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October 24, 1968 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-24

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.Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, October

24, 1968

Pae.oTH.IHGA4AL

ThurIsda---IOctober- 24I II1968

I,,

music
Blatt and symphony:
Pas 'Fantastique'
By JIM PETERS
The atmosphere at Hill Aud. was pretty sleepy last night; even
before the concert the audience was talking very little, just a soft
murmur until the University Symphony Orchestra came on stage.
And I don't know whether the mood of the audience affected the
orchestra directly, but conductor Josef Blatt's group almost fell
asleep themselves,
When I looked at the program I dreaded hearing another per-,
formance of Brahms' Haydn yariations, but perhaps "dread" was the
wrong word. The way the orchestra played, I should have been fearing
for the success of the entire concert.
Blatt's tempi throughout the nine variations contributed to the
dull lifeless sound of the first piece. In the opening statement of
Haydn's chorale tune, his hand was too heavy, the sound too loud.
The brass accented the simple melody too inuch; Brahms orchestra-
tion of this Haydn tune should sound like Haydn, not like complex
Brahms.
Lukewarm tempi plagued each of the variations. When this was
not'too apparent, as In sections two and three, the overall sound was
bland and hardly interesting. Section five, the fourth variation,
marked andante con motto, showed so little enthusiasm and effort
that it was patently boring.
Section nine,, marked presto, was hardly more than a quick
andante, and even the power that was achieved in the finals was
toned down by loose ensemble and a sloppy ending.
I particularly noticed thle weakness of the bass string sections
throughout the entire piece, quite markedly weak in the presto and
grazioso movements.
Strangely enough, right in the center of the Variations the-
orchestra performed better. The two central vivace movements were
more vibrant, and the Symphony seemed to be on top of the music
finally. I thought this would continue, but the power of the finale
was more big sound than good orchestral ensemble.
Since I like music performed by live rather than dead orchestras,
I wasn't too enthused about listening to the major work on the pro-
gram, Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. This is a long intri-
cate piece, built on strange, magical images. The program for the
work brings surrealism to mind, but that's probably too strong a
word.
The five movements each bear their own titles; the fourth is the
famous March to the Scaffold, a well-known symphonic excerpt.
After the intermission the orchestra was in a better frame of mind.
Each movement is a complex collection of short melodies and chang-
ing moods. The lustre was still missing in the first two movements,
but things improved.
Good, biting brass in the beginnihg section helped carry the
movement through' as a whole. The strings has ensemble troubles,
especially in the violins, which I feared would spoil the whole sym-
phony.
But with the' dance tunes of the second movement, named "The
Ball," Blatt got things moving. This section was certainly the key
to the improvements which followed.
In the third section, Bellioz takes us on a train ride through bed-
lam-his version of "In the Country," but far from Beethoven's Pas-
terale. A long bass clarinet solo alternates with ominous timpani
rolls, interrupted by full orchestra. But we hear very little of bubbling
brooks and sunshine. This countryside must be a graveyard at mid-
night, and the group pictured it well.
Josef Blatt's interpretation of the Berlioz showed the insight and
attention to detail missing in his inflated Brahms. The blame must fall
on the orchestra for the tired frenzy which limped' from Berlioz's
music. I do not understand why this was so, but the normal tension
and drive in any symphonic performance had turned into just barely
warm interest, far from the necessary enthusiasm.
The intricate mechanism known as the University Symphony
Orchestra was perhaps too well oiled, too smoothly running, dffering
none' of the grinding tension which is excitement. Either too much
oil, or perhaps just out of gas.

