Opening This Week

The Evening Standard (London, England), May 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

Opening This Week


Byline: DEREK MALCOLM

NOTRE MUSIQUE (12A) Sarah Adler, Nade Dieu, Rony Kramer, Dir: Jean-Luc Godard, France, 79min (3/5)

Godard, one knows, doesn't attract too many people into the cinema these days. They're frightened they won't understand a word of his fractured narratives. But his latest was highly praised at Cannes and certainly the best he's achieved for some time. Borrowing from Dante's Divine Comedy, the film has three parts: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Hell is a largely documentary vision of modern warfare.

Purgatory has the director and various luminaries attending a literary conference in Sarajevo. Heaven has a sad woman wandering around a beautiful lake guarded by US Marines.

Real and fictional characters are preoccupied by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Godard himself delivers a short lecture on the efficacy of cinema. What gets through is an acutely pessimistic, and regrettably convincing, view of the way the world is going.

And, as usual, Godard's fluent touch pays considerable dividends.

WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?

(12A) Marlee Matlin, Elaine Hendrix, Barry Newman. Dir: William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, Mark Vicente. US, 108min (2/5)

Digital docu-drama tackling quantum physics, with scientists arguing (not always expertly) and a dramatisation involving an unhappy photographer who takes up Ramtha's School Of Enlightenment (self-improvement).

Americans and Madonna like this better than I did, but it's intriguing in parts.

PARADISE GROVE

COMMON THREAD (12A) Lola Naymark, Ariane Ascaride, Marie Felix. Dir: Eleonore Faucher. France, 88min (15) Ron Moody, Rula Lenska, Leyland O'Brien. Dir: Charles Harris. UK, 93min (2/5)

Britain's first Jewish feature for at least 10 years has O'Brien as a teenager faced with a mum (Lenska) who runs a retirement home without enough money and a dying grandfather (Moody) who can't see why his grandson calls himself Jewish when he's also black. It's a dark comedy rather than one packed full of laughs, has a nice Klezmer-jazz soundtrack but also script problems that the actors can't always negotiate.

A COMMON THREAD (12A) Lola Naymark, Ariane Ascaride, Marie Felix. Dir: Eleonore Faucher. …

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