and Ye develops this maddening ambiguity by presenting the tale through his (unreliable?) narrator's highly subjective visual diaries (and this non-particrpating observer recalls another Hitchcock film, Rear Window). For cinefiles and social observers alike, this clever, contemporary film bodes well for the 6th Generation.

(Miles Fielder) I Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 26 Jan.

new releases FILM


La fidélité

(15) 166 mins t t 1r

It's tempting to write Polish emigre Andrzej Zulawski’s film off as an ExplOitative bonkathon hymn to his Wife and muse Sophie Marceau's sex and box-office appeal This is Zulawski's first French film in a decade, in the intervening years Marceau’s become an international star in Braveheart and The World ls Not Enough

But such a reaction seems too easy, as if it had already occurred to director and star, that knee-jerk response w0uld be the film's starting mm For here Marceau plays yOung photographer Clelia who remains faithful to her failure husband (Pascal Greggory) no matter the temptations This comes primarily from her mother's former lover and press baron employer, Michel Subor, and from the youthful, daring Nero (GUillaume Canet), a fellow photographer With sex appeal of his own.

Adapted from a 17th century literary classic, and yet With futuristic overtones (a newspaper informs us of Castro's death), this is, like earlier Zulawskis, Possession and La Femme Publique, curiously difficult to get a handle on Melodrama, overacting, and indefinable angst are the norm, and whether they allow the Viewer to arrive at a feeling of enlightenment or obfuscation only the indiVidual Viewer can judge. Zulawski neither profesSionally conforms nor amateuristh counters the usual aesthetic expectations for easy general assessment (Tony MCKibbin)

I Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 79 Jan.


The Lost Lover (PG) 97 mins 1*

A lot of meal crimes have been committed in the name of liberalism, but this adaptation of Abraham Yehousha’s pOignant tale of forbidden love in the Holy Land is right up there With the Phoenetic Spelling Initiative.

Adam (Ciaran Hinds) and Asya (Juliet Aubrey) are an estranged JeWish couple who live in Tel AViv With their annoyingly precooous daughter Dafi (Clara Bryant). Adam befriends penniless enigmatic stranger Gabriel (Stuart Bunce) who seems to bring some joy into Asya’s life when she takes him on as her personal secretary. When Gabriel suddenly disappears Adam eIICits the help of a young Arab boy Na Im to help him find the one man who can save his sagging marriage. Na lm falls for Dafi and she for he. But this is Palestine, get it? Shakespeare, angels, redemption, it’s a syrupy package

With the exception of some impressive (not to say dangerous) location photography by Jose LUIS Alcane, this is uniformly awful. The acting is wooden, dialogue ponderous and the direction sluggish. Roberto Faenza once made a great film called Order Of Death, a two hander that examined the complex relationship between a corrupt cop and a cop killer. How he came to make this glib self-satisfied movre is a mystery. (Paul Dale)

Exploitative bonkathon?

Glib liberal tripe

I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 79 Jan.


Re uiem For A Dream (18) 01mins *****

Darron Aronofsky has followed his debut, the ingenious sci-fi fable Pi, With a film that's as harrowmg as it is brilliantly executed. The Brooklyn boy genius has collaborated With Bronx novelist Hubert Selby Jr. to adapt the latter's book which tackles the nature of addiction and plumbs the depths of humanity. Be warned: this film is extremely graphic.

Relocated from the Bronx to Aronofsky's desolate waterfront home turf Brighton

Narrowing, bleak, brilliant

Beach, and set in an unspecified time period that might be the 70s (when the

novel was written) or the near future, Regurem For A Dream is a bleak vrsion. It focuses on four addictive personalities, Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his mother Sara (Ellen Burstyn), girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and pal Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), whose Vices range from hard drugs to telewsion game shows.

Aronofsky creates a strikingly subjective experience With stylistic tricks such as

his patented ’hip hop montage' (fast cuts repeating images) illustrating the repetitive nature of addiction and split screens suggesting his protagonists' alienation (there’s a post-c0ital pillow talk screen split). The eerie retro-futuristic soundtrack by Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet underscores Aronofsky’s vision. Yet, bleak as the film is, it's also heart-rending drama thanks to the gutsy performances, particularly Burstyn's devastating turn that’ll have grown men weeping in the aisles. (Miles Fielder)

I GFT, Glasgow; Cameo, Edinburgh from Fri 79 Jan. See preview

18 Jan-l Feb 2001 THE “ST 29