cinema

Farewell
By DEBORAH LINDERMAN sed bya
At its least puzzling surface, fusing w
Belle de Jour allows you to munion.
think it deals with the tender, flashbac
but passionless, marriage of a her curl
beautiful, frigid woman. H e r pationsY
husband endures her bland and mic seed
somewhat petulant frigidity But D
with saintly resignation; one too cleve
wonders at the outset what sort stuff an
of self-deceiver he must be not of his t:
to spank her at least, at least to realit
once. because
Tender marital scense are withouts
crudely interrupted by the hero- To ma
ine's escapes into "sado-maso- transitio
chistic" fantasy, signalled by the offering
gentle tinkle of carriage bells. ate flas
Severine (Catherine Deneuve) is hae a
transported in elaborate car- whole id
riage, driven by thugs in black adult, re
tails, top hot and white gloves, woundsc
down the lush wooded path of This f
a country estate to a series of inatoryq
highly ritualized b e a t i n g s, nicolor s
shootings, rapes and humilia- ing to d(
tions, overseen 'by husband ventions
Pierre (Jean Sorel), their ar- transitio
chitect and witness. reality. F
Then Severine snaps back to most of
what appears to be a consum- crossings
mately boring life in an impec- and actu
cable Paris apartment.. ing imag
The serene immobility of her eyes fron
aristocratic f a c e is disturb- Bunue
ed by the appearance of Husson ately su
(Michel Piccoli), the mo s t ventions
sophisticated and complete per- to make
son in the film. negative:
Supposedly penetrating her the world
virginal ruse, Husson plants in taste, an
her perfumed ear the notion of put tast
how to realize what he realizes done as
is her real, but unacknowledged partly e
lusts. Casually, he mentions the technico.
address of a whore house with he works
"atmosphere."' surface o
She has a hard time getting Although
herself there, but does: it's a strange t
high class place and she is high- film, the
est class in it. Her Y ye s nitude, a
Saint - Laurent wardrobe is .--
envied and fingered by the two
After the first time, she burnsr
her underwear, and suffers tor-
ments of conscience when she
confronts the impeccable Pierre.
But soon her days become rou- y,
tine: she is beautiful, high class,
just what they want, and so she
takes the nom-de-plume, Belle
de Jour. Her hours of prostitu-
tion belong not to the night but,
to the day, two to five. These
are not conventional hours for
illicit business, but indeed it's
the anytime rough stuff she'
wants..
So much for the surface. Ther
transitions from brute fantasy
to sedate reality are supposedly
hard to tell. Of course, the jing-
ling. of. the carriage bells, is an,
audacious and unforgettable
cue. And twice, conventional
flashbacks make the transitions '
Indisputable. We get scenes of
the child Severine being carres-

flirt with Bunuel's

a handy man and re-
wickedly to take com-
The stock stuff of
k merely suggests that
rent two - five preoccu-
have their psychodyna-
ds in childhood.
Director Luis Bunuel is
er to give us such stock
id leave it at that. Some
ransitions from fantasy
ty are harder to detect
they happen fluidly,
standard cues.
ake sense of these fluid
ns, one might begin by
the notion that what
ng with the too deliber-
t>backs is mocking the
dea of Severine, the
edressing the emotional
of childhood.
ilm has a funny halluc-
quality, despite its tech-
olidity, which has noth-
Seither with social con-
or formal problems of
ns. from daydream to
For its "hallucinations",
them, deal with the
s between actual unreal
ual real, with the fleet-
:es that pass before your
m moment to moment.
1 seems to be deliber-
ggesting a set of con-
in order to put us on,
them not useful, or
ly useful. Our view of
td has gone beyond good
id Bunuel has, it seems,
e back into the spoof,
spoof, on spoofs, which
explains the polished
lor surface with which
s as well as the polished
f the lives of his people.'
h there are several very
things happening in the
y are not of first mag-
and the film's "straight-

forward" deadpan tonalities ne-
ver slide uncomfortably around
its little quearnesses. We are
made to feel that, except for the
few overt oddities, the film
makes perfect sense.
What Bunuel has done rather
is to tenderize his material,
make it prestigious and dis-
tinguished as a supremely comic
yet deadpan technique of in-
nuendo. The tonalities of the
film deliberately undercut and
in fact play down its underlying
emotional radicalism. Pierre's
resurrection (once we have for-
gotten about what is actuality,
what fantasy, and simply let the
two merge) is no problem. The
play of the mind and, of its
experience is already given wider
arena. Thus what matters is not
whether he is dead or alive,
but that when he is paralyzed
Severine is demure in precocious
schoolgirl dress and embroidery
hoop, and that this serenity
masks her "innocent" content-
ment with having castrated a
prig in whom it's hard to see
much to applaud.
When he "comes alive" she
returns to her real, and better,
sexual self and the carriage bells
resume outside the balcony, so
that the thing has gone full
circle. Adventures outside mar-
riagetare certainly not carrying
her to marital warmth; the
whole tender marriage on the
other hand is only a pose for
what she "really is," and this is
all accomplished without man-
ners collapsing under stress.
She is a slut, pure and simple,
and Bunuel knows this and
makes it very much his own,"
being hallucinatorily funny.
Marcel (Pierre Clementi) sup-
posedly is her match, yet with

hi- gold teeth, violence, cane,
ascot and purple socks, he is
neither subtle or dangerous, on-
ly another joke. He is, as a
lesser thug calls him, a goon.
\ Despite his toughness, he takes
what he wants when he wants
it, (though a woman once tried
to strangle him with her stock-
ing). He is shot down prepost-
erously by a cop in the street
in broad daylight; he is an in-
nocent. Bunuel is simply repeat-
ing the process of young French
directors, discovering the poetry
of crime in American life and
putting it on the screen in a new
"existential" way. Now Bunuel
imitates Truffaut, not Truffaut's
original tough American sources.
Anais, the mother of the mai-
son and a slut and lesbian, is,
in the other hand,' much less
interesting than Severine, whose
curious, affectless hauteur
("Don't mark my face!r', when
Marcel threatens to slash her)
is the very source of the film's
extremely peculiar humour. It
is as though, dramatized
through her, there is a continual
kind of "overexposure"-like the
time lag between the surface
meaning of a funny line and
the double meaning that gives
it its punch.'

