HISTORICAL DRAMA TRILOGY: THE WEEPING MEADOW
(PG) 162min (Artificial Eye retail) 0...
, O m This is the first part in Theo Angelopoulos' epic journey through the history of 20th century Greece. In this story of Russian refugees fleeing to Greece after the Red Army invade their Odessa homeland. he doesn't offer up a story: he puts together a work of tragic visual elegance. As in Voyage to Cythera. Ulysses' Gaze and Eternity and a Day. Angelopoulos creates images that stay in the mind but don't resemble the mundane image checklist of most filmmakers.
For example, there is the scene where the village is flooded. and the moment when all the village's sheep are shown hanging from a tree. Angelopoulos has been described as the last great modernist. and in an age of the digital image. he remains dedicated to the beauty of film. Extras include a fine interview with the director.
(Nouveau Pictures retail) 0.”.
Fellini's bleakly comic satire of middle-class male ennui was his first true masterpiece and one of the genuinely great Italian films of the 1950s.
In the director's first film to be set around his hometown of Rimini. Fellini casts a caustic. though essentially
I ViteIIOhi "Whom. "W... A
sympathetic. eye over the lives of five friends in a small provincial town and their pursuit of amusement. Desperate for a sense of identity and purpose. they all harbour individual. half- hearted ambitions to escape as they while away their time between each others' houses. the pool hall. the beach and the local cinema. Massively influential (famously on Scorsese and Allen). the film is beautifully shot and features a wonderful score from regular Fellini collaborator, Nino Rota. Despite the absence of significant extras on this DVD edition, this is simply unmissable. (Pasquale lannone)
FANTASY DRAMA GIULIETTA DEGLI SPIRITI (15) 1 29min
(Nouveau Pictures retail) a...
1965's Giu/ietta deg/i
spiriti, like La Strada and
Le notti di Cabiria. was conceived by Fellini especially for his wife Giulietta Masina. Fellini‘s protagonist — a repressed bourgeois housewife — attempts to grapple with her neuroses as she is besieged by a bizarre collection of ‘spirits' (including nuns and Nazi generals) as well as an eccentric batch of friends and relatives.
A film in which past. present and future
collide in a whirlpool of fantasy and imagination, Giu/ietta is too often overshadowed by more widely known Fellini classics such as La Do/ce Vita and 81/2. It is. however, a significant film in the director's 40 year career. Using colour for the very first time on a full-length feature. Fellini uses his new palette brilliantly, the bright blues. reds and yellows concocting a dreamy, ethereal ambience rarely matched in any of his subsequent films. Minimal extras. (Pasquale lannone)
PELLE THE CONOUEROR (15) 157min (Anchor Bay retail) 0000
Revuews GLASGOW SITCOM MEET THE MAGOONS Channel 4, Fri 19 Aug, 9.30pm 0..
Forget everything you‘ve heard. Channel 4's Meet the Magoons — while
. ' . scripted by and starring
Before Danish filmmaker Bille August became a director of inter-puddings like Smi/la '8 Feeling for Snow and The House of the Spirits. he directed a couple of impressive epics that captured the broad sweep of family history. This is one of those films. At the end of the 19th century a widower and his son leave impoverished Sweden for a better life in Denmark.
August is at pains to show the difficulties in the day to day life of immigrants. but doesn‘t completely reject the possibility of a better life being available. With Max von Sydow as the father. and August utilising the always excellent Swedish cameraman J‘Orgen Persson. this late 80s Oscar winner (for best foreign language film). remains w0rth catching. Minimal extras.
British Asians — has about as much in
common with 5 Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars as Rab
C Nesbitt has with The Good Life. In fact. Hardeep Singh Kohli’s six-part series owes a greater debt of influence
; to the ensemble
clowning of The Three
Stooges or even Men ‘ Behaving Badly.
The action revolves
around an Indian
restaurant. the Spice of
Life. and the adventures , of four bickering young Glaswegian Asians.
Much of the humour is
derived from the
incompetence of this
gang of tour, with the emphasis being on visual chuckles rather
than verbal intricacies;
the quartet frequently
end up either naked or
stranded or both.
There's quite a bit of ‘ padding. but some of . the gang's cock-ups are
well worth a laugh.
’ (Allan Radcliffe) RELIGIO
N DOCUMENTARY GO ’ ROTTWEILER Channel 4, Mon 22 Aug, 8pm .00
; At a time when inter- faith relations are of
. supreme import. this
documentary examines the potential fall-out from the appointment of conservative reactionary Pope Benedict XVI by means of a quick run through the life and career of this new spiritual power. We are taken thr0ugh the events and philosophy that shaped Joseph Ratzinger into someone who was once deemed
to be a church radical
but who now is now acknowledged as John Paul II's enforcer, his worrying track record on gay rights. women's lib and paedophile priests is especially highlighted.
There is little revelation
in this charting of
Ratzinger‘s shift to the right. and the wider context of fundamentalism in other
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religions is scarcely addressed. Though the questions that arise over the future of Catholic relations with wider society have some merit. this expose limits its focus to what this appointment will mean to Catholicism rather than the world at large. (Mark Edmundson)
SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY TAXIDERMY: STUFF THE WORLD
BBCZ, Mon 22 Aug, 9pm 00.
In the run-up to the World Taxidermy Championships. the process of selecting. skinning and mounting various competitors' pieces forms the basis of this interesting. if somewhat unsavoury. documentary. The subject matter ranges from the freakish and unsettling to the utterly gross. both in terms of imagery and the attitudes of the taxidermy cast.
We meet a woman with a collection of mounted genitalia. a man who reCreates extinct or endangered animals from more widely available specimens and a nine- year-old girl on her first deer hunt. Meanwhile. the soul of the film manifests itself in the story of an evangelical Swiss man. pushing the envelope in the stuffing of impossibly small fish. and who begins to question the merit of his craft in spiritual terms. Needless to say. with some gruesome scenes and deeply worrying characters abounding. it would be advisable to make sure your supper has settled.