New Films

BABYMOTHER (15)

Director: Julian Henriques

Starring: Anjela Lauren Smith, Wil Johnson, Caroline Chikezie

An endearing reggae musical which takes an old idea and douses it in gaudy colours - quite literally, in fact, given that it sometimes looks as though the print has been spattered with Day-Glo paint. Anita (Anjela Lauren Smith) is a "babymother" - a woman saddled with children at a young age. She lives in north London and longs to be a reggae star, but her dreams are confounded not only by her responsibility to her son and daughter, but by their calculating father, who feels that his own imminent stardom would be jeopardised by Anita's success.

West End: Ritzy Cinema, Virgin Trocadero

COUSIN BETTE (15)

Director: Des McAnuff

Starring: Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Shue, Bob Hoskins

Balzac's novel about romance and deception in 19th-century France is the basis for this shallow but breezy comedy. Jessica Lange plays Bette, who is appointed housekeeper to the family of her late cousin. In the pursuit of love in her own life, she inadvertently weaves a web of betrayal around everyone she knows - her cousin's daughter, Hortense (Kelly McDonald), her actress friend Jenny Cadine (Elisabeth Shue), and most of all Wenceslas (Aden Young), a sculptor to whom Bette has deigned to play benefactor. Although the director Des McAnuff can't keep his film from wandering, there are enough precious comic moments to make it a pleasing diversion.

West End: ABC Baker Street, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Haymarket, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Swiss Cottage

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (15)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon

See The Independent Recommends, right.

West End: ABC Tottenham Court Road, Barbican Screen, Clapham Picture House, Elephant & Castle Coronet, Empire Leicester Square, Hammersmith Virgin, Notting Hill Coronet, Odeon Camden Town, Odeon Kensington, Odeon Marble Arch, Odeon Swiss Cottage, Plaza, Ritzy Cinema, Screen on Baker Street, Screen on the Green, UCI Whiteleys, Virgin Chelsea, Virgin Fulham Road, Virgin Trocadero

LA VIE DE JESUS (THE LIFE OF JESUS) (NC) Director: Bruno Dumont

Starring: David Douche, Marjorie Cottreel, Genevieve Cottreel, Kader Chaatouf

Bruno Dumont's brilliant debut feature suggests Los Olvidados 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 in the film by a cast of non-professionals are impressively raw, but it's Dumont's attentive, compassionate approach which makes the film special

West End: ICA Cinema

Ryan Gilbey

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