.‘riE [ATV/“Cl ALAP'LlW/H FAUSTO 5.0 (18) 94min 0...

Fausfo 5.0 marks the first foray into cinema of the Catalan collective La Fura dels Bals. Belatedly rush released, presumably on the back of their recent succes de scandale, the controversial, sexually explicit theatrical spectacular XXX. this is a surprisingly fresh, visually striking riff on the perennial theme of the Faustian pact.

Their debut feature displays a remarkable understanding of cinematic imagery, elements of which have always formed part of their multi-media theatre work. More impressive still is the attention given to the nuances of dialogue and performance: the two lead actors, in particular, inhabit their roles as if they were a second skin.

Suave Argentine actor Miguel Angel Sola' is perfectly cast as the arrogant Dr Fausto, a famous surgeon en route to a career-making medical conference in Barcelona. Appropriately, his specialist area of medical expertise is patients in a long-term vegetative state, one of whom he may be on the cusp of raising from the dead. At the train station in Madrid, Fausto is buttonholed by a weasely ex-patient


One dark. stormy night. ten strangers find themselves

called Santos, a taxi driver who claims his life was saved by an intestinal operation the doc performed on him some years before. Eduard Fernandez' Santos is a devilishly delightful character, his quick-fire patter and cheeky smile both irritating and yet perverser appeaflng.

Determined to show his gratitude, Santos inveigles his way into Fausto‘s hotel room, where he promises to provide for the doctor‘s creature comforts during his stay. Soon afterwards, a beautiful young prostitute turns up at Fausto's door and insists on giving him a blow-job.


SNAKE OF JUNE (18) 77min

trapped at a remote motel after rain floods the highway and 0.. the phones go down. They include Ed (John Cusack)

chauffeur to Caroline Suzanne (Rebecca De Mornay). doughty hooker Paris (Amanda Peel) and Jittery cop Rhodes (Ray l iotta). who is escorting multiple murderer Robert Maine (Jake Busey. typecast again as the grinning psycho). One-by—one. the guests begin to die. and the survwors must work out who is the killer.

Sounds familiar? On the Surface. director James Mangold's follow-up to sappy romantic fantasy Kate 8 Leopold is Agatha Christie's And Then There were NOne With room keys. SCreenwriter Michael Cooney has added a subplot invoIVing a doctOr/psychiatrist (Alfred Molina) and death row conVict Malcolm Rivers (Pruitt Taylor Vince) that initially makes little sense but does give the hoary old classic a satisfying tweak. To reveal the connection would be telling but it contributes to a dark thriller boasting an economical set-up. a stream of unexpected tWists and a

pay-off that's a hoot.

Mangold may seem a long way from his earlier. edgier material such as Heavy and CopLand but he works well With the actors: several have collab0rated With him before and there‘s always the redoubtable John Cusack. Mangold also manages to explort the Visual DOSSIbilitieS Of the drenched motel setting Without being in thrall to the pretty shot or a gratuitOuS bloody slaying. Identity is never gang to Win any awards but. wrapped up neatly in 90 minutes. it's a whodunit \vOrthy Of the name.

(Simon Wardell) I General release Identity: Agatha Christie a-go-go from Fri 73 Jun.

In this Wild techno~erotic thriller from the creator of Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tokyo Fist. Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto's fascmation With the malleability of

sexual desire.

Faust gets fruity

Later, when Fausto tries to give his persistent host the cold-shoulder, a video film of the sex-act appears on the screen at the prestigious medical conference. Eventually, the sly Santos half-seduces, half-coerces the initially reluctant Fausto into exploring his deepest, darkest desires.

The dangerous chemistry between Sola’s tight-arsed surgeon and Fernandez’ exuberant seducer is pitched perfectly. So too is the film- makers’ futuristic vision of Barcelona, as a city in a morass, on the verge of social and moral collapse.

(Nigel Floyd) I Selected release from Fri (5 Jun.

Vegetables and voyeurism

human flesh is explored further. But instead of bio-tech bodily transformations or the latent masochism of pugilist Violence. the focus here is on female beauty and repressed

Frustrated houseWife Rinko (ASuka Kurosawa) is married

to a bonng 'salary man' With a fetish for domestic cleaning.

leather mini-skirt.

and she works part—time as a counsellor for patients suffering from terminal diseases. Out of the blue. Rinko receives an anonymous package containing compromismg photos; in them she is seen masturbating while wearing a

To recover the incriminating pictures from her blackmailer. she must wear the mini—skirt in public While followrng his instructions on a hands-free headset of a mobile phone. Later. this escalates to her buying an internal, egg-shaped vibrator. which she uses while shopping for vegetables. Curiously. this proves to be sexually liberating for Rinko. who later strips naked in the rain while her stalker takes 'flash' photos of her.

The bravura camerawork and glistening black-and-white photography linger lowngly on Rinko's face and body as she is subjected to the voyeuristic gaze of her obsessive admirer. Whether the electric erotic charge generated by this dubious objectification Justifies the film's inherently silly romantiCism is open to Question. Technically astonishing. and acted With far irore conviction than it deserves. Tsukamoto's ViSiOn indulges rather than challenges its audience. (Nigel Floyd)

I UGC, Glasgow and Edinburgh from Frr 6 Jun.


COMED\ A GUY THING (12A) 101 min 0

On the exidence of this picttire. Jason Lee's promotion from comic sidekick to leading man Will not last long. In his defence. the script is so poor Lee doesn't have much opportunih to show why he has often been the best thing in Kevin Smith movies such as Chasing Amy and Mal/rats.

Paul Coleman (Lee) sleeps With hapless dancer Becky (Julia Stiles) on his stag night. Unfortunately for llllll, she also happens to be his fiancee's cousin In between the stag night and the wedding, it becomes obvious through a series of chance meetings at a tollbooth. a dinnm party and a record store that Becky, and not Karen (Selma Blair) is the girl of his dreams.

A lame waste of talent in A Guy Thing

Thrown in as very soft plot padding, Paul works for Karen's father. Becky has a Violent bent-copper ex- boyfriend and Paul's brother happens to be in love With Karen. Is there no end to the grief? Well actually there is. you Just have to make for the exit Signs either Side of the Cinema screen.

This is incredibly lame. conSidering it was penned by Guy Glienna (Meet the Parents) and directed by Chris Koch (TV comedies Malcolm in the Middle and Scrubsl A truly dire thing and a waste of good populist talent. (Kaleem Aftab)

I General release from Fri 73 Jun.

549 June 2003 THE LIST 25