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Mike Hodges on the set of I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Traitors and tasty two piece suits


Paris. at the start of World War II and movie starlet Viviane Denvers (Isabella Adiani) has her admirers. among them is Jean-Etienne Beaufort (Gerard Depardieui. a politician who is trying to balance Petaint—zsgue collaboration with the French resistance needs. One night Denvers accidentally (or not) kills the seedy producer of her

last picture and calls her Yvan Attal).

one may have about this much abused genre. Cyrano de Bergerac director Jean-Paul Rappeneau returns after a nine years hiatus with something as insubstantial as his last (1995's . equally overblown and underdeveloped The Horseman on the Ftoof). But BappapOrt at least makes watchable cinema and he has a knack of drawing out excellent performances from his secondary character actors (here Peter Coyote and



At 71 MIKE HODGES is an old man, but the director of Get Carter isn’t out of shape. He tells Miles Fielder about his new film, I‘ll Sleep When I’m Dead.

Mike Hodges has been making movies for 33 years. His latest, the revenge thriller 1’]! Sleep When I’m Dead, is his ninth. You could hardly call him a prolific filmmaker, but he’s nevertheless been considered by many in the business - Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Terence Malick and Sergio Leone, among them - to be one of Britain’s finest.

Coming out of an apprenticeship in television, Hodges is one of the UK’s old school filmmakers who, like fellow telly alumnus Stephen Frears, can turn his hand to vastly varied projects. Among his films are the grimy gangster classic Get Carter, the soon to be re-issued science fiction cautionary tale The Terminal Man, the comic book blockbuster Flash Gordon and the neo-noir Croupier.

What links Hodges’ films, which he writes and co-writes, are strong themes and an overturning of genre convention: Michael Caine’s titular protagonist dies in the final frame of Get Carter while Croupier goes right to heart of the nature of addiction. It’s probably this individualistic approach to filmmaking that has, on occasion, been a stumbling block in Hodges’ career: he was infamously sacked from the production of Damien: Omen II, and his IRA thriller A Prayer for the Dying was butchered by its producers.


(18) 90min 0.


So it’s unsurprising that Hodges has assembled a team of friends and former collaborators to make his first film since Croupier in 1997. Trevor Preston, who wrote The Tyrant, the first piece of drama Hodges ever directed, and who went on to pen hard-edged television such as The Sweeney, has co—written I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, and Croupier star, Clive Owen (soon to be seen in the blockbuster King Arthur), takes the lead. Also, the film is produced Mike Kaplan, whose credits include Croupier and a number of Stanley Kubrick’s films.

‘I was sick of making films and nobody ever seeing them,’ says Hodges. ‘Mike Kaplan’s genius is for nursing films and looking after them, never giving up.’

‘Then I started worrying,’ says Hodges. ‘Was the script as good as I remembered? I was scared to read it again. I hadn’t looked at it for over a year. It was four years since I’d made a film, had my directing skills evaporated? But, as always happens, when contemplating a film, I turn into a sponge, absorbing everything around me. I like to be open to every sound and every image. Everything takes on a new resonance, becomes an accidental offering, anything that might add some little touch to the film.’

Hodges is so modest. If you asked him if he thought he was intelligent, he’d probably quote Jack Carter with: ‘Only comparatively.’ One thing is for sure: this quiet grandfather of modern British cinema’s work is incomparable.

I /'/l Sleep When lam Dead is out on selected release from 7-1 May:


If Alan Clarke's The Firm is the Maradona of football hooligan lllt)‘.’l(3§3. The Football Factory is the Vinny Jones of the genre. This film adaptation of John King's f99f3 novel lacks imagination and technique while taking a cheap. brutal no--nonsense approach to the stony. Set in the 80s heyday of hooliganism, King's novel provided an insightful critique of Thatcherite Britain. But by updating proceedings to the present day the filmmakers have failed to place the football hooligan element of the story in a modern context. There is no inkling that the nature of hooliganism and its methods have changed (‘lrastically since the 80s because of the changes made to policing and the Taylor Report.

Director Nick Love (Goodbye Charlie Brightl has decided to make a film that. like his debut effort. is a poor rip off of Trainspotting. We are treated to Sit) iiiiriutes of dreadful digital imagery following Tommy Davidson's (Danny Dyeri sex-drugs- aiid-tlirowing-rocks lifestyle on match day. which is then juxtaposed against his

mundane everyday life. The trouble is that the film does not do enough to endear

us to Tommy or to his moronic friends. Meanwhile. the simplistic story meanders through several cliched structural deVices. This is another occasion when the ll'léll whistle does not come a mOment too soon. (Kaleem Aftabi

I Selected release from Fri 74 May.

childhood friend and ex-lover Frederic (Gregori Derangerel for help. It is a mistake that is to result in them both being stranded in the Hotel Splendide in Bordeaux along With IOUTIIEIIISIS. a physicist and spies of all persuasion. Frederic is out of his depth and then imp; ssioned scientist Camille (Virginie Ledoyenl walks into his life to makes things even more complicated.

Oh dear. a French farce. Bon Voyage confirms every doubt

Adiani. Ledoyan and Depardieu. however. are wasted and somel'iow one feels this sort of revolving hotel apartment door comedy is below them. But one thing is for sure -- if Jacques Bouxel (set designi. Thierry Delettre and Catherine Leterrier (costume designl do not win every industry award geing there is no JLlSlICC in the world. That 40s look is geing to be like so big this Summer. (Paul Dalel I Selected release from Fri 74 May.

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Violent times on the terraces

'- THE LIST 23