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March 12, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-12

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Page Two


Wednesday, March 12, 1969

film festival

poetry and prose


Well, it had some nice things but...

Into the. realm of fantasy

It. should come as no surprisee
if last night the 7th Ann Ar-
bor Film Festival produced few
surprises. For the record, films
were lightly pre-screened by
Festival's producers (stress the
lightly) simply because of limit-
ed time. Nobody will agree, of
course, that all of these should
even have been made. B u t
that's just the point, at few.
times and in few places do you
have the chance to see so much
-so much of just what is be-
ing done. And for that alone we
should be grateful.
Last night's program demon-
strated the great truth of un-
derground film-making: an in-
creasing technical proficiency
not necessarily matched by a
richness of insight or ideas. Ed
Seeman's Mothers of Invention,
a short film composed of fran-
tic cuts, is cute only because.it

is part of that great rock in
group joke, the Mothers, who
are more than not a bunch of
kids loosed on a tape recorder
yelling over and over "we're
a bunch of kids," etc. etc. Frank
Zappa flipping us the bone is
then FUNNY. Get it?_
The National Flower of Brook-
lyn, a film produced through
the largess of new American
Film Institute is competent and
in control. It is a topographical
documentary that roams in
color and image over the Brook-
lyn bridge, then from the bridge
to the community and from the
community to another of the
eternal whys of existence. But
Last Days on the Sand, another
institutional product, this time
of the University of Southern
California film school, is every-
thing Brooklyn isn't. It is tech-
nically competent, not compe-
tent but slick - also meaning-
less (or rather devoid of mean-

ing). The films, then, immed-
iately divide into two groups:
those hung-up on effect (tech-
nical skill) and those on an idea,
a meaning, an insight. Then
there are those which try to
combine the two.
Those which came closer to
this combination included
"- --" by Malcolm Brodwick
and Thom Anderson-a rock
film. It is a topographical sur-
vey, which tried to cover a
hopelessly vast terrain by arbi-
trarily reducing it to a sequence
of short cuts followed by long
cuts, of both image and sound.
"Ecce Homo" used stark blacks
and whites, negative and posi-
tive reversal, in a parable about
a gun as an image of power, an
image to 'be worslipped. But
here the problem was when to
cut and the answer was that
should have been more often.
Improvisation on the Holly-
wood Ranch Market was ano-
ther film which got away from
its creator. It used a vertical
strip of action on the screen
which remained a fast sequence
of what the camera saw. gn
both sides appeared various
other disasters - manmade and
natural. But while a tension
was pr6duced between the twvo,
it was neither elaborated nor
resolved. We were left as per-
plexed as the denizen of t h a t
market who wandered in and
out looking hopelessly as a set
of notes In his hand. ,
There is no question 6f "bet-
ter" about tomorrow night, only
of "interest." The Festival is al-
ready one night's worth of at-
f .

The overall impression that I got from the first round of the
Film Festival was that any type of generalized opinion cannot be
made. However, the next few days' screenings may prove this
assertion false. Most of the films were of average caliber, actually
not-very-good, as is usually the case. But as is also usually the case,
there were a couple to make the trip worthwhile.
For my' 75 cents, the best of the night was a funny look at
Chicago's unveiling of its mammoth Piccaso, in Tom Palazzolo's The
Bride Stripped Bare. This film was repleat with Mayor Daley's one
man comic show, Seiji Ozawa and the symphony orchestra in waiter
jackets, and puzzled cast of thousands. The experimental montage is
old hat by now, but is defter and better organized here. However,
the film was only a little too long. It also proves that Tchaikovsky
is funnier for this type thing than Bill Haley and the Comets.
Also better than most was The National Flower of Brooklyn, a
mostly satiric, sometimes lyric look at Brooklyn and at the Bridge.
"This is a film that shows a lot of things can happen in one place, ya
know," Some great color, and some beautiful effects-like the moon
rising over the bridge to simulate a ball hit out of Ebbet's Field.
Another worth mentioning was the three minute dadaist essay on the
Mothers of Invention, done mostly in a lurid red, and like them, it was
pointed, grotesque and very funny.
The trouble with most of the rest of the films was that, if the
house lights didn't go up between them, you couldn't tell where
one ended and the other began. I'm of Spiro Agnew's mind: if you
have seen one chop-shot hippy love-in with rock-n-roll sound track.
you've seen 'em all. The question is, what's so "experimental" any
more about this very recognizable, very predictable technique? How
many times do you need to run an experiment before you declare a
One notable lack in the first showing's films was the abstract son
et luminere works that heretofore have been so prevalent, the sort
of thing that the kiddies think Stanley Kubrick invented for 2001.
These abstract effect films too tend toward sameness (the one last
night, 4, was in black and white and a dud). ]Put the Festival has
had some marvelous ones in the past and I hope will have at least
a few this time - as a reward for the heads if nothing else.
However in general (Yes, I guess I do have an impression) is
that better film makers are simply using established techniques better
and the poorer film makers are using them poorly. As yet I see no real
breakthrough into something new and exciting, but it's still early:
there are five more nights to go.
___________ ___________________________- -_______- - - --______ '' l

