Chip shop comedy

Filmmakers call for tax breaks and studio. Words: James Smart


ilming on location. you'd think. would be a pretty exciting thing to be F involved in. When the location in question is the Pearce Institute in Govan on a drizzly day. the heart doesn't pulse quite so fast.

But what it loses in exoticism. American Cousins gains in authenticity. The six- week shoot finished at the end of February. and the movie is now being edited in Inverness with a view to being released at the end of this year or the start of next. Not only is the film being produced in Scotland. but it has some distinctly Scottish themes: the centre of the action is a chip shop where two gangsters flee to escape a bunch of Ukrainian thugs.

The majority of the crew are local and. according to producer Margaret Matheson (whose credits include Abigail’s Party and Sid And Nancy). the film has gained as a result. ‘Apart from a few specialists. the crew are entirely from Glasgow.‘ she says. ‘And the production is much better for that.‘

It stands in contrast to a dearth of Scottish-set films in recent years. Even the flag-waving Braveheart was mostly filmed in Ireland. Director Don Coutts. whose TV productions have included Dead Sea Heels and Clarissa And The Countryman is pleased to be making a difference. ‘The brilliant thing is that we're all up in Scotland.' he explains. ‘And I'm proud that this is showing a part of Scottish life

that has never really been shown before in the Scots-Italian connection. The Italians

have made Scotland a lot nicer.’ The Scottish Italian in question is Roberto (Gerald Lepowski). who owns the shop where his Italian-American cousins Gino (Danny Nucci) and Settimo (Dan Hedaya) hide out. The scene is set for cross-cultural comedy. violence and romance as waitress Alice (Shirley Henderson) We are a country must choose between Gino and Robeno. Who be It's no big budget blockbuster. Of although the leads are very - experienced: both Hedaya and Nucci are veterans of US TV as well own f'lmS’ as having Titanic and Mu/ho/land Drive under their respective belts. while Fife-born Henderson has starred in Hamish Macbeth. Bridget Jones '3 Diary. Topsy-Turvy and the fonhcoming 24 Hour Party People. Also in the cast is Vincent Pastore who memorably played the cheating. doomed Pussy in The Sopranos.

But for Coutts. size isn't everything. ‘We're trying to make a small film that doesn't feel Scottish but is.‘ he says. “We are a country who should be capable of creating our own films. And unless the government start giving proper tax rates. people aren't going to come here. That's sad. because if the film's set in Scotland you come here. but apart from that there's no real reason. unless you encourage it like they do in Ireland or the Isle of Man.’

American Cousins has been financed by Little Wing Films. with additional help from the Glasgow Film Fund and Scottish Screen. Kevin Cowle. Scottish Screen locations operations manager. puts a less negative spin on things. 'We've been holding our own in the face of the Isle of Man and Ireland. who have tax breaks on their side. which may not last under EU legislation.' he says. ‘In fact. from 1995 to the present day the value of incoming investments has risen from 27m to £20m.‘

But like many others in the industry. he believes something is lacking. ‘What we need more than ever is a studio.’ he says. 'The plan for a greenfield site in Edinburgh that has been mooted by Sean Connery and Sony is unlikely to go ahead. The opinion of the Scottish Executive seems to be that the funding should come from the private sector. but if they believe in Scottish film they should put the money up themselves. Othen/vise nothing is likely to happen.’

I American Cousins will be released late 2002/early 2003.


Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, star rating, credits, briei review and venue details. Film index compiled by Miles Fielder

index Film




The Soprano’s Vincent Pastore, in Glasgow ¥

Academy Awards Event Beginning at 9.30pm and running through to 6am. the night includes a screening of The Business Of Strangers. starring Oscar nominated Stockard C hanning. prior to live broadcast of the ceremony complete with overlong acceptance speeches. There's also fancy dress. a sweepstake and a raffle for a Roman Holiday. Oh. and an all night bar. Tickets are £17 from Filmhousc and all proceeds go to AIDS charity Waverley Care. The Filmhouse. Edinburgh.

The Adventures Oi Rocky And Bullwinkle (U) see (Des McAnuff. US. 2001) Robert De Niro. Rene Russo. Janeane Garofalo. 91 mins. A hilariously ironic opening sequence to this update of the 60s cartoon. that sees the eponymous flying

squirrel and best pal moose living in an


animated world suffering from recession. sets the film‘s playful post-modem tone. And when the animated animals‘ nemeses. lead by De Niro‘s Fearless Leader. cross over into the 'real' world the film moves into the live action/animation territory of Who Framed Roger Rabbit I). And like that film. its dialogue is packed with cultural references that will have adults laughing harder than the kids. Carlton. Stirling.

All, Spring (15) (Somai Shinji. Japan. 1998) 100 mins. When a family man‘s father

suddenly reappears after being thought dead

for many years. a well-ordered suburban household is thrown into confusion. GilmorehillG l 2. Glasgow.

Akira ( l2) .0... (Otomo Katsuhiro. Japan. 1989) Animated by Nakamura Takashi. with the voices of lwata Mitsuc.

Sasaki Nozomu. Koyama Mami. lshida

Taro. 124 mins. Based on the multi-volume graphic novel by Otomo. Akiru is a mythical. futuristic tale of post-holocaust Tokyo. where pill-popping biker kids begin to unearth a government project designed to exploit the psychic and telekinetic powers of a group of laboratory-bound children. Superny animated. with a fantastic visual and narrative imagination. but you‘d be well advised to know something of the plot before you see it. Cameo. Edinburgh.

