Fl:4!f‘)/)3’¢l vhf-"X; ANIMAL FACTORY (15) 94min 0..


o‘.“‘ I ..-“ 3M

Low key drama down the Animal Factory

Films about prisons tend to exploit the sado-masochistic side of life in the lockup. Think of Paul Newman sweating it out in the tin can in Cool Hand Luke, or Steve McQueen eating cockroaches in solitary confinement in Papillon, not to mention Brad Davis having his feet beaten to a pulp in Midnight Express. Sure, life in the penitentiary ain‘t a barrel of laughs, but there’s got to be more to the prison drama than a catalogue of abuse, right?

Evidently, Steve Buscemi (here directing his second feature after debut Trees Lounge) and writer Edward Bunker (adapting his own novel) think so. Animal Factory tells the story of Ron Decker (Edward Furlong), a fresh-faced kid who's locked up with some serious villains and forced to wise up to the ways of prison life: doggy quick style. Of course, being a pretty young thing, Decker comes in for abuse, most disturbingly when he is anally raped by a lecherous inmate (Tom Arnold, playing against his usual comic screen persona). But Animal Factory eschews such S&M nightmares to focus on the father-son relationship that develops between Decker and veteran con Earl Copen (Willem


Copen, who runs the white side of the prison, takes Decker under his wing. As their relationship develops, Decker learns how the prison system works. In doing so, however, the kid runs the risk of becoming institutionalised: after being assaulted by Arnold, Decker discovers that prison law dictates he stick his attacker with a shiv - a prison-made dagger.

Animal Factory manages to avoid the sensationalism of the more exploitative prison movie (although there is a certain Roger Corman-style zeal to the proceedings). Accordingly, Buscemi keeps the drama low key. Just as he told the story of a low life drunk in Trees Lounge in a no- nonsense manner, here too he directs without resorting to over-the-top theatrics.

And there's no need to when you’ve got as good a cast as Buscemi has assembled. Playing the good-hearted con, Dafoe is as believable as ever, while Furlong holds his own among the big boys. And the supporting cast of Buscemi’s pals and regulars are superb: the great, craggy-faced Seymour Cassel, the even craggier—faced Hispanic actor Danny Trejo, Tom Waits look-alike Mark Boone Junior, Bunker, Buscemi himself and brother, Michael.

The final word, however, must go to Mickey Rourke, who since appearing almost unrecognisable here as the queen Jan the Actress, has climbed out of the career gutter to turn in a series of great cameo performances. (Miles Fielder)

I Se/eeted Ie/ease from Fri .1 Ju/


Traditional yet strangely progressive

Nr(:holas Phrlrhert rs one of those <loeunrentarrans more given to close observation than eurtorralrsrng. What he iooks to offer :s a long. haro’ examinatron of the suhjes untier SClllill‘fl, and watches as rt yields rts own rewards. lt Is there rn hrs 'ox'el‘, anti suhtle stutl‘, of mental patients putting on a Gomhrou-rre/ play. Evert thfle Thing; 1997». and :t’s also there rn hrs look at Strasbourg students. ‘.'./l?o Kr‘o'.‘.s’z’ 1999.. Hrs latest has oeen a huge success 2n France.

Foi‘owrng the work of an age-ant; teacher Georges Lopex. who Is approaching retrr'emen‘. rn a \‘ll'itgtl‘ rn the Auxergt‘tE. .Dnlrhert's camera asks DEiSlC. almost name. ouestmns as we see the proless‘Or teach hzs kids French. science and maths. He also :r‘strlls l". them ‘untiamental values and helps them wrth emotzonal and famrlx, problems. But

the" 'le's n J (:rri‘rr‘a'“, schoolteaehe': he teaches primary sehoo krzls of aii ages rn one class.

