5 Reasons to visit THE ITALIAN FILM 57"“ .. ‘_
1 The return of Nanni Moretti Five years after the Palme d’Or- winning The Son's Room, Italian actor-writer-director Nanni Moretti returns with the multilayered The Caiman (pictured). Set in contemporary Rome. it's the study of a producer's failing marriage. a comic examination of low-budget filmmaking, and a scathing critique of Silvio Berlusconi’s assault on democracy. Moretti gives the lead role to Silvio Orlando, saving a chilling surprise cameo for himself. 2 The rise of Paolo Sorrentino Still only in his mid- 30s. the Neapolitan director Sorrentino has emerged as one of Italian cinema‘s most dynamic talents. He follows up his stylish Maﬁa thriller The Consequences of Love with the Fellini-esque A Family Friend. a bizarre account of the relationship between a grotesque elderly loan shark and a beautiful young woman. Effortlessly shifting between dream and ‘reaIity'. this dark fairytale is packed with startling, surreal imagery.
3 Kim Rossi Stuart Stuart. an actor best known to British audiences for his lead roles in The Keys to the House and the recently released gangster epic Romanzo Crimina/e. makes his directorial debut in Along the Ridge. Co- written with Linda Ferri (The Son’s Room). it offers a child's eye perspective on a family struggling to stay afloat on account of the mother's periodic absences.
4 The tribute to Roberto Rossellini On the 100th anniversary of the late director‘s birth. a chance to see his superlative drama of a marriage in crisis, Voyage to Italy. Starring his then wife Ingrid Bergman. There's also an opportunity to watch Isabella Bossellini's appreciation of her father, My Dad is 100 Years Old. directed by Canadian fabulist Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World).
5 The Session is Open Given the recent headlines about Mafia- related murders in Naples, this verite documentary from Vincenzo Marra has obvious topicality. Apparently granted unprecedented access to the Italian judicial system. the director focuses on the trial of a Camorra associate, to reveal a worrying degree of institutional apathy. (Tom Dawson)
I The 73th Italian Film Festival starts at GFI', Glasgow & Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 17 Nov.
44 THE LIST 16—30 Nov 2006
POPCORN AND BREOHT
Miles Fielder gets a very idiosyncratic guide to the movies from cultural
theorist Slavoj Zizek.
‘You enjoy a film immediately, naively, but theorising about ﬁlms spoils enjoyment. I violently disagree with that,’ says outspoken and inﬂuential Slovenian philosopher and ﬁlm lover Slavoj Zizek (pictured). ‘If anything
I think it‘s the opposite.’
Zizek presents a compelling case in favour of ﬁlm theory in his three- part ﬁlmed essay The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. It’s a collaboration with documentary ﬁlmmaker Sophie Fiennes (Hoover Street Revival) in which Zizek delivers Freudian readings of classic and contemporary Hollywood ﬁlms from Chaplin to Hitchcock to Lynch. That might sound stuffy, but The Pervert’s Guide is enormously enjoyable, partly because Zizek is wonderfully eccentric and partly because Fiennes has not only illustrated his theories with some great ﬁlm clips, she’s also recreated key scenes from the films and inserted her subject into them. Thus, for example, Zizek’s analysis of The Birds takes place on a boat bobbing
up and down on Bodega Bay.
‘It was Sophie’s idea,’ Zizek says modestly. ‘We just talked about it generally then I simply copied out different fragments from my books that I thought relevant. Sophie picked out what she thought would be of interest. Based on that we improvised in front of the camera. The idea was a Brechtian one. It’s as if the movie starts to comment on itself.’
After digressing endlessly on his theories of Perverted Cinema, Zizek adds with a laugh, ‘I like this obscene idea. Sophie and me both think that the only truly human contact is in dirty, tasteless, politically incorrect, scatological jokes.’ One example of that is the reconstruction of the toilet bowl eye view shot in Francis Ford Coppola’s surveillance thriller The Conversation. Unlike the original shot with Gene Hackman peering into the water, Zizek and Fiennes’ bowl isn’t empty.
