CINEMA / Critic's Choice

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The Puppetmaster

Puppeteer Li Tianlu narrates his own life story in Hou Xiaoxian's intimate epic, which uses the folk artist's vexed life as an oblique way into decades of Taiwanese history. Hou's style is formal and his narrative method elliptical. Westerners may need a crib sheet to keep track; though, while it can be oppressive, it's also impressive. ICA SW1

Schindler's List

Spielberg's first grown-up film - and this sombre, black-and-white, three-hour epic about the Holocaust, and one man who made a tiny difference, is moving, exhilirating and thoroughly absorbing. As Schindler, the German war profiteer who discovered his better nature, Liam Neeson is filmed with all the glamour of a real, old-fashioned Hollywood star. Empire WC2, MGM Baker St NW1, MGM Fulham Rd SW10, MGM Trocadero WC2, Plaza W1, UCI Whiteleys W2, locals

La Scorta

Ricky Tognazzi's better than competent thriller about a team of young cops called in to protect a Sicilian judge was a huge box-office hit in Italy, where it struck major chords. The action relies more on implicit threat and Ennio Morricone's pulsing score than shoot-outs, and though there may be a shade too much male bonding for northern European tastes, it feels suitably without illusion and looks suitably grimy. Metro W1, locals

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