Mama Said Knock You Out

Blog by Ray Philp | 22 May 2009

I don’t do conflict very well.  Most days, I prefer to project the image of a polite young man, the kind that wears corduroy and tasselled loafers like a badge of honour, or at least one that elderly relatives grudgingly offer fudge tablet to.  Aggression is supposed to be as natural as any other emotion, and yet, my preternatural response to confrontation, whether it comes in the form of a trunk-nosed lout answering to the name of ‘Deek’, or a flatmate pointing an accusatory finger at an empty milk carton, is a shrug of the shoulders and an apologetic grimace.  Consequently, I might avoid a trip to the cinema altogether this week, since the following releases only serve to expose the paucity of my bravado.  

Awaydays, directed by Pat Holden, kicks things off this Friday with a somewhat Dickensian analysis of class fissures in 1970’s England, set against the backdrop of football inspired violence and pristine Adidas Gazelles.  Paul and Elvis (Nicky Bell and Liam Boyle, respectively) are two friends from opposite sides of presumably metaphorical tracks, who find a mutual desire to delve into each other’s differing lifestyles and social circles.  It would be disingenuous to peg this as another Football Factory offshoot; for one, it threatens to be a far more dramatically nuanced effort, free of any facetious mockney wisdom.  Still, that doesn’t mean that Awaydays is without some customary fisticuffs, and will no doubt be detailing various running battles in such a way as to put me right off a trip to Tannadice this weekend.

The ignominy continues at the Edinburgh Filmhouse with Pierrot Le Fou, a re-release of a 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film that is commonly known for its forthright photography and its initially controversial release.  Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo) elopes with Marianne (Anna Karina), having tired of his anodyne family life.  However, Ferdinand gets much more than he bargained for, as the couple are soon being chased around the Mediterranean by Algerian hoods and lay waste to people, a suitcase of cash, and a host of cars.  I scratched my Fiesta once by parking it too close to a bollard in Sainsbury’s, but that hardly seems to evoke a similar gush of adrenaline.

Even tales of romance seem to take on a dimension of danger these days; at the Glasgow Film Theatre, A Girl Cut In Two is a story of a seemingly archetypal tug-of-war between two men vying for the affections of pretty weather girl Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier).  Ostensibly a black romantic comedy, it also promises biting satire and various moments of suspense that involve sanguine author Charles (Francois Berleand) and obsessive socialite Paul (Benoit Magimel) vicariously conspiring to out do each other.  Claude Chabrol directs this amorous thriller.

Finally, Mark Of An Angel, showing at the Filmhouse and the GFT from the 22nd, completes a triumvirate of French films bringing the ruckus to our shores this week.  Elsa (Catherine Frot), recently divorced and in the midst of securing custody of her ten-year-old son, has reason to suspect that Lola (Heloise Cunin), a 7-year-old girl that she meets by chance, is in fact the daughter that she presumed dead as an infant, due to a tragic house fire.  Claire (Sandrine Bonnaire), Lola’s mother, is increasingly perturbed by Elsa’s growing bond with her daughter, which sets the stage for an almighty maternal square go.  I don’t know about you, but I’d quite readily take a rumble with ‘Deek’ over picking a fight with my ma.