Film INDEX PROFILE
PATRICK KEILLER Born Blackpool, England, 1950
Background A graduate of art and architecture, Keiller was inspired to make films by Chris Marker’s La Jetée. Keiller’s films, beginning with the 1981 short Stonebridge Park and continuing with the features London (1994) and Robinson in Space (1997), have been compared to early work by his contemporary Peter Greenaway. However, Keiller’s use of subjective camerawork, slyly witty voice-overs, free-associative ‘narrative’ and his engagement with art, economics, history, geography and sociology to produce a polemical but playful commentary on the state of the nation make his film essays absolutely unique. His latest feature is once again comprised of footage shot by Keiller’s fictional alter ego, the titular Robinson. What he’s up to now When he’s not making a film, being a research fellow at London’s Royal College of Art.
On Robinson in Ruins ‘I started in January 2008, very near where I live, and continued until November, following a more or less elliptical circuit that never extended much beyond about thirty miles away. It turned out, however, that this small area of southern England included several sites of anti-enclosure rebellion and riot, as well as the coaching inn where the Speenhamland system of poor relief was famously devised in 1795, a key moment in the development of industrial capitalism. It also included Greenham Common, Aldermaston, the former Rocket Propulsion Establishment and what remains of the Morris car factory at Cowley all of which speak very eloquently of the role of the United States in UK foreign policy since World War Two. As the 2008 banking crisis unfolded, the film gained a very specific context.’ Interesting fact Keiller’s previous film, a made-for-television documentary about UK housing narrated by Tilda Swinton and titled The Dilapidated Dwelling, has not been broadcast since it was completed in 2000. (Miles Fielder) ■ Robinson in Ruins, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Fri 10–Mon 13 Dec.
48 THE LIST 2–16 Dec 2010
Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate, star rating, credits, brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Paul Dale ✽✽ Indicates Hitlist entry
After Winter Comes Spring (Winter Ade) (12) (Helke Misselwitz, East Germany, 1988) 116min. Misselwitz is one of the few female East German documentary filmmakers to have risen to prominence. Here she studies women of different ages and from different social backgrounds, and hints that the official image of equality in the GDR was far from perfect. Part of East Side Stories season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Alice (PG) ●●●●● (Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic, 1988) Krist_na Kohoutová. 85min. Hyper-real puppet and stop frame animation version of the Carroll classic by brilliant Czech filmmaker Svankmajer, in which Alice makes her way through a harsh dreamscape. Cruel, childlike and fantastical, Disney it definitely isn’t. Part of Childish Things season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Alpha & Omega 2D (U) ●●●●● (Anthony Bell/Ben Gluck, US, 2010) Voices of Hayden Pannetierre, Christina Ricci, Justin Long. 87min. Cutesy and unremarkable lupine rom-com featuring Kate (Panettiere) and Humphrey (Long), wolves from opposite ends of the social spectrum who find that they have more in common than they thought after being removed from their pack by some meddlesome rangers. Selected release. Alpha & Omega 3D (U) ●●●●● (Anthony Bell/Ben Gluck, US, 2010) Voices of Hayden Pannetierre, Christina Ricci, Justin Long. 87min. See above. Showcase Cinema, Paisley.
