CHE r to COACH CARTER (12A) 136mm 00

It“; Sha‘f"; Big Basketba 8* am which Sa'v‘uel L Jacksrn demonstrates just a little .e'satmt, t:. S‘.‘/ll(;l"lllf} from his C’J’li ir‘ir‘~:' r street persrria as ‘prigate-rtifiw a sex rrizichirle-Withall-the chicks" .J’,'t' Shaft. to the more ’l'irr‘ef;tir, role "2‘

Leach Carter, a yolatrle .nr‘e' “it. basketball coach .-."no takes )ff like a nuclear-powered rocket .'.’her‘ hes r:ourtside.

This is a riiore irrrnfortalrle fit for Jackson than his preaotis excursion into urban realism. as his hard-bitten city schoolteacher in Kf?l.’lll Reynolds don‘rnheat One [tight Sex/err. Jackson here again plays an embittered hut motivated er'lucational role model, struggling to get his redemptive

message across to gang—banger students. Coach Carter's story is palatany presented in the sugar- coated fashion of Dangerous Minds. wrth Carter's methods of transforming the lives of hrs wayward charges portrayed in a series of slick on-and- off court montages. But despite the attraction of fluently filmed basketball sequences. director Thomas Carter's simplistic approach to the social and educational issues involved makes this vacuous MTV-produced mowe fall well short of the basket. If avoiding the pitfalls of modern ghetto life were actually this easy. Coach Carter w0u|d never have had such problems in the first place. (Eddie Harrison)

I Gerier'a/ r'e/ease from Fri 25 Feb.


There's no doubting the honOurable intentions of director Nicole Kassell and screenwriter Steven Fechtei there adapting his own playl in the making of this Sympathetic study of a paedophile. And in Keyin Bacon. who plays Walter. who we meet returning to his unnamed blue-collar hometown to pick up his life after serying 12 years in prison. The ll/oodsman boasts a deeply impreSSive central performance that provides the film with dramatic weight. Crystallised in Bacon's unblinking ice-blue eyes. his thousand-yard stare captured

.‘T t?\w’"'“t' ‘sz'

t?llf:(‘ll‘.'(}l‘, r‘ a series ups :slossiongi'xiwiretap1a" awful kind “ll xiifii'lii- lt’s a "at"? “,1 l‘l(l‘fjt? of ar‘ting, Certainly Bati‘r‘r'si : est to date.

Surrounding \.'y"alter is a rkemse r‘ornpellino cast of sul‘ipor'tlru characters: Mos Def's polici- officer with a yeniletta; Beniarriin Bratt's ‘.'y’{llll‘y fr.endly brother-in lac. ariil Kan. Sedgy'.'ir:k's luniheryard «‘i‘w.'.r\rker .llli} new loner. \iValtei’s inte'arttion ‘.'.llr". these satisfyingly fleshed—i rut characters highlights both the tiouitie the reforming (‘lllllllléll has returning to society and the (lllllf‘illlly his olrl community has accepting a nun branded as a monster. What the filn‘ asks us to understand about Walter and in a broader sense. child sex offenders ~ is that demonising and ostracising such indiyiduals helps no one. neither criminal nor ‘.lt‘,l|ll‘.

In these craxed times of ii‘edia- fuelled mass hysteria about paedophilia it's a timely polenric. Shame. then. that Kassell and Fechtei almost blow it WIlll a simple-minded conclusion in which Walter finds some measure of redemption in a frankly rir'liculous act of goodness.

Nevertheless. this is powerful stuff. rlvliles Fielderl I Selected release from Fri 18 Feb. See feature, page 78.

