DRAMA THE PIANO TEACHER (LA PIANISTE)
(18) 129 mins 00”.
Haneke and Huppert: a match made in heaven
Austrian auteur Michael Haneke once gain proves that less is definitely more. As with his previous films. Code Unknown and Funny Games. Haneke shows but doesn‘t tell. It‘s left to the audience to piece together the disturbed psyche of Erika Kohut. the Viennese piano tutor of the title. played (in French) by the superb
The film opens with Erika returning home to the flat she shares with her mother (Annie Giraradot). Erika has bought a dress. He mother thinks it's colourful. alluring. wrong. They fight. and when the dress is accidentally torn. Erika tears at her mother’s head with her fingernails. Later. they break down and make up. From this simple scene we gather this is a very dysfunctional relationship. So. when we're made privy to Erika visiting porn shops in downtown Vienna and abusing her students - she cripples one of them with broken glass - it becomes clear Erika herself has suffered years of maternal abuse. And so when gifted young pianist Walter Klemmer (Benoit Magimel) fails in love with Erika. it‘s a sado-masochistic
affair that follows.
Haneke and Huppert are a match made in heaven. Haneke. a master of his medium. tells the tale (based on Elfriede Jelinek's novel) through a series of beautifully composed scenes. editing them together with the precision of a surgeon. Huppert capitalises on her opaque visage. providing her director with a beautifully nuanced understated performance.
It's a pleasure to ‘read' this film. and no surprise it garnered both controversy and awards at the Cannes Film festival. (Miles Fielder)
I GET. Glasgow; Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 9 Nov.
MARTIAL ARTS KISS OF THE DRAGON (18) 98 mins 0..
In this violent French martial arts cop thriller Asian. star Jet Li plays a top Shanghai secret agent who arrives in Paris to assist ruthless police boss Tcheky Karyo in nailing a Chinese drugs lord. Naturally. Karyo is the real villain and within min Jtes of making (bizarrer secret) contact with his hosts. Li finds himself framed for murder and on the run. Thereafter. he triumphs in a series of slickly-edited set pieces. tackling legions of k llers without firing a Single shot and without saying a word — he's a kind of lithe. diminutive Chinese version of Dirty Harry. using acupuncture instead of a Magnum.
Bridget Fonda tags along as the hooker-who-knows-too-much and whose little girl is Karyo's hostage. However. it seems clear that neither she nor Karyo saw the script before being roped in by producer Luc Besson. as their parts are quite risible.
In its favour. Kiss Of The Dragon is an unusual fusion of the Yakusa gangster flick and the polICIer formula. with Chris Nahon directing the action. if not the drama. with aplomb. The photography lends everyone and everything a curiously pasty-faced patina. and Craig Armstrong's brash. pumping score won't let you alone for a minute. (John MacKenzie)
I General release from Fri 9 Nov.
Enter The Dragon meets Dirty Harry
(15) 93 mins .00
Some thing are certain in a Ken Loach film. You'll get commitment. raw performances and an unwavering loathing of the autocratic free market and those wielding anything in its name. Which is also the main problem. You know so well what you're going to get with Loach that. given the raw material of his tales. you too could make your own little Ken film.
This time round. Ken is lambasting rail privatisation and. as ever. pinpointing a microcosm (this time a crew of south Yorkshire railway workers in the mid 903) to speak for the whole. Loach bludgeons us with his message and lays on the socio- symbolism: a three-legged dog is the limping British economy. while the inevitable tragic corpse is the social fabric destroyed by the Thatcher years. Even the denial of a tin of sardines represents the lack of small pleasures afforded in this brittle land.
Yet. while Loach naturally makes the bosses heartless and cruel. this time
the workers are caught in Three Stooges territory as they bungle their way to redundancy. The Navigators is predictable and foolish. but obviously has its heart in the right place.
I GET, Glasgow from Fri 2 Nov: Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 76 Nov.
(12) 84 mins 0
Proving the slightly less well-known adage 'if it's broke. don't bother to fix it'. Rob Schneider follows the schmuck he played in Deuce Biga/ow. Male Giga/o with another schmuck in The Animal. His Marvin Mange is a real loser. the kind of dork that suffers from Sod's Law Syndrome (SLS): if something can go wrong. it will go wrong to you. That said. one thing goes right for him. sort of. when he drives his car off a cliff and is rescued by a mad scientist who rebuilds him Six Million Dollar Man-style. though on the cheap. replacing his broken parts with animal ‘spares'. Thereafter. Mange is transformed into super schmuck. merely amplifying SLS by getting frisky around sheep on heat. shagging his girlfriend in a home-made beaver's nest. etc.
The most memorable thing about The Animal is the work of the Foley artists who provide the film's extensive comedy SOUnd effects. most of which are of the 'sqidgy‘ variety - things entering and leaving various orifices. This is the level of humour in The Animal. and while lavatOry laughs are perfectly acceptable. these gags are crap. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 2 Nov.
Animal but not magic
THRILLER BLOODY ANGELS (13) 93 mi???” . __
When a young girl is raped and murdered in a small Norwegian town the two eldest sons of a reviled family are blamed. When one of the sons turns up dead and the brutal victimisation of their family begins. it is time for big city cop Nicholas Ramm (Reidar Sorensen) to solve the crimes and prevent vigilante retribution. The disingenuous townsfolk. however. are blaming it all on the angels. Not believing in divine intervention. Ramm is pitted against the whole village where his only friend is the hated family's youngest son Niklas. who is mercilessly bullied throughOut the film.
The denouement is easily anticipated as the plot patently follows all the composite rules of small town justice versus the outside world. However. Karin Julsrud‘s debut feature is a thriller full of pathos. suspenseful drama and humour. When Ramm finally gets the proof he needs. Nothing is left to the imagination. It is the final scene. though. which is the most tragic as it underpins the maior theme of the film: personal justice. (Isabella Weir)
I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 2 Nov.
Full of pathos and suspense
1 15‘» No. 90.71 THE LIST 25