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FOLLOWING THE lead of Quentin Tarantino, the defining characteristic of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (left), is its resilient morality. The picture is peopled by thugs, both amateur and professional. Young Eddy, who comes unstuck in a high-stakes card game, falls into the former category; but Hatchet Harry, to whom he owes pounds 500,000, is a pro.

On release

Bruno Dumont's brilliant debut feature, La Vie du Jesus, suggests Los Olivados on downers. In a desolate, lifeless town in northern France, a group of twentysomething friends rattle around on their motorbikes, occasionally venting racist anger against some local Arabs. The film's main focus is Freddy (David Douche), an epileptic boy whose gentle, but occasionally fraught, relationship with his girlfriend provides the picture with the closest thing it has to dramatic momentum. The performances by a cast of non-professionals are impressively raw, but it's Dumont's attentive, compassionate approach which makes the film special.

On release