After international hits like High Fidelity and Dangerous Liaisons, it's easy to forget that Stephen Frears was once an expert in down-to-earth, state-of-the-nation British dramas like My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. "It's hard to find a new world in your own country," says Frears, explaining his absence. "The most difficult thing is finding something English that is new to me and doesn't involve the usual things that English films are full of." It took a thriller set in London's community of illegal immigrants to lure him back, and Dirty Pretty Things is a welcome alternative to London's usual export-friendly film image. The cast is suitably diverse, taking in Spanish, Chinese, south Asian and eastern European actors. British-born Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a young Nigerian whose second job as a hotel concierge brings him together with a Turkish immigrant (Amelie star Audrey Tautou), while their vulnerability is exploited by crooked boss Sergi Lopez.
Bradshaw says: One of the most substantial and intelligent directors we have produced, Stephen Frears here makes another addition to his formidable filmography. When so many new films are content to promote a dull and questionable Cool Britannia-type celebration of London's supposed multicultural vibrancy, this offers a much tougher, more sceptical vision.
Showing times: Opening gala, Wed Nov 6, 7pm, Odeon Leic Sq; Thur Nov 7, 3. 30pm, Odeon WE. LFF box-office:020-7928 3232.

Contributors

Steve Rose and Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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