John Wayne Western The Sons of Katie Elder into an urban setting. leading to barely credible shoot-em- ups that belong in a video game.

Kind and gentle foster mother Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) is gunned down in a liquor-store shooting. upsetting then angering her grown-up charges. Bobby (Mark Wahlberg). Angel (Tyrese Gibson). Andre’ (Andre Benjamin) and Jack (Garret Hedlund).

Happy to operate outside of the law. the boys grab hold of their crowbars. pump-action shotguns and sub- machine guns to meet out rough justice to the money-grubbing perpetrators.

Despite some token references to the US Cultural and racial divides (“black men can‘t get what they want in America. why should you?‘ announces a masked assassin in the chilling opening massacre). Four Brothers ends up as a lightweight revenge fantasy that has as much street-cred as a James Bond film. Wearing its testosterone-fuelled camaraderie on its sleeve. there's plenty of action to cheer in Wahlberg‘s laconic hunt-down of the baddies. but bear in mind that Singleton. bereft of serious ideas if not visceral talent. now appears to have nothing more to offer than plenty of bang for yOur buck. (Eddie Harrison)

I General release from Fri 30 Sep.


A vibrant feel-good drama about female genital mutilation might s0und an unlikely proposition. but that's what the 80-something Senegalese director Ousmane Xa/a Sembene pulls off wrth this exuberant parable. the second in his trilogy of films ab0ut heroism in everyday life.

The setting is a small Muslim village without electricity in Burkina Faso. where four y0ung girls. fleeing from their circumcision ceremony. seek refuge at the house of Colle (Fatournata Coulibaly). who several years earlier refused to allow her own teenage daughter Amasatou (Salimata Traore) to be subjected to the practice. Colle grants the quartet the right of protection (the moolaade of the title). and ties a multi-coloured cord across her courtyard to ward off evil spirits. But her decision incenses the male elders of the community. who believe that a woman must be 'purified' before


The Marxist Sembene doesn't gloss over the suffering endured by his female protagonist in her courageous defiance of the patriarchal order. showing her being publicly whipped by her husband. It's obvious with whom Sembene's sympathies lie he has dedicated the film to ‘the women who struggle to abolish the legacy of bygone days' it's to his credit that Moo/aade is much more than a piece of simplistic agit-prop. Events are infused with a powerful vitality through songs. dancing. and the laughter shared by many of the characters.

And the images (particularly the

stunning bonfire of confiscated radios) underline the words of one woman “our men want to lock up our minds'. Moolaade is a masterful work. which eloquently conveys the central conflict between tradition and modernity in our ' global economy. (Tom Dawson)

I Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 23— Thu 29 Sep.


Miles Fielder talks to the busiest woman in Scottish film, W and theatre, ELEANOR YULE.

Glasgow-based film, television and theatre writer-director Eleanor Yule (pictured) is kind of sick of talking about her feature debut, Blinded. It’s not that she isn’t proud of the film, which its star Peter Multan has called, ‘a big, fuck-off Gothic melodrama’, it’s just that it’s taken over a year to secure a distribution deal, and that comes after a five-year slog to develop the script, raise a tiny budget and shoot.

‘It’s been a long haul and the release is limited,’ Yule says about Blinded finally seeing the light of day, ‘but there’s nothing like seeing your work on the big screen.’

Yule, who has also been directing theatre, earned her stripes in television, most notably as director for a series of arts documentaries for BBC Scotland with her friend Michael Palin. The most recent offering, Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershoi - about the overlooked titular Danish artist - was broadcast a couple of months ago. Having learned the fundamentals of storytelling thus, Yule tried her hand at film. Following a tortuous development process, she wrote the final draft of Blinded in three weeks (while minding her kids), shot the film in roughly the same time, edited it into shape for its duel premieres at last year’s Celtic Film and Television Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival and finally out the cinema trailer herself.

But the experience hasn’t put Yule off filmmaking, quite the contrary, in fact. Since making Blinded she’s begun teaching scriptwriting classes in Glasgow, and she has two more film projects in the pipeline. One, Laura, is about a female war journalist returning from Iraq. The other, All Summer! Thought of You, is an adaptation of an Irish novel. “It’s about a woman who comes around in a barn and has no idea who she is,’ Yule says. ‘All she has as a clue is a suitcase with hundreds of thousands of pounds in it, a passport with her photo and a foreign name and a safety deposit key - she starts on her journey to find out who she is.’

No rest for the wicked, then.

I Blinded opens at Cinewor/d, Renfrew Street, Glasgow and Cinewor/d, Edinburgh from Fri 30 Sep. see review page 42.


A hardcore exploration of the post- Soviet soul. replete with dolls made from bread masticated by the tired jaws of toothless. ageing villagers. post-industrial vistas and the obligatory barking dogs. director llya Khrzhanovsky‘s debut feature (after the excellent 1999 short StOp) is entirely fresh and yet respectful of tradition. He seems to have absorbed Tarkovsky's Stalker. works by Bela Tarr and Kira Muratova's The Asthenic Syndrome in his attempt to offer up a depiction of modern life lived dangerously close to being bereft of spirit and reason. Here. at the film's outset. fOur characters hang out in a late-night bar dismissing, amongst other things. the issue of cloning. all the while telling stories that never quite resemble the truth.

Astutely photographed by three different cameramen covering the painterly early scenes to the documentary—ster later ones. and with i I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 23— a startlingly vivid and varied Thu 29 Sep only. See interview, page soundtrack. Khrzhanovsky is one of i 4 7. those filmmakers who has a 'vision'. _ .

You might ask what the film's about TALES as if the director has some message to 1 (12A) 118mm .. peddle but that would be to miss the

point. Better to go with the film's enveloping atmosphere as a series of vignettes lead to a surprisingly l cumulative whole. In willingly sacrificing story to atmosphere and theme. the film packs a punch even if you can't quite say where the blow l comes from. This is in keeping. perhaps. with the director's view that i the Russians themselves have taken quite a beating over the last few years.

4 isn‘t just a film about recent Russian 1 life. it's a work that in its use of sound

and image forces the viewer to feel something of that impact. One of the most interesting films of the year. (Tony McKibbin)

profile brands as Adidas. perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that the

. handsomely budgeted Goa/l should

end up resembling an extended advert

for what Pele called the “beautiful game'. With real life superstars Alan

Shearer. David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane popping up in cameo roles.

. this first film in a proposed footballing trilogy serves up a highly sanitised view of top-level sport.

. The script by Dick Clement and Ian

La Frenais presents a conventional rags-to-riches account of a good-

looking and exceptionally talented

young player Santiago Nunez (Kuno

Becker). who travels from LA to attend

a trial at Newcastle United. Leaving

behind his blue-collar father. who

sternly disapproves of his son's

sporting dream. Santiago has to prove that he has the stamina. desire and

capacity for teamwork to prosper at

1 the highest level.

Given that it was made with the official approval of football's governing body FIFA. and that the filmmakers gained sponsorship deals from such high-

2’? Sep— (3 Oct 2005) THE LIST 43