CINEMA / It's just a bloody farce: Quentin Tarantino: genius, or gore bore?

QUENTIN TARANTINO is the cinema's foremost farceur. If you saw his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs, and don't remember any plus-fours or revolving bedroom doors, you're right. Tarantino is a world away from Feydeau or Travers. For nobs and their wives, read slobs and their knives. But True Romance suggests his true gift is for cruel, mechanical, uproarious humour - for farce. Just as you expect a Ray Cooney play to end in a frozen moment with everybody's trousers down, in a Tarantino film we know to look out for a freeze with everybody's gun up.

FILM / The grass is always greener: Sheila Johnston on racial stigma in Rising Sun, wild pranks in True Romance and safety in The Secret Garden

The thing about paranoia is, it's always sneakier than you imagine. Everyone has been talking about the racism of Rising Sun (18), and it was certainly the keynote mood of Michael Crichton's bestselling thriller. Its story, of two cops investigating the murder of a white woman in Los Angeles' oriental community, was driven by a fear of Japan's technological superiority, and of how the Yellow Peril was poised to buy up America.

Exotic, soft mixture adds a medieval touch to Martine Sitbon's Paris

MODELS displaying outfits by Martine Sitbon, the French designer, who showed one of her softest and strongest collections for seasons at the Ecole des Beaux Arts on Paris's Left Bank, writes Tamsin Blanchard.

CINEMA / Very cardiac, quite arresting

IN Tony Bill's Untamed Heart (15), Christian Slater plays a busser in a Minneapolis diner who claims to have a baboon's heart. His dicky ticker was operated on in his childhood and a nun in the orphanage where he was raised spun him a yarn about the Lord of the Apes visiting. Within minutes, a baboon-sized metaphor is on the loose, swinging from scene to scene, beating its breast. The dialogue has an uncommon cardiac awareness. People say things like: 'You've got too good a heart.' Or: 'I'm going to give you my heart.' Slater, whose character is a sort of noble savage, living in a book-lined shack, is wild yet vulnerable - yes, an untamed heart.

RIFFS / Kate Pierson of The B52s on Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall'

This would have to be the song that's most influenced me. Normally I'm interested in melody and harmony and yet this song is not strong on either. There's certainly no harmony in it, but it's based on a simple folk song melody, so it's the kind of song which makes you want to harmonise as you listen to it. I first heard 'A Hard Rain' when I was about 13, and a complete Bob Dylan fanatic. It was hard to get my friends to like it. I was in a folk protest group called The Sun Doughnuts - we were going to be the Sundowners but someone was already called that - and we wrote and covered protest songs, and this was one I wanted us to do. But the rest of the band said no. The lyric is full of symbolism and it captures the intensity of the times. It sounds like a stream of consciousness, as if it just poured out of him. And it's political without being didactic: it doesn't hit you over the head, but as you listen you get more and more stirred up, until, by the end, you're feeling, change the world. There's so much in this song about America that is still true. I went to the Democratic convention and heard Clinton's speech, and it was about America divided, segregated. Things haven't changed that much. But I like the line about hope: 'I'm a'goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin' . ' I love that it's a call to action by the end.
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