THE MICHIGAN DAILY
I- -- - -1 - lk t I It P- I'^ o#%
THE MCH~cA DA-l
Friday, November 15, 1968
Story of a boy
and his Porsche
Nilsson's sound: Echoes of Olympus
By HENRY GRIX
Thinking about Le' Depart (The Start) spoils the whole thing.
Seeing the play is the thing, and the film is destroyed, quite literally,
in the end when you start wondering what it was all about.
You see that it is about a boy and his Porsche, and you laugh
not quite out loud because it is so self-consciously absurd.
Jean-Pierre Leaud is very funny because he has a big Gallic
nose and because he can't act at all. He gets in fist fights with every-
body, but he can't keep from snickering when the camera looks at
him, which is often.
He knows this great girl (Catherine Dupont) who is no Catherine
Deneuve, but who is blonde and every nice to look at. They spend their
nights street walking in search of unlocked Porches with keys in
the ignitions. The nameless couple (only the finks have names)
ride off in their own road rally, but return the car, clean, gassed and
mileage gaged back in the morning.
In Brussels this kind of thing could not happen. But it has al-
ways, until recently, happened in the movies.
Not since Rita Tushingham floated down the Thames on her
brass bed in Richard Lester's The Knack, has a film made so much
of so little so well. Not since W. C. Fields cheated little children, has
an actor stolen an apple from a baby as deftly as Leaud does. Not
since Max Sennett's keystone cops (or Arthur Penn's Bonnie and
Clyde for that matter) have cars been such good toys.
In other words, if Le Depart is an old joke, it certainly earns
the last laugh. But you don't have to applaud; Leaud and writer-
director Jerzy Skolimowski know they are good.
Their cocksureness may disconcert or irritate viewers accustomed
to the ironies of the more subtle cinema obscuring moviehouse screens.
But their adolescent intuition for what makes something funny,
matched with keen comie timing, a fast pace and outstanding tech-
nical competence, mold La Depart into a fascinating Tilm.
It is fascinating (and downright insulting) because it invites
-you to become involved, then mocks you for trying. Like the vintage
Bogart films, it reveals the petty plot in suggestive snatches, allowing
the viewer to unweave the story for himself. And you do.
Leaud, who must be a thirteen-year-old dreaming, wants to get
in- a road rally: He really can drive. His black Porsche, "borrowed"
from a dealer with the aid of his friend dressed as a maharaja, does
180's and can pass everything on two wheels. Except this white Mus-
tang. But that's okay because the Mustang is driven-really--by
Paul Frere, renowned rally driver.
The symbolic absurdity of these episodes, of the entire film,
suggest that the movie is a freak, which clicks by accident. Leaud's
artless acting, reminiscent of his performance in Godard's La
Chinoise, reinforces this impression.
However, Skolimowski's jokes are vitally calculated. His sight
gags are more like visual puzzles which tantalize then divert the
mind. In the auto showroom, he plots a nearly soundless sequence
in which Leaud goes about popping air-filled paper bags behind
people's heads and slamming car hoods. The director lures us into-
hearing what does not sound, and feeling the emotions, which the
characters faces do not register.
No one in the showroom flinches even when a middle-aged man
collapses in the driver's seat of a sportscar on display. Like the
viewer they passively watch while he is wheeled away on a stretcher.
This recurring preoccupation with morbidity--Leaud plays out
suicide acts several times-also deepens complexity of the apparently
meaningless movie. At one point, the sneering hero seems to have
slit his throat, but his mouth opens, regurgitating a lighted cigarette.
Puffing.contentedly, Leaud blows the smoke toward the viewer.
Obvious absurdity may bore many; of course, not all the jokes
are good. But the film keeps creating jokes, tripping over them in each
It really doesn't matter why.
