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HAMAM: THE TURKISH BATH (15)

Director: Ferzan Ozpetek

Starring: Alessandro Gassman, Mehmet Gunsar

Francesco (Gassman) inherits a defunct Istanbul bathhouse (or hamam) from an aunt. On travelling to Turkey, the Italian is caught up in events which liberate him from a tired marriage and lifeless career. He has an affair with a Turk (Gunsar), and resolves to reopen the hamam. He pays a heavy price, though whether it's for his cultural liberation or for his homosexuality is unclear. Full of feeling for the ancient city, a sense of aeration and freedom permeates the film with a heady, sherbet buzz.

ICA

MULAN (U)

Director: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft

See The Independent Recommends, right

West End: Clapham Picture House, Elephant & Castle Coronet, Hammersmith Virgin, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea

A PERFECT MURDER (15)

Director: Andrew Davis

Starring: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen

With Hollywood awash with dumb remakes, the news that Hitchcock's classic Dial M for Murder was to be rehashed by the director of The Fugitive, with the ubiquitous Paltrow in Grace Kelly's shoes, did not bode well. But this is not bad at all. Viggo Mortensen is the deceiver, updated as an artist, who is blackmailed by cuckolded city shark Michael Douglas into killing his heiress wife, Paltrow. This is gold-plated trash: the sort of thing Hollywood does better than anyone else.

ABC Baker Street, ABC Tottenham Court Road, Elephant & Castle Coronet, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Swiss Cottage, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero, Warner Village West End

RIEN NE VA PLUS (15)

Director: Claude Chabrol

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Michel Serrault

Betty (Huppert) and Victor (Serrault) are small-time con merchants who find themselves caught up in an international money-laundering scam: all sorts of light-hearted japes result. Creakily old-fashioned and somewhat footling, Chabrol's 50th film serves up perfectly adroit performances from both Huppert and Serrault - even if it is all coasting on auto-pilot.

Chelsea Cinema, Curzon Soho

LA VIE REVEE DES ANGES (THE DREAM LIFE OF ANGELS) (18)

Director: Erick Zonca

Starring: Elodie Bouchez, Natacha Regnier

Isa (Bouchez) is a gamine but impoverished drifter who meets Marie (Regnier) while temping at a clothes sweatshop. They become friends and move in together, borrowing the house of a family traumatised by a car accident which left a mother dead and her daughter in a coma. Isa becomes preoccupied with the diary of the comatose girl, while Marie falls for a wealthy ne'er- do-well who owns a club. Bouchez and Regnier were jointly awarded the Best Actress prize at Cannes for their performances in this stunning first feature by Erick Zonca.

Barbican Screen, Curzon Soho

Roger Clarke

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