DRAMA BEHIND THE SUN (12) 105 mins 00..
Considerable contemporary resonance
A remote northeastern province in Brazil circa 1910, where a deadly feud is being waged between two neighbouring families. Tonho (Rodrigo Santoro), the middle son of an impoverished sugar-cane farmer (Jose Dumont), is asked by his father to take revenge on the killer of his elder brother. A terrified Tonho fulfils his filial duty, but within a month - by which time the blood on his victim’s white shirt has turned yellow - the cycle of violence resumes, and he himself is now the target for
With Behind The Sun, Brazilian writer-director Walter Salles moves away from the neo-realism of Central Station towards a more mythical style of storytelling. Adapted from the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare’s book Broken April, it’s narrated by Tonho’s innocent younger brother (Ravi Ramos Lacerda), and it is this child’s act of fraternal self-sacrifice which paves the way for the bitter-sweet, seaside resolution. The other key character is the beautiful circus performer Clara (Flavia Marco Antonio), with whom Tonho falls in love, and who allows her admirer to see a world beyond his isolated community.
Convincingly acted by a cast of both seasoned professionals and inexperienced newcomers, and impressively shot in widescreen by Salles’s regular cinematographer Walter Carvalho, Behind The Sun incorporates its symbolic elements (the oxen-powered wheel that crushes the sugar cane, Clara’s acrobatic routines) within the framework of an emotionally engaging storyline. lt may draw on an array of sources, not least Greek tragedy and the American Western, and yet in a world scarred by atavistic conflicts, the film’s contemporary resonance is
considerable. (Tom Dawson)
I Selected release from Fri :3 Apr. See prey/ow. page 22.
DRAMA DINNER RUSH (15) 93 mins 00..
Makes you wanna eat a horse between two mattresses
Films that make you wanna eat a horse sandwrched between two mattresses are few and far between. bth when served up they're nothing short of mouthwateriiig foreplay to a mammoth main c0urse. New York restaurateur Bob Giraldi has made )ust such an appetlser. It's about one night of business and pleasure in a popular Italian eatery in New York City. And this
26 THE LIST 98 Mat 1 T Apr 7'7)er
self-styled wise-guy has set the whole drama (reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain's restaurant memo” Kitchen Confidential) in his own downtown establishment in TriBeCa. Gigino.
Restaurant owner and bookmaker Louis (Danny Aielloi argues with his vastly talented head chef son Udo (Edoardo Ballerini) over how to run the JOIHI (traditional v modern cuisine) while dealing wrth a couple of mobsters demanding to become silent partners. Meanwhile. Udo's girlfriend Nicole lVlyian Wu) fucks sous-chef Duncan (Kirk Acevedo) outback. and Duncan gets himself further into gambling debt with the aforementloned gangsters. And there's just as much dramatic intrigue among the customers. who include Sandra Bernhard's bitchy socialite and Mark Margolis' grouchy art dealer.
It's to Giraldi's credit. and his writers Rick Shaughnessy and Brian Kalata. that all these plot strands are woven together like a big, tasty bowl of spaghetti: their film is full\ satisfying. And Aiello's effortlessly good lead performance leaves a great taste In the mouth. (Miles Fielder;
I General release from Fri 29 Mar.
ROMANTIC COMEDY SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK
(15) 107 mins 00.
Ed Burns has been making his own low key brand of New York stories for some years now (The Brothers McMu/len. She 's The One. etc). but for his latest slice of life in NYC the writer-director takes his cue from Woody Allen. Sidewalks intertwines the lives of six New Yorkers. variously falling in and out of relationships and worrying about ever meeting the right person in a most neurotic manner. Like Allen. Burns goes for a mix of lightweight comedy and romance. playing it along in a semi-improvised fashion.
Burns takes the plum role for himself (also one of Allen's self indulgences) as Thomas Riley. a regular guy women just won‘t treat right. As a singleton Thomas meets Heather Graham's happily married woman who doesn't realise her husband (Stanley Tucci) is having an affair with a young woman
PERIOD DRAMA THE MYSTIC MASSEUR (PG) 117 mins .00
Maybe fed up with James Ivory always holding the loudspeaker, producer Ismail Merchant recently took up directing. The resulting films (In Custody, The Proprietor. Cotton Mary) were slated by critics and ignored by punters. So does Merchant's latest effort continue this unfortunate trend? Well. to everyone's surprise. it's actually rather good. Reverting to the classic Merchant-Ivory tactic of taking a good novel and getting an accomplished scribe to adapt it. V.S. Naipul‘s Mystic Masseur is brought to the screen by Caribbean chronicler Caryl Phillips. Told almost entirely in flashback. it charts the unlikely rise to
Takes it cue from Woody Allen
(Brittany Murphy). Elsewhere. Thomas gets it on with but fails to develop anything meaningful with another woman (Rosario Dawson). despite or perhaps because of his eagerness to deliver a little cunnilingus. The advice of smooth work colleague (Dennis Farina). who reminds him to ‘put cologne on the balls’ before a date. doesn't help Thomas none either.
All of which is watchable enough. but Sidewalks falls down by trying too hard to be both off-the-cuff and deep and meaningful. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 5 Apr.
political prominence of Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi). an aspiring author in Trinidad whose day job as a religious healer aids his rise to the top.
At two hours long it outstays its welcome. but The Mystic Masseur nevertheless boasts charm. a strong cast — with the stalwart Om Puri and Ayesha Attack Of The Clones Dharker impressing alongside Mandvi — and a solid script from Phillips. Merchant could still get a few tips from James lvory on directing. but he's definitely heading in the right direction. (Nick Dawson)
I Selected release from Fri 29 Mar.
MUSICAL DRAMA CROSSROADS (PG) 94 mins ”_
It's very difficult to review Crossroads as it's not a normal film. but simply another part of the Britney Spears World Domination Plan. It will take control of you. no matter who you are. If you're male. be it man or boy. the two scenes in the opening minutes. where we see Britney in nothing but her underwear will “win you over'. so
Not the turkey we secretly hoped for
to speak. Mums will feel greatly sympathise with Britney's character, Lucy. abandoned by her mother and raised by her hapless father (Dan Aykroyd). And all the girls will enjoy the road trip where Britney and her ‘homegirls’ go follow their
Disappointingly. this is not the turkey we secretly hoped for. Britney doesn't act so much as pretend to be someone she's not; she's built her career on it. and has become very good. Yes. this is cheesy and completely lacking in originality. but then it's a teen movie. If you go to see this film, you‘re not coming for the movie. but for an extra large dose of Britney. And that 's exactly what you'll get.
(Nick Dawson) I General release from Friday 29 Mar.