Belle'
The film does this, sucessfully,
over and over again
Time lag of this sort, then, pro-
vides a cinematic frame for the
metaphysical barrier between
hallucination and reality. Se-
verine "actually" goes to the
death rite orgy in a turn of the
century hansom and' Pierre
"really" studies the wheel chair
which will later support him.
Hallucination and reality con-
verge in the subliminal: dreams
at the middling waking stages
between the two, have a funny
way of attracting reality.

CINEMA I1
Cincinnati Kidh

STEVE McQUEEN
Dir. Norman Jewison
("IN THE HEAT
OF THE NIGHT")

Fri.-Sat.-Oct.
Aud. A

25-26
id req

*
4

,v

Second class postagq paid at Ann
Arbor, Michigan. 420 Maynard St., Ann
Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Daily except Monday during regular
academic school year.I

"An Exuberant Comic Fantasy ... 'Cock-a-doodle'
has a lift!"-Detroit News
"Looney and Larky"-Detroit Free Press

4
N,

t
MWA"

OQCTO BE R 15-27
*,
-
"
By '
r Sean
YO'Casey
Directed by Jack 0'Brien
Music by Bob James
- -1.,*.
-l -0 +' iII

4

I

The University of Michigan'
Gilbert & Sullivan Society
1968-1969 MUSICAL SEASON

]FRANCE IN MOTION
OCTOBER 27, 2:00 P.M.
,. HILL AUDITORIUM
Tickets on Sale Wed., Oct. 23
-$1.00--Diag (11-2) and
Union Desk (All Day). Also
available at door.
UNION-LEAGUE

I

4

i

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

ACTUAL PERFORMANCE
OF THE
NATIONAL THEATRE
OF GREAT BRITAIN

LAST DAY
TODAY
2:00-5:00-8:00

Gilbert & Sullivan's
THE GONDOLIERS
lOLANTHE

Meredith Willson's
THE MUSIC MAN
Bob Merrill's
HENRY, SWEET HENRY

LAURENCE
DLI VIIIn
The greatest Othello ever by
the greatest actor of our time.

r

(Presented by Ann Arbor Jr. Light Opera)
FOR SEASON SUBSCRIPTIONS
Enclosed find $ for season subscriptions at $7.00 each for the G&S
1968-69 Musical Package, on the dates indicated below. Please note that orders for season
tickets will receive preferential seating; individual orders will NOT be filled until Nov. 10th.

THE GONDOLIERS*
Wed., Nov. 13
Thur., Nov. 14
HENRY, SWEET HENRY
Wed., Dec. 11 _______
Thur., Dec. 12
1OLANTHE
Wed., Mar. 19
Thur., Mar. 20
THE MUSIC MAN'
Wed., Aug. 6
Thur., Aug. 7

Fri., Nov. 15
Sat., Nov. 16
Sat., Nov. 16
Fri., Dec. 13
Sat:, Dec. 14

{_7 p.m.)
(10 p.m.)

A 8M.E. PRODUCTION
ALSO STARRINGU
MM(1E EW EREMNand FRANK FINY TiRBURGE'
ANTHONY HAVELOCK-A.AN and JOHN BRABOURNE
TECHNICOLOR' PANAVISIONO From WARNER BROS.-SEVEN ARTS
FRI. & SAT. - 2:30 - 5:1 5-8:00
WINNER OF 5 ACADEMY AWARDS!
A J.ARThUR RANK ENTERPRISE
azavnnce ev19
pretents
A CONTINENTAL DISTRIBUTING, INC. RE-RELEASE

2 EXCITING NEW PLAYS
A powerful and prophetic An imaginative and
play by the daring,.young provocative new play by
Czech liberal leader: the author of
197PrauesuGesBlackboad 1 :ugl
THE WORLD PREMIERE F
-o
by
IVAN KLIMA b
Adaptedby RUTH WILLARD EVAN HUNTER
TUES., DEC. 3+--- SUN., DEC. 8 MON., FEB. 3- SAT., FEB. 8
4

Fri.,
Sat.,
Sat..
Fri.,
Sat.,
Sat.,

Mar.
Mar.
Mar.
Aug.
Aug.
Aug.

21
22
22
8
'9
9

( 7 p.m.)
(10p.m.)
( 7 p.m.)
(10 p.m.)

I prefer (check one).: orchestra; balcony.
*THE GONDOLIERS will be performed in Lydia Mendelssohn theatre; all others in Trueblood
Theatre; Curtain time is 8 p.m., SHARP, unless otherwise noted. Seats are reserved for all
shows except HENRY, SWEET HENRY.

Directed by

i

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,

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