Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 17 May; GFT, Glasgow, from Fri 31 May
Sipping afternoon tea with French film director Francis Veber is a calm, charming, cultured experience, very like the man himself.
He’s the writer/director of the delightful farce The Closet about Pignon, a nondescript accountant working in a condom factory, who is so boring, he is ignored by everyone. When he hears he is about to be sacked, he is suicidal, until his next door neighbour comes up with a scheme. Pignon pretends he is gay and then claims his employers have unfairly dismissed him because of his sexuality.
Coming out of the closet gives Pignon an identity, and suddenly he is the most fascinating employee in the factory.
Within the format of a sweet comedy, Veber asks hard questions about identity and sexuality. ‘I hate intolerance, judging people because of their private lives,’ he says. ‘We should judge people on their work, not their lifestyles.’
Influenced by the screwball comedies of Billy Wilder, Veber was determined the situations in The
Closet ‘always stay real and sincere’. Featuring a dream cast of French acting talent, including Daniel Auteuil in glorious hang-dog mode as the boring accountant and Gerard Depardieu as his boorish colleague struggling to find his new-man self. And look out for the luminous performance of Michel Aumont as
the kind elderly gay neighbour.
Directing Depardieu and Auteuil was, Veber admits, ‘like watching a great Wimbledon rally between Agassi and Sampras. Gerard is so interesting; really fragile as a person, yet this great hunk of man-ness. He really is
in touch with his feminine self.’
Veber has had an amazing career, screenwriting from 1969 and directing from 1976. His last but one film, Le Diner De Cons was an international success. He was
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 13 May
Gay men have their divas. Garland. Streisand and Bacall, btit what do lesbian women have? Their role models come in the shape of female singer songwriters such as kd lang. Joan Armatrading and Tracy Chapman or Britain's own Carol Laula. t orna Brookes and Horse. all of whom perform with a guitar in their hands.
But why is this? Is it that most of their music is intimate and explores the world of private emotions that lesbian women can relate to? Two such performers are the American Indigo Girls. Amy Ray and I.mily Saliei‘s who are both out as lesbians.
The Indigo Girls have a massive female fanbase and not surprisingly a huge lesbian followrng. Rather than being pissed off at their 'lesbian band' label they recently said in an interview that they are beyond that and are ‘happy and proud to be active and a
74 THE LIST ‘5 7f1I/1a,l",’.i’
‘We should judge people on their work, not their lifestyles,’ says Veber
also responsible for one of the most mainstream depictions of a gay couple in La Cage Aux Fol/es way back in 1978. His story would provide the book of the spectacular Broadway musical as well as the movie
‘La Cage Aux Fol/es was a story from the heart, about
feelings, telling a universal story about these old guys
who were obliged to perform straight,’ he says. ‘The movie was not offensive to the gay world because it is so over the top, and full of clowning.’
But how has representation of gay folk have changed
since 1978? ‘There has been an evolution of PC-ness,’
part of the evolution of gay rights'. As well as being involved in gay rights they are also activists in other areas including environmental issues. US policies in Central America and women's rights.
Many of these views and opinions are reflected in therr new album Become You. A folk-infused album which many claim to be their best work to date. and which. according to Saliers. is her most mature work. Iliere are twelve new tracks to hold your attention. all true to their acoustic folk roots.
Occasionally they stray slightly on songs such as ‘Bitterroot' which is mixed with a country vibe. (Ether tracks are more sentimental and laid back such as "Our [)eli/eratice' and the first song on the CI). 'Moment Of Forgiveness. which will be played over and over again in bedrooms by many a greettn' gal. The final track on the album 'Nuevas Senoritas' is a ballad written for a group of women activists who have sacrificed so much in then
he says. ‘The Mayor of Paris came out the closet just before last year’s election. That wouldn’t have happened 21 years ago. And he won.’ (John Binnie)
fight for change.
liead to the ()ueen's l lall to see them playing live and Judging by their new album. there won't be a dry eye III the house. ttlane l lamtltoni
PHACE Scotland .\l.-\S. 3t) Royll lixcltange Square. Ill 7().\’().
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Theatre Swollen Tongues In I“ .y Sal Ix Ma}. Sec l-‘ri.
GOC Cycling Group (‘tiiitaet (at) 5800. Sun I: \la}. .\lonthl_\. ('all t'or tnore details.
Funny (il'vl. Rt)\L' Sll't‘cl. 33: h l 33. Tue 5.45pm & \Ved lpm. £375 L475
1‘42 £3.50). Inc El tk Wed 32 Ma}. Biggext ga} icon of the lot. .\1\ Streisand. iii the life \tor} ol' ugl} duckling comedienne limit) Brice.
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