By R. A. PERRY
The stage door opens and out
she glides, drapery scarves flow-
ing behind, like a Viking Bot-
ticelli, like the prow of a mighty
ship. "Geez, what a broad!"
the music school student be-
hind me whispers. "Is she very
famous," asks my friend from
Taiwan. Yes, she is very fa-
mous; she is the center of at-
traction at the Met, and at
whatever major opera house she
fills with her luxurious voice.
Birgit Nilsson is the Brunhilde
of our times.
A near capacity crowd last
night at Hill Aud. heard an all-
Wagner program sung by the
leading forte soprano of our
time, Birgit Nilsson. Miss Nils-
son, except when she slipped in-
to context, -sang Wagner, Wag-
and, believe it or not, Wagner-
-Catalani. A highlight of the
Wagner-Schubert songs she e-
lected was Sieglinde am Spin-
,e * *
Not from the meadows, nor
from the moonlit shores, nor
from a lonely bedroom sings
Birgit Nilsson; she sings from
atop Olympus. We are not hear-
ing the plaints or exultations
of a common woman, but the
clarion cry of goddess. Here the
(Continued from Page 6)
landsports. arts and outdoor camping.
Details and applic. at S.P.S., 212 S.A.B.
128 H, West Engrg. Bldg.
NOVEMBER 22, 1968
City of Philadelphia
U.S. Gov't - National Security Agency
Peace Corps - Room 3516 SAB - No-
VISTA = 3524 SAB - November 18-22
air is clear and pure, the clouds
lie at our feet, and forms are
not subtly shaded but straight
and true and 90 degrees in the
Buy stock in the excellent
accompaniest, John Wustman.
A young man who has been
around for many years, he
.should last for many more, and
wear the unashamed mantle of
* * *
The key to Miss Nilsson's
singing is volume. Rumors go
that she had an operation at the
age of three, when a sixty watt
amplifier was implanted in her
The soprano does not shade
phrases by subtle inflection of
pitch or stress or feeling; she
alters the volume. Golden rich
creamy legato singing, floating
lines of remarkable softness,
perhaps the most beautiful vocal
sound today, next to Suther-
Schubert is simply too fragile
for her (Electra's her meat) and
to a listener accustomed to the
textual honesty of Elisabeth
Schumann or Dietrich Fischer-
Dieskau, Miss Nilsson suggests
a BEA fan jet soaring from Lon-
don to Vienna in Royal Carpet
Service, but missing the cafes
©~ and farmhouses along the -vay.
How did Nilsson's Gretchen's
lover ever get away? Wustman
caught the spinning wheel's re-
tard beautifully at the remem-
Richard Strauss's Befreit is
a dialogue between husband and
dying wife and Nilsson sang it
as beautifully as you will ever
hear. Not only were the parts
well-characterized but the final
"0 Gluck!" conveyed sincere
and transportive exaltation, a
true dying into life. Likewise in
Strauss's Wiegenlied, Nilsson
wrapped the listener in velvet
swaddling and placed him in the
filmy web that Wustman pro-
vied. A lusty Zueignung (Fisch-
er-Dieskau finds irony here)
brought down the house at in-
* * *
Dreary cold Scandanavian
songs by Sibelius and Melartin,
defrosted a bit by Grieg. Italian
verismo from Catalani's La
Wally and Verdi's Tosca, both
vocally chaste: that is, tonally
beautiful a n d dramatically
dubious, at least the La Wally.
* * *
Except for the Italian songs
(in which she turns on the
switch labeled "Italian sound")
everything sounds- suspiciously
the same, beautiful mind you,
but the same.
Damn intellectuals read too
many books;damn music critics
listen to too many records.
Thursday and Friday
(THE GREAT CITY)
Directed by Satyijit Ray
By India's foremost director;
one of the unquestionably great-
est in the world today; director
First time in Ann Arbor
Everyone is sympathetic to
the University Musical Society's
search for funds, but they
should not cut back in the mat-
ter of program notes. They have
in the past been very skimpy
on annotations, but there is
little excuse for the absence
of texts and translations. Only
when these are provided will
the general concert-goer be
aware of the importance of a
singer's fidelity to the expres-
sion of the written text.
m _ ___ _._, .. _ __ ..__..__ . _ _. __.
