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METRO CHOICE: Getting paid

Slackers are largely an invention of a desperate media, scrambling around for umbrella terms - New Queer Cinema, New Wave Of New Wave - to define an era. But you see the plaid shirts and goatee beards and you think: well, something must be afoot. Either that or they've all been shopping at The Gap. If you suspect a friend or relative of yours to be a "slacker", try this simple test. Show them Ben Stiller's self-conscious slacker film Reality Bites. Do they run screaming from the room to the sanctuary of a joint? If so, they're the real McCoy. The genuine king of the genre is Richard Linklater, whose beguiling films Slacker and Dazed and Confused are being screened as part of the NFT's season "A Slacker's Guide To Film". There's also the seminal Stranger Than Paradise, Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy and a fair proportion of turkeys in slackers' clothing (Naked in New York, Bodies, Rest And Motion). Plus a preview of Linklater's new movie, Before Sunrise (opening here on 21 April), which stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (below) as two strangers who spend a day together in Vienna. Sounds riveting, huh? Don't be sarcastic; it's, like, a real dream, man.

A Slacker's Guide to Film runs 5-29 April, NFT, South Bank, SE1 (071- 928 3232)