the ref as Ferrell's touchline antics run a limited gamut of kicking. screaming, weeping. mugging and generally making an ass of himself. The first supposed wise crack about balls comes in after only six minutes. and other comic lowlights include worm- eating, a referee's hat blowing off with his wig to reveal his bald head. and Ferrell performing 2 Unlimited's ‘Get Ready For This'. And unless that prospect gets you giggling, you may have to be dragged kicking and screaming to see this silly kiddie footie flick. (Eddie Harrison)
I General release from Fri 22 Jul.
BIOPIC THE LAST MITTERAND
(PG) 116min 000
The last in the title refers to the componment of the former French president in the last two months of his life. This is Francois Mitterand after he has resigned from office and is ill with cancer, staring death in the face. Michel Bouquet plays Mitterand as a cantankerous old man coming to terms with his life. and director Robert Guédiguian (Marius et Jeannette and La ville est tranquil/e) makes an analogy between Mitterand and a
FROM MARSEILLES TO MITTERAND
Richard Mowe gets presidential with the brilliant French ﬁlmmaker
Robert Guédiguian (Marius and Jeannette, La Ville est tranquille, Marie- Jo and Her2 Lovers) has been described as a sort of ‘Ken Loach with bouillabaisse’. Partly it’s geographical: nine out of his ten feature films have been made around his home city of Marseille using, among others, a trio of favourite actors: his wife Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre
Darroussin and Gerard Meylan.
And partly it’s political: he finds an outlet for his deeply held socialist views in his choice of subjects not just as a director but also as a producer through his company Agat Films.
Guédiguian explains why he has broken with tradition for his new film about the former president Francois Mitterrand.
‘Mainly l did it because it was a risk, a bet, if you like. I’ll do something else only if it’s interesting and dangerous.’ There have been more than 200 books about Mitterrand [another one, by his daughter Mazarine, came out in France at the same time as the film] but the one on which the ﬁlm is based, by Georges-Marc Benamou, gets to the spirit of the man whose radical socialism obviously struck chords with
The Last Mitterrand almost entirely consists of conversations between Michel Bouquet as the president and Jalil Lespert, as an idealistic, questing journalist. ‘I wanted to show that the intellect can be fascinating, and that intelligence can be captivating.’
Guédiguian, 52, embraces all the universal themes: the conflict between innocence and experience, idealism and cynicism, hope for the future and attachment to the past. His interlocutor challenges him about his beliefs and his past as an official with the Vichy regime. ‘What really interested me was to look at Mitterrand’s legacy and the fact he was addressing questions about globalisation long before it had become common currency. I was struck by the way he came to terms with his impending death [from prostate cancer in January 1996 after 14 years in office], almost choosing the moment he died. There was a dignity about him and actually he lived ten years longer than his doctors
Has Guédiguian forsaken his beloved Marseille for good? ‘No, of course not . . . I won’t change the way I work because I have the independence to express myself exactly how I want to.’
I The Last Mitterand is at Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 29 Jul. See review,
48 THE LIST ?i Jill- 4 Am; 700:")
French nation coming to terms with its own diminishing role in world affairs at
the end of the socialist agenda.
In spite of this lofty idea and the film's
excellent pedigree. The Last
Mitterrand, like the great man's term in office. ultimately fails. For this is not a
i movie about the fascinating battles of
his presidency. Guédiguian makes the mistake of assuming that the audience has prior knowledge of Mitterrand. Yet even for those bulging craniums with a doctorate in ‘la vie politique Francaise' the film will be a struggle because of the clumsy narrative conceit of a writer who is assigned to write Mitterrand's memoirs. The movie based on the book written by Georges-Mark Benamou concentrates far too much
, time and energy on the dull, boring - writer. Antoine Moreau (Jalil Lespart). and his procrastinations that it even
deadens interest in the far more interesting title character.
I Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 29
Jul. See interview, left.
HORROR THE SKELETON KEY
. (15) 103min O.”
This surprisingly fun psychological
thriller featuring brilliant turns from veterans Gena Rowlands and John Hurt could well be the sleeper hit of
, the year. Kate Hudson plays Caroline.
a young nurse struggling to make ends meet. She answers an advert seeking a carer for an invalid husband (Hurt) in a big house in an eerie wood just outside New Orleans. The Louisiana setting gives the cue for great jazz music, echoes of the Deep
South's history of racism and, most
importantly for this story, it's the area in North America most associated with black magic.
The advert has been placed by a young local lawyer Luke (Peter
Sarsgaard) who takes Caroline to the
house. explaining the turbulent history of the location and how the last nurse
' could not cope with Violet (Gena
Rowlands). the overbearing matron who rules the roost. This clearly is a place where the house in Amityville is
- occupied by the community from The
Wicker Man. Once Caroline gets hold of the skeleton key the action never lets up.
5 John Hurt makes light work of being a ' wheelchair-bound mute in a
marvellous performance that is a tapestry of facial twitches, rolling eyes and raised eyebrows. Rowlands'
sternness is the perfect counterfoil to him. and Hudson is adroit playing the ‘ dumb blond in peril. The clever revelations and twists push the stOry along like a world champion sprinter. The filmmakers play with the conventions of the genre and mix elements of schlock. horror and thriller
that culminate in the best Hollywood endings of the year. (Kaleem Aftab)
I General release from Fri 29 Jul. See preview, page 44 .
(15) 87min coco
In Kim Ki-duk's 3-lron, roofless drifter
, Tae‘SUk (Jae Hee) is constantly seeking to practice his golf swing. As
he motorcycles around an unnamed Korean city. this mysterious loner often stops to tee a golf ball. via a cable. to
g a tree or lamppost, enabling him to
play his shot without the ball flying
‘ away. It's only a matter of time before the cable snaps and someone gets
hurt. but this eventuality doesn't seem to worry him. The stakes are raised when model Sun-wha (Lee Seung- yun) wants to grab his attention by interrupting his routine.
This is not in any way a film about golf, and 3-lron's protagonist Tae-Suk is a ghostly figure. breaking into empty apartments. fixing household appliances. doing laundry and then leaving. Only he knows about his strange existence. but when Sun-wha
catches him inside her apartment. he
sacrifices his freedom to protect her
from her oppressive husband. On the
run together, they form an odd couple. until their high-risk lifestyle reaches its inevitable conclusion.
Director Ki-duk has already proved
with The Isle and Spring, Summer,
Fall, Winter. . . and Spring that he's a master of the wordless gaze. Oddly, 3-
Iron is a violent yet serene meditation on the transitory nature of human
existence. A work of genuine poetry. it's a cinematic hole in one. (Eddie Harrison)
I Selected release from Fri 75 Jul.
SATIRE/COMEDY THE LIZARD
. (12A) 115min coo
Here's a rare chance for UK audiences to sample a populist Iranian film. Director Kamal Tabrizi's fish-out-of- water comedy The Lizard enjoyed
enormous box office success in its