Marrying Britain's honourable tradition of dystopian SCi-fi (The War of the Worlds. Brave New World. 7984) with the eco documentary form (A Crude Awakening. An lnconvenient Truth. The 1 7th Hour). Franny McLibe/ Armstrong's film is an aesthetically pragmatic. ethically dogmatic attempt to save the world. More or less a documentary study telling Six stories from four continents. the film's strength lies in their variety two of which suggest self-conscious awareness from the position of comfort; and two the ambivalence involved in doing one's bit, and the remaining two from peOple deprived of status and power and who could benefit from a greater equity of the world’s resources. As the filmmakers talk to people from England. France. the US. India. Iraq and Africa. so one sees the need for a rainbow coalition if we're to live much beyond 2055. Which is where the sci-fi comes in as framing device, with Pete Postlethwaite playing a character looking after the Global Archive in the future near the now melted Arctic. as the film becomes an extended suicide note about the human race's death drive. The film isn‘t quite as despairing as all that. and the SCi-fi element is clearly a device to give us all a kick up the backside and do more to stop the raping of planetary reSOurces. Consumers of the world unite. The Age of Stupid proposes. We have nothing to lose but our impulse buys and quick fix identity products, many of which promptly find themselves in landfills in China anyway. (Tony McKibbin) I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, and selected release, Fri' 20 Mar.


After the pleasung sideswipes featured in Alexander Payne's Sideways. the comic possibilities of wine-snobbery are placed firmly at the centre of Randall Miller's Bottle Shock, which purports to tell the true story behind the sudden rise to prominence of the Californian vino industry. Miller's script. co-written With Jody Savrn. focuses on various characters liVing and working in the Napa Valley vineyards in the bicentennial year of 1976. Weaving multiple plot strands in a manner Similar to his anodyne 2005 film Mary/in Hotchklss 's Ballroom Dancrng 8 Charm School. Miller attempts to build up to the blind-tasting finale by focusing on a wide canvas of characters in an attempt to provide the varied cultural mix of Robert Altman's Nashville. After introducing Alan Rickman as entrepreneurial British wine-expert Steven Spurrier. Miller widens his scope to feature the strained relationship between local vineyard boss Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his son 80 (Chris Pine, soon to be Captain Kirk in the forthcoming Star Trek movie). And there's a further sub- plot involving Bo's battle with Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez) for the attentions of pretty intern Sam (Rachel Taylor). Miller and Savin get some obvious comic mileage from various cliched culture clashes. but apart from Rickman's delicately poised evocation of a pretentious wine buff with a secret penchant for fried chicken, the forced laughs of Bottle Shock more resemble passable supermarket plonk than a fine vintage. (Eddie Harrison)

I General release from Fri 20 Mar.

MYSTERY DRAMA GENOVA (15) 93min 0000 With his latest work. filmmaker Michael V. interbt‘ttoi‘w dc“ literature of mystery. c0incidence and Suggestion. t‘XtVHIWTICJ ii‘ the six"? St." es of WW Jacobs iThe Monkey '5 Raw. i, Saki and Dar‘hr‘e Du Mat/rev Followmg the Sudden death of his wife. uptul‘d Brit profess." up t p " mt moves his daughters to the Italian Cli‘, of Genoa to Start a r‘e.. '9 its the, gay.» in. the labyrinthine baroque Cit\ begins to hate a bet‘uliar Met". a" my" We" and then the yoLingest. Mary iPerla Hanex -Jaruinei starts seeing .iead :xwriitt Slow. beautiful, graxe and a little bit forbidding Gerxila is a real addt. ’.‘i a modern audience It's an occult horror Without mut‘h occult twin" A'vvcavs 1 questions are left hanging as the film begins to ‘ook like the .wk .l" ".i‘. ".l v0yeur. It is. however. certainly unsettling and the memt‘v". f tin-r: "at” Elliptically written by Laurence lt/ohderlan.) Cariat. Creams s the k ".1 unfathomable material that good actors rush to them and Firth is Superb as a grieving husband and as his boy-crazy teenage daughter is also a gift . a unreason. Catherine Keener, Hope Da‘vIS are ter'it'. Winterbottom and regular cameraman Marcel X.sk:nd tar‘kii‘ flw- t'w' ' . seaport like hungry tOuristS caught in a mam. Pat. Dan» I Cinewor'ld Renfrew Street. Glasgow Fri 37 Afar ."iirr‘ritiuw, fu " Apr. See feature.

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Twenty five years ago the philosopher Gilles Deleuze said that if we see very few things in the image, it’s that we don’t know how to read it properly. Recently, cognitive psychologists have proved the point through rigorous testing: ‘these experiments suggest that film viewers have only minimal commitment to the particular details that inhabit filmic space.’

What has all this to do with José Luis Guerin’s fascinating and brilliant In the City of Sylvia? Quite a lot if we consider that Guerin is as interested in the richness of cinematic space as in the furtherance of a character-driven story. Paying great attention to the sights and sounds of Strasbourg, Guerin creates less a central character (Xavier Lafitte) than a passive receptacle for the absorption of that filmic space. As the young artist wanders round its streets, sits in cafes sketching the faces of people who hold his attention, or searches for the Sylvia of the title, so the film offers an essay on perception. In most films we know by the end the outcome of the story but know almost nothing about the space in which it’s been filmed: Guerin reverses this hierarchy. Indeed the film would make a great double bill with the knowingly spatially lazy Vicky Cristina Barcelona as Woody Allen pushes the story along at a brisk pace and allows us only to see the titular city’s highlights.

A Barcelona-born experimental filmmaker in his late 405 working in both documentary and fiction, Guerin is a playful and intelligent filmmaker. Anyone who has seen his 2001 film about reconstructing a city space En Construccion, or his astonishing Train of Shadows from 1997, about an amateur silent filmmaker from the past who goes missing and whose footage is explored in the present, will recognise a master. So many films have the air of sightseeing, with the images ticked off on our way to the next plot point; Guerin dawdles over his as he allows In the City of Sylvia to become an unhurried delight. (Tony McKibbin)

I GFT, Glasgow, Sat 28-Tue 37 Mar. Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh, Fri 3— Thu 9 Apr

19 MEN—2 Apr 290’: THE LIST 47