Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

September 27, 1968 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page Two


Friday, September 27, 1968


Death, decay, de Sade

U' Symphony: Good start


-41 4>



Belle de Jour, now at the Campus, is a picture
puzzle of the variety that tantalizes the viewer
to seam the jagged parts into a coherent whole,
while at the same time discouraging the pursuit
of logic by the sheer complexity of its Eastman-
color images.
You can shrug your shoulders and chuckle at'
the director's perverse and shameless display of
sexuality, or (partially for the latter reason) ybu
may be tempted to sit through the film twice.
I went to the library. I shamelessly rummaged
through periodicals of early spring in search of
a master critic who could discipline an untutored
mind. Unfortunately, the critics contradicted each
other with such consitency and diffidence that
I left the UGLI with no impressions of the film
that hadn't occurred to me in the first place,
except that Belle de Jour is apparently an enigma
to everyone, perhaps even to Luis Bunuel,
Bunuel, a priest of the perverse, has achieved
almost sacred fame for his films, which invariably
probe the dark themes of decay, death and, in
Belle de Jour, sadomasochism.
On the literal level, the film is Bunuel's visually
lush interpretation of Joseph Kessel's novel. It
concerns the repressed lust of a comely and urbane
Parisienne (Catherine Deneuve) whose sexual dis-
satisfaction with her husband (Jean Sorel) leads
her to secretly spend her afternoons as a call girl.
As such, Kessel intended his book to describe, in
exaggerated terms, the cartesian dichotomy be-
tween mind and body. "What I tried to do in
Belle de Jour was to show the desperate divorce
that can exist between body and soul; between a
true, tender, immense love and the implacable
demands of the senses," Kessel writes.
Bunuel does not argue. He opens his film with
masterful illusion as Miss Deneuve and Sorel make
banal loge banter in a carriage open to the
golden pastoral decay of autumn. But beneath
Miss Deneuve's immobile beauty lurk desperate
passions. She desires to be beaten and raped and
at her husband's bidding, the liveried footmen
begin to fulfill her illicit fantasy before a dumb-
founded and uncomprehending audience.

Bunuel meticulously chronicles the decline and
fall of Severine (Miss Deneuve), explaining her
ambivalence toward sex in a psychologically re-
assuring way. Severine is an idle, rich housewife,
with little to do but indulge-in fantasy. In two
pat flashbacks, he reveals that Severine retains
a morbid, childhood guilt regarding sex; she views
sexuality as evil and can indulge in it only outside
the constricting bonds of her legitimate marriage.
However, at this point in his recreation of the
book, I suspect Bunuel pulls a stunning coup, pep-
pering the sympathetic stew Kessel wanted to
produce. Although the author wrote that Severine
deserves our sympathy, Bunuel regards her with
a dispassionate, sometimes humorous camera.
The viewer is continually repulsed and allured
by the seeming vulgar voyeurism in which Bunuel
indulges.Miss Deneuve's angelic purity is violated
again and again bythe motliest crew of perverts
since Marat/Sade. But, her loves of an-afternoon
appear less like studies in psychosis than char-
acters in a comedy of whores.
Although Severine is instantly rejected by a
perverted professor who demands torture instead
of a kiss, she allures a grunting Japanese who
offers to pay for her services with a Geisha Club
credit card. Finally she succumbs to a scrawny,
mealy-mouthed gangster (Pierre Clementi) who
refuses to allow her to take off her stockings in
bed for fear of strangulation.
Despite the comic interludes, Bunuel's unsubtle'
direction is coy enough to invie the audience to
take him seriously. His unabashed camera leads
the viewer down blind alleys, like the puzzling
death'/sex rite at the chateau of a duke, and into
the bedroom where he involves the audience in
artistic lechery.
Everything seems to be so firmly in Bunuel's
perverse control, that one is quite able to abandon
reason and undergo the heady "dereglement de
tous les sens" tha4 Rimbaud propounded. His
actors do not have to perform so much as to
just be on display, where the unholy communion
of Bunuel's suggestion and the audience's uncon-
scious, desires determine and decide the course, the
humor of Belle de Jour.

