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Short Takes
T H E  A R T S / S H O R T  T A K E S
IMAGE, WORD BUILDING BY THE BOOK. When Bernard Tschumi, a mahatma of architectural theory, does build something, naturally a book follows. Tschumi Le Fresnoy: Architecture In/Between, although risibly titled, is an engaging study of the conversion of an old leisure center in France into a high-tech film-and-performance complex. Tschumi's simple idea--put a canopy over the whole building, roof and all--has led to a fascinating, complex new space. B O O K S
APPOINTMENT AT THE ENDS OF THE WORLD By William Karesh Question: How do you remove maggots from under a forest giraffe's skin? Answer: Use your fingers. This bit of bush savvy can be found in Karesh's entertaining account of his life as a field veterinarian. Parasites abound. Insects try to pierce his flesh, while humans try to empty his wallet. Somewhat jarring is Karesh's outsize ego. Photos of the author in manly poses, as well as asides on what he is looking for in a relationship, sometimes give the book the feel of a personal ad. But then, what woman could resist a man who knows not to snore when hyenas are around?

RUN, LOLA, RUN Directed by Tom Tykwer Flame-haired Lola (Franka Potente) has 20 minutes to get the 100,000 deutsche marks that will save her thug boyfriend's life. So she goes running through Berlin in search of the loot. Could she take a cab, borrow a car, buy a bike? Yes, but in this breathless adventure logic is less important than a desperate momentum in both the story and the film's style. Telling the plot three times, with cunning variations, Tykwer mixes pixilated photos, split screens, cartooning, the works. Invigorating and annoying, Lola could use a dose of Ritalin. Best to take this 76-minute riff on alternate destinies as an antidote to Europe's minimalist art-house cinema and to enjoy Potente's sweaty radiance. With her guile and loping intensity, she's part trickster, part track star.

TERROR TWILIGHT Pavement Listening to this avant-rock band's new album is like arriving late to a mystery movie. You wonder, "Have I missed something?" In the case of Terror Twilight, you haven't. About a third of the songs on this album lack musical coherence, substituting aimless dissonance and artless artiness for melody and emotion. On a few tracks, however, Pavement lives up to its cerebral reputation; these boast a smart mix of studied elegance and ethereal sweetness. Still, this is a band that needs to replace indulgence with consistency.

BEGGARS AND CHOOSERS Showtime, Saturdays It has been two decades since Network, and Hollywood still can't get over the venality and dim-wittedness of the TV business, despite the increasingly lame fall schedules it turns out every year. Never mind, because this satirical hour-long series about the shenanigans at a major network, LGT, is worth watching. There's even a beautiful, frighteningly ambitious development exec who would have got Faye Dunaway fired.

ROGUE TRADER Cinemax, June 25 You don't give a hoot about The Phantom Menace, yet somewhere deep inside, you suspect it won't be a fulfilling summer without a shot of Ewan McGregor. Witness here, then, the Scotsman's fine turn as Nick Leeson, the British futures trader whose fast-and-loose market executions brought down his employer, Barings, the prominent English bank. The film takes a sympathetic view of Leeson, which is fine; the problem is, it never offers a sense of the man behind the mania. What does come through is that Leeson ate a lot of candy during crises. Cadbury wrappers shouldn't be made signifiers of emotional distress.

IF LOVE WERE ALL Devised by Sheridan Morley Born 100 years ago this December, the late Noel Coward will not lack for centenary celebrations. This off-Broadway revue-cum-memoir, about his friendship and collaboration with Gertrude Lawrence (The King and I), musters nearly 20 of his songs and is utterly charming. As Lawrence, '60s supermodel Twiggy is bright and bubbly (if overly nasal). As Coward, Harry Groener simply captivates. He wisely avoids mimicry, but his panache is pure Coward, and his renditions of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and other Coward specialties are dazzling.

June 28, 1999 Vol. 153 No. 25

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