Home Time

Blog by Ray Philp | 04 Sep 2009

The first Friday of September is dedicated to the outsider. The celebration of rebellion is, of course, as old as Woody Allen’s libido, so it’s with a certain amount of inevitability that some people have come to regard iconic outcasts like James Dean and Steve McQueen with a certain indifference. So what if you’re a sulky teenager in a leather jacket? And who cares if you were in what was possibly the greatest cinema car chase of all time? The times; they are a-changing. Ergo, so do our outcasts, and to a more significant extent, the things that they rebel against.

Home, screening exclusively at the Dundee Contemporary Arts, is the story of a typical middle-class family that live nearby an abandoned highway in rural France (or Switzerland, or any other Western European French speaking country you can think of). The abandoned highway is a crucial cog in the family unit, perhaps even an honorary relative as the family work, rest and play on this isolated strip of tarmac. After some time passes, the highway begins to welcome traffic again; as the road becomes accustomed to the rush hours, the family’s hitherto close bonds begin to strain as the lifestyle they sought to leave behind begins to catch up with them. Ursula Meier’s film is a smart commentary on a rebellion that transcends as flat an anti-hero statement as giving your finger-wagging folks the cold shoulder or taking the humph with The Man.

The Cameo is in more of a mood to slam doors and dish out evils with Pierrot Le Fou, Jean Luc Godard’s provocative romantic thriller. Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo are the fugitive couple who rob, steal and run in this vibrant cult offering, screening at lunchtimes only. Elsewhere, Neill Blomkamp’s combination of thriller and social commentary in District 9 promises to be as impressive as it is novel, and even the trailer portends awesomeness without completely exposing itself, unlike so many others that leave nothing to the imagination, not unlike some sort of cross-legged, ice-pick swinging Amazonian woman you can’t resist giving the glad-eye to.

District 9, admittedly, isn’t so much about rebellion as it is about finding acceptance, but a similar theme is evident at another film event this week in Glasgow. From 3rd September (an exclusive scoop, this is not) to 10th October, Glasgay will be lighting up the Glasgow Film Theatre with a celebration of sexuality and belonging. Of this week’s offerings, Born In 68 (6th September), a tale of young liberal students in 1960s France that slowly drift away from their ideals, and Nighthawks (8th September), a Ron Peck film that explores the complexities of coming out in a Britain on the cusp of Thatcherism.

Elsewhere, (500) Days Of Summer, a rom-com that pretends it’s not a rom-com by shuffling a little more awkwardly and pausing a little bit longer, is a Marc Webb film that has the look and feel of a hip little indie; Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the taciturn young detective of Brick) and Zooey Deschanel (most recently, of Gigantic fame) are a pair of hip young actors; Spearmint and The Smiths help provide a hip soundtrack. It’s hip hip hip, like a god damned Shakira tribute.

Finally, revered Japanese auteur Nagisa Oshima receives a well-deserved retrospective at The Filmhouse, starting with Japanese Summer: Double Suicide, screening today and Sunday 6th September only. A rare film with a highly stylised take on gangsterdom, Oshima’s 1967 feature revolves around the relationship of a depressed, nihilistic hood and his female companion, a woman addicted to affection.