Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Weird Love Story; Dogme Director Thomas Vinterberg Is Back with Another Small Work of Art FILMS OF THE WEEK

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Weird Love Story; Dogme Director Thomas Vinterberg Is Back with Another Small Work of Art FILMS OF THE WEEK

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTONIA QUIRKE

IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE .

Cert 15, 104 mins

WHEN director Thomas Vinterberg strode up to the National Film Theatre podium in 1995 to introduce his Dogme Manifesto, he declared: "The French New Wave was a ripple that turned to muck! The antibourgeois cinema itself became bourgeois!" In 1998 he made his revolutionary Festen, a hit despite its demanding style. But then years passed.

It's All About Love was completed two years ago but, because so defiantly strange, it floated about in Distribution.

Now here it is - and it is gripping, satisfying something deep down in a way that only wayward films can. Its eccentricities, so matter-of-factly told, are easy to accept.

Part sci-fi, part thriller, part love story, it's the dream of a future world where the climate is chaotic, disease attacks the lonely, and people are inexplicably levitating in Uganda. A famous ice-skater (Clare Danes) living in New York sends for her estranged husband (Joaquin Phoenix), askingfor his help. The people around her - managers, assistants, security guards - are up to something sinister and she wants to escape. She feels defeated and tired; all her happiness has been squeezed out.

Phoenix and Danes speak in semi-Polish accents, and their language is stilted, like dialogue in translation, which makes everything they say sound like something filtered through Kafka. Filling out the scenes are three of this country's best actors - Mark Strong, Douglas Henshall and Alun Armstrong - faces you are more likely to see in some drama premiere about divorce.

Why not, you think; in Vinterberg's hands, the unusual become usual and It's All About Love lulls you into trusting everything it shows.

. Neil Norman is away

Images of terror under the Taliban

OSAMA ..

Cert 12, 82 mins

LIKE Mohsen Makhmalbaf's garlanded Kandahar, Siddiq Barmak's Osama springs up colourful and frightening.

It is set in Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban insisted that women must only venture out in male company. Behind ancient and closed doors, three generations of women - all played by non-actors - sit and rock. The grandmother predicts a cataclysmic end to it all, the mother worries about the lack of food on the table, and the 12-year-old daughter is silent with fear.

Soon, out of desperation, the girl poses as a boy - it's the only way to work, to eat. But she is herded into a Taliban training camp, and her disguise is soon discovered. …

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