✽✽ The American (15) ●●●●● (Anton Corbijn, US, 2010) George
Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten. 104min. Assassin Jack (Clooney) retreats to the Italian countryside following an attempt on his life. He befriends a priest and a prostitute who try to convince him to change his ways. Meanwhile, however, his pursuers are closing in. Simplistic and effective cinema from Control director Corbijn. General release. Another Year (12A) ●●●●● (Mike Leigh, UK, 2010) Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Peter Wight. 129min. This bittersweet examination of middle-aged life gently unfolds over the seasons. Dealing with themes from death to marriage to depression and the search for happiness, the life cycle is enhanced by many fantastic performances. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. At the Volta with James Joyce (E) (Various, 1909) 120min. A selection of the films screened by James Joyce at the cinema he briefly ran in Dublin in 1909. With a talk from film historian Luke McKernan and live musical accompaniment. Glasgow Film Theatre. Berlin: Ecke Schönhauser (Berlin: Schönhauser Corner) (PG) (Gerhard Klein, East Germany, 1957) Ekkehard Schall, Harry Engel, Ernst-Georg Schwill. 78min. Film set in the working class Prenzlauer Berg district of East Berlin, which was then still under communist rule. Part of East Side Stories season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. The Bitter Tea of General Yen (PG) ●●●●● (Frank Capra, US, 1933) Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori. 98min. Bizarre and sumptuous melodrama in which a missionary’s wife is taken hostage and falls in love with her warlord captor. Part of Capra season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Born in 45 (15) (Jurgen Bottcher, East Germany, 1965) 94min. Bottcher’s first film was a ‘vérité’ style documentary that went against typical East German cinema aesthetics by using non-professional actors and real locations – in this case, urban slums. Despite the director’s obvious, almost poetic talent, the film was banned for its ‘glorification of the perverse’. Part of East Side Stories season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
Break Ke Baad (PG) ●●●●● (Danish Aslam, India, 2010) Deepika Padukone, Imran Khan, Sharmila Tagore. 125min. Coming of age romantic comedy from India about two childhood sweethearts who try and keep their love alive despite separation. Music by Vishal Shekhar and Prasoon Joshi. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow; Cineworld Fountainpark, Edinburgh. Burke and Hare (15) ●●●●● (John Landis, UK, 2010) Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher. 100min. A darkly comic retelling of the tale of Edinburgh’s most notorious murderous residents, Williams Burke (Pegg) and Hare (Serkis), and their quest to supply doctors with fresh bodies for their experiments, from director Landis who proved he had a deft touch with horror comedy in An American Werewolf in London. Selected release. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 2D (U) ●●●●● (Brad Peyton, USA/Australia, 2010) Voices of James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate. 82min. Hairless sphinx cat Kitty decides to enslave humans. Likeable but instantly forgettable sequel to 2001’s live action adventure Cats & Dogs. Cineworld Fountainpark, Edinburgh. Chico & Rita (15) ●●●●● (Javier Mariscal/Fernando Trueba, Spain/UK, 2010) Mario Guerra, Limara Meneses, Eman Xor Ona. 93min. Beautiful Spanish adult animation relating the bolero romance of a young aspiring pianist and fledgling singer who fall in love in 1940s Havana and later meet again as their careers take them across the world from Paris to Hollywood. Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow; Cameo, Edinburgh. Childish Things (15) (Various) 77min. A programme of shorts selected to tie in with the current exhibition of the same name at the city’s Fruitmarket Gallery exploring themes of childhood in art. Includes Jan Svankmajer’s Punch and Judy and Down to the Cellar, and Keith Griffiths’ The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. A Christmas Story (PG) ●●●●● (Bob Clark, US, 1983) Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon. 98min. Christmas is coming and our young hero desperately wants a certain type of toy gun from Santa. Appealing 1940s-set memoir, with a witty first person narration and a great performance from the bespectacled child star. Glasgow Film Theatre. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 2D (PG) (Michael Apted, US, 2010) Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Tilda Swinton. 112min. See Also Released, page 47. General release. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 3D (PG) (Michael Apted, US, 2010) Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Tilda Swinton. 112min. See above. General release. Coming Out (15) (Heiner Carow, East Germany, 1989) Mathias Friehof, Dagmar Mazel, Dirk Kummer, Michael Gwisdek. 