THE COMPANY (12A) 112mm .00. A drama about the lives, loves,

hopes, fears, successes and failures of a ballet company. It all has the

potential to be as camp as coconuts.

Filtered through the vision of Hollywood maverick Robert Altman, however, The Company avoids the pratfalls of luvvie fests such as a Richard Attenborough ‘the show must go on' dance unspectacular. Altman eschews melodrama and histrionics, instead constructing a detailed portrait of his chosen milieu. While the film boasts a pair of stars in Neve Campbell, who plays up and coming ballerina Ry, and Malcolm McDowell, who plays the company‘s founder Alberto Antonelli Altman, in democratic fashion. focuses his film on every participant.

Altman‘s done this before, in his Hollywood studio expose The Player and his skirt-lifting look at the fashion industry Prét—a—Porter. With The Company, as with those films, Altman employs his trademark working methods wide angle long shots, bustling crowd scenes, overlapping dialogue to create a fully-rounded world on film.

But although such stylistic idiosyncrasies make The Company a

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distinctly Altman-esque film, it is, in fact, the brainchild of Campbell. Once a student at the National School of Ballet in Canada, she gets a story-writing and producing credit alongside her star billing. It’s a long- gestating labour of love that she’s finally realised with Altman and screenwriting collaborator Barbara Turner (who penned Pollock and Georgia, the latter starring her daughter, Jennifer Jason Leigh). Without wanting to de- democratise their film, Campbell

A long-gestating labour of love

gives an impressively naturalistic performance (but then she’s working with an ‘actor’s director’), much of which involves dance. lt’s McDowell as the paternal tyrant ‘Mr A’ who gets the lion’s share of the film’s juicy dialogue and grand speeches. The last word, however, must go to the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, upon which The Company is based, and which performs the remarkable ballets here captured on film.

(Miles Fielder)

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BLACK (SOME DY OUR HOUSE (15) 83min 0..

Danny Devito's latest directing gig is like his 198$) film War of the Hoses. a tale of domestic disharmony. Working from a script by [any Doyle. the writer producer behind many episodes of The Simpso/is. Our House is nastier and funnier than your average l-lollywood laugh -in -— any film that contains a ioke about 'riinining' an old lady is going to stand out from the rest of the studio pap.

The old lady in question is Mrs Connolly (Eileen l:.ssel), the upstairs neighbour to newlyweds Alex Rose (there’s that name again) and Nancy

Duplexes and old dears

Kendricks (Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore). who have just purchased their first home. a l()*(ll(}~l()l' duplex in Brooklyn. lhe mugs shoulda known something was up when they bought the gigantic Victorian townhouse for a knockdown sum. But how could they possibly have guessed that the doddery old lady upstairs would turn out to be an Irish bi'uisei"? ‘You don't bring a knife to a gun fight.‘ she says at one point. before spearing a man with a harpoon rifle.

Stiller i'e enacts his ti'ademaik put upon schinuck routine. but here he benefits from great comic paitnering with Bai'iymoi‘e. ln them l)eyito has found a fine pan of lady killeis. (Miles l- ieldei‘l I GOITUIJ/ release fiom In (90 Apr

45.14. ‘-1 THE LIST 27