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VANITY FAIR (article first published : 2004-08-22)

Reese Witherspoon plays Becky Sharp in a new big-screen adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's literary classic, Vanity Fair. To date, she's specialised in roles as entertaining and often ambitious young women in films such as Election and Legally Blonde, but despite being labelled a "hot property", it seems she's not content to develop a career the traditional Hollywood way.

This week's Talking Movies takes a look at Witherspoon's latest work and presenter Tom Brook interviews the film's highly acclaimed Indian director, Mira Nair, who also made Monsoon Wedding.

The low-budget indie thriller Open Water proves that a few dollars can go a very long way The film tells the story of a couple who go scuba diving off the Bahamas and find themselves stranded in shark-infested waters. First-time film maker Chris Kentis talks about a movie that has been described as "Jaws meets The Blair Witch Project".

Also on the show, Laura Dern and Mark Ruffalo discuss their starring roles in We Don't Live Here Anymore. Based on a short story by Andre Dubus, it's a glimpse at just how difficult and messy a marriage can become. This stark portrait is bolstered by a strong cast that also includes Naomi Watts (21 Grams) and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under).

Mean Creek is a dark and troubling coming-of-age story that shows how primitive and destructive young teens can become. It stars Rory Culkin as a bullied child who, with the help of his elder brother, plans a boating trip that will humiliate his tormentor. Talking Movies finds that it's a very impressive debut from the director Jacob Aaron Estes.

Talking Movies will be screened on BBC World on DStv on August 24 (21h30); August 26 (18h30) and August 27 (02h30, 09h30 and 15h30)




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