New Italian cinema

The Oscar nominations for Giuseppe ‘Cinema Paradiso’

Tornatore’s Malena testifies to the

ongoing popularity of Italian

cinema exports. You can see that

film plus a whole range of

contemporary ltalian films during

the 8th edition of the Festival.

If so many Italian films from the

605 and 705 focused on a psychological or political

intractability (Antonioni’s The Red

Desert, Bertolucci’s The

Conformist), Italian films in recent

years have often suggested an emotional withholding: that the

empathic filmmaker shares with his tender characters an unwillingness

to coarsen the story when the emotions are the thing. This is

Monica Bellucci brings the necessary glamour to Tornatore’s Malena

certainly the case with some of the more interesting Italian filmmakers of the last decade Piccioni, Calopresti, Winspeare. Edoardo Winspeare’s Living Blood, for example, looks at two brothers - one a very gifted 30-year-old folk musician involved in a robbery; the other 50 and musically skilled, but who makes his living as a smuggler. Winspeare cares less for the suspense of the smuggle or the robbery, but instead on the necessity of emotional survival after the brothers’ father’s death. As Winspeare says, ‘cinema’s first goal is to portray the emotions.’ Mimmo Calopresti would probably agree. An earlier film, La Seconda Volta focused not on a terrorist’s actions during the inflammatory years of the late 705, but on the emotional aftermath. In I Prefer The Sound Of The Sea the belligerence of the north/south divide is less melo-dramatised than micro-dramatised, with Calopresti taking a troublesome youth from the south and showing his friendship with a wealthy lad from the north. Roberto Ando’s The Prince’s Manuscript meanwhile, fictionalises the last years of The Leopard writer Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s life, and his relationship with two men from the youthful generation as he frets over the lost values of the aristocracy. Once again, the focus isn’t on the action (say the fall of the aristocracy so beautifully presented in Visconti’s adaptation of Lampedusa’s book), but the sensitive effect the writer has on the young men. If the new generation of auteurs have been trying to refine drama, have the comedy filmmakers coarsened humour? Yes, it would appear as Cristina Comencini allows Michele Placido too free a rein as he mugs it up as an idiot crime boss in Free The Fish, while How To Make A Martini has various members of the comfortably-off sorting their lives out in an upmarket eatery. That said, Bread And Tulips with Bruno Ganz, is worth a look. Those films and more plus Festival guests including Edoardo Winspeare, as well as retrospective subject Mario Monicelli. (Tony McKibbin) I (il l. ( } .'i:;gov-./; l-i/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 30 Mar. See Film /ndex.

(ZlilMl DRAMA BROTHER (18) 113 mins 00.

Kitano’s violent calling card to the West

Japan's most famous (itViltill‘l)(il'£ll'\,' filmmaker and media celebrity. Takeshi Kitano. makes his English language oiiectorial debut. arriving in Hollywood with this all-guns- blaxing tale of organised crime waifaie. l~lo\.'.'e\.rer. Brother is only partly successful; it plays like a watered-riown version of Kitano's pretious films Violent Cop. Sonatine. Hana—Bi these aux/ard- vsin'iing movies made palatable for \"."estern audiences.

Under his acting name. Beat.

Takeshi plays old school Yakuza gangster Yamamoto. So set is he in outdated codes - blind loyalty to his organised crime 'brothers'. stubborn rivalry wrth other ‘families' that when Tokyo's top two Yaku/a S‘flldlCEllC‘S make peace and merge. he's offered two choices: die or be packed off to America. Yamamoto takes the opportunity to visit his younger blood brother. Ken (Claude Maki), a young punk drug dealer living in Los Angeles. Almost immediately Yamamotc falls intc his old ways. savagely assaulting a man on the street with a broken bottle. taking control of Ken's rag-tag band of homies and going to war vvith everyone . Hispanics. blacks. even his own expat countrymen - before coming up against the unixaatabie might of the Italian lvlafia. At which point yOu realise that the othenvise inscrutable Yamamotr has a powerful death WlSll ithis is typical of Beat‘s charactersi.

