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Urban Cinefile’s editor Andrew L. Urban has joined subscription channel World Movies (on Foxtel, Optus, Austar), with a new program (from April 2002) titled The Word, to present the Sunday night movie premieres at 8.30 pm. He also talks about other movie highlights in the World Movies line-up. The four Sunday night premieres in May offer movie experiences from the funny to the peculiar, from the scary to the terrifying:

Sunday May 5, 8.30pm
Harry, He’s Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Vent Du Bien) (2000)
Directed by: Dominik Moll 
Starring: Sergi Lopez 
Laurent Lucas 
Screenplay: Dominik Moll
Cinematographer: Matthieu Poirot-Delpech
Producer: Michel Saint-Jean

Starring Sergi Lopez (A Pornographic Affair), Harry, He’s Here to Help is a superb combination of Hitchcockian thriller elements and dark humour. Skilfully directed and acted, Harry is a complex and terrifying psychological thriller.

Frustrated family man Michel (Laurent Lucas) is en-route to his depilated holiday house with his wife and three children when, at a rest stop, he is approached by the somewhat strange but charming Harry (Sergi Lopez). With much prompting from Harry, Michel realises he went to school with Harry some twenty years earlier and while Michel has little recollection of his old schoolmate, Harry remembers everything about Michel, particularly his talent for writing beautiful poetry. Somehow Harry attaches himself to Michel’s family and it is not long before they are all back on the road, with Harry and his girlfriend Plum (Sophie Guillemin) in tow, headed for the run-down farmhouse. While Michel seems to be struggling in life, things come easy for Harry and there is not a problem he can’t fix, whether it is helping Michel out with a new car or handling Michel’s meddling parents, Harry is here to help…but just how far is he willing to go?

2001 Cesar Awards –Best Actor, Sergi Lopez
2001 Cesar Awards –Best Director, Dominik Moll
2001 British Academy Awards – Nominated BAFTA Best Foreign Language Film, Dominik Moll
2000 Cannes Film Festival – Nominated Palme d’Or, Dominik Moll

Sunday May 12, 8.30pm
Dora-Heita (1999)

Directed by: Kon Ichikawa 
Starring: Koji Yakusho 
Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Masaki Kobayashi and Kon Ichikawa
Cinematographer: Yukio Isohata
Producer: Yoshinobu Nishioka

In 1969, YONKI-NO-KAI (Committee Of Four Knights) was formed by four internationally renowned Japanese directors, Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Masaki Kobayashi and Kon Ichikawa. Together they wrote a script with the understanding that each would direct their favourite part of it. This dream was never realised but in 1999, Kon Ichikawa completed the project and dedicated Dora-Heita it to the three other, now deceased, legendary directors. 

After three magistrates mysteriously disappear, Koheita Mochizuki (Koji Yakusho) is appointed as the new official. Better known as Dora-Heita (the Alley-cat Magistrate), Koheita is a man whose reputation of debauchery precedes him, yet this notoriety has been carefully cultivated by Koheita himself. It is part of his unorthodox plan to rid the domain of three Yakuza bosses who run the high crime district of Horisoto. Don’t miss this swashbuckling, samurai entertainment spectacle that the world of film have long expected – you’ll be thankful for the experience.

Sunday May 19, 8.30pm
Three Chinamen With A Double Bass (Drei Chinesen Mit Dem Kontrabass) (2000)

Directed by: Klaus Kraemer 
Starring: Boris Aljinovic 
Jurgen Tarrach 

Screenplay: Klaus Kraemer
Cinematographer: Ralph Netzer
Producer: Hermann Florin

Reminiscent of Arsenic and Old Lace or, more recently, Very Bad Things, Three Chinamen With A Double Bass is a light-hearted but macabre black comedy.

To celebrate the success of a project, young up-and-coming architect Paul (Boris Aljinovic) heads out for a night on the town with his friend Max (Jurgen Tarrach) and colleague Rike (Claudia Michelsen). Meanwhile, Paul’s sour girlfriend stays at home and “entertains” her boss and lover Heribert (Ilja Richter). In the throws of passion, Heribert stumbles sending him and Gabi crashing to the ground. Heribert soon realises Gabi broke her neck in the fall and is dead. Panicked, Heribert leaves and it is not until the following morning when Paul rises that he sees the body. He can’t believe it, could he have killed Gabi in a drunken rage? His friend Max seems to think so.

Sunday, May 26, 8.30pm
Gripsholm (2000)
Directed by: Xavier Koller 
Starring: Ulrich Noethen 
Heike Makatsch 

Screenplay: Stefan Kolditz
Cinematographer: Pio Corradi
Producer: Thomas Wilkening

Director Xavier Koller, best known for his 1990 Oscar winning film Journey Of Hope, recreates the decadence of Berlin cabaret in the 1930s with the semi autobiographical Gripsholm. 

Based on the novel Schloss Gripsholm by German writer Kurt Tucholsky, the story takes place at the brink of Nazi Germany and is a moving portrayal of how relationships can be reshaped due to external forces. Controversial Jewish journalist Kurt (Ulrich Noethen) travels to the castle of Gripsholm in Sweden along with his girlfriend Lydia (Heike Makatsch). The trip planned for five weeks turns out to be the summer of a lifetime and soon the pair are joined by their two friends Karl (Marcus Thomas) and Berlin cabaret performer Billie (Jasmin Tabatabai). However it soon becomes apparent that their carefree lives won’t last forever and friendships begin to fall apart when Kurt hears news he is being pursued by the German Reich.

Published May 2, 2002

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