WE HAVE WALKED THEIR BOULEVARDS WITH OUR EYES
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Michael Winterbottom's new film Genova makes the city the star once more. It's about time says Paul Dale
et's talk about cities. Those Rousseau-ian
abysses. those human zoos. those deserts of
loneliness. The modern city and cinema have always had a special relationship. one that after years of abuse has been reduced to hand gestures and cliche. The iconographic identities of London. New York. Paris. Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo (among many others) were not forged amongst the tar pits. scaffolding and metal joist swinging cranes of post war regeneration but in the picture houses. All those cities we never quite got around to visiting? It doesn't matter — we have walked their boulevards with our eyes.
Unsurprisingly. Michael Winterbottom’s new ﬁlm. Genoi'a is about a City. It's about that beautiful Ligurian (and Celt) stronghold we know as Genoa. But more importantly than that. it is a ﬁlm that seems to respond and channel the city it is set in.
Genova is the hypnotic tale of widower Joe (Colin Firth) and his relocation to the Italian city with his two young daughters. As the older teenage daughter ﬁnds solace in the attentions of the local boys. the younger one starts to see her dead mother. Written by Wonderland writer Laurence Coriat. Genoi'u is a fascinating ﬁlm and one of the very few that uses the mystery of coincidence and the supernatural to create a portrait of a living breathing city. Using Nic Roeg's brilliant 1973 film Don 't Look Now as an all too obvious template. Winterbottom treads that ﬁne line between horror and enigma. between terror and
inscrutability. Like Roeg‘s ﬁlm. Genora is full of
moments and scenes that suggest irrational forces.
44 Till LIST 19 Mar-2 Apr 2009
albeit forces that are always tempered by the delusions of grief.
(iciioi'u got me thinking about cities in ﬁlm. not just as a backdrop. bttt those ﬁlms where the city is the oracle and key to it all. a cry'ptogram of concrete and glass. I thought about San l‘t'ancisco in Hitchcock's Vertigo — the city seems empty. postmodern and soaked with some kind of eroto—manic spumc. ()r the Paris of (iodat‘d's l‘)(i~l Bum/e a port. the ()ttai Fernand Saguet river paths become a Huckleberry
Finn type character to our bipolar detectives. ()r
Saigon in Anh Hung 'l‘ran's remarkable I‘NS film (yr/o. the city every bit as riveted and hosted as Tony Leung's mad bad gangster. l-‘ellini‘s Rome in /.(l Dulce l'itu virtually gets given its own trailer and Seattle beats like Divine‘s diseased heart in Alan
Rudolph's criminally underrated coffee shop noir
Trouble in Mind. New York. or the demographic of it that Used to have all the money. is easily best served by its brooding. pulsing representation in Jonathan Glarer's grief and psychosis drama Birth la ﬁlm that shares blood ties with (ieiioi'ol. .\'o one. however. has done more city rights than \k'im Wenders and photographer Henri Alekan in ll'ings (If/)(Wfl't’. Berlin
emerges reborn from Le (‘arre‘s infamous garrison of
spies. rat pipers and cloaks and becomes the real city of angels — ethereal. beautiful and far from those Hollywood hills.
Genova, selected release from Fri 27 Mar. See review, page 47.
THE BEST FILM & DVD RELEASES
It i 3|! In the City of Sylvia Searching for love in Strasbowg. Catalan filmmaker Jose Luis Guerin's facinating experiment in cinematic space. See review. page 47. GFT. Glasgow, Sat 28—Tue 37 Mar. Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, Fri
3— Thu 9 Apr.
* Il Divo Labyrinthine but inspired biopic of long-serving Italian politician Giulio Andreotti. See reVIew, right. GFT, Glasgow and Cameo. Edinburgh, Fri 20 Mar.
* Barry Lyndon Kubrick's 1975 epic costume drama on lovely brand new print. See Also Released. page 48. Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, Fri
20- Thu 26 Mar.
* Genova Colin Firth mopes around spooky Genoa. See preview. left and review. page 47. Cinewor/d Rentrew Street, Glasgow, Fri 27 Mar. Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, from Fri 77 Apr.
* Tyson James Toback's surprisingly intelligent documentary about the boxing great. See review, page 46 and profile in listings. Selected release, Fri 27 Mar.
3|! Bronson Chopper goes vaudeville in bizarre biopic of the troubled prisoner. Selected release, out now.
Il‘ Wendy and Lucy Introspection and loneliness among a new breed of penniless American hobos. Selected release, out now.
* The Good, The Bad, The Weird Entertaining chow mein noodle western. Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, Mon 23—Sun 29 Mar.
III The Class Hey teacher. leave those kids alone. Ecole polemics. Selected release, out now.
It Splinter Good modern monster flick on DVD and Blu- ray. See Horror DVD roundup. p58. Out Mon 30 Mar (Icon).