By the early 90s. Muti had all but disappeared from our screens. preferring to take work on Italian. German and French productions that were rarely. if ever. shown on this side of the channel. Not that you can really blame her. as the English language scripts she was being offered basically traded on the fact that she was drop dead gorgeous and would look great draped over a leading (usually older) man. Sylvester Stallone‘s ()sear anyone'.’ At least within the confines of her homeland she was respected as being an exceptionally line actress who might occasionally take her clothes off should the role require it. What the hell. her husband Stefano Piccolo is an Italian plastic surgeon. so she could afford to flash a little cellulite-free thigh.
So it is something of a pleasure to welcome this beautiful 48-year-old back onto the big screen in this country in the second part of Lucas Belvaux‘s trilogy. TWO details the mad. paranoid relationship between Cecille (Muti) and Alain (‘ostes (Francoise Morel). a couple whose comfortable life was only glimpsed at in the background of the first film. They are a couple who just can't stop lying to each other about the most minute details to save themselves from any hassles. but the misapprehensions pile up. resulting in insanity and chaos. The film contains two brilliant turns from its leads but it is Muti (performing not in her native Italian but in French) who steals the show as the bullying. belligerent. overly smug (‘ecille
‘The Most Beautiful Woman in the World' (so said Class magazine in 1994) is back and showing all those new models turned actresses how it should be done in the finest set of films to be released this year. We should all be down on our knees. Bella ‘nella!
his is the story of two brothers. Remy and Lucas
Belvaux. In I992 Remy wrote and directed a
film called Man Bites Dug that became a cult classic (it had the same release date as Tarantino's Resen'oir Dogs. nouvelle violence being the big thing that year). then Remy promptly disappeared off the radar. Meanwhile his older brother. the actor Lucas. was doing well but hardly creating any intemational waves. He had worked with the best — Claude Chabrol. Jacques Rivette and even his younger brother on an early short called Pas (le C4 prmr Daniel Daniel (1987) — yet his most recognisable part to date was as the Heathcliff- styled Roch in the internationally derided (but actually
16 THE LIST 13—27 Nov 2003
‘EVERY MOMENT I
THINKING TIME TIME FINISH FINISH'
pretty good) 1985 French version of thtltering Heights.
Not that fame mattered a jot to Lucas for. like his younger brother. he wanted to direct (possibly some sibling rivalry thing going on here). In I996 he was given a chance and he wrote and directed a romantic comedy starring Omella Muti and Jean-Pierre Le’aud called Pour Rire.’ Unfortunately. the film was box office poison. Lucas takes up the story: ‘My first film wasn’t a bad film. and I am very proud of it because I think it is good. very funny. but it was a commercial flop. It was during the shooting of this flop that the idea of the 'l'rilogy was bom. When I began writing I knew that it was a big project and that every day shooting it was going to be like a mountain . but I also knew I could not stop myself.’ he says.
‘Then I got finance from Robert Guédiguian‘s company (La Ville est Tranquil/e) and Canal Plus and others but as is the way of these things. I found that those who could not afford it put a lot of money in the project and those that could were not interested. I had to make sure that I made three movies for the price of one.‘
Shot over 23 weeks. the work schedule for the cast and crew was punishing. and one cannot help feeling that all those involved knew they were part of something incredibly special. ‘It was something like a marathon.‘ Belvaux explains. ‘Each day was like a sprint. I knew that in two hours I had to finish a scene. every moment I was thinking “time time finish finish!" But it took a long time to write the script so I knew that the chronology was absolutely accurate. Whenever one scene had to appear in the other movies I would shoot the scene once for one movie from one camera and then from a completely different angle for another in the same day. So same clothes. same location. same mise- en-scene. because the mise-en-scene is the theatrical device. whereas direction is a film device and that had to be different for each film.’
So after all Belvaux‘s hard work what are we left with? A quirky. offbeat political thriller. a romantic comedy as thought up by a paranoid schizophrenic and. in the third film. a heartbreaking social drama detailing one man‘s attempt to come to terms with his wife‘s heroin addiction. Individually. each film redefines the parameters of their given genre. Together. as a patchwork of lives touched and untouched by magnificence and beauty. they are mind—blowing. Films like these only come around once in a decade.
One, TWo & Three go on selected release on Fri 14 Nov, 21 Nov 8. 5 Dec respectively.
They say things always come in threes. And occasionally, they may be worth waiting for.
Blue, White and Red, all inspired by the ideals of the French revolution, may not have been Kieslowski's best work. But for all their achineg middle-class values (except for White, by far the best of the three) these marked a breakthrough for the director. Just at the point when the great man bit the big one, chain-smoking all the way.
Acid House Before Irvine Welsh became the hapless victim of wild hyperbole, he knocked out a .- decent book or two. And this book of three short stories is powerful, funny and touching. 'The Granton Star Cause', ‘A Soft Touch' and the title story take you down the now all-too familiar road of drugs, sex and cooncil violence. Barry, tho'.
0 m is" ... "‘3 .I‘ a ’ :‘I yr!” 'v s. -' "Jill ii.“
Jenny Saville has a fine reputation of her own but having her triptych Strategy (South Face, Front Face, North Face) on the Manic Street Preachers' album Holy Bible did her little harm. Apparently, Richey Edwards explained each track to her in great detail, and she eventually agreed to let the Welsh wizards use it for nowt.
The Last Waltz
The finest triple platter of all time is the Band’s final concert. Recorded in 1976, it brought together all that was great about music in the US at the time: Dr John, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, not forgetting the Band themselves.
Star Trek Despite the 127 or so movies, the original (and the very best) series only just made it to three seasons. Before it voyaged into deep space nine, it was all beamed up to us through highly illogical plots and dodgy special effects. Enterprising stuff, captain.