Talkin’ about his gen­er­a­tion

Michael Caine rem­i­nisces about a time when Bri­tan­nia ruled the air­waves, the screen, and pretty much ev­ery­thing else

The Georgia Straight - - Movies - A documentary by David Batty. Rated PG

For those un­fa­mil­iar with ’60s lore, or those 2 who were part of the cul­tural up­heaval and there­fore need their mem­ory cells recharged, My Gen­er­a­tion is a ter­rif­i­cally en­ter­tain­ing over­view of how colour came to drab post­war Bri­tain, and class stric­tures fi­nally be­gan to fall away.

At only 85 min­utes, there’s no way this swiftly mov­ing clip show could cover all the bases. Good thing it has a stel­lar tour guide in one Michael Caine, do­ing dou­ble duty as him­self to­day, read­ing pre­pared quips from this dis­tance, and him­self young, strut­ting down Lon­don streets—in per­fectly matched clips from films like The Ipcress File and, of course, Al­fie—back when Eng­land swung like a pen­du­lum do. Roger Miller isn’t aboard, but ev­ery­one else is. Caine’s new-wave epiphany came, he re­calls, the first time he went to the Ad Lib Club, and spot­ted “ev­ery sin­gle Bea­tle and ev­ery sin­gle Rolling Stone on the dance floor”.

Un­der the nifty di­rec­tion of David Batty, who has mostly di­rected TV docs about re­li­gious his­tory, the era is res­ur­rected with archival footage and all the key songs—shout-out to mu­sic su­per­vi­sor Tar­quin Gotch—from the above-men­tioned bands, plus Dono­van, Cream, and that most English of English bands, the Kinks. Paul Mccart­ney, the Who’s Roger D-d-daltrey, and pho­tog­ra­pher David Bai­ley are among many al­ter­nate nar­ra­tors heard, but seen only as their beau­ti­fully youth­ful selves. The film could have used some more female rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the sound­track, al­though singer Mar­i­anne Faith­full, designer Mary Quant, and pro­to­su­per­model Twiggy speak at some length about changes in fash­ion and sex­ual mores at the time.

This Gen­er­a­tion prob­a­bly takes on too much when it tries to en­com­pass outer de­vel­op­ments, like Viet­nam and the North Amer­i­can counterculture. The lack of fo­cus, in the end, is re­lated to Caine— born Mau­rice Mick­le­white in 1933—be­ing a cru­cial decade older than most of the co­horts in ques­tion. Writ­ers Dick Cle­ment and Ian La Fre­nais, who wrote for ev­ery­one on Brit TV from The Likely Lads to Tracey Ull­man, are only a few years younger than Caine, and the mists of time seem to have ob­scured their mis­sion a bit. Still, as long as some can gaze on “Water­loo Sun­set”, we’ll be in par­adise.

> KEN EISNER MIND­ING THE GAP

A documentary by Bing Liu. Rat­ing un­avail­able

There’s a heavy, hol­lowed-out kind of hope 2

at the heart of this on-the-fly ex­er­cise in visual diary-keep­ing that says as much about money as it does about the boys who grow up be­fore your very eyes.

The sec­ond movie about skate­boards re­leased this week, Mind­ing the Gap trades Skate Kitchen’s sharp all-girl crew for a posse of trou­bled dudes from Rock­ford, Illi­nois, dubbed one of the most dan­ger­ous mid­sized towns in the Disunited States.

“This place just eats away at you,” says Keire John­son, the only African-amer­i­can and the most in­stantly lik­able of the pals pro­filed by tal­ented first-time film­maker Bing Liu, who started video­tap­ing his skater scene while still in mid­dle school. Thus, we are also able to watch the blandly hand­some Zack Mul­li­gan age from vol­u­ble, brighteyed An­glo pre­teen to beer-be­sot­ted lout, doomed— along­side high-school sweet­heart Nina and their luck­less baby—to re­peat the cy­cle of vi­o­lent un­rest he grew up with, in their huge, now-di­lap­i­dated houses.

The gap be­ing minded here has to do with in­come, of course, and also the dis­tance be­tween child­hood and be­ing an adult. “We still have to fully grow up,” one says early on. “And it fuck­ing sucks.” The F-bombs flow as freely as the Pabst Blue Rib­bon in this Rust Belt waste­land, and you can see child­like con­ster­na­tion on the boys’ faces as they strug­gle to give more com­pli­cated an­swers to Bing’s in­creas­ingly frank ques­tions. The gap in ed­u­ca­tion yawns men­ac­ingly too.

It takes a while for quiet, scrawny Bing (who now lives in Chicago) to come out from be­hind the cam­era, mainly to ad­dress his Chi­nese-born mother about the abuse they both suf­fered at the hands of his Amer­i­can step­fa­ther, now long gone. Keire’s volatile dad is also ab­sent, but the kid some­how re­mains cheer­ful through ev­ery­thing, and even­tu­ally packs up his boards and mu­si­cal gear to start a new life in an­other town, leav­ing Zack be­hind.

