Wayne Wang ' Director of Anywhere But Here

Although Wayne Wang is part of the Hong Kong New Wave and his third feature, Dim Sum: A Little Bit Of Heart premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, the American émigré director is probably best known for his two films with writer Paul Auster, the art house gems Smoke and Blue In The Face. His new film, Anywhere But Here, starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, covers similar emotional territory.

‘Smoke was about fathers and sons, Anywhere But Here is about mothers and daughters,’ notes Wang. ‘Smoke is about storytelling, Anywhere But Here is about a young teenager telling the story of how she wants to get away from her mother. They're both very stripped down movies about characters. With Anywhere But Here, I felt that there was an emotional journey. It can be a very intense relationship between a mother and a daughter: the dependence, the love and hate, the contradictions.

'T he chemistry between Susan and Natalie was there

Stripping down melodrama: Susan Sarandon and Wayne Wang on location for Anywhere But Here

preview FILM Film Reference Books

Time Out Film Guide Eight

Halliwell’s Film And Video Guide 2000 Variety International Film Guide 2000 The Eighth Virgin Film Guide

A few years back film guides could justifiably be called stocking fillers; now they'd take the bottom out of the sturdiest pillow case. The best of the lot, Time Out Film Guide Eight (Pengurn £14.99 it it t i i) has

i , grown by 400 pages in four years,

' taking in films which have recently

received or are awaiting a general release. In its pages you can find The Limey, Ratcatcher and such unreleased Cannes winners as Rosetta and L’Humanite. Hell, you can find films here that might never get a release:

Johnny Depp's directorial debut The i

Brave, say. None of these films is given

a mention in Hal/iwe/l’s Film And

Video Guide 2000 Edition (Harper Collins £19.99 * ink) for all its bold

proclamations about its year 2000

1 status. But then Hal/iwe/l’s is much

immediately and I didn’t want to use it up,’ continues I

Wang, 'so we didn't rehearse a lot. We just started

camera invisible and the two of them in the same frame. Often, with close up and close up, the chemistry is created in cutting the two together, but in our case they're in one frame immediately reacting to one

more detailed in its credits, right? Not any longer, Time Out's Ratcatcher review Will tell you who wrote the

3 film, directed it, photographed it, shooting, in sequence, to keep it fresh. It's deceptively f simple, but we shot the movie in a way that really ; captures what Susan and Natalie do. We kept the 3

another. Also, I don't see this as a small movie about i two people, that's why I put it on Cinemascope. There's

no landscape as such, but Natalie and Susan’s faces are fascinating landscapes.’

Domestic drama writ large on the big screen smacks of Hollywood melodrama, which comparison Wang is happy to draw. 'I grew up with melodrama; my father

was a big Douglas Sirk fan. And Chinese films are big-

time dopey melodramas. I chose to work in that genre because its very much part of my sensibility, but at the same time subvert it. I want to make a truly larger than life Douglas Sirk type picture one day.’ (Miles Fielder)

I Anywhere But Here opens Fri 3 Dec. See review, page 23.

' Big boss man:

Mark lllsey gets to grip with a coupla cons on location in Happy, Texas

studio. We were nobody, we were losers,’ growls lllsley, a big man who looks more suited to wrestling bears in the woods. ’In the last few years leading up to this movie my career had

telemarketer in a hair replacement So we made the movie because we

had to change our lives. We thought the script would be nothing more than

this really great cast together, my

the budget and our window of

Mark lllsley

Director/co-writer of Happy, Ll'exas

The thing about writer/director/ producer team Mark lllsley and Ed Stone's feature debut, Happy, Texas is that it’s fun. Two convicts, escaped from a chain gang, masquerade as gay lovers and are forced to orchestrate a children’s' beauty pageant in the eponymous small Texan town. A redneck setting and jokes about homosexuality and gender bending the humour could have fallen flat, or, 'worse, descended into homophobia.

Instead, it's fun. As lllsley says, ’We’re not satirical, we’re not cynical, we're not poking fun at anybody it's a very generous, gentle movie.’

With Jeremy Northam, Steve Zahn, William H. Macy and Illeana Douglas topping to the cast, Happy, Texas is guaranteed considerable audience appeal for a low budget ($1.7 million) film. But, although Happy, Texas had an early indication of success at the Sundance Film Festival, it hasn’t always been such plain sailing for the filmmakers.

’We weren’t hired to write a screenplay. We hadn't sold an idea to a

opportunity what I call the moment

of critical mass came around and we began filming.’

Cheeky, good-natured and sporting hilarious performances, Happy, Texas plays like a modern-day Some Like It Hot. 'Actually, the film we had in mind

was Tootsie,’ says lllsley. ’The shifting 5

back and forth of the masculinity is something we played around a lot with, but we never have the characters play up any gay stereotypes. In Happy, Texas everyone's accepted for who they are.’ (Miles Fielder)

l Happy, Texas opens Fri 3 Dec. See review, page 23.

edited it and was responsible for its production design. It will also give you a personal critique from somebody who knows their stuff. The reviews, culled from Time Out weekly listings

magazine (let’s call it London’s The

List) is a veritable who’s who of metropolitan journalism.

So can the others compete? The Variety International Film Guide 2000 (Faber £15.99 * *t‘k) doesn't try. It's agenda is straight-forward and long-standing: for 35 years it’s given a detailed account of the year in world cinema. It gives you all the awards won, and more specially has three to

four pages on key releases in every

filming country, summed up by an

expert in the field.

‘£16.99 *‘kl,

turned off. I was working as a

company. I was pretty damn depressed.

a home movie, but, eventually, we got ,

family took out personal loans to cover ,

That leaves us with the The Eighth Virgin Film Guide (Virgin Books one of the more superfluous tomes on my shelf. Its most useful attribute lies in credit info. If you want to know the full name of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Jackie Brown, the Virgin Film Guide is the place to look. But then for all its added detail, it bashfully refuses to tell us how many films it includes. I would guess around 3000, compared to Time Out’s 12,700 and Ha/liwe/l’s huge, if scanty, trawl of 23,000.

(Tony McKibbin)

lfl)l Ill) BY JOHN \N-lex {ll

.- \ i l‘: . r "

2-16 Dec 1999 THE U921