FILM preview



Focus on African cinema with special guests

‘Should I stay or should I go?’ might be the best way to sum up the theme central to so many films in this comprehensive, essentially North African, film festival. It’s certainly important to Yousri Nasrallah's El Medina (* t i 1*) and To Live In Paradise (1* i t *) by Buriem Guerdjou.

In the former - co-written by Beau Travail’s Claire Denis - a young actor leaves Cairo to make it in Paris only to find the French capital equally unsympathetic to his ambitions. In the latter, Roschdy Zem's a construction worker in France, hoping to escape the hastily built workers' hovels for a decent, permanent flat for his family. Others reckon he should be more concerned with what’s going on at home as Algeria fights for its independence.

Yamina Benguigui’s Immigrants’ Memories (ir * 1* tr) plays like a documentary account of what Guerdjou’s film fictionalises: it’s an impressive, talking heads study of

the early years of North African immigration into


In the aforementioned films we follow those who've chosen to leave Africa. In Tomorrow I Burn (x t) we watch a character forced to return. Director Mohamed Ben Smail plays Lofti who, deported from France, wanders around Tunis getting in touch with his past. While Lofti has no choice but to go home, the brilliant Sid Ahmed Agoumi plays an Algerian journalist in Karim The Polish Bride Traidia's Les Diseurs de Verite (* a it) who seeks asylum in Holland. His outspoken views are making him very unpopular with his government, but is

exile the answer?

Not that the festival is all about men in flight; there are also films here in which the female predicament is explored. But if the men's struggle is geographical, for

’P 1.54

NEW F LM FESTIVAL The Irish Film Festival

Contem orary Irish cinema with ga a premieres and special guests If you thought St Patrick's Day was all about boozrng . _ . you were right. It's also gOing to be about movres thanks to the brand spanking new annual Irish Film Festival, running at Edinburgh’s Lumiere Cinema from 9 February to St Paddy’s Day itself.

Featuring film premieres and guest appearances, the craick kicks off With the gala premiere of When Brendan

28 THE “ST l—IS Feb 2001

Roddy Doyle's When Brendan Met Trudy

And Camilla ( -r


the women it's often familial. In The Dreams Of Hind ), by Mohamed Khan, a couple of Cairo women take abuse from the menfolk whilst dreaming of escape to the sea at Alexandria. In Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud's Pomegranates ( Jr), the young Soufiya arrives back in Tunisia but doesn't like what she sees: living in Senegal has left her with too wide a perspective to adjust to the small-mindedness she finds at home, a narrowness her father readily accepts, and to which she's expected to

The Rest Of The

Cinemamed's premiere screenings are to be attended

by special guests, among whose number are likely to be

(Tony McKibbin)

Met Trudy, a comedy about a lonely teacher With a passion for cinema, novelist Roddy DOyle's first original screenplay. The man himself is expected to attend the screening along With director Kieron J, Walsh

Three more premieres are also expected to attract guests Accelerator is a road mowe about a Belfast jOyrlder Johnny T (played by Edinburgh born and trained actor Stuart Sinclair Blyth) On the run from the paramilitaries who flees to Dublin for a bit of the old peace and quret. Flick is a contemporary drama that taps into

Yamina Benguigui and Sid Ahmed Agoumi.

Fi'lrnhous'e, Edinburgh from Fri 9 Feb

Dublin's club culture and eschews all things ’Oirish’ Wild About Harry is a romantic comedy about a randy TV celebrity chef which sports a top notch cast including Brendan Gleeson, James Nesbit, Amanda Donahoe and Adrian Dunbar.

The festival also features screenings of two recent films that were overlooked upon their original release, both made in Ireland by Scottish directors John The Long Good Friday Mackenzie's When The Sky Falls is the true story of the late crusading Dublin Journalist Veronica Guerin (played by the superb Joan Allen), Aileen Ritchie's feature debut The Closer You Get stars Ian Hart, Niamh Cusack and Sean McGinley in a raucous comedy abocit a bunch of Iove-Iorn bachelors from the remote Donegal coast who fly in a bevy of American beauties, With disastrous results

The rest of the festival's line-up illustrates the breadth and depth of Irish cmema wrth films ranging from Pat O'Connor’s adaptation of Brian Friel’s play Dancing At Lughnasa through Neil Jordan's political biopic Michael Collins to John Sayles’ magical famin film The Secret Of Roan /nish

Who's rOund is it, then? (Miles Fielder) I Lumiere, Edinburgh from Fri 9 Feb

Film books

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In the wake of covering IA filmmaking in Pro/ections IO, the executive editors even the balance by focusing here on New York Pro/ec (ions 7/ (Faber {1499 * >~ ii interViewees include Jarniiisch, luniet, Spike Lee, Davrd 0 Russell and Harmony Korine But maybe the best interwew in the book is with one of American cinema's lesser known filmmakers, Ulu Ciiosbaid (Straight Tirne, True Confessionsi Cirosbard usefully pinpoints the relative realism in New York films, explaining why he has used real glass in a Jewellery heist scene over the expected candy equivalent, and a real waiter over bit part players Overall, excellent stuff, edited by Tod Lippy (Tony McKibbini

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