Crown Jewels

However underfed, the British film industry keeps lobbing small gems across the Atlantic, largely financed by coproductions. Mike Leigh follows his Thatcher-era comedy High Hopes with another chapter of his amiably loony history of the English working classes. The less overtly political though still mordantly funny Life Is Sweet (October Films) centers on a beleaguered but resilient couple whose twin teenage daughters, one bulimic and the other a plumber, refuse to conform to plan. From Miramax, Angloeccentricity lives on in Beeban Kidron’s Antonia and Jane, a slightly stagy but lovable comedy about two neurotic pals—the faddist but creative plain Jane with an “interesting life,”and Antonia, a flighty beauty with a misbehaving nuclear family—who share mutual envy and a therapist. Isaac Julien (Looking for Langston) gracefully directs Young Soul Rebels, about two disc jockeys propagating funk music from a black pirate radio station in a London garage. Set against the 1977 celebrations of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the film is part murder mystery, part gay and heterosexual love story, and part biting political commentary in the tradition of My Beautiful Laundrette. Prosperous Books, the latest from Peter Greenaway (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover), stars John Gielgud in what will undoubtedly be an unorthodox reading of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.