mystery. lt centres around the death in 1959 under suspicious circumstances of George Reeves (Ben Affleck sizing up for an Oscar nomination. no doubt). the actor best known for his role as television's Superman. Down- on-his-luck Pl Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) is the dick investigating the possible homicide. which may involve MGM studio exec Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins) and his wife Toni (Diane Lane) with whom Reeves was having an affair.

Cutting back and forth between Simo's investigation and Reeves' efferts to make it in Hollywood. the film. smartly scripted by first timer Paul Berbaum and deftly directed by Sopranos regular Allen COulter (here


also making his film debut). draws neat parallels between the two men. Just as Reeves was crushed emotionally by the realisation that he was never going to escape his Man of Steel persona. so too is Simo flawed

One year on from the release of The Exorcism of Emily Rose - the risible US exploitation horror which expropriated the real life story of German girl Anneliese Michel, comes German film Requiem, an infinitely more interesting look at the fateful details which led to the infamous trial of

Michel’s parents and two priests.

Director Hans Christian Schmid and screenwriter Bernd Lang opt to change the names and some of the facts of Michel’s story so we are treated to the cautionary tale of Michaela Klingler (Sandra Hiiller), the eldest daughter of devout Catholics Karl (Burghart Klaussner) and Marianne (Imogen Kogge). As the film begins, Michaela has just been accepted by Tiibingen University in Baden-Wilrttemberg, southwest of Stuttgart, to study pedagogy after a spell in a psychiatric hospital for what seems to be severe epilepsy. In her first year away, however, the combination of a bad relationship with her menopausal mother, ingrained Christian fundamentalism and the freedom of college conspire to bring on fits that are accompanied by the voices of several demons. After an intervention by an intrigued priest (Jens Harzer) and exorcisms involving her family priest (Walter Schmidinger), things take a tragic or saintly turn depending on which side of the faith abyss you straddle.

Director Schmid has made a moderately successful career out of detailing the mundane, locked off lives of youngsters and their emotionally remote parents in excellent character studies, Crazy (2000) and Distant Lights (2003), but Requiem is in a different league - it bears witness to emergence of a raw and singular talent. This is neat, economical storytelling, which uses documentary techniques to beg more questions than it ever has any intention of answering. Brilliantly shot by hand held camera in washed out browns and greens, Requiem is a complex, chilling,

touching and opaque investigation into the fusty half-truths, hidden secrets

and hysterical meltdown in this real life story. This is, in essence, less a horror than a poignant character study of one young lady caught between the devil and a very hard place. The performances here are all unsurpassable but stage actress Huller in the lead is remarkable, it is a performance of such depth and intelligence and timing that it leaves one breathless. If, as expressionist painter Otto Dix noted, ‘All art is exorcism’, then Hiiller is a veritable Velasquez. (Paul Dale)

I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 7 7 Nov.

by his inability to keep his career or family together. And while Affleck and Brody both shine in their respective roles. it’s Affleck's Reeves who elicits the most pathos. That a man could become the hero of every hetisehold in America and then lose all sense of self worth is a real tragedy. and Affleck charts Reeves' professional and personal fall from grace with a great deal of sensitivity. (Miles Fielder)

I General release from Fri 24 Nov.


What can one say about John Huston's marvellous 1950 film noir/heist classic that has not already been said? A very direct influence on much that was to follow it. most obviously Kubrick's The Killing and Dassin's Riff/fl but also a vibrant model of seedy modernity for more outre US filmmakers Shirley Clarke (The Connection) and John Cassavettes (Faces ). The Asphalt Jung/e feels as fresh today as it must have back in those grim post war years.

Based on WR Burnett's pulp novel. adapted by Huston and Ben Maddow. this freshly cleaned up gem (the new print looks great) about a botched diamond heist which brings down characters from every rung of society is serious alpha movie stuff. Not only is Huston at the helm but the mighty and profane turned Out and turned in the best performances of their careers here. There's Sterling Hayden as hoodlum Dix. the wonderful Louis Calhern as corrupt high class lawyer Emmerich. the astounding Sam Jaffe (appearing just before he was blacklisted by McCarthy) as gentlemen mastermind Doc. plus Jean Hagen. Marilyn Monroe and Anthony Caruso in solidly written supporting roles. On top of this. cinematographer Harold Rosson's bold. imaginative lighting breaches the gap between the film noir and a more naturalist look that was to follow.

Watched at this reserve. however. the film is problematic Police Commissioner Hardy's (John McIntyre) final po-faced speech about the necessity of a police force (the intervening years have proved that international police forces are generally more of a hinderance than a help to social progress) rings a little hollow and works against the wispy amorality that pervades the film. That aside The Asphalt Jung/e is a joy and undoubtedly one of Huston's best (and that really is up against some tough competition). (Raul Dale)

I Fi/mhouse. Edinburgh from Fri 77— Thu 23 Nov only.



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The List’s Gay editor Robin Lee reckons the 1967 film version of Casino Royale is the best Bond of all. He explains why.

‘How many actors have played James Bond on screen?’ goes the old chestnut of a pub quiz question. Barry Nelson was first to play him, on US TV in 1954, and Bob Holness played him in a radio adaptation two years later. Then Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan - and now Craig. The sixth ‘official’ 007 agent is Bond in this year’s Casino Royale. But haven’t we seen that film before?

The original, 1967 film is a glorious dog’s breakfast of a picture - and one that trumped every Bond film that followed it. Arriving in the same year as You Only Live Twice, it’s an overlong, ridiculoust plotted, stupidly camp farce, full of groanineg bad jokes and dripping in ham (which makes it exactly the same as every Bond film that followed it). Being an unofficial Bond flick, the only surviving part of Ian Fleming’s eponymous book is 007’s card game with Le Chiffre (Orson Welles), except that here it’s Peter Sellers being baccarat expert Evelyn Tremble being James Bond. In fact, the cast drips with familiar faces in a way that comments on stardom and top billing: every actor here has a licence to kill.

What lifts the film past mere critical appraisal is its evocation - both on the screen and behind the scenes - of the tangled disaster that is the human condition, a theme that Monty Python riffed on for several decades, and which forms the basis for Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s books. And how did I come to such a bold conclusion? Take the six official Bonds, multiply them by the seven in Casino Royale and divide by the one Barry Nelson, and you get 42. Which is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

I The other Casino Royale is on general release from Fri 77 Nov.

16—80 Nov 2006 THE LIST 45