The first concert of a season
can be a traumatic experience
for a -student orchestra; per-
sonnel has changed, people have
been away for the summer.
Each fall these can destroy the
ensemble that an orchestra has
built-up through the previous
year. -
But this University Symphony
Orchestra has suffered little.
Their first performance of this
year's music school concert ser-
ies under conductor Josef Blatt
proved to me just how much
good a little work can do.
The biggest objection I have
about the music offered last
night at Hill Aud, is that there
just wasn't enough of it. I can
understand the pre-school rush
to gather everyone, together for
rehearsals and the obvious lack
of time to prepare material;
but if the quality of the Sym-
phony remains as high, I sup-
pose I'll settle for 90 minutes
of excellence any time.
The orchestra began with one
of those overtures to an opera
which is never performed. The
"Oberon" overture of Carl Maria
vor Weber falls into two sec-
tions, first a brooding c'ioral
fantasy-like section, followedby
well-known tunes and ,plashes
in the allegro portion.
There were ensemble troubles
in the slower half, but I'd rather
mention the good sound of the
lower strings and the horn. solo
at the beginning. When the big
crash came signalling the zip-
pier section, the players as well
as the music came alive. I've
heard few forte passages as
strong and loud as last night.
And I enjoyed hearing thej
original reorchestration of Stra-
' vinsky's "Firebird Suite"; this
1919 version was replaced by
Stravinsky around 1946 by a
revised version which he could
copyright. The version perform-
ed last night is Stravinsky's
first arrangement for the con-
cert stage from the complete
ballet music.

Throughout the six sections
of the "Firebird," Blatt was in
firm control of the large forces
such that ever'y woodwind twit-
tering and trill was kept dis-
tinct from the strings' under-
playing; and I discovered short
canons between winds and
strings that I've never heard be-
Thing got a little out of
hand, however, in the compli-
cated "Infernal Dance" se-
quence. The rhythm didn't
throw the ensemble off until
the wild string section near the
end. Here the sound got a little
too plush, and the otherwise
constant 'rhythm vanished for
a while.
But I vigorously applaud the
bass drum player for really
blasting us with deep vibrating'
sound during the Weber over-
ture and especially in the Stra-
vinsky. There was fine artistry
too in the oboe solo of the "Lul-
laby" from the "Firebird."
The first two pieces, being,
short, turned out to beppe-
tizers for the final selection,
Mozart's "Piano Concerto No.
19 in F Major." Josef Blatt was
the soloist, conducting from the
piano bench' in very authentic
18th century style.
Trimmed down to some 40
players, the Symphony handled
Mozart with just enough pow-
er to neither dull the bright
sound nor leave 'the music- life-
less. And for once, I'heard the
allegretto sedond movement at

a tempo which was fast enough
to jell the somewhat plodding
repetitions of the orchestral
I have to confess that since
I never heard Blatt's playing be-
fore nor heard of it, I expected
pretty scholarly and academic
Mozart without much feeling.
But not so with pianist-con-
duct Blatt's performance. There
was scholarship, but also bril-
liance and the special touch re-
quired to give Mozart's crystal
music flesh and blood. Blatt's
two cadenzas combined strength
with clarity.
Such first concerts are ex-
pected of professional orches-
tras which spend most of Sep-
tember and October getting into
gear before starting their sea-
sons. But if we can hear such
skill at the Very beginning from
the University Symphony, dare
we dream about tomorrow?
375 No.MA E RD.-769-1300
MON. -FAI .7 :10-9.15
SAT.-SUN.- :15 -3:15-5:15-7:10-9 ,15
hjSTICn0- oT
.the ocommon movie.


North Campus Commons

* U
* E

Wednesday thru Saturday
" &c

°'! "




802 Monroe
"Issues ,#A Higher Education"

with Claribel B. Baird

8Q00 P.M.

Box Office
Open Daily
at 12:30

Petulia: It's Lester, once aegain

Trueblood Theatre

(Petulia, by Richard Lester..
Hard Day's Night, Help, The
Knack, How I Won the War)
and now showing at the Fox
Village, is an extremelyeffective
film. But it is hard to accurately
define that effect. For some, it
will delineate the great hypo-
crisy of our society. For others
--who already see that hype=
crisy-it will define the hypo-
crisy in terms of a great, all-
pervading cultural disease.
In either case, it allows the
viewer to see what he wishes to
In yesterday's Daily, Prof.
Ross J. Wilhelm of the business
school was incorrectly identified
.as the faculty sponsor of Young_
Americans, for Freedom. Prof.
Wilheln isePresident of °the
Michigan Republican Commit-
tee on thesArts, Professions,
andJ Sciences. He initiated' a
petition condemning the Soviet
Ujnion, for its invasion 'of
Czechoslovakia which is cur-
rently being circulated on cam-
pus by the CollegeYAepublicans
and the YAF.