Donald Hall's poetry reading,
which was given yesterday in
the UGL Multipurpose Room,
was one of those rare and up-
lifting occurrences which con-
vince one that the universe is,
after all, a delightful place to,
live in.
Of the many people who came,
there may have been some who
were disappointed in becom-
ing less acquainted with Mr.
Hall's poetry than with the poet
himself. But if such people
exist, they are surely incurable
fuddy-duddies, or else they
were t just having a bad day.
After Prof. Hornback's blank
verse introduction, Mr. Hall
proceeded to chat informally
and to read some of his early
poems (which have been re-.
vised) plus several unpublished
works, and others which h a v e
appeared in past volumes. The
selections were mostly new, and
they focused around his forth-
coming book, The Alligator
Bride, which shall be a most'
excellent collection.
In his latest poems, Hall is
stretching himself far into the
realm of fantasy. He tries to
communicate on the deepest
level, "to talk from one inside to

another inside without the in-
tervention of intellect." And at
his best, he produces moving
visions which grow with each
reading and stay always just be-
yond the touch of reason.
In the intense need to ex-
press his inner self with unadul-
terated directness, he occasion-
ally slips and only presents to us
puzzling and bizarre fantasies,
which, though polished to his
satisfaction are merely poems
from and to himself. The dan-
ger in such a personal approach
is that freedom from the bonds
of logic will go too far and be-
come freedom fromcraftsman-
ship. Such works would not be
art, but mere gushing.
Luckily Hall is an excellent
craftsman, and we cannot help
but be impressed when he reads
a work that points us straight
and sure to a clear specific
image:. "the six-sided odor of
disinfectant," "hovering unfixed
sockets of lights." He rarely
fails, even with his oddest fan-
tasies. And in short, almost all
his poetry is of the highest
quality - eternally alive.
Ye'sterday's reading was es-
pecially meaningfpl for those
who were already familiar with
his work and who desired con-


Donald Hall

Kosinshi receives
top book award

tact with the poet himself. He
is a greatly talented mah, who
presents himself both in verse
and in person with an unforget-
table and deep intensity. "God
knows where they come from"
he says of his visions. And sure-
ly no one else knows - but we
can all be happy that Donald
Hall is here to paint them with
such unequalled skill.

The National Book Committee
yesterday announced the seven,
winners of their annual b o o k
awards. The winners will be pre-
sented with $1000 awards at a.
formal ceremony today in Lin-
coln Center.
Jerzy Kosinski received the
award in the fiction category for
Steps. Mr. Kosinski served as
this year's writer-in-residence at
the University.
The other winners include:
Arts & Letters: Armies of the
Night, by Norman Mailer, New
American Library; Children's
Books: -Journey from Pepper-5
ment Street by Meindert De-
jong, Harper and Row; History
and Biography: White Over
Black American Attitudes To-
ward the Negro, 1550-1812 by
Winthrop D. Jorden, University
of North Carolina Press.
Poetry: His Toy, His Dream,
His Rest by John Berrymen
Farrar; Straus & Grioux; Sci-
ence: Death in Life: Survivors
of Hiroshima by R. J. Lifton,
Random House; Translations:
Cosmicomics by Italo Clavino,
translated by William Weaver,
Harcourt Brace and World.
The winners were selected
from five nominations in each
category submitted' by the
judges. Norman Mailer's Miami
and 'the Seige of Chicago re-

ceived a nomination in the his-
tory and biography category.
This year's judges included
Irving Howe, Wright Morris,
Renata Adler, Stanley Kauff-
man, Alfred Kazan, and Allen
B a r gain prices,
State Concert
Special student tickets ar e
available for tonight's perform-
ance of the Moscow State Sym-
phony. These tickets are avail-
able at the University Musical
Society office in Burton Tower
and are priced at $1.00 and
The symphony, under the di-
rection of Maxim Shostakovich,
will present the Overture of
Russian and Ludmilla by Glinka
and Variations on a Rococo
Theme for Cello and Orchestra,
Op. 33 by Tchaikovsky, with
Cellist Feodor -Luzanov.
The Orchestra will also pre-
sent Prokofieff's Concerto No. 3
in C Major, Op. 26 with pianist
Nikolai Petrow, and Symphony
No. 5, Op. 47, by Dimitri Shosta-
kovich, the conductor's father.

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Between Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor


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And Show Dates from 10 A.M. to curtain.


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Department of Speech
Anton Chekov's
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MARCH 12-15
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Saturday Matinee-March 15
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