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Strange but true: the punters attending Backbeat aren't as young as they're painted. Going for the teen vote with their tale of the pre-fame Beatles, the producers have instead landed a constituency within hailing distance of their second childhood. So much for demographic research.

Stranger and just as true: the rock- and Sixties-obsessed adolescent audience Backbeat was made for are turning out for the sort of art movie their parents should be visiting. Bertolucci's Little Buddha is the in-film with the capital's with-it./ out-of-it. And not merely because Keanu Reeves prances about in a loincloth (though this is a good reason to pay the ticket price).

No, Bertolucci has got lucky. He picked the right Sixties trend; not the Beatles, but wilted flower-child philosophy. Little Buddha is full of Eastern promise and nothing turns on Western youth more: peace baby, what goes around comes around, this is a truly excellent spliff, man.

It's hard to think of Little Buddha and rave culture as having anything in common, yet both are contemporary phenomena recycling past pop preoccupations with the big questions (the cosmos, reincarnation, the spiritual self). Both are also soft-in-the-head: admissions that times are too tough, too cynical to tackle, so let's all drop a little E and be cuddly bunnies. Indeed, sitting in the dark, listening to the new flower children timidly muttering 'That's so' to each of Keanu's pronouncements, some adults may almost feel tempted to stand up and scream, 'For God's sake, why don't you run amok and bloody well vandalise something?'. Or am I just being terribly old-fashioned?

(Photograph omitted)

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