see. We of the hate-your-par-
ents, revolt-against-the-world
generation will 'love the unsubtle
cuts at over-40 society. Similarly,
the over-40's will appreciate
the cuts at the freaked out acid
generation. Everybody wins -
but loses at the same time.
The film revolves around di-
vorcee George C Scott (Archie)
and his mad, mod mistress,
Julie Christie (Petulia), who is
married to Richard Chamber-
lain, "one of the plastic things
America makes so well." Not
bound by traditional story lines,
Lester leaps about in a stream
of consciousness that visually
creates .the subplots within the
vehicle of their relationship. His
juxtaposing (good film word) of
different elements show Archie
and Petulia as both comic and
From time to; time throughout
the film, Lester digresses to ex-
pose small truths about the
world that surrounds and cre-
ated the two lovers. He walks
the border of cliche-dom, but
avoids falling in a trap with his
rapid pacing. The style, well-
employed in Hard Day's Night,
The Knack and all the rest, al-
lows the audience to break out

of molds and view the symp-
toms of cultural disease as en-,
tities unto themselves, separated
from their effects. It thus forces
intellectualization about the so-
ciety, a detached view of looking
at what we are. The result is
clear proof that life in the good
ol' U.S. of A. is fine-as long
as we aren't forced to re-ex-
amine it when we are victimized
by it. Petulia croons to her hover,
"Poor Archie, I am trying to
save your life." But she is trap-
ped just as much as he is-and
doesn't realize this until she is
forced to.
Technically, Lester does a
fine job of introducing the au-
dience to new visual styles.
These devices-used successful-
ly in TV commercials (which,
Lester himself used to make)
and experimental films-allow
the audience to watch free-form
story-telling as it is translated
into visual images. Just as
viewers learned to understand
the parallel plot line in The
Great Train Robbery in. 1903,
audiences who see Petulia are
able to understand the ski-jump
of Lester, a filmic Joyce.
Petulia is a great film, see it
once a week.



TONIGHT at 7:15
Student Sbth

Friday Evening 6 P.M.
Guild Dinner (a* cost)
,For Reservation, Call 662-5189



r dCtiox cstDers________'

3020 WA)TENA FPtone 434 82


"AN ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT! Miss Woodward's performance
is purity in the pure sense, free of artifice. It's her picture,
her's and Paul Newman's'... Joanne comes to the top
again as one of our best actresses. Paul Newman developed
the screenplay with ingenuity and imagination. There
just might be two Oscars next year for doorstops at the
Newman home. The ads say: "Who cares for a 35 year
old virgin?" Well, I care. You will too." -N. Y. DAILY NEWS
Ir Che rachel is the best written, most seriously
acted American movie in a long time. Miss Woodward, is
extraordinarily good, as are Miss Parsons and other
members of the cast." -N. Y. TIMES
raChel.rach.I is quality on all counts. Directing,
performance and intention are superlative and rare.
Joanne Woodward has never been quite this good...so
deeply, simply touching. Estelle Parsons, the Academy
Award-Winner, deserves a double prize." -N.YPOST
achel.ac. is a double-barreled triunpl!
Joanne Woodward is extraordinary- and Paul Newman's
direction is excellent. This is Joanne Woodward's triumph
and should make her a prime contender for an


t~ halie JRubbles
Col|n Blakely Billie hitelaw Liz 0 Minn9 i
Directed by 0.4, SP. Y t h buPtd. !y
Albert Finney ShelaghDelaney (Author om'ATaste of Honey') Michael Medwin
A Memorial Enterprises Production A Regopal Film Release "tTechnicolor'


"For the adults amony
cated, sprightly, satiric
query m~uch of, today!'

us . . sophisti-
co nedy!.. it is
-Judith Crist


"Swift . .f unny... violent-. . candidly
sexy!" -N.Y. Times
SAT.: "BUBBLES"-5:00-9:00; "'ISNAME"-7:00-1 1:00
SUN.: "BUBBLES"-5:00-9 :00; "INAME"'-3 :00-7:00


Academy Award."

-David Goldman, WCBS Radio


rachel.rac.l is a tender moving film!
Miss Woodward makes it the affecting thing it is-a picture
worthy of her talents.. she provides an inner radiance,
a winning wholesomeness and integrity that is the essence
r0crus 5eVmJndJ
o [fin




in the PAUL NEWMAN production of

lill !l!ljpl!!!ij !I! i !

z a,



Back to Top

© 2023 Regents of the University of Michigan