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editors review
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london film festival - a mighty wind

The final week’s highlights at the LFF.

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“There were serious people at the time doing great things. And there were people who thought they were serious, doing bad things,” says director Christopher Guest about the 60s folkie inspirations for the superb A Mighty Wind (on national release, 16 January). Along with co-writer Eugene Levy, Guest has created some brilliant characters, from Mitch (Levy) & Mickey to nice-as-pie “neuftet”, The New Main Street Singers, with their lockjaw grins and tank-top singalongs. The comedy is gentler than the likes of Spinal Tap and in the end it’s even a little moving. Genius.

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Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to Amores Perros, 21 Grams (on national release, 05 March), is a little disappointing. Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro ponder the meaning of life after a car crash (ring any bells?). “They say 21 grams is the weight we lose when we die,” mumbles Penn. “The weight of five nickels, of a hummingbird, of a chocolate bar - and perhaps also of a human soul.” Er, yup.

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21 Grams and The Shape of Things.

While making The Dreamers (on national release, 06 February), director Bernardo Bertolucci (Last Tango In Paris) apparently “created a kind of device, a time machine. And I took my actors with me in the time machine to go back.” Clever eh? And the result is either a plotless snoozefest or an evocative hymn to cinematic dreams. Probably both.

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The best of the rest this week included nasty Neil LaBute’s dispiriting The Shape Of Things (on national release, 28 November) and Catherine Hardwicke’s no-holds barred Thirteen (on national release, 05 December). Holly Hunter plays Melanie, mother of teen Tracy who’s distracted from her studious path by wildchild Evie (co-writer, Nikki Reed). Hardwicke won Best Director at Sundance for her efforts.

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The Dreamers and Thirteen.

Finally, Grand Theft Parsons chronicles the road trip made by alt country legend Gram Parsons’ manager, Phil Kaufman, in 1973. Parsons had OD’d so Kaufman took the body, drove to the desert and burnt it at Joshua Tree. Allegedly. You can watch our LFF interview with Kaufman for the full story.

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Jonathan Carter 07 November 03

useful links
warner bros: a mighty wind
fox searchlight: thirteen

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