109min. In pre-united Berlin, a high school teacher tries hard to settle into heterosexual ‘normality’, and even marries a fellow teacher, but finds himself unable to resist his attraction to a younger man. Set in an environment where horrifying queer bashing is almost acceptable behaviour, this is a brave, honest and hard-hitting movie, even if its message is somewhat simplistically articulated. Part of East Side Stories season. Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Cyrus (15) ●●●●● (Jay Duplass/Mark Duplass, US, 2010) John C Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei. 102min. A romcom which, under normal circumstances, would render its own plot unfathomable, is saved by its mumblecore genre: unconventional, low-budget and mostly improvised. Man meets woman with unhealthy mother/son relationship, but the characters are believable and result in an awkward, but breathtakingly truthful story. Cameo, Edinburgh. Death Rides a Horse (15) ●●●●● (Giulio Petroni, Italy, 1967) Lee Van Cleef, John Philip Law, Luigi Pistilli. 114min. Screening in an ultra-rare widescreen 35mm print, this spaghetti western is a surreal and sumptuous gothic revenge tale. A Psychotronic Cinema presentation. Glasgow Film Theatre. Despicable Me 2D (U) (Pierre Coffin/Chris Renaud, US, 2010) Voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand. 94min. Universal’s latest offering is a good- humoured tale of a curmudgeonly aspiring supervillain (Carrell) whose wicked ways are transformed when the three orphaned girls he adopts to help him steal the moon end up capturing his heart instead. Engaging, if not quite a classic. General release. Despicable Me 3D (U) (Pierre Coffin/Chris Renaud, US, 2010) Voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand. 94min. See above. Selected release. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (PG) ●●●●● (Thor Freudenthal, US, 2010) Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris. 92min. The inevitable adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s illustrated novel about wise- cracking schoolchild Greg (Gordon) may not be able to transfer all the charm of the literary bestseller but it is likeable, bright and funny. Cineworld Parkhead, Glasgow. Due Date (15) ●●●●● (Todd Phillips, US, 2010) Robert Downey Jr, Zach Gilifianakis. 95min. This attempt to re- capture the success of previous Phillips/Galifianakis hit The Hangover falls flat with an anti-buddy road trip movie in which expectant father (Downey Jr) has to rush cross-country to the birth with annoying passenger (Galifianakis) in tow. Downey Jr is watchable, but he’s about the only thing that is. General release. Eat Pray Love (PG) ●●●●● (Ryan Murphy, US, 2010) Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, James Franco. 139min. Self- indulgent schmaltzfest starring Julia Roberts as a New York writer who embarks on a journey of self-discovery across some of the world’s most photogenic locations, featuring an adequate turn from Javier Bardem as the Brazilian divorcee who captures her heart. A superficial yet bloated travelogue destined for popularity amongst tour operators. Odeon at the Quay, Glasgow. An Evening of Films by Murray Grigor (E) (Murray Grigor, UK, Various) 90min. Two films by writer, filmmaker, artist and academic Grigor featuring the beautiful, abandoned St Peter’s Seminary building at Cardross. Glasite Meeting House, Edinburgh. Freakonomics (12A) (Heidi Ewing/Alex Gibney/Seth Gordon/Rachel Grady/Eugene Jarecki/Morgan Spurlock, US, 2010) Greg Crowe, Jade Viggiano, Zoe Sloane. 93min. Six different documentary directors adapt Steven Levitt's seminal investigation into 'the hidden side of everything.' Cameo, Edinburgh. Future Shorts (E) (Various) 90min. An international initiative offering a monthly showcase of the finest short films from around the world. This screening features the best of 2010, including music videos from OK Go and Michel Gondry, and stop- motion animation The Lost Tribes of New York. Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh. GRAMNet Screening: My Beloved Sulukule and The Romany King (E) (Various) 90min. Glasgow Refugee, Asylum & Migration Network presents two films about gypsy communities in Europe. CCA, Glasgow. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (15) ●●●●● (Daniel Alfredson, Sweden/Denmark/Germany, 2009) Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre. 146min. The adaptation of the last installment of Stieg Larsson’s trio of vengeance chronicles sees Lisbeth Salander (the awesome Rapace) on trial for murder, with loyal journo-sidekick Blomkvist (Nyman) trying his best to help. Catch it before the spurious US remake dribbles its way onto the screen. General release. Gremlins (15) ●●●●● (Joe Dante, US, 1984) Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates. 106min. Cute and cuddly little mogwais become malevolent monsters if not properly cared for and wreak havoc in idealised small town America. Resistible horror comedy, never as funny as it thinks it is. Glasgow Film Theatre.