FILMS AROUND THE WORLD
TORONTO — Outside the small circle of ``gala'' showings, highlights at Toronto have been many and varied. None was more imposing than ``No, or, The Vain Glory of Command,'' a visually imaginative journey through Portuguese history (and the history of all conflict and war) by Manoel de Oliveira, surely the greatest of Portuguese filmmakers. New Zealand director Jane Campion has followed her corrosive ``Sweetie'' with ``An Angel at My Table,'' the delicately filmed story of Janet Frame, a celebrated author whose growing-up years were marred by inner struggle and the insensitivity of authorities who labeled her mentally ill. ``The Krays,'' a fiercely made British drama, tells the real-life story of twin gangsters who carved out a bloody career in crime; it's the most powerful movie yet from Peter Medak, an ambitious but uneven director. ``Boy of the Terraces'' is Ferid Boughedir's harrowing but convincing tale of a boy coming of age in Tunisia, where the film was made. And the Soviet Union has given evidence that glasnost is alive and well at the movies. ``Taxi Blues,'' directed by Pavel Lungin, is a fierce drama of mingled friendship and hostility between a Moscow cab-driver and a Jewish jazz musician, raising difficult issues of anti-Semitism and class conflict. ``The Asthenic Syndrome,'' by Kira Muratova, is a largely plotless look at social and personal discontents across a broad swath of Soviet life. Both plunge into areas long avoided by the USSR's film establishment., and have provoked discussion and debate about the future role of film in the rapidly changing Soviet culture.
Among the offerings from the US, standouts at Toronto have included Su Friedrich's unconventional ``Sink or Swim,'' which joins old ``found footage'' images with a poignant narration about a girl's relationship with her difficult father; and Yvonne Rainer's complex ``Privileges,'' an uncompromising look at women's issues that are rarely touched on, much less explored, in Hollywood pictures.