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30 THE LIST "00'. x
COMEDY ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA
(PG) 108min (preview - unseen at time of going to press)
The Gauls take the back seat
Goscinny and Uderzo's Gaulish heroes make the leap from comic book to big screen for the second time in twice as many years. Christian Clavrer and Gerard Depardieu reprise their roles from Aster/x and Obe/rx Take on Caesar as. respectively ias if you needed to be told) the small blond terrier and the big red- headed Iummox. This time around the boys leave their Village with its wrld boar l_)anguets behind to come to the assrstance of the young architect Edifis ioh ha. ha. the punnery) who has been ordered by the Queen of the Nile to complete the construction of a lavish palace for the Roman ruler.
Writer-director Alain Chabat puts on the golden laurels to play Caesar. but of more interest are Jamel Debbowe ithe grocery shop assistant in Arrre/rei. '.'rho brings a nice comic touch to Edifis. and Monica Bellucci. who. yep. gets to isrear some unspeakany fine outfits as Cleopatra. What this means is the titular heroes take the back seat to their fellow performers. an odd thing yeti might think for such a v-rell-known comic duo. (Miles Fielder)
I Genera/ release from Fri I I Oct.
DRAMA HAPPY TIMES (PG) 96min .0.
Telling tales of poverty- stricken simple s0u|s and in the process making comment on China's wider political and social problems. prolific Chinese director Zhang Yimou lFi’a/se the Red Li'irrte/‘n. To Live) is back to remind us that life ain't easy for the little people.
The film opens with an ageing bachelor seeking a wife. Foolisth the old man. Zhao. strikes a bargain with a money- grabbing ‘chunky mama' who agrees to his proposal on the condition that he funds a 50.000 yuan wedding and then finds work for her unwanted blind step- daughter. Wu Ying (Dong Jiel. Having posed as a wealthy businessman. Zhao must keep up the pretence and string along both mother and daughter -< something the good- natured geezer is ill-equipped to do. especially in light of the young blind girl's trust and innocence.
What follows is a heartfelt story of well—interrtioned lies. Zhao lies to Wu Ying initially to win himself a bride but when a relationship of genuine warmth and empathy develops between the two unfortunates, they start lying to each other to protect and prolong the 'happy times' they share. But of course it doesn't last — the title of the film is ‘ duh! — ironic. and while there may be comic moments. it's tragedy that wins the day in this somewhat formulaic but nonetheless emotive drama. (Catherine Bromleyl I Film/rouse. Edinburgh from Fri 4 Oct.
M. _ ‘ Formulaic but nonetheless emotive