Zizek says, ‘People have said to me, “I think your theories are abstract crap, but when I saw them in the ﬁlm it works.” Paradoxically, one can really enjoy these ﬁlms only through a little bit of a theory. The idea is to make people think a little bit, so that the film loses its innocence without spoiling your pleasure. I am a Brechtian who believes that dialectical theory and pleasure are not opposed.’
I The Pervert 's Guide To Cinema is at GFT. Glasgow from Fri 24-Sun 26 Nov
only. See review, page 46.
TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY
(15) 94min 0.
Jack Black and Kyle Gass formed rock band Tenacious D a dozen years ago. Noteworthy. mostly, for their wud and profane lyrics. their OXistence has
witnessed a best selling album. a short-
lived HBO series. and the IIIOVIC stardom of lead Singer Jack Black. This movie rewrites the histOry of the self-
proclaimed. 'greatest band in the world' origins.
In this version. JB (that's Jack Black in case y0u haven't yet caught on to the Wildean wit at the heart of this comedy) runs away from the Christian values of pop as personified by Meat Loaf (in an inspired bit of casting) and meets guitarist KG (Kyle Gass) on a beach. A hilarious Clockwork Orange reference leads to the duo becoming tight and the sound of Tenacious D is born. Except they lack that certain magic. To become rock legends they need to steal a fabled guitar pick from the Sacramento Museum of Rock and therein follows a MISS/on Impossible styled venture.
The plot is poor. standard fare. involving Winning battle of bands and becoming great and the flick relies heavily on cameos from Ben Stiller and Tim Robbins and the Wiles of Black for
jokes. The trouble is. Black's been here before in Richard Linklater's infinitely better School of Rock. It‘s a fun ride in the puerile style of Kevin Smith. but for non-fans of Black or the D. this will grate like a tone-deaf musioan. (Kaleem Aftab)
I General release from Fri 24 Nov. See feature. page 74.
DRAMAv’MUSICAL JOHANNA (15) 86min 0000
“She cures me and I don't need my pacemaker any longer.’ sings an elderly patient in this expressionistic film opera. directed by the Hungarian filmmaker Kornel Mundruczo (Pleasant Days) and composed by freQLient collaborator ZsOfia Taller. The woman in question. Johanna (Orsi TOth), is a former heroin- addict. who. havmg slipped into a drug- related coma is miraculously reborn. Asked by her doctor (Zsolt Trill) to stay on at the underground Budapest hospital as a nurse. and with no memories of her past. she discovers her remarkable gift: she is able to heal the Sick through performing sexual favours. Unswpnsingly Johanna becomes immensely popular with the male inmates. but the staff is furious that her non-scientific approach is reaping such clinical results.
Relying on a modern operatic score and lyrics. which often ram home the film's sentiments. the undeniably ambitious Johanna represents an attempt by Mundruczo et al to rework the legend of Joan of Are for a contemporary era. with doctors and nurses rather than priests representing the establishment that is rocked by the y0ung herome's God-given challenge to their authority. There are strong echoes here of Lars von Trier's The Kingdom (the Kafkaesque medical setting) and Breaking the Waves (a female offering up her body for spiritual purposes). With its committed performances and striking mise-en-scene (the sickly green hues of the Subterranean corridors and the wards: the way the white-capped Johanna is lit to contrast With the pitch- black surroundings). Johanna is something of a curate's egg that deserves to be filed alongside Mark Domford—May's transposmon of Bizet to the shantytowns of Johannesburg. U- Carmen e-Khaye/itsha. (Tom Dawson) I GFT, Glasgow from Mon 27 Nov.
DRAMA'MYSTEBY HOLLYWOODLAND (15) 126min ooo
Pitched somewhere between the great Los Angeles noir Chinatown and the Tinseltown legend and lore of Gods and Monsters. Hollywood/and is at
‘ once a cracking thriller. lavish period
drama and engrossing true life