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June, 1998

Reviews this issue include:

Reel Dreams
New film reviews are listed in the change history
For a full list, see the review index. There you can register to be notified by e-mail whenever material is added.
The coming attractions section has Australian release dates and links to reviews, official websites, and more.
If film for you is something worth thinking about, if you want to know why you are affected by a scene, a performance, a play of light, or a flow of words, then you should read The Total Film Maker by Jerry Lewis. Yes, him. The clown who screamed at the elbow of Dean (the first Italian Stallion) Martin.

Jerry Lewis is/was in Melbourne, June 1 -5, and your humble editor was there at the press conference to watch a consummate performer in action.

Hey chop-socky kids!

The no-shadow web site Heroic Cinema has been updated to cover all of the Hong Kong video releases and SBS movies for June 1998. The movies showing at the Chinatown Cinema are updated each and every Friday. Wake up and smell the fu at the brand new URL:

Thanks for listening. Regular reality will now resume.

You expect a performer to work the room on stage, but I enjoy watching performers work the room at press conferences and autograph signings. Peter Fonda flirted with the colony of tape recorders on the table during his press conference (see Peter Fonda, American Son), and afterwards one felt as if a personal bond was forged. You know, you feel that Jane is Peter's sister, and Peter is someone you have spent quality time with, so there's a (virtually) real link with the Fonda dynasty.

Lewis faced a barrage of television news cameras as well as pocket recorder-wielding journos, an aspect he likened to the Nuremberg trials. He delivered jokes, he made us comfortable, it wasn't quite the same result. Maybe because Lewis is a legend on a much different scale, maybe because Lewis the comedian was there more than Lewis the man, but it was still an experience to give some thought to (see Jerry Lewis DownUnder).

Coming up in the next few weeks are some thought-provoking films that don't necessarily acknowledge their own parentage. Sliding Doors is the story of a woman whose life can take two divergent paths depending on whether she catches or misses a train. If you listen to the actors, or read the film makers' statements, you discover that they do not realise that this story is one of the classic science fiction (sf) scenarios. Asimov's short story What If? has a couple in a train who realise that no matter how many different choices they were presented with, they ultimately would arrive at the same point in space and time. A sort of cosmic predestination
Movie still, Sliding Doors

These alternative reality stories are very popular with sf fans, as the producers of Star Trek have pointed out. One of the most popular episodes ever was an alternative reality story Yesterday's Enterprise where the arrival or otherwise of a Federation ship resulted in generations of peace or war.

Another really popular sf scenario is the Who's watching whom? story, especially when the device used to create long-running situation comedy-dramas is the camera in your television sets that points to you. In The Truman Show Jim Carrey plays a man who has lived his entire life on the largest sound stage of all -- a faux life in a faux city, filmed without his knowledge or consent for all the world to see. This notion of privacy and the public's vampiric hunger for the blood and guts of other people's lives (pretty damn rude if you ask me), and how technology can be used to make circuses for the great unwashed and fortunes for those in power. The power of technology is heal or hurt is in its function as an enabling device. Technology enables us to travel faster, to communicate further and with deeper penetration, to live with greater complexity and more choices -- but it is a tool, neither good nor evil.

With the popularity of tall tales and true of the famous and infamous (such as those about Diana, Princess of Wales), funniest home videos offered up for the derision of others in the faint hope of winning some object or 'tother, true crime and true suffering, one hopes that The Truman Show will create a least a tingle of thought in the minds of the audience.

by Ali Kayn
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