THE EARLY FILMS OF PETER GREENAWAY VOLUMES 1 & 2 (PG) 87 8. 224min
(BFI DVD retail) 0...
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A riot of ideas
In an introduction to this two-volume set, Peter Greenaway describes his early films as ‘reading like juvenilia’. He’s wrong: far from being juvenile, these eight filmic essays, made between 1969 and 1980, show a remarkable maturity of vision. They don’t have any of the grandiose qualities of Greenaway’s later features and in their stark simplicity they are sharp, funny, and surprisingly watchable. What’s more, they contain all the elements which characterise his later films: mesmeric soundtracks by Michael Nyman and Brian Eno, a sophisticated sense of the absurd, and an ability to create rich cinematic landscapes from the most banal material.
‘If you want to tell stories, be a novelist,’ says Greenaway, and these certainly aren't rollicking tales. To enjoy them, the viewer must forget narrative, and ditch the idea of the camera as a passive window through which the action unfolds. Instead, the films are a riot of ideas from documentary filmmaking, painting, land art and magic realism. In a faux documentary style, projects such as A Walk Through H, Water Wrackets and Vertical Features Remake doff their cap to Italo Calvino and John Cage, betraying Greenaway’s fascination for list- making, ornithology, map-making and the landscape. Most of them are built around Greenaway’s mysterious fictional character, Tulse Luper.
Early next year, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, a new full-length Greenaway feature, is released. Anyone wishing to prepare for what promises to be a cinematic landmark should get their hands on these extraordinary DVDs. (Nick Barley)
I For more information, visit www. bfi'. org. uk/greena way
gageYGMNT but when he first found COLLECTION screen tame. the man formerly known as
Archibald Leach was a
clown. This tour DVD set
of comedies spans those
two periods and
personae in Grant's career.
Widely considered to be one of the finest screwball comedies ever made.
1938's Bringing Up Baby (.0000) sees Grant playing a rather square palaeontologist whose career, marriage and ' sanity is dismantled by Katharine's Hepburn's ditzy socialite. Director Howard Hawks keeps the
(Universal DVD retail)
Debonair Cary Grant may always be remembered as the epitome of cool
In aSSOCIation With
laughs coming fast and furious, while Grant's
f hapless professor
bumbles dazed and confused through the proceedings. Grant continued to clown around in 1940's My Favourite Wife (0.. ). in which film long presumed dead wife lrene
_ Dunne turns up to claim her husband back — on
his day of remarriage. Two decades on and
‘ Grant's screen persona
has changed — he has
been recast as a tall.
' dark, handsome romantic
lead. The clown '3 still in
: evidence: check out Grant's hilarious dance
routine in Stanley Donen's
fluffy 1956 comedy.
Ind/screet (OOO ). By the late 5308 he's doing
: more straightforwardly
macho roles. such as the
submarine commander in Blake Edwards'
uninspired 1959 wartime comedy. Operation Petticoat (OO ). Although the films are
digitally remastered. the
discs come with no extras to speak off.
DOUBLE WHAMMY (15) 100min
(Universal VHS/DVD rental/DVD retail) .0
It's often hard to pinpoint
why things can go so
. horribly wrong. Take
Double Whammy. A
cracking cast led by
Steve Buscemi, Denis ' Leary and that Mr Big
fellow (Liz Hurley's in it.
too) with script/direction
from the once-great Tom DiCillo should lead to cinema gold. But this is filmic poo.
Leary's cop Ray has a dodgy back which fails him at a crucial moment.
leading to public ridicule
and a love affair with a
. posh chiropractor (guess
who?) but redemption is
I lust around the corner. , An assortment of oddball
(ie irritating) characters are chucked in for
'comedy' effect. created
solely to achieve a rounded (ie corny) closure. As for Denis and Liz's chemistry. they make Ben'n'J-Lo seem like Bogart and Bacall. (Brian Donaldson)
CLASSIC ART HOUSE A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE/A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING (15)/(18) 83min/81 min (Artificial Eye DVD retail) «00 no...
The critic Gilbert Adair once attacked Krzysztof Kieslowski (and others) for what he saw as the ‘dead weight' of a 'relentless. meaningless formalism'. But Adair was chiefly talking about Kieslowski's late features (The Double Life of Veronique, Three Colours Blue). A Short Film About Love and A Short Film About Killing. made in the late 80s. and expanded feature versions of two episodes of Kieslowski's TV Deka/og allow for the medium and the message to be explored without undue emphasis on the former.
In Love. the 19-year-old Tomek falls in love with a promiscuous older woman he sees having sex with various strangers in the apartment opposite. In Killing we see a y0ung man killing a taxi driver. and watch as he's then himself killed by the state. There's a bluntness to
both these Kieslowski
features. with the director offering ethical tales over the metaphysical conuridrums he would move onto at the end of his career. For all the use of filters and tilted camera angles (espeoally in Killing) this is a director working very clearly out of a late Communist verisimilitude. Both contain a fantastic amount of extras that include interViews with Kieslowski and his collab0rators and two very nice early shorts. (Tony McKibbin)
footage. It's a mind- blowmg easy ride through an amazing period in US moVie history. Serioust recommended. (Paul Dale)
EASY RIDERS RAGING BULLS (15) 119min llvletrodome DVD rental'retail) .000
Originally shown on BBC4 in a truncated form. this excellent adaptation of Peter Biskind's best-selling acc0unt of ‘how the sex'n'drugs'n'rock n roll generation saved Hollywood. is well worth checking out in its new
form. mainly because of E A 5 Y R I D E
the great extras — made ‘ up of one and a half hours of deleted
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