More contrived than clever

A patchy, episodic sequel to DreamWorks’ inspired, satirical riff on Disney fairy tales, this fails to replicate the magic of the original. Even so, while

never as groundbreaking, it is seldom less than adequate. Just don’t expect

Toy Story 2 - still the Godfather II of computer—animated movies.

Back from honeymoon, swamp-dwelling Shrek (Mike Myers) and his bride,

Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), are invited to visit his in—laws, King Harold (John Cleese) and Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), rulers of the kingdom of Far Far Away. But the welcome they receive in this shallow, Hollywood-like world is far from warm, especially from the image-conscious king and the scheming Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders on Ab Fabulous form). After all, it was her vainly handsome son, Prince Charming (Rupert Everett), with whom the princess was meant to have lived happily ever after. Zorro-like assassin Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is hired to do away with the ogre interloper and restore the natural order. But the plotters have underestimated Fiona’s love, Shrek‘s sense of self-worth, and the loyalty of their asinine sidekick, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

More self-conscious than the original Shrek, this hit-and-miss sequel is more contrived than clever: the in-jokey movie parodies are funny but lazy; the slapdash selection of music is often smeared on to disguise the erratic pacing, and the flimsy storyline stretches desperately for its schmaltzy moral message about making one’s own ‘happily ever after’. Nevertheless, the dazzling fairytale ball finale will probably blind viewers to these many

imperfections. (Nigel Floyd)

I General release from Fri 2 Jul. See Summer Movies prevrew. page 22.


Right from the outset of Russian director Andrei Zvyaglntsev's impressiver controlled and richly enigmatic debut feature. one feels a sense of ominous menace. After an entirely unexplained 12 year absence. a father (Konstantin Lavronenkol returns; home to his two adolescent sons Andrei (Vladimir Garin) and Ivan (Ivan Dobronravov). and suggests to their mother (Natalia Vdovrnal that he takes the children on a fishing trip. The trio head out by roWIng boat to a little- known island, but the boys are unprepared for their Dad's remote and brutally demanding nature. Andrei seeks to placate the patriarch. while Ivan repeatedly rebels. triggering a fateful battle of Wills.

It's precisely because Zvyagintsev leaves out so many concrete details to his sparse stOry that this laconic fable opens itself up to various allegorical and metaphorical interpretations -- be

Wait till your father gets home

they religious. political. or Oedipal which revolve around the conflict with paternal authority. Irnpressively shot by cineinatographer Mikhail Kritchman in colour-drained tones and in long. carefully framed takes. which convey the harshly elemental nature of the film's universe. The Return is given real resonance by its three compelling lead performances. (Tom Dawson)

I Selected release from Fri 25 Jun. See preview. page 26.



Eka (Esther Gorintin) has Georgia on her mind: well she w0uld if her son Otar wasn't already there. Otar has left the small town where he. his aged mother Eka. his sister Marina (Nino Khomassouridze) and his niece Ada (Dinara Droukarova) live in the former Soviet Union and has gone to work in Paris. His mother fusses over his letters and phone calls. while Marina and Ada get on with their unglamorous lives trying to make ends meet in a household that lacks a male breadwinner. Then one day some tragic news arrives which Marina intercepts and so begins a painful deception of Eka.

Former camerawoman Julie Bertucelli's first feature is pure quartz masking itself as saltpetre. The film's aching, deprived. bitter naturalism

One big lie leads to many others I

constantly gives way to something more tender. more elegiac. The dependence and pointlessness of lives lived on the margins is underlined by Bertucelli and Roger Bohbot's lean, telling script. But this is ultimately a film that belongs to its female leads. whose remarkable performances dictate and dominate this subtle moving riff of O Henry's The Gift of the Magi. (Paul Dale)

I GFI', Glasgow from Fri 2 Jul. See Rough Cuts, page 26, for Optimum Discoveries competition.


Based on a 1925 Parisian operetta. this tedious musical farce from veteran art-house director Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour) is highly unlikely to appeal unless you‘re an aficionado of French period songs. Set in a grand art deco apartment and an extravagantly decorated bachelor‘s flat. the film gathers together a collection of betirgeois types including a din middle-aged wife (Sabrine Azema). her wealthy husband (Pierre Arditi). and a young ingenue (Audrey Tatou) and adds to the mix an American businessman (Lambert Wilson) who Suffers from a phobia of kissing on the lips. Two hours in the company of these shallow. egocentric creations is a wearying experience. (Tom Dawson)

I CCA, Glasgow from Thu I Jul. Film/louse. Edinburgh from Tue 73 Jul.

l. r J}

Shut your trap . . . please


Twenty-five years on, Marcel Ophtils' four and half hour documentary about France during the German Occupation of World War II remains a monumental filmmaking achievement. Combining archival news. propaganda footage and detailed personal testimonies. it concentrates on the town of Clermont Ferrand. near Marshal Petain's Vichy headquarters. where Ophuls and co-producers Andre Harris and Alain de Sedouy interviewed a cross section of citizens about their experiences between 1940 and 1944. Key witnesses include a bourgeois pharmacist. a decorated Wehrmacht captain. a French aristocrat who joined the Waffen SS. a farmer in the Resistance and a female hairdresser accused of collaboration.

The Sorrow and the Pity dernolishes the Gaullist myth that France was united in resisting the occupying forces. the degree of collective amnesia towards the past is shocking: a pair of teachers. for example. don't recall seeing enemy soldiers in their community. Nor do they remember any of their students joining the Resistance. despite the names of these pupils being inscribed on a memorial plaque. Patient and probing, Ophtils lays bare the dilemmas of his interviewees. forcing us to ask what would we have done in their situation. (Tom Dawson)

I GFI. Glasgow on Sat 3 and Sun 4 Jul. See Think Piece, page 28.

A monumental filmmaking achievement

211 Jun—8 Jul 2004 THE LIST 29