ROM COM SHALL WE DANCE? (12A) 106mm no

This Hollywood feel-good fluff rey'rorks the 1996 Japanese box office-topping romantic comedy of the same name. glan‘rning things up With star billing and a sheen as dazzling Fred Astaire's footwork. With the action shifted from Tokyo to Chicago. Richard Gere plays the bored middle-aged. iiiii‘fdle-class white-collar family man yaho finds escape from the tedium of his life in art unlikely interest in ballroom dancmg. Jennifer Lopez is the fiery dance teacher who ignites the estate la~.-.§.er's passion in more ways than one. Susar‘ Sarandon plays the loxing '.‘-.ll€ ‘.-.ihc wonders where the paSSion in her marriage went. and why her husband's


TRIAL BY TABLOID Kaleen Aftab meets SlBEL KEKILLI, star of HEAD ON and the hottest young film actress in Europe who happens to be a former porn star.

When I first met Sibel Kekilli in Berlin last year, she was attracting universal acclaim for her debut performance in Fatih Akin’s Golden Bear-winning fourth feature Head On. In it she plays Sibel Gliner, a second generation Turkish-German woman who enters into a sham marriage with another Turkish-German so that she can appease her parents and secretly continue to live the life of a single Western girl. It’s a performance that is all the more amazing for the fact that she was ‘discovered’ walking around a Cologne supermarket. As we walked through a snow-lined Berlin, the 24-year-old told me: ‘I was shopping for my groceries. This woman came up to me and asked if I would like to be in a film. She said that it involved nudity. I told her that I did not

mind being naked for the screen.’

She reveals that she had no idea who director Fatih Akin was, despite the success the filmmaker had had in Germany with his films Short Sharp Shock and The Experiment. Shortly after meeting her, Akin knew

he had his lead actress.

Born in the pretty town of Heilbronn, Kekilli says that she worked occasionally as an administrator looking after garbage for the local council before landing the role. On her own upbringing she adds: ‘My parents are very open. I’ve always been very independent and anyway the more that people push me to do something, the more I rebel.’ It’s hard to imagine the diminutive lass as a fighter, especially when she talks affectionater about her favourite pastimes: ‘I enjoy going for a walk with my dog - it’s a German Shepherd - and listening to music.’ Kekilli has a striking smile, and the German media are in rapture over the way she has broken down the stereotype of how a second generation Turkish girl should behave.

Two days after I interview the actress, I and everyone else in Germany discover that Kekilli has a skeleton in her closet. The front page of German tabloid Bild led with the news story that Kekilli used to be a

porn star known as Dilara.

There was a huge fall-out from the story. Kekilli’s parents disowned her and some of the fanatical elements of the Turkish community used her past as another reason to denounce what they saw as a false ‘Westernised’ view of Turkish life. She was also vilified by the German media, so much so that Fatih Akin later told me: ‘In the end it all boils down to racism. I don’t think the media would have treated a white German actress with a similar past the same way.’ Kekilli proved she was a fighter. Picking up the Bambi award for best actress she reproached Bild for what she saw as a ‘media rape’. The tabloids let the story lie and it was time to appreciate her great performance once again.

I Head On opens at Fl/thUSQ. Edinburgh from Fri' 78 Feb. See review.

‘.‘.iorking late so often. And Stanley Tucci prandes the f,()ll‘l(; aSitfes as Gere's n‘ucn n‘alignerl (if.)‘.‘.<rl'm:l .vhc panes to be t'ootoose and fancy free OLllS'Clé,‘ of the office.

It's a bit hard to swallow these glarr‘oxir cusses cast as QUCFy’llltL‘ll and '.‘.o.rr‘er‘. and that does detract frori‘ the core llOl!(rf‘ of the But 0.6:.” if as a result the rerr‘ake doeer share the same charir‘ as the original. it works well earl-Ugh a piece c"

diyertir‘g eS'faszrr‘. urhrcr‘ ecrr‘es

corriplete .‘vllll a thoroughly doorl natured erirlirirl.

British director Peter Chelsorri proves to be an inspired chOIce. Dressing the filrr: ‘.‘/ll.’l an eye-pleasing kitsch retro look and sprinkling the proceedings with rrtoments of eccentric humour, he recalls his fine earlier filrns. Hear My Song and Funny Bones. and once again indulges his fondness for his hometown. Blackpool. the Mecca of ballroorri dancing. ll‘AllQ‘S Fielderi I General release from Fri 78 Feb.

My 23'3". THE LIST 49