the World Trade (‘entre attacks by a friend of the filmmaker who was a victim of the dictatorship in Chile. which began with the L'S government-backed coup d‘etat on I I September l973. That terrible irony wasn‘t lost on l.oach.

The short film is typical of Loach‘s approach to lilmmaking: using low-key storytelling methods to address big socio-political issues. Loach has been working this way since the mid-60s when he championed Britain‘s underclass in television dramas such as ('ur/iy Come Home and Poor (‘on' so it's unsurprising that his new feature. Sweet Sixteen. is a modest tale that speaks volumes. Accordingly. it was nominated for the Palme d'()r at the Cannes Film Festival and won the best screenplay prize there.

Sweet Sixteen is l.oach‘s fifth collaboration with human rights lawyer-turned-screcnwriter Paul Laveny

A new season and a new season of films, from blockbusters to arthouse and cult films. But what to spend you hard earned on? The List recommends the most exciting movies opening over the next few months and adds a few new year treats. WOrds: Miles Fielder

Ken Loach (bottom right) says west coast Scotland is fertile with talent; Martin Compston (main picture) proves him right

(the others are Cur/(1‘s Song. My Name is Joe. Bread and Roses and the II ()9 ()1 segment). Loach and Laverty's latest tells the story of west coast of Scotland teenager Liam (played by impressive newcomer Martin Compston). who is forced by social circumstance to take desperate measures to help his mother upon her release from prison. Although the film is set in (ireenock. the events it powerfully dramatises have universal scope.

‘You have to follow the writer.‘ says Loach. ‘When I was with Jim Allen (lwul and freedom) we used to work around Manchester and Liverpool. with Bany Hines (Kes) it was around South Yorkshire and with Paul it‘s Glasgow and nearby. If a writer writes fluently for a particular area. then that's the place to do it. You hope the film has a general application. but nevertheless the surface oft 1e film. such as the way >

Donnie Darko (25 October) Headed for cult status, this sci-ti fantasy undoubtedly is. The disturbed adolescent of the title is plagued by visions of a 6ft tall evil rabbit (shades of Harvey?) who predicts the imminent end of the world and beseeches the boy to create havoc that is both destructive and creative. But is there a greater scheme up evil Harvey's sleeve? Cameos by Drew Barrymore. Patrick Swayze and Katharine Ross can only aid the film’s impending cult status.

Possession (25 October) One for the literature students. Neil LaBute. that bad boy (and a Mormon no less) who gave us Your Friends and Neighbours and In the Company of Men goes high brow with this adaptation of AS Byatt‘s doorstop of a novel. All very bookish. the plot concerns a pair of literary sleuths who unearth the amorous secrets of two Victorian poets and then fall under their spell. Gwyneth Paltrow. Aaron Eckhart and Jeremy Nonham star.

Simone (25 October)

Or SlmOne to be pedantic. New Zealander Andrew Niccol. who dreamed up a couple of interesting near future scenarios in Gattaca and The Truman Show. puts his thinking cap back on for this comic fantasy. Al Pacino plays a film producer who saves his latest project when his star walks off by replacing her with a digitally created actor. Matters are complicated when the substitute star becomes an overnight sensation that everyone thinks is a real person. The dearth of acting talent in Hollywood suggests this has already happened in real life.

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