The Descent (18)
Sky Blue (15)
Punishment Park (tbc)
The Car Keys (NC)
Friday 08 July 2005
Korean animation takes on Japanese anime at its own game and make a very decent fist of it. The tale is no great shakes as a story, however: the year is 2142, and the remaining survivors of an ecological catastrophe have retreated to the city-state of Ecoban, where they exploit a ragged underclass for labour. Jay, a female trooper serving the elite, is forced to choose sides when her childhood sweetheart reappears as a freedom fighter. What the film lacks in surprise it makes up for in visual richness, never more so than in the operatic finale with its slo-mo hail of bullets and blood.
This 1971 docu-drama by Peter Watkins, the visionary director of The War Game, pits a bunch of hippie malcontents against a cadre of police sharpshooters in a kind of death-race across the Californian desert. Meanwhile, more "political criminals" are being arraigned by a tribunal of anti-communist hysterics. The film's themes and arguments reflect the convulsed times (the Vietnam war, regular student riots across the world), but also date the film very badly. It also doesn't help that the film-maker's English voice-over now sounds alarmingly like the BBC football commentator Barry Davies.
This zany postmodern squib was a huge hit in its native France, which counts for precisely rien when you remember that the French also loved the time-travel comedy Les Visiteurs. Here, the writer-director, Laurent Baffie, pitches his idea for a movie - man spends 90 minutes looking for his car keys, only to find them in his pocket - to various producers and stars, who all turn him down. So he and his pal Daniel Russo take the DIY line, piecing together riffs, jests and the odd cameo (Depardieu working in a fromagerie) to fill the allotted time. It feels a good deal longer than its 90 minutes.
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