Brother is a very violent film. and it's shocking because Kitano's way is to pepper static. contemplative scenes With sudden violent moments. In one memorable

scene he even jump cuts from a gruesome Yakuza-style exeCLition (involving chopsticks shoved up the nose) to a frenzied Spray of bullets and bloody bodies. But Kitano also introduces his trademark sly humour (his craggy face even cracks into a smile on occaSion) and small moments of human drama such as the bonding between Yamamoto‘s lieutenant and his American crime partners while shooting hoops. But the American elements of the film don't work: the dialogue is corny (perhaps ruined in translation), while the performances by American cast members (particularly Omar Epps playing Yamamoto's new ‘brother') seem overblown in comparison to the understated Japanese style. Still. a better film than most American crime dramas, and one that best serves as an introduction to Kitano's impresswe body of work. (Miles Fielder) I GFT, Glasgow; Cameo, Edinburgh from Fri 6 Apr. See feature, page 78 Hana-Bi and Sonatine play at Cameo. Edinburgh. Sun 7 Apr. See Film lndex.


Billing A D WN

Contemporary and classic horror films Wit" ‘C'nx. Ho fr ms and {7 act! d "rie't‘a i’tt"i‘iit.ttii‘.ti our ES.“"€‘.(‘:"E§. unt‘ere d" \. an to the extreme cinema exnt>'ie"ce Hoi'c' moves. that's .'.".e"e. stitvi‘it exhibits A. B and C: The ‘.'.'.‘.‘t‘ Plover. Ring and Audi? a". three 'eceiit examn es of tig‘ihsgiressme (:ii‘e'na

You can see more of the same at Edinburgh's hoirci ‘li'l‘. testinai. Dead By Dawn, \.-."‘.i<:b (:(‘rl‘fl'Xlt'S ill the same vein as those Ias‘. ‘iiins by focusing largeh on Japan. "l’i‘is yeai the focus is firmly on new Japanese honor.’ confiims festival d rector Adele Hartley. 'w'ith screenings of Hip/ios/s. Bot Woman. the aiiinie Blood: The last Vanna/re and U/umaki.' The ingenious and quite insidious nature of that last film. the title translation of which is Spiral. makes it a blood relative of Hing.

Europe is also well-re;iresented with director .Jaume Balaguero coming over from Spain to introduce festival opener Nameless, a chiller concerning a missing child and a mysterious cult (And there's a horioi story reading session the f‘u'ill‘t,‘ nighti Gore hounds should check out the German /ombie splatterfest Premutos. and Italy also makes its gruesome presence felt With genre classics from the 60s. lbs and 8081 The Horrible Dr Hichcock. starring scream oueen Barbara Steele. Dr Butcher MD faka Zombie Holocaust; and Lucio Fulci's Gates Of Hell (aka City Of The LIV/fig Death. The last two films play the Saturday allnighter and are mined by a couple of decent American films both featuring cult actor Jeffreys Combs: Attic Expeditions. and the blackly comic film that made his name. Be-Animator. loosely based on the HP. Lovecraft tale.

Jeffrey Combs playing mad doctor in the superbly titled Attic Expeditions

The Festival is also splattered with short films: Schneider's 2nd Stage stars othew/ise straight-laced thesp Kenneth Branagh. while On Edge features DOug Bradley, othen/rise known as He/Iraiser's ‘Pinhead‘. The programme is fleshed out Wllh cuts from Australia trio budget Stygian). Canada i‘z-grade Silent /fiVEiS/Ofl}. America (drug addicts nightmare Cloven Hoofed) and two erotic tales Daughters Of Darkness and Vampyres. Capping it all. Hartley has secured both Faust. an adaptation of the graphic graphic novel, and its director Brian Yuzna. coming over from the US to close Dead By Dawn. (Miles FlBldel)

I Fi'lthuse 8 Lumiere. Edinburgh.

29 Mar—12 Apr 2001 THE LIST 27