Re­mark­ably, all three—a mul­ti­eth­nic mi­cro­cosm of Amer­i­can male­hood—keep im­prov­ing their skat­ing skills, of­fer­ing glim­mers of curb­hop­ping free­dom un­bur­dened by doubt, place, or his­tory. Painted on the top­side of one of Keire’s decks: “This De­vice Cures Heartache.” As it hap­pens, the words were put there by Zack.

> KEN EISNER

TULIPANI: LOVE, HON­OUR AND A BI­CY­CLE

Star­ring Ksenia Solo. In English, Ital­ian, and Dutch, with English sub­ti­tles. Rated 14A

Fable­like charm and a few edgy turns take 2

some of the trea­cle out of this ag­gres­sively crowd-pleas­ing in­ter­na­tional co­pro­duc­tion, which man­ages to cram mul­ti­ple eth­nic stereo­types into a beau­ti­fully shot, if strangely silly, fan­tasy of love et cetera.

Dutch direc­tor Mar­leen Gor­ris, who re­leased the Os­car-win­ning An­to­nia’s Line in 1995 and Mrs. Dal­loway two years later, was sup­posed to direct Peter van Wijk’s script for Tulipani. When she had health prob­lems, the task fell to Mike van Diem, who got his own for­eign-lan­guage Os­car for 1997’s Char­ac­ter. Van Diem, who sub­se­quently coau­thored the script, be­gins things in 1980, per­haps just to en­sure that no ugly cell­phones will rear their story-killing heads.

Cana­dian ex–child star Ksenia Solo, who was born in Latvia, plays Anna, a red-haired Mon­trealer who heads to the old coun­try when her Ital­ian mamma sud­denly dies. No sooner does Anna ar­rive in the quaintly cob­ble­stoned Puglia re­gion than her crim­son locks ar­rest café keeper Im­ma­co­lata (The Best of Youth’s Lidia Vi­tale) and grown son Vito (Michele Ven­i­tucci). They im­me­di­ately re­gale her with tales of her real mother and the fa­ther she never knew. Well, first some far­ci­cal things hap­pen to at­tract the at­ten­tion of a jaded po­lice in­spec­tor (’70s fave Gian­carlo Gian­nini), who sits pa­tiently through the flash­backs-within-flash­backs struc­ture. (A few scenes were also shot in Lithua­nia and Hamilton, On­tario, for more com­pli­ca­tion.)

Trav­el­ling an­other 27 years into the past, it turns out that fu­ture dad was a Dutch farmer called Gauke (Gijs Naber), who es­capes an in­fa­mous flood and rides his sturdy bike—hence the sub­ti­tle—all the way down the heel of Italy’s boot. Be­fore that, ac­tu­ally, we find him cop­u­lat­ing with a Bot­ti­celli-maned damsel (An­neke Sluiters) whose name he won’t learn un­til, oh, about 10 months later.

The bearded and bedrag­gled for­eigner is taken in by Im­ma­co­lata and son (played by Ven­i­tucci again, but with cast stand­out Gianni Pez­zolla as the much lit­tler Vito). Gauke buys a farm and starts grow­ing tulips. Be­cause, re­mem­ber, he’s Dutch! Soon the lo­cal Mafiosi start horn­ing in on his business, and it takes a tall, blond for­eigner to put them in their place. That, and fart jokes. The re­sults, while vari­able, prove en­ter­tain­ing enough to en­cour­age the sus­pen­sion of crit­i­cal fac­ul­ties for just about 90 min­utes.

> KEN EISNER

that of Cine­plex’s event-based Park Theatre on Cam­bie Street.

Cine­plex event cin­ema vi­cepres­i­dent Brad Ladouceur ex­plained in a news re­lease that the change is in re­sponse to an in­crease in de­mand for event cin­ema pro­gram­ming. The theatre is one of 10 new event screens across the coun­try, for a to­tal of 22 Cine­plex event-based cine­mas. Screen­ings will in­clude theatre, Met Opera per­for­mances, lim­it­e­den­gage­ment pre­sen­ta­tions, hol­i­day pro­gram­ming, archival TV se­ries episodes, and more.

Fall film pro­gram­ming at the theatre will in­clude show­ings of the Stage Se­ries, fea­tur­ing per­for­mances from On­tario’s Strat­ford Fes­ti­val; the In the Gallery se­ries, fea­tur­ing ex­hi­bi­tions by artists like Sal­vador Dalí, Gus­tav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Edgar De­gas; per­for­mances by the Bol­shoi Bal­let and the Aus­tralian Bal­let; Met Opera per­for­mances in­clud­ing and con­certs by Jonas Kauf­mann and the Ed­in­burgh Mil­i­tary Tat­too; fam­ily films such as and

Marnie; Aïda

E.T. the Ex­trater­res­trial Show Dogs; Psy­cho.

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