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Friday, Mar 22, 2002

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Autumn In New York

ITS AUTUMN and the leaves are turning yellow, brown and red. Its time for introspection and a time when things happen and you are forced to reconsider values and attitudes that took you through the summers.

It is that time in life when you have seen, experienced and loved. Plenty as a matter of fact, so much so when you meet someone half your age you don't quite know how to deal with him. And then of course its time for intense mush which Hollywood is pretty good at dishing out.

The marvellous colours, the soft frames, gentle background scores and minimal conversation, all create the mood for ``Autumn In New York" - except that if you are not a hard-core advocate of love and romance you'll find the going tough.

Directed by Joan Chen the film has someone like Richard Gere who is quite wonderful as the character he portrays - Will Keane, a wealthy 48-year old New York ladies man who owns a restaurant. In fact in some of the scenes the way he crafts his dishes he seems like a pro and the camera lingers on the fresh green salads and pastas he whips up now and then. A delight indeed to behold. He meets this beautiful girl - 22 and not yet kissed as her friend informs him - Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder). The chemistry is instant and they are drawn to each other despite the age gap.

The affair starts on a bright note with each rather clear that nothing major would probably emerge considering his age and her youth. But then things don't really go as planned because Charlotte is suffering from a terminal illness and they fall in love. Nothing very unusual about this pang, which makes the cinematic twist to keep the viewers wondering what would happen.

If it were catering to a mass like in India it would be all's well that ends well with the girl achieving prolonged life and medical miracle being made.

To be honest it was veering towards that in this film but then the harsh reality of life reasserted itself to make the climax more real and acceptable. Plus the film has already been shown on one of the satellite channels, which took the zing out of the viewing.

Written by Allison Burnett, the film has as its director of photography, Changwie Gu, who has created this soft ambience through the lens. The colours are muted and diffused making it seem like a balmy melody that runs right through unobtrusively. He was nominated for the Oscars for his film ``Farewell My Concubine" and has shot this film around the World Trade Centre and Wall Street to give that very New York feel.

As for Winona Ryder, she makes an impact without being very pushy about it. Of course she is beautiful and gives Charlotte a vulnerability that is hard to resist.

It is that kind of a film you would want to see on a rainy day when you are trapped at home with nothing much to do. It passes you by without much ado.


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