Film

Friendship Turns to Ashes

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Review of 'Last Orders', director Fred Schepisi

At first sight you may question the appeal of a film about the lives of a rather unrepresentative group of friends--an undertaker, a car salesman, a butcher and a market trader, all of whom are white. Nonetheless, this is a warm and witty film with great characters and wonderful acting. It also has interesting things to say about familiar aspects of human relationships such as friendship, loyalty and betrayal, loss and grief, the end of innocence during the war, and the new aspirations of the postwar generation.

Jab in the Right Direction

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Review of 'Ali', director Michael Mann

Pity the makers of 'Ali', the long gestated $105 million Hollywood biopic starring Will Smith. The picture was in the can well before 11 September, and one can imagine the growing discomfort of studio executives as they wondered how to market this tale of a black American who converts to Islam and then refuses to serve his country in a time of war. In the US the film has already proved a box office disappointment, overshadowed by Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down.

Not At Its Peak

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Review of 'Mulholland Drive', director David Lynch

David Lynch's new mystery thriller, Mulholland Drive, was initially conceived as a pilot show for what was intended to be a television series, presumably in the same format as Twin Peaks. It centres on the relationship between two actresses. One is fresh and naive, the all-American type of character which Lynch uses in lots of his work. She is countered by a more established actress who has obviously been scarred by her own experience in the film industry. She is also suffering from amnesia.

Tales of Class and Ethnicity

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Review of 'Monsoon Wedding', director Mira Nair

Affluent Lalit Verma and his wife Pimmi welcome a mini-diaspora to their elder daughter Aditi's wedding. Husband to be Hemant is due in from Houston. But even at this stage lover and married boss Vikram is foremost in Aditi's mind. The occasion's workers, wedding contractor PK Dubey and house servant Alice, develop a romance which is more tender and genuine than the pompous gathering they are servicing. Aditi not only ditches Vikram, following a tight squeeze with the law behind a sweating windscreen, but also confesses to a baffled Hemant.

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