Hawng never n‘arrretl. ant: ruin r‘o krtls of his o‘.-.'r‘. Lopez's :letil<:at;o". to h s thr sen pro‘essro" .s thoroughly "-onour‘aok; out then: s an arr of n‘eiarxgho‘). about the man For all the kids he's helped. nurtured and perhaps even loved. none o‘ then‘ .l‘tzrr‘afe", as his f)‘.‘.’.".. \r'r’lli he he left a lone!) olri n‘an or ll he have the love of those to ‘.'.'l‘o't‘ he has gtrrer‘ so 'rue'“?

Eire e.‘ a.o/r s a fllrr‘ tn a trart:t.or:a! yet st'anger, p'ogress we agenda. 8;. .‘.’:?l‘053.‘3"lg thrs otter consenatm: teacher at work .n the type 0‘ sehoo flat as (twig Out. .213 are forced to :iuestron Our desire to procreate and rear. (2' let otlwrs rear. our mung. A r"ast ‘".‘.’()'k rr‘ ts er"otrona‘ realrsatsOrrs. To", lr.4cl<:‘r';t;rr‘

nay‘ \ Ervr\\ r/ r‘ "7 IV‘ V: " UU',’ \1‘ {2.1 4' F " Jul.


WHALE ‘nibén (PG) 101 min .0.

:r. .i r- r-m 2" 1 "'11" i l: ‘1'” "2" .Ir "J .1! ~ 1' ~ '1' '\ l l .r y to 1‘0 ' ' 31' : 'as. . z ' i any ll‘._}".r"t r ' i' " x". "f"~ 2. l '. \ . ‘{"{1{‘.2.r ' :‘. "a: r -' for a" titan : 1' 't" "-‘»' r ' ' llr"‘t. tit'r‘ a’t '~ mt": imi’te-r t’f‘l"e‘r;‘, fl‘ol' 't-til‘l'a'ir“ Hilfinhlt‘l “as to throt. .l‘.'..l‘. t'u- {\MK Nrkr‘ (Ear Vs sewn.“ limitwe has certair‘l'. -‘lr‘.t"r"l ;.:‘ tit .t'l‘. ‘I'W Mirna

*t was chosen to pa. tit. "amnt: l‘k’m‘.) up exer‘, aazirer‘t‘e thwart: tr v" lAmnto T<>l\.1;it.r If s nti’. .Mfu'ult to sm- .'.li, Keisha \lastrr- Hughes .i“. tt‘o-t hose" \ne. Parr arm the rest ot the t art are .l(:!'t;t‘.ttt.l. .'.nrl<- (lair, maker; 'r‘axrr'tun: use out ot her lt“.'. i)tl~l()(‘t rtnrl amateur tzres. l)‘, ‘.'.’t."i\"‘t_) .‘r'thrn t'te confines ol a real east rpoasf Maori

resenattor‘ area

Polynesian Pia

The trouble for us tar more e,’nrr;al l ur'opear‘. aurirent;es rs Care's arlaptatron ol Wit: lhrvnera's novel What .‘rorks lit the hook alearl, rloes not work up on screen. Caro keeps tn the po faeerl monologues that ‘.-.«hrsper of sharrranrsn: ahrl m,’tholor)‘~,: for the lrrst hall at least the toners so prousr, respergtlui that there seems to he no (l'f,(L‘:l'llli)|(: lllf;‘,’f:lllf:lli rn the plot

The morn, of (,ourse. rs that the Maorrs .'.rere arr/thing but the frrst rntleoenous peoples, of N/ The, .vere onlr, one of a group of Pf)l,'neslar: trrpes who fought for their right to inhabit this paradise on earth lo profess some krnri of naturalrstrr, link to the creatures and plants that surround that land :s surel; something of an anathema.

But these are minor (tumbles. For older kids t rere Is a lot to enjoy here once rt gets going and it rs ultimater ver; moving. It you are an accornpanyrng arlult though. please don't pat yourself on the pack for emerging yourself in the Culture of another. 'Paul Dalel I See KW‘; teal/e pa: (3 9/1.

"a. THE LIST 29