0 All 0 lndahouse ( 18) secs

(Mark Mylod. UK. 2002) Sacha Baron Cohen. Charles Dance. Michael Gambon.

88 mins. So da boy from Staines links he

can make it big. yeah? Cohen has taken his greatest invention; replete with gold and ‘me Julie‘ and headed for the corridors of power. From Staines to Westminster and then the world wicked. All the old tricks. catch phrases - ‘Is it because I is black'P'. play with misunderstanding and political incorrectness. are exploited to the max. lt‘s fantastically hilarious. Full credit to the writers. Cohen and Dan Mazer. who have worked so hard to keep itxfresh (and real. of course). Much respect. See review. General


All (15) 0”. (Michael Mann. US. 2(X)2) Will Smith. Mario Van Peebles. Jon Voight. 154 mins. The trouble with All is that two and a half hours is not enough time to relive the tale of the Sports Personality Of The Century. Even condensing it into the ten years from 1964. when Ali beat Sonny Liston to win the world title. to his victory in the Rumble In The Jungle against George Foreman still proves unsatisfying. The film urges us to forget what we thought we knew. steering the action away froth the ring as much as possible. Yet there are still 30 minutes of ring time to appease tight fans. General release.

Amelie (15) CO... (Jean-Pierre Jeunet. France. 2001) Audrey Tautou. Mathieu

Kassovitz. Serge Merlin. 120 mins. As with ; his two previous French fantasies.

Delicatessen and The C itv ()leM‘! Children. Jeunet creates a fantastical world. here reimagining Paris' oldest quarter. Montmartre. Within it the eccentric

adventures of his eponymous heroine (played by captivating eliin newcomer Tautou) unfold in a manner as complex as a Swiss timepiece when Amelie decides to bring happiness to deserving people by playing elaborate practical jokes on them. Composed of many moments of absolute wonder. this is a film which celebrates all the little. great things in life. Grosvenor. Glasgow; Stcr Century Cinema. Edinburgh. An Everlasting Piece (15) see (Barry Levinson. US. 2001) Billy Connolly. Anna Friel. Barry McEvoy. 103 mins. Craig Ferguson camped it up as a homosexual hairdresser in The Big Tease. and now fellow west coast lad Billy Connolly takes up the scissors as the balmy ‘Scalper‘ in this comedy set against a backdrop of troubled 80s Belfast. An Everlasting Piece focuses on the plight of two barbers. Catholic Colm (McEvoy. who also wrote the script. basing one of the characters on his father) and Protestant George (Brian F. O‘Byme). who form an unlikely partnership to comer the hairpiece market when rival company Toupee Or Not Toupee threatens to put them out of business. The Lumiere. Edinburgh. Annie Hall (15) 0.... (Woody Allen. US. 1977) Woody Allen. Diane Keaton. Tony Roberts. 93 mins. Two decades before Sex And The City had its first orgasm. Annie Hall was laying bare the mores of modern. urban romance to devastating effect while also zoning in on the specific psyche of Allen Konigsbcrg: anti-Semitic paranoia. metaphysical angst. the search for true love. There‘s a highly charged on-screen electricity between Allen and Keaton. glorious vistas of the old New York and hilarious set pieces Alvy lighting with lobsters. the scene of his childhood home below the rollercoaster and a stream of one-liners to end them all: ‘don‘t knock masturbation; it‘s sex with someone I love.‘ They really don't make ‘em like Annie Hall anymore. FTH Cinema. Falkirk. Apocalypse Now Redux (15) secs (Francis Ford Coppola. US. 1979/2001) Martin Sheen. Marlon Brando. Robert Duvall. 202 mins. Coppola‘s new. longer cut of his Vietnam war masterpiece includes more of Duvall‘s crazy chopper commander Kilgore. a second encounter with the Playboy Bunnies. a new sequence set on a remote French plantation adding historical background and Brando expounding upon the insanity of war. It isn‘t an improvement. but considering the circumstances under which it was filmed - in the Philippines where everything from hurricanes to heart attacks plagued the cast and crew you want to see everything they got on film. Adam Smith Theatre. Kirkcaldy.

0 Atanarluat, 'l'he Fast Runner (15) 0.... (Zacharias Kunuk. Canada. 2(X11) Natar Ungalaq. Eugene lpkamak. Peter Henry Amatsiaq. 172 mins. This remarkable singular beautiful film is the first to be entirely in the Inuit language. It is quite simply as pure and perfect a piece of narrative cinema as you are ever likely to see today. When an unknown shaman puts an evil spell on a group of nomadic lnuits living off the Canadian Arctic it takes twen- ty years before two brothers emerge to chal- lenge the evil order. Director Kunuk never lets the stunning scenery overpower the many minute dramas being acted out by a mostly non-professional. though impressive cast. OFT. Glasgow.

Atlantis: ‘fhe Lost Empire (U)

0. (Kirk Wise. Gary Trousdale. US. 2(X)l) Voices of Michael J. Fox. James Garner. John Mahoney. 96 mins. The basic premise of Disney‘s latest. the discovery of the lost. mythical empire of Atlantis. is a scenario with soooooooo much scope for magic and enchantment it should be impossible to fail. But it is realised with all the visual and imaginative panache of a jaded street artist. Furthermore. it sorely lacks an eyebrow-arching. pupil-narrowing. gloriously caricatured villain. Similarly. Milo. the geeky hero (voiced by Fox) is deficient of charm and arouses little sympathy. As Disney‘s raison d‘étre is the good/bad dichotomy. it seems not only was the Empire lost. but a grand opportunity too. Selected release.

14—28 Mar 2002 ‘I’I'IE LIST 33