When May’s ailing old man finally pops his clogs, the middle-aged mother of two and comes to the terrible realisation that she’s wasted her whole life in dull suburban domesticity. In London visiting her workaholic wheeler-dealer son Bobby (Steven Mackintosh) and depressed wannabe writer daughter Paula (Cathryn Bradshaw) when old Toots (Peter Vaughan) breathes his last, May (Anna Reid) makes the decision to stay put and for the first time put herself before her family.

And then she starts shagging her daughter’s boyfriend, Darren (Daniel Craig). Not, you’d think, a nice thing for a mother to do, but the affair turns out to be mutually beneficial to both parties. May gets some much- needed pleasure out of life; Darren, whose existence has been as selfish as it is useless, puts his cock to good use and during the (inter) course of his actions gets to let off steam about his own crappy life. Talk about brief encounters.

As astutely scripted by l-lanif Kureishi and carefully directed by Roger Michell (who previously collaborated on The Buddha of Suburbia), The Mother takes a taboo subject and makes a compelling. compassionate, though never

HISTORICAL DRAMA TAKING snoes $15,) 119ml“ “9

Following the success of The Pianist comes the release of another film scripted by Ronald Harwood about a classical musician during the Holocaust era. Directed by the veteran . Hungarian Istvan Szabo (Mephisto), Taking Sides begins in 5 Berlin in 1946. where US Major Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel) is 3 charged with connecting the renowned conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Dr Wilhelm Furtwangler

(Stellan Skarsgard). to the Nazi party. The American

investigator derides the officially decorated Furtwangler as “Hitler's bandleader', yet the musician's colleagues testify to I the man's integrity. stressing that he never joined the party

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Jumping through cock a hoops

cliched drama out of a crisis. The passage of bereavement time after Toots’ death and the coming together of the older woman and young man is most convincingly conveyed. The former is marked by a series of ellipses, little hops of time punctuated by telling moments. One such sees May return to her suburban home to find Toots’ empty slippers waiting for her in the hallway (the beautiful photography here comes courtesy of Alwin Kiichler, who shot Ratcatcher and Morvem

Callar) .

The meeting of May and Darren also convinces. Initially, she’s curious about him and he’s sympathetic ! towards her. She begs him for sex and he obliges like a good lad. But as the extent of Darren’s emotional problems become clear, so he becomes abusive towards May. Just one more person who wants to be mothered in this well-judged, perfectly played, fully absorbing drama. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri 74 Nov.

Exploring hedonism and promiscuity

and risked everything by helping Jews to escape abroad. ;

With its theatrical set-ups and lengthy. didactic speeches. Taking Sides never breaks free from its stage origins. Szabo and Harwood load the dice against the American's absolutist moral judgements, painting Arnold as an aggressive bully with no understanding of European high culture. However. despite such flaws. the film does offer an intriguing examination into the role of an artist under a tyrannical regime. To what extent can an individual be blamed for a society's atrocities? Was Furtwangler right to say that art. in reflecting man's highest aspirations. is more important than politics? And while Keitel. with his boxer's frame and funous eyes. ratchets up his character's anger, the acting honours here belong to Skarsgérd: his performance as the bewildered yet defiant scapegoat, who somehow can't believe his own downfall is seamless. Taking Sides won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film

this year. (Tom Dawson)

I UGC Glasgow from Fri 27 Nov. Rona/d Ham/00d wrll doing a Q&A on Sat 78 Nov at UGC Glasgow from 7pm.


Oscar-winning true life drama

ADULT DRAMA i LAUREL CANYON (18) 104 min I... 3 In her debut film. High Art. writer-director Lisa Cholodenko ponrayed the willing seduction of an innocent young woman by a charismatic older artist. Her assured second movie is a variation on the same theme, with the action relocated from heroin-chic New York to grass-smoking F Los Angeles.

Frances McDormand. giving one of her best performances in years. plays the seducer. veteran record producer Jane. a sexual free spirit whose current main squeeze is a much-younger British rock singer. Alessandro Nivola's Ian. Erotic sparks fly when her puritanical psychiatrist son. Sam. played by Christian Bale. and his equally uptight fiancee. Alex (Kate Beckinsale) are forced to share Jane's house in the Hollywood Hills. Instead of knuckling down to her dissertation on fruit flies. Alex finds herself responding to Jane and Ian‘s hedonism, leaving Sam vulnerable to the determined wooing of fellow medic Sara (Natascha McElhone). '

Like McDormand's Jane. Laurel Canyon is laid back. mature and sexy. Very good at conveying the messiness of relationships. Cholodenko allows her characters to be contrary. Sam is unforgiving where his mother is concerned. showing empathy and compassion towards , his damaged patients. while Jane herself occasionally allows sense to get the better of sensuality. (Jason Best) I Selected release from Fri 74 Nov.



(PG) 68min 0.

Take a body of work by a popular beat combo. Then skewer it with a retarded storyline about a mythical band in an

Cynically launch it on an unthinking public who hunger for new ways to consume the same old musical product because they are too lazy to try something

different. No. it's not Ben

Elton and his latest Queen/Rod Stewart/Jose Feliciano West End cack-fest tribute show. This is an extended visual re- jigging of Daft Punk's Homework album in the form of a (Jesus Christ. i no) Manga musical with a tenuous intergalactic kidnapping plot and

shrouded in the sordid aura of cool.

Battle of the Planets i nostalgia

, Just because this film is directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi. who was

responsible for the erotic

Sexaroid Manga sci-fi

series in the late 19608.

it does not mean it deserves unthinking

; praise. It's just a neat.

though not particularly

5 fusing fleetingly hip French cheesy disco

, with Battle of the Planets

' nostalgia stretched into a sporadically pretty but frankly dull hour of filmmaking. It might earn itself a cult cachet but a couple of screen grabs aside there is nothing here to engage the mind. It's just a bit of porn for not very discerning graphic designers. (Tim Abrahams) I Cameo. Edinburgh from Fri 27 Nov.

13—27 Nov 2003 THE LIST 25

interplanetary escapade.

original. idea for a promo