Richard Glatzer's Grief came and went a few months ago without attracting much attention, which is a pity. Maybe it was the subject matter - Aids and its aftermath - or maybe there was a lot of mega-budget trash around at the time, hogging the column inches and stinking up the box-office. Who knows?

What I do know is that Grief is one of those things you more or less stumble across, yet it speaks to your life or drags you deep into someone else's. So necessary after being assaulted by yet another blockbuster full of sound and fury and signifying nothing (stray thought: why is everyone bending over backwards for The Mask, which is about 40 minutes of okay and 60 minutes of blah?)

Grief's tiny budget is a virtue; it doesn't allow for that great audience alienator we know as polish. The cast - scriptwriters and producers on a tacky TV series entitled The Love Judge - look as if they rush to work in the morning. Their clothes are crumpled and their surroundings going to seed. Like the equally shoestring El Mariarchi, Go Fish and Highway Patrolman, Grief is perfectly matter-of-fact; it's not overly concerned with the contrivances of naturalism, it's merely. . . natural. People bitch and bite and do the right and wrong thing and nothing feels pre-planned. They just keep getting mugged by life, a truth 'profesionals' keep forgetting when they sweat over 'dramatic construction'. Which is to say Grief isn't much, but it is something, which is better than being big and brash and nothing at all.

'Grief' plays at the ICA, Wed-Sat at 6.30pm/8.30pm (071-930 3647) pounds 4

(Photograph omitted)

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