A first feature by writer-director Nicole Holofcener, about two lifelong women friends living in New York City and approaching 30. One (Anne Heche) is an engaged therapist in training who’s attracted to one of her patients; another (Catherine Keener) finds herself dumped by a video-store clerk and is living through a trauma about what to do with her cancer-stricken cat. Reasonably lifelike and nicely acted (Keener is especially good), but otherwise nothing special, this is an OK light comedy. With Todd Field, Liev Schreiber, and Kevin Corrigan. (JR)
The original title of Cheick Oumar Sissoko’s striking and vibrant 1995 folkloric feature from Mali, a film literally dedicated to Africa, is Guimba: A Tyrant, an Epoch. A fantasy complete with magic spells and special effects, it recounts the intrigues that ensue when the title king allows his dwarf son to ride roughshod over their village kingdom to satisfy his lust, demanding that a married woman divorce her husband in order to marry him. Definitely worth seeing; with Falaba Issa Traore and Lamine Diallo. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, July 12, 8:00, and Sunday, July 14, 6:00, 443-3737.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from “Guimba the Tyrant”.
A thrilling and multifaceted Taiwanese feature (1994) by theater director Stan Lai about both vaultingthe Chinese martial art of leaping enormous distancesand contemporary Taipei. The mysterious coexistence of the past in the present and Lai’s visually impressive style (combined with the work of Chris Doyle, the key cinematographer of the Taiwanese and Hong Kong new wave) make this one of the better Taiwanese features I’ve seen; with Ying Zhaode, Chen Wenming, Nai Weixun, and Li Tongcun. (JR)