(1.1,” f'I/V N {I 'ifvfrJV/IJ'; f "1'6? aii‘lor Orr/["1108 89153))“: .‘.’ ’1'}: .‘J’ Til‘ifg’, {/9 10021" .0)“, {Nth/18’} "r; r,liilr,'/,r,r.ir,al and the e’ntm. the sacred ar r: tie r,rr,farir: Han/ire has ',l)lii‘;’l f) r,- ',ettirg cf 77:: View from the riorrtezlrx. of 23th centur, Paris to the contend/Mar, r.ar,kage ilfjll’lét‘y 'le',trriatior; of the Canary Islands where northern Furopeari li’,l)fiit,lllfli":l‘. HOCV lll ‘i‘n’ifCil (2i sexual gratification.

irie teenage Pierre lLOlllS Carrel) is spending a summer with his parents .‘xho hafl: a house there. but after the sudden death of his father. he is left alone .vith his beautiful mother Helene ilsalielle Huppert). She is. in her own .‘xorrls. ‘a bitch and a slut. whom no one respects'. and she seeks ‘to be loved for the shame I provoke'. Along

with her much younger partners-in- crime Rea (Joanna Preiss) and Hansi iliriima de Caunes). she inducts Pierre into a world of transgresSion. where guilty pleasures don't exist.

Although Ma Mere deals wrth acts of satlomasochism. incest and swcrde. culminating in a scene of masturbation over a corpse. it shouldn't be dismissed as sensationalist provocation. Its cast may be paid-up members of the Beautiful People brigade. whose lithe figures are rather (:rudely contrasted wrth those of the flahtiy. sun—worshipping tourists. yet the sexual encounters are presented both wrth a matter-of-fact )oylessness and a degree of discretion. Sex for these characters isn't about obtaining pleasure in the conventional sense: it's an attempt to escape from the human condition. For Bataille religion was another means for us to achieve such freedom. which explains why Pierre talks of his desire for Hansi replaCing the )0; he once fOund in God.

There's a deliberate Jerkiness to the visual style. as Honore deploys freguent zooms and Jump Cuts. while the sun-bleached exteriors magnify our sense of emotional disorientation. And the cast deliver brave. accomplished performances. with Huppert's Helene a compelling mixture of menace and fragility. iTom Dawson) I Fxlmhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 7 Apr iurtti/ Thu 7 Apr).


(15) 89min 0..

With its loguaCious. precocious brat protagonist. this Australian film is reminiscent of the String of offbeat

comic dramas made by Hal lvlartle. in the 80s and 90s. And there's a hint. too. of the elaborate. eccentric fantasies of Wes Anderson lll said protagonist. the Afrltf-lllf)l‘ilk(:l":fl Placid Lake (musician Ben Lee making his acting debut). being nurtured h‘. a pair of embarrassingly ‘modern' bohemian parents ilvliranda Richardson and Garry McDonald) and growing up for not. as the case may be) to live a life of social exclusion and. a reth. make believe.

But this is the first feature film from Melbourne dramatist Tony McNamara. who here adapts his own stage play. McNamara's social satire hangs on a coming—of-age mini-odyssey undertaken by PlaCid that sees the teenage outSIder graduate from beatings in the school playground (culminating in a bone-crunching failed suiCide attempt followrng the screening of his scandalous Vl(lCO expose. Life is Superdooper) to try his hand at ‘normal life' With a desk Job at an insurance firm before learning the hard way that age-old lesson: be true to yourself.

En route to that somewhat cliched conclusion. PlaCid also learns that parents are only human. friends are of Vital importance and material wealth can't replace its emotional equivalent. None of which. it has to be said. is profoundly illuminating. Still. it's hard to dislike this resolutely upbeat. good- natured film. wrth its gurntessentially Australian brand of bright. tone-setting optimism. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri 7 Apr.



(15) 89min 0000

In Sink estates. as in theatres. the general rule would appear to be that if you bring on a gun. sooner or later. you're gonna have to use it. But when the shots ring out in British urban drama Bullet Boy. they're probably not the ones you expect.

The b0y of the title is Curtis (Luke Fraser). and the gun he fires belongs to his older brother Ricky (Ashley WalterS). Curtis looks up to Ricky. not only because when Ricky comes home from a spell in jail. he takes the top bunk in their tiny bedroom. but because he represents an element of perceived street cool he has yet to attain. Bored. Curtis plays first-person- shooter Video games at home when it's obvious he'd rather be out with his brother. But Ricky is slowly being drawn into a petty gangland feud over a broken wing mirror. which escalates into real life gunplay. and Curtis. b


The filmmaker behind a controversial new German film THE DOWNFALL tells Jay Richardson about the challenges involved in depicting the last days of Hitler's life.

When it opened in Germany, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s The Downfall (Der Untergang) sparked an intense flurry of national self-interrogation. Based on Inside Hitler’s Bunker by Joachim Fest, the Oscar- nominated film chronicles Hitler’s last 12 days before his suicide in May 1945, as the Russian army took Berlin. With the exception of GW Pabst’s Der Letzte Akt (1956) and Hans-Jurgen Syberberg’s experimental, seven-hour Hitler: a Film from Germany, the German film industry has been historically reluctant to portray the Fuhrer. Even in The Downfall, the role belongs to the Swiss Bruno Ganz, best known to British audiences for Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire.

‘lt’s significant because it’s never been tried or done in a way that would convince me, especially not coming out of Germany,’ Hirschbiegel (pictured) explains. ‘That meant quite a responsibility for me and everyone. We tried to be as earnest and true with the facts as possible. Bruno is the most gifted living actor of the German language and he looked so similar that it became obvious he had to play the part.’ Though the film foregrounds Hitler’s anti-Semitism and increasingly violent derangement, his polite respect for women and children is also made manifest in Ganz’s convincing performance. ‘There have been a few voices worried about depicting Adolf Hitler as a human being. But it is ridiculous to regard the Nazis as sent by the devil. There is evil in all of us.’

One of the film’s most shocking scenes depicts Magda Goebbels clinically poisoning her own children rather than let them live in a world without National Socialism. ‘To me, the killing of the children stands for the whole monstrosity of that system,’ says Hirschbiegel. ‘That industrialised way of murdering people.’

Some sense of redemption was found shooting in St Petersburg, with Russian extras as German soldiers. ‘A lot of streets were built at the same time as Berlin and German architects were involved. It felt really odd though because that city alone lost nearly a million people during the blockades by the Germans and it was amazing to see the Russians being so open, friendly and co-operative. It was a wonderful expenence.

‘The hope is that it will work as an inducement for the German people to reopen a more honest way of looking at a dark chapter in our history. How was it possible for a whole nation to fall into barbarism, following this absurd vision of the world and turning loving fathers into vicious, killing monsters who felt no pity for their victims? As a civilised nation we have to do that, because no matter how painful, we have to be able to look into each other’s eyes right?’

I The Downfall is on selected release from Fri 7 Apr. See review. page 45.

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