DRAMA BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (12) 110mins COO.
Young, female and self conﬁdent in the UK
The parents of Hounslow teenager Jess (Parminder Nagra) want her to concentrate on her studies, to learn how to cook traditional Indian food, and to marry a respectable young man like her older sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi). Jess, however, is far more passionate about playing football, and is asked by fellow schoolgirl Jules (Keira Knightley) to join the local
womens’ team. Their coach, Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), reckons that they
both have the talent to succeed in the game but, Jess’ Mum and Dad ban their daughter from attending training, Furthermore, the friendship of the girls is threatened when they both fall for Joe.
As with Bhaji On The Beach and What’s Cooking?, writer-director Gurinder Chadha confidently uses comedy to explore social, racial and familial issues, with football here a device to investigate what it means to be young, female and self-confident in contemporary Britain. While Jess is expected by her elders to conform to the model of traditional Indian femininity, Jules’ preference for sport over boyfriends provokes real anxiety in her own mother Paula (Juliet Stevenson).
From the initial dream sequence to the utopian resolution, there’s a sense of joyful exuberance coursing through Bend It Like Beckham, as the masculine cliches of the traditional football movie are cheerfully dismantled. The irreverent, celebratory humour co-exists alongside a palpable affection for the characters, and alongside the spirited contributions of Nagra and Knightley, the film benefits from some intelligent counter-casting, with both a brassy Stevenson and a down-to-earth Rhys Meyers playing refreshingly against type. (Tom Dawson)
I General release from Fri 72 Apr. See preview, page 28.
DRAMA THE PORNOGRAPHER (18) 108 mins 0...
Having caused a bit of a storm down the old censorship office. this will no
doubt have the long overcoats booking
advanced cinema tickets. But be warned. you need to know your Langlois from your longeurs. your Racines from your Resnais. because this is an abject lesson in text-based cinema. Oh, and the sex scenes last for about a minute in total.
Present day France legendary pornographer Jacques Laurent (Jean- Pierre Leaud) is having to return to making porn films because of money problems. Depressed at how the industry has changed, he suddenly receives a phone call from Joseph (Jeremie Renter), his long lost son who is now an anarchistic student. They meet up and their lives take different routes from that point: Jacques towards madness. Joseph towards love.
Discursive. intelligent and beautifully structured (in three parts after the
30 THE LIST 1 1—25 Apr 2002
\ Beautifully structured
Rothko exhibition at the Grand Palais. according to director Bertrand Bonello). this c0uld almost be the sixth instalment of Truffaut's Antoine Doinel story with a bit of Barthes. Passolini and The Passenger period Antonioni thrown in for added kudos. Despite all the slightly annoying winks to Cahiers Du Cinema readers around the world. this is still really exciting cerebral filmmaking. Leaud and the whole cast are amazing and the final fifteen- minute interview/monologue is stunning. (Paul Dale)
I Selected release from Fri 7 9 Apr. See Insider.
THRILLER THE CONVERSATION (PG) 113mins 0000.
Made in 1974 between The Godfather and Part II. this dark. existential thriller has often been copied but never equalled. Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a master of surveillance who works for private clients. He lives alone. avoids close relationships and is secretive to the point of paranoia. One day a routine wire-tapping job turns into a nightmare when Harry thinks he hears something disturbing in a conversation between a young couple in a park (Frederic Forrest and Cindy . Williams). As he begins to worry that " ' his tape may be used as a pre- ' emptive to murder and corruption, he breaks his own rigid rules by getting involved.
Post Kent State. bang in the middle of the worst atrocities of Vietnam. Caul was a metaphor for the American middle-aged everyman, betrayed by his government. yet hated by a younger generation. Caul was a remarkable creation from the then American cinema. (Paul Dale) young writer/direct0r Francis Ford I Film/rouse. Edinburgh from Fri 79 Coppola. With it's almost Apr.
Metaphor for the everyman
Scandinavian austerity and slow moving pace. this is as startling and disturbing now as it must have been then. The Godfather Part ll may have been Coppola's masterpiece. but this was his most uncontaminated gift to
DRAMA PAULINE ET PAULETTE (PG) 78mins .000.
They say the best things come in small packages. and in the case of Pauline et Paulette this is undoubtedly true. Coming in at under 80 minutes. Belgian writer-director Lieven Debrauwer's trim feature debut is an unashamedly big-hearted film. and a winner all the way.
Pauline (Dora van der Groenl is a 66—year-old woman with a mental age of four. who is looked after by her doting sister. Martha (Julienne de Bruyn). However. when Martha dies. her will states that for either of Pauline's snobby sisters. Cecile (Rosemarie Bergmans) and Paulette (Ann Petersen). to get any money. one of them must look after Pauline.
The strength of Debrauwer's film lies in its simplicity. as he puts character before plot. and ensures that the emotion of the film is genuine. Pauline is presented as a person. rather than someone with a disability. with Dora van der Groen's unmannered performance being simply Splendid. Wonderfully free of Hollywood-style saccharine. Pauline et Paulette is a glorious heart-warming. life- affirming film. Go see it. it'll warm your cockles like nothing else. (Nick Dawson)
I Film/rouse. Edinburgh from Fri 72 Apr.
Heart-warming and life-
SUPERNATURAL THRILLER REVELATION (15) 110min 0
It's difficult to know how to rate Revelation - it's an utterly appalling .. supernatural thriller. but a film so very bad that it teeters on the brink of total entertainment.
Magnus Martel (played by Terence Stamp - what. Terry. you received an unexpected tax bill?) is the last in a centuries long line of scholars researching the whereabouts of the Loculus. an ancient relic dating back to the time of pre-crucifixion Christ. Also after the relic is Martel's rival, The Grand Master (Udo Keir. whose patented brand of cliched villainy is perfectly at home here). mysterious leader of a secret order that's been ar0und since the Holy Crusades. Martel's dim son Jake (James D'Arcy) gets caught up in the conflict and drags pretty white wrtch Mira (Natasha Wightman) along for an unpleasant ride.
It's a virtually impossible task to inculcate the ineptitude — acting. direction. script — of Stuart Urban's film. but by way of illustration: Urban manages to shoot a scene in which Jake discovers his mother (Celia lmrie — another tax bill) crucified and burnt almost beyond recognition as . . . camp comedy. No doubt this was unintentional. Still, that's some achievement. I think. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri l2 Apr.