SCI l (JOLIE DY HUM/\NANHC DRAMA ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
(15) 108min ooooo
Charlie Kaufman’s Oscar nomination for his third film script, Adaptation, underscored his status as one of Hollywood’s most impressive new screenwriting talents. But the film Kaufman scripted for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry between Adaptation and his debut, the utterly unique Being John Malkovich, was the dud Human Nature, which never even made it into cinemas in the UK. Bearing in mind it’s the only misfire in Kaufman’s meteoric career (which is rounded out with Confessions ofa Dangerous Mind, George Clooney’s enormously entertaining directing debut), it comes as something of a surprise that Eternal Sunshine, Kaufman’s second collaboration with Gondry, is his best film yet.
Like Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine is a wildly imaginative flight of fantasy. Entering the mind of Hollywood’s leading thespian was a wonderfully bonkers notion; this film’s gloriously barmy conceit sees Jim Carrey’s lovelorn loser, Joel Barish, having the painful memories of his ex- girlfriend surgically removed. She’s Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), a loveably wild, impetuous girl who, an increasingly miserable Barish discovers, had the procedure performed upon her after she got bored with their relationship and ended it.
Over the course of a night the staff (Mark Rufallo, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson) of a non-descript medical facility, Lacuna Inc (lacuna is the Latin for ‘loss’), obliterate Barish’s memories of Clementine, one by one, as he rests in drug- induced slumber. But when Barish finds himself
Brown booze and sad songs
éeei Ninie SAllHl
THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD
(15) 99min 0...
(3m: t,‘ ess (3a,! Maddin i[)/‘.'1(:i//.'i.' (all. fun; ‘./irgin's Diary). the 'i‘a'i 'l‘Zi" ’>‘ ()a'iadzan cinema. a "e' Titi‘, (Ia igai‘i ‘.'.iil;ing us all ins exeressi’ i‘:stic " 7;“1'i‘a'es of ‘aitcy. lt's llif-ZI-L and (Zanada is in the grip of the great depression. but \‘Jinnipeg has two things
going foi it beer on demand
take on Ka/uo The Remains of the Day lshiguro's original screenplay with his usual array of antiquated effects (old black and white stock, bleached out corners. porthole shots) while underlining his major obsessions: beer. ice hockey. camp dialogue and ethnic diversity. Easily the man's funniest culmination of these disparate elements so far. this film sucks in the influences of Berkeley. Avedon. Dali and
semi-conscious, he decides he wants to retain his memories. Unable to fully wake to halt the procedure, a crazy cat-and-mouse chase through the patient’s subconscious begins, with Barish attempting to hide Clementine in deeply repressed memories - places the Lacuna techies would never think of probing. Much of this consists of Barish revisiting his childhood; in one priceless scene he hides Clementine in his bed - after she (or rather one of his memories of her) persuades him to ‘go deeper’ - on the evening his mother caught the randy teenager in bed having a wank.
Gondry employs a barrage of tricksy camera moves and optical illusion set-pieces to create the
(12A) 129min COO.
Love will tear us apart again, again and again
warped landscape of Barish’s subconscious. It’s an outrageously demented ride, but underlying this terrific trip are some serious metaphysical questions about human relationships. Can love endure? If not, was it worth it in the first place? It’s wholly appropriate, then, that Kaufman lifted the film’s title from a line in Alexander Pope’s poem, ‘Eloise and Abelard', which piece of verse, of course, translates as blissful ignorance. Kaufman’s conclusion, which is the brilliantly climactic (or, more accurately, anti-climactic) line of the film, has got to be one of the best ever endings committed to celluloid in modern-day cinema. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 30 April.
THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI
Life is tough for Seibei lguchi (Hiroyuki Sanada). a low ranking 19th century Samurai of the Unasaka Clan in the Shonai Province of north-east Japan. but it is about to get a lot tougher. Having lost his wife to tuberculosis he is bringing up his two daughters on his own while also caring for his senile mother. At work he is disliked for his dedication to his family while his small holding is constantly at the kicking end of mercurial taxes and greedy retainers. But Seibei is a humble. gentle. kind soul, satisfied with his troubled lot. Then just at the veiy point he is beginning to fall in love again with battered Wife Tomei (Rie Miya/a\.vai ~ he is asked to pick up his sword and go after the deadliest of all renegade samurais Zenemon Yogo (Min Tanaka. a butoh veteran making his film debuti.
Based on three pulp stories by Shohei Ftl)l8£iW£l. this dusky. seamless effort is
from 72-year-old director Yoji Yamada. the man who brought the hugely
successful. deeply sentimental Tor-sari film series to the Japanese public. For all its cliche (Shane and Unforgiven immediately spring to mind) this (Yamada's 77th film) is a deeply satisfying investigation of the age old theme of what happens to a good man in bad times. From Sanada (The Last Samurai. Ring). Yamada sguee/es a remarkable slow burn performance that throbs With humanity and old fashioned dignity. The few fights are also beautifully handled. a restorative refuge
from the growing vogue for ultra violent Eastern chic flicks. (Paul Dale)
I Out now on selected release.
and an international contest to find the nation Hill) the saddest music in the .'.ioi'ld. l ady Port l luntie', lIsabella itossellinii, a t)t;(;l baroness and bitter double amputee, has funded the SIHIXM; purse. lit/hen the cause of her lost legs Chester llunt il/iaik I\/I(;I‘<ll)."i(:‘,"l. a failed Broad/ray llllln'tL‘fSEillO. returns to take pad in the (;()lill)(:llll()l) ll‘.t:li‘.<)i‘,', iegiet and perverse eilitg; iitatiixes aie i'e\./isit(;-(l. l/ladrlin floods his bastardised
28 THE LIST Aw Ma, Pﬁli'
l)u()hamps before buggering them and leaving them to free/e out in the snow. Ultimately. this is a gloriously macabre. hammy nod to l—lecht. tang. Bunuel and Wilder. Any film that manages to move on from a line like ‘In my heart is a Jar. in the Jar is a heart preserved in my own tears' deserves every award going. (Paul [)ale) I (if-"i. Glasgow from Fri / May. See interwew page 26.
A good man in bad times