The John Higgins Quintet
an outstanding jazz band
October 15, 1968
FREE! Bursley Snack Bar
o XXden ..'.' o
s .: 0
T s. t.3 - 0
' 0 = ><= <-l <= 0 u
Levi' -)n ugg 0
XX dei0 Rla
and lw waste 0
fl1209 S. University
U) Hours: Mon.-9.30-8'30
°j Tues.-5a.-9.30-5130 U
D Roostertail pprec
would like to
introduce you to
Detroit's largest 41
by extending a
FREE COVER CHARGE
good any Friday night through 1968.
Bring this coupon and legal I.D. and be admitted FREEQ
excluding-Friday, Nov. 29
to watch !"
The Michigan Daily makes
every effort to avoid errors
in advertisements. Each ad
is carefullyuchecked and
proofread. But when you
handle hundreds of ads each
day, m is ta ke s do slip
through. We ask, therefore,
that you check your ad and
if you find an error, report
it to The Michigan fDailY
Classified Dept., 7.64-0557 be-
tween 12:30 p.m. and 2:30
pm. We regret that we can-
not be responsible for more
than one day's incorrect in-
sertion if you do not call the
error to our attention. Thank
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DEPARTMENT OF ART
Friday, Nov. 15 Noon Luncheon
"Summer in Russia" (with slides)
PUCCINI'S "LA BOHlEME"
(English Translation by Josef Blatt)
NOVEMBER 22-23, 25-26, 8:00 P.M.
Lydia Mendelsgohn Theatre
ALL TICKETS - $3.00
MAIL ORDERS ACCEPTED NOW. Make dhecks payable to "University of Michigan." Send
self-addressed, stamped envelope to School of Music Opera, Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Ann
Arbor, Michigan 48104. Box office opens Monday, November 18, 1968, 12:30 to 5:00 P.M.
FRIDAY EVENING 6:00 P.M.
For reservations call: 662-5189
DAVE VAN RONK
TON8ITE $2.00 at the door
and Sat. and Sun. 8:00 P.M. Free Eats ($1.50 after 2nd set)
THE SECOND OF THREE FILMS IN A FESTIVAL
BY THE WORLD FAMOUS DIRECTOR OF
"BELL DE JOUR," LUIS BUNUEL
A MAGNIFICENT FILM!"
-Joseph Morgenstern, Newsweek
"BUNUEL stages this play with explosive fero-
cities. He is showing us, the played-out privi-
leged classes in all their stubborn sterility...
fascinating, well-staged and well- played."
-Bosley Crowther, N.Y. Times
"One of Bunuel's powerful, relentless prob-
ings of humanity. One has an inescapable
sense of life, death and meaning. The picture
as the ability to haunt you."
I ot --Archer Winsten, N.Y. Post
2 EXCITING NEW PLAYS!
A powerful and prophetic An imaginative and
play by the darring ,young'provocative new play by
Czech liberalleader.the author of
-197Prague success--#Blackboard Jungle:
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
THE NEWMAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION PRESENTS:
A CATHOLIC VOICE LECTURE
The strongest ofI
many strong films.
Albert S. Moraczewski*,
"THE USE OF DRUGS
MON., FEB. 3-- SAT., FEB. 8
"Bunuel's chilling shocker,
weird, brooding journey
into the supernatural..-
-Florence Fletcher, Cue
'A %I MA
Clem Perry proweft
fl in cm
.r.-- . ..:..
FATHER MORACZEWSKI is a research professor in the interdisciplinary studies
at the Institute of Religion of the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. He has
done much work in studying the effects of drugs on animals and human beings. He
II ho~lds the deree ocf PhD fro~m the University rof Chircanio.died cost-dctorailwork I
n _ _ .,