A very modern MS

A week in books

FILM THEATRE EXHIBITIONS GIGS CLASSICAL MUSIC/DANCE

GOING OUT - CRITICS' CHOICE

CINEMA: CRITICS CHOICE

Amateur An ex-nun and virgin nymphomaniac becomes involved with a handsome amnesiac who used violently to abuse his former mistress, a porn star, who in turn sets a brace of high-powered corporate assassins on her lover's tail. Writer-director Hal Hartley is an acquired taste, but the film has warmth, humour and humanity.

FILM / critic's choice

Amateur An ex-nun and virgin nymphomaniac becomes involved with an amnesiac who used to abuse his former mistress, a porn star, who in turn sets a brace of corporate assassins on her lover's tail. Writer-director Hal Hartley is an acquired taste, but thefilm has warmth, humour and humanity.

CINEMA : Margot: a royal in search of a roll

WITH delicious irony, the great dissection of British monarchy turns out to be French. La Reine Margot (18) is too stately and subtle to be taken as a broadside at our royals, but the House of Windsor must feel some rumbles from its mighty impact . The events are set in 16th-century France, and they show our current royal crop to be mere amateurs in matters of regal decline and decadence. The marriage of religious convenience between the Catholic Margot (Isabelle Adjani) and the Protestant Henri de Navarre (Daniel Auteuil) is, Prince Charles-style, loveless, but also avowedly sexless. When Margot fancies a fling with a commoner (Vincent Perez's La Mole), mere toe-sucking is not enough: she mounts him against the castle wall in full public view.

OTHER NEW RELEASES:The cook, the thieves, some punks and a stiff

If eating, as Ang Lee delicately hints in Eat Drink Man Woman, is the publicly acceptable substitute for sex, what would be the erotic equivalent of Stinky Tofu? There is a fair bit of food in the film, from Joy Luck Dragon Phoenix to Wendyburgers - fortunately for the viewer's hunger pangs, not all the grub on display is high-gourmet fare. But sex, or even platonic love, are not, or not explicitly, on the menu.

'Hulk' dies

The television actor and director Bill Bixby died at home at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer, Reuter reports from Los Angeles. Bixby starred in several television shows, including The Incredible Hulk and My Favorite Martian.

Letter: Look beyond Hollywood

I AM compelled to agree with Alan Pavelin (Letters, 26 September) who berates the paucity of non-Hollywood films in UK cinemas. One reason is your own Critics pages. Your film critic further hyped the much-hyped Sleepless in Seattle and The Fugitive, yet could find no space for other new releases, among them Ang Lee's comedy, The Wedding Banquet (winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival).

Real Life: Don't board this new childbashing bandwagon: It is violence from adults which produces violence in children, says Penelope Leach

CHILDREN and young people, stereotyped and scapegoated, are always an easy target for society's anger, bewilderment and despair. Mass hysteria is dangerous because it usurps sense and sensibility. Mourning the tragic death of James Bulger and condemning the children accused of killing him, the nation ignores the 90-plus toddlers who die unsung each year at the hands of parents or care-takers. As Geraldine Bedell and her ilk leap on the bandwagon of childbashing with wild talk of 'little emperors' (21 February), nobody notices her blind refusal to distinguish picking up a newborn baby when it cries from letting a three-year-old do anything it pleases; her determined avoidance of everything we know about infant development and socialisation.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Sense and sensibility: Angela Hewitt - Wigmore Hall

Mendelssohn's unfashionable liking for Bach was not just scholarly pioneering, but acknowledgment of a vital creative source. The Mendelssohn Prelude and Fugue in E minor, Op 35 No 1, with which the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt opened at the Wigmore Hall on Wednesday, is a brilliant idiomatic tribute and also a heady flight of fancy. Nothing could be closer to the language of Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues than the loitering fugue subject and its firm andante exposition; yet by the end Mendelssohn, in a thrilling fast-forward, has glided into the enchanted caprices of his Midsummer Night's Dream music.
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