Town of Runners (PG)


Dir: Jerry Rothwell

Running time: 88 minutes

JERRY Rothwell's picture is part of a rush of films exploring the sporting will to win. Anyone would think the Olympics were coming up or something. Rothwell's documentary homes in on the Ethiopian village of Bekoji, general population 16,000, which is home to many an Olympic distance running champion.

This is the story of two youngsters, Hawli and Alemi, as they try to follow in the spiked footsteps of the likes of Tirunesh Dibaba. An eye-opener of a documentary, both about the sporting life of others and a rapidly-changing Africa. Running here is not just a sport, it's a lifeline, and the obstacles placed in the way of the youngsters, including poor-to-zero training facilities, make the life of athletes in the rich west look luxurious.

Glasgow Film Theatre, July 16-18

Chariots of Fire R/I (U)


Dir: Hugh Hudson

With: Ian Charleson, Ben Cross

Running time: 123 minutes

HUGH Hudson's four-Oscar-winning drama of 1981 has been digitally remastered for its Olympic year re-release. The true story of two British runners, Scotland's Eric Liddell and England's Harold Abrahams, who both had to overcome prejudice to pursue gold, Chariots of Fire remains a genuinely best of British picture with an intelligent screenplay (by Colin "The British are coming!" Welland), beautifully-crafted performances (from Ian Charleson and Ben Cross as Liddell and Abrahams), and an extra dash of class in the form of Sir John Gielgud as a lethally snooty Cambridge college master.

Still a rippingly good yarn, and now looking and sounding (Vangelis's score) better than ever.


Electrick Children (15)


Dir: Rebecca Thomas

With: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin

Running time: 95 minutes

REBECCA Thomas's determinedly strange but beguiling picture has echoes of the recent cult-set drama Martha Marcy May Marlene and the slacker cool of a Gus Van Sant movie.

A teenage girl is being interviewed about her faith. It is Utah, 1996, but Rachel (Julia Garner, above) is dressed as if it was 1896. She is amazed by the clunky old tape recorder taking down her words. After hearing a slice of the devil's music (more accurately, a guitar-band rendition of Blondie's Hanging on the Telephone), Rachel begins a rebellion against her strict life, a mutiny that will involve a brush with a rock'n'roll band that includes Rory Culkin.

Garner is suitably mesmerising as the otherworldly Rachel, but after such a strong set-up the story doesn't know where to go before it eventually settles into a predictable groove.

Still, a bold feature debut that marks writer-director Rebecca Thomas out as a name to watch.

Belmont, Aberdeen, from tomorrow; Cameo, Edinburgh, July 20; GFT, July 27-August 2.