Film new releases
Greatest life trauma makes for riveting drama
DRAMA FAITHLESS (TROLOSA) 9.5)}? min? “'3. _ _
Liv Ullman’s film has a natural advantage in the drama stakes, since divorce is widely acknowledged as one of the great life traumas. But the usual approach, with all its over-coloured melodrama, is avoided. This film can claim an authenticity to its experience that compels throughout.
Ingmar Bergman’s script contains a character of the same name, who through dialogue with a woman at the end of a horrific emotional journey creates the story. The woman, Marianne (Lena Endre), begins her tale as a happily married woman with a much-cherished child. Her relationship with orchestra conductor Markus (Thomas Hanzon) seems to boast all the affluence and stability that a person could ask for, yet when his theatre director pal David (Krister Henrikson) makes unexpected advances, she consents to a liaison in Paris a few weeks hence. David, it’s clear from the start, is patently dysfunctional, but the affair continues, and Markus is forced to reveal his knowledge of it. Divorce, ugly emotional game-playing and tragedy follow, and the child manifests the greatest traumas of all.
Ullman’s framing creates the effect of soap opera, but re-explores the emotional cliches attached to the form. Strong performances, particularly from Erland Josephson as Bergman, and Endre as his muse, create an intense discomfort which has much to say on both the cannibalistic process of the creation of art, and a culture that sees love as another consumer product. (Steve Cramer)
I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 23 Mar. See preview, page 26.
DRAMA LAST RESORT (15) 76 mins .00.
Concrete living blocks stuck in a rain- swept landscape fenced in with barbed wire. it looks like a concentration camp in Siberia. But it ain't, it's a rundown seaside resort on England's south coast. Here. refugees seeking shelter in Britain are held at the Government's pleasure. facing interminable imprisonment or eventual deportation. Into this shameful mess blunders Tanya, a young woman arriving from Moscow with her ten- year-old son Artiom to meet an English fiance who does a disappearing act.
This is tough. politicised cinema. the like of which Britain used to excel at. but which is now generally only practised by enduring social realists such as Ken Loach. But as it slowly dawns on Tanya that she's become a victim of rampant xenophobia and is up against an insurmountable wall of bureaucracy. the realism slides into the kind of waking nightmare Orwell and Kafka craft. Thus. the reson remains unnamed (Margate was the location), and so grey/dull/bland is it that it c0uld exist in the present. near future or near past.
Oh, I don’t like to be beside the seaside . . .
Polish writer-director Pawel Pawlikowski draws on his dOCumentary background. filming chronologically with a small crew. eschewing scripted-dialogue for scenes workshopped with the actors to great effect. The main players, Dina Korzun and Paddy Considine (only his second appearance after his extraordinary debut in A Room For Romeo Brass) are superb. They and the film have rightly won several international festival prizes including the Michael Powell Award at Edinburgh last year. (Miles Fielder)
I Cameo, Edinburgh from Fri 76 Mar. See preview, page 27.
30 THE LIST 15-29 Mar 2001
ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS - SPECIAL EDITION
(U) 97 mins COO.
Denis Sanders original 1973 commentary chronicling The King's first stage shows in more than a decade itime spent dexeloping an almighty drug habit and appearing in some of the worst rom-com musicals to ever come but of Hollywood) was actually a fairly sooorific (Ourney thrOugh middle America with a few bits of rehearsal and concert footage wedged in. This SpeCial Edition. boasting ardund so new minutes. is a revelation. Gone is the musty secretive air that the dated interviews of Elvis' fans brought: instead we are treated to four more songs and loads more insider footage. There is truly faSCinatlng stuff here: Elvis Joking With the beautiful Legionnaires. shots of The Memphis Mafia (Elvis' Out of control bodyguard troupe) acting like idiots. Elvis swearing during a rendition of ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town“ during the Las Vegas rehearsals. and a ver8ion of ‘Twenty Days And Twenty Nights' which will blow yOLi away. Within seven years EIVIs was dead. a
This new edition is a revelation
bloated parody of what he was here: a man simultaneOuSIy at the top of his tree and abOut to start a dark decline into obesity, underage girls and prescription drugs. This is one mUSICaI and historical dOCument y0u do not want to miss. (Paul Dalel
I Selected release from Fri 76 Mar.
ROCKUMENTARY BENJAMIN SMOKE (no cert) 76 mins 00..
Benjamin Smoke is a rather rambling film. taking a loose look at Cabbagetown. an impoverished suburb on the wrong Side of Atlanta's tracks and the micro- scene of punkish muSiCians who play in and around the City. This would make for boring. tedious VieWing were it not for the fact that the film is also a eulogy for Robert Dickerson. better known as Benjamin. the lead singer and lyiiCist in alt.country ObSCurlileS Smoke. Dickerson's addled anecdotes are often hilarious. as when he relates the travails of being arrested in the Deep South. high on prescription drugs and wearing a tutu at his first live performance. They are sometimes painfully nonsensical, looping. half-remembered stories. but most of all Dickerson's musings are mOVing. The documentary peaks when Patti Smith, Dickerson's lifelong hereine. asks him to provide support at a concert. then brings a lump to the throat as the singer's lengthy struggle with AIDS reaches its inevitable concluson.
Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen's film may not be the best piece of documentary filmmaking you'll ever see. but it remains unmissable thanks to Smoke's peculiar. haunting songs and the tale of their founding member's fading life on the margins of music and society. (Jack Mottram)
I Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Mon 26 Mar. Supported by the ‘making of‘ short film. Dub Movie.
COMEDY AN EVERLASTING PIECE (1 5)103 mins
Hairdressing movies make for an amusing sub-genre. albeit one that hasn't produced any ClaSSICS (a personal favOurite. though, would have to be Stanley Donen's 1969 film, Staircase. which is about a c0uple of gay stylists played by Richard Burton and Rex Harrison). More recently. Craig Ferguson camped it up as a homo-hairdresser in The Big Tease. and now fellow west coast lad Billy Connolly takes up the SCISSOFS as the balmy 'Scalper' in this Barry Levinson-directed comedy.
Set against the backdrop of troubled 803 Belfast. An Everlasting Piece focuses on the plight of two more barbers. catholic Colm (Barry McEvoy. who also wrote the script basing one of the characters on his father) and protestant GeOrge (Brian F. O'Byrne). who form an unlikely partnership to corner the hairpiece market when rival company Toupee Or Not Toupee threatens to put them put of business.
Reactions to the film stateSide have been fairly positive: The San Francisco Chronicle noted, ‘The notion that male vanity reduces the Troubles to an absurdin is never fully realised. But it's the optimism that counts.‘ New York's Village Voice called it a ‘pleasant but trifling pratfall', while the Chicago Sun-Times enthused An Everlasting Piece is 'wicked and cheeky”. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri 23 Mar.
Connolly in fun follicle frolic