DRAMA MONSOON WEDDING (15) 113 mins .00.

On the eve of the longed for, cooling monsoon season, the far- flung members of an upper- middle-class Indian family gather in Delhi for a typical Punjabi wedding. Educated and affluent, they are at ease with the trappings of the modern world. Cellphone in one hand, whisky in the other, they slip fluently from Hindi to English to Punjabi, sometimes even in the same sentence.

But keeping one foot in the present and another in the past isn’t always easy. The groom, newly arrived from Texas, barely knows his intended; the bride has been having an affair with her married boss. As the big day dawns, the wedding contractor’s promises become more evasive, while the bride’s hard-pressed father worries how he is going to pay for everything.

Mira Nair’s sprawling, carnivalesque drama combines the colour and vibrancy of Bollywood with an earthy realism rooted in her background in documentary films. Her skill at interweaving the many strands of her complex plot recalls Robert Altman, but her film has none of

DRAMA EUREKA (15) 217 mins 0...

The idea of a lengthy feature seems generally acceptable if the extra hour or so is given over to spectacle: the graphic battle scenes in Braveheart or the boat geing down in Titanic. But do Viewers not get a bit restless when the long feature denies the grandiosity of spectacle and focuses

instead on the minutiae of being?

Silllijl Aoyama's film may open with a bus hijacking that reSults in the death of several passengers and the iTIJaCkCF himself. but it's more interested in exploring the lives of the surVivors in the wake of the incident. There's bus-driver KOJI Yakusho who escapes from his memories through labOuring. and a young brother and sister. Masaru Miyazaki and Aoi Miya/aki who've retreated into mutism. As they reunite a c0uple of years later and traverse Japan in an old bus Yakusho refits as a mobile home. vvill time allow the wounds to heal. or exacerbate the characters emotional instability?

The denial of any spectacle allows for the posSibility of exploring modes of behaViour as we notice the way time doesn't necessarily heal wounds but simply expands the lacerations in different ways. Clearly Aoyoma's film owes

his sometimes-rancorous misanthropy. She can be sharply satiric, but she treats her characters, high and low, without condescension.

Lalit, the bride’s father, played by veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah, initially cuts a poor figure. He is exasperated, anxious and slightly ineffectual; but when crisis strikes, he shows unexpected reserves of strength and dignity. Dubey, the upwardly mobile wedding contractor, brilliantly played by newcomer Vijay Raaz, also comes across badly at first.


much to Wenders and Antonioni, but in combining the 70s

road movre With the aftermath theme central to much recent Japanese film (Hana-Bi. The Eel. Distancel Aoyoma finds a

veice of his own. (Tony McKibbini

I Fi/nihouse. Edinburgh from Fri 22 Jan; GET. Glasgow from

Fri 28 Jan.

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Focusing on the minutiae of being

22 THE LIST 17'31 .Jaii 20f)?

Generous, compassionate, vibrant, earthy

With his cravat, sunglasses and wristwatch calculator, he appears absurd, affected, even slightly obnoxious. But it is a mark of Nair’s generous and compassionate vision, that when he falls in love with the family’s shy, innocent maid, drawn to her by their shared habit of eating the hearts of marigolds, the Indian wedding flower, he is rewarded with the film’s only truly pure romance. (Jason Best)

I GET. Glasgow; Cameo. Edinburgh from Fri 78 Jan. See feature. pages 70—] l.

Yet another tale of drugs, guns and rhyming slang

You have to wonder how. after so many damp SQUibS. British filmmakers pitch gangster films to the moneymen.

This is another tale of drugs. guns and rhyming slang. and

one that does little to disprove expectations.

Shooters begins with a small time arms deal between an excitable Welshman and a police informer. The Welshman is J. an amoral gangster whose excessive ego and wild ways

are hardly helped by his coke habit. J is in trouble he is being trailed by the police and watched by crime lord Max Bell (Adrian Dunbar). who suspects J is dealing guns behind his back. J's mate Gilly is released from prison having done time for a crime his friend committed. He needs money that J owes him to go straight. but is

i , persuaded to do one last job. Needless to say. the deal

" ,. doesn't go as planned.

y The Violence in Shooters doesn't really kick in until the

. film's conclusion. which is a brave move. but also a rather stupid one. because there is little else in this film to raise the oulse besides a gleeful turn from Gerald Butler as a psychopathic Glaswegian. (James Smart)

I Selected release from Fri 18 Jan.


Princess Mononoke is the flagship animated film from Japan's Studio Ghibli (pronounced “Jee- blee'). The nation's most successful film ever (and it also held the international record over Titan/cl begins with a yOung warrior who is wounded while fighting a demon. Subseguently he sets out on a guest to find a cure for what will eventually become fatal injury. His journey takes him to a far away forest where the animal gods war with human. industrialised invaders. The conflict is a pretty straightforward allegory criticising technology's attack on nature in modern day Japan. This kind of educational message is typical of Ghibli's artist boffins. And of course. the animation is rich and fluid. It might now look a little dated in comparison with CGI innovations. and it doesn't quite have the depth of the best Disney

Fantasy allegory

classics. but there's still plenty of visual spectacle. The film's inythos. involvrng the forest gods' champion. the wolf girl Mononoke. is involving. and the storytelling clear. The dialogue in the English language script by Noil Gaimen. however. is unsophisticated and awkward. That said. American voice overs. from a starry cast Gillian Anderson. Billy Bob Thornton. Minnie Driver. Billy Crudup lend the film weight in the west. (Miles Fielder) I Fi/rnhouse. Edinburgh from Fri l8 Jan; Gl—T Glasgow from Sat 26 Jan. A Stud/o Ghib/i season runs is currently running at both venues.