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March 16, 1969 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-16

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

St

unday, March 16,' 1969

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

S

's
GUILD, HOUSE.,
802 Monroe St.
Mon., March 17-Noon Luncheon 25c
PROF. JOHN PLATT, Physics & Assoc.
Dir. of Mental Heaith Research
Institute: "THE STEP TO MAN"
Tues., March 18-Noon Luncheon
PROF. TOM MAYER, Dept. of Sociology.
"ACADEMIC AUTOCRACY"

Film Festival: The fresh and the bland of it

-MICHIGRAS
APRIL 11-12
SKIT NITE *
* CARNIVAL

By MARVIN FELHEIM
Thirty-two hours of film have
been scheduled to be shown in
this, the Seventh, Ann Arbor
Film Festival. I've seen twenty-
four hours' worth; so this re-
port is not complete. However,
in the history of film criticism,
especially of the avante-garde,
many people have walked out
before the end.
Let me begin with some ob-
jections. Many experimental
films, by their very nature, are
made for selfish, or subjective
reasons: young filmmakers need
to find out the characteristics of
the medium. They explore. They
are fascinated with the, re-
sults. Hopefully, others will be
too. Mainly other filmmakers or
devotees. Audiences? Well, not
always.
Many of these films are d u I 1
and pretentious. Without a
script and without a specially
composed musical score, t h e
films are primitive. Like the
early films from which they de-
rive, they must depend upon the
visual, that is upon images. The
seashore, tree tops, buildings,
especially slums, and the human
body - these objects come
readily (too readily?) to mind.
The arty filmmaker will move
on to abstraction, first black-
and-white, then color. He falls
in love with what he sees. And
like mostlovers, he bores every-
one but himself, occasionally
even his beloved.
Especially depressing, in this
festival, are the films f r o m
Academia. Northwestern Uni-
versity, UCLA and USC are re-
presented by films that are un-
usually bad - pretentious a n d
over-long and excessively "ar-
tistic" or "real:" They are hu-

morless, both in content and
conception.
Finally, let me generalize about
certain overall characteristics:
Indian music is "in" this year;
so is the reverse negative, both
black and white and color;
ditto, the double exposure and
the slowing down or stoppage
of the film. There are a number
of repeated motifs: the most ir-
ritation is running across the
fields, athletibally challenging,
I presume, to young actors (but
what does it mean?); surrealism
is back, somewhat shoddily, and
involving bad dancing. But the
most disappointment aspect of
the festival is the lack of gen-
uine experimentation; there is
simple nothing new. Improvis-
ation on the Hollywood Ranch
Market, with its vertical insert,
allowing for contrasting tempo,
but not realizing Its possibili-
ties, was as close to technical
invention as we got; the lovely
_ graininess of Tomo, a film of
Japanese boys studying judo,
seemed inventive simply because
it was somewhat different; the
contrasting realistic sequences
added another dimension.
There are rewarding and excit-
ing films in this festival. In-
terestingly, the longer, f ull-
length films are not only the
best of the lot; they are stim-
ulating and worthwhile in
themselves.
Richard Myers' Akran is
beautiful. The story of a young
roan, caught in all the bonds
and toils of modern urban life,
the film is both convincing and
enjoyable. Like so much that is
provocative in modern art i t s
subject it, ultimately, art' it-

self; its effective' use of film
within film intensifies as well
as extends the meaning. But the
most striking aspect of t h i s
film is its almost-complete lack
of diaogue; it is essential cin-
ema, a real achievement.
Myers has a trained eye, not
only for stunning visual effects
but also for apt repetitions:
what is monotonous in so many
experimental films becomes an
asset here, the repetition of se-
lected images. He also has an
eye for actors. Like George
Manupelli, he has been able to
find and, more importantly, to
exploit the essential humanity
of his performers.
Manupelli's Dr. Chicago, also
profits from the filmmaker's
pictorial sense: shots of intense
loveliness. Add some genuinely
witty dialogue. All that remains
for Manupelli is to edit out the
excesses both visual and lin-
guistic to make Dr. Chicago a
brilliant comment on modern
life - the retreat to the woods,
the sacrifice of innocence (bril-
liantly conceived here as silent)
and the cynical but funny (ul-
timately comic exposure) shod-,
diness of Dr. Chicago and his
gang."
Manupelli's satire also brings
to mind the festival's o t h e r
amusing treatment of that mid-
west metropolis, Tom Palozzolo's
The Bride Stripped Bare, a
colorfulwand lively treatment of
the unveiling. of the Picasso
sculpture, complete with Mayor
Daley, the < Chicago, Symphony
and e'cast of thousands.
The third major film is Stan-
ton Kaye's Brandy in the Wild-
erness, the story of two lost
souls who end up with a baby
and a household full of pets.
Twice told, by Simon and by
Brandy herself, the film is a
straight-forward narrative both
comic and sad, with many truly

wonderful shots of American
life. Unlike Akrap or Dr. Chi-
cago, Brandy wanders all over
the United States, from N e w
York to California; a kaleidi-
scopic commentary on today's
youth, the film comments with
truth, humor and pathos on the
dilemma of our current exist-
ence.
Among the most striking of
the short films are those which
take actual events, particularly
musical, and record them. The
Bridge Stripped 'Bare is such a
film. Ed Seeman's Mothers of
Invention and Magdalene Sin-
clair's MC-5 are successful be-
cause they present these r o ck
groups in actual performance,
colorful, noisy, and full of life.
A number of other films con-
cern themselves with actual but
picturesque events which only
the experimental movie makers
seem interested in filming. God
Respects Us When We Work,
but He Loves Us When We
Dance, a flower-and-love-in, and
Waterslide, a picture of sum-
mer life mer life in midwestern
U. S., are such films, unpreten-
tious and lively. A number of
films, as might be expected, ex-
plore the black world: The Blues
Accordin' to Lightin' Hopkins
and Bessie Smith show the tra-
ditional jazz in the southern
setting; Black Power is a docu-
mentary on a meeting of t h e
Black Panthers with all the
vigor and color of that move-
ment revealed; and Store is
'just that, a picture of a mod
clothing store, clerks and cus-
tomers and racks of colorful
clothing intact; also there was
a powerful dramatic piece bas-
ed on an incident in the Algiers
Motel materials.

amusing pieces. Also in this vein
of wit, with a little satire
thrown in, are R. G. Barnes'
Another Movie, a spoof of Hol-
lywood, and a perfectly delight-
ful photographic essay on Sean,
a wise and wistful four-and-a-
half year old boy, played by
himself and photographed by
Ralph Arlyck. This movie, if
nothing else, demonstrates t h e
beauty of the child and the wis-
dom of the filmmaker in ac-
cepting that beauty and mak-
ing the most of it.
I cannot conclude this re-
view without a personal n o t e.

Much in the festival is dull
and pretentious and overdone.
But there are amounts of beauty
and loveliness and pictures of
human beings who are wonder-
ful and true. The distinction of
this festival is important, both
for experimental film in the
United States and for the Uni-
versity of Michigan. Those who
work so tirelessly to bring these
experiences of beauty and life
to Ann Arbor are heroic persons,
generous and committed. To
them, I express the audiences'
gratitude.

PROFESSIONAL. THEATRE PROGRAM
presents -

-- -

1

RONALD
YOUNG
"Violence and Non-Violence
in the Struggle for
Social Justice"

l

An active member of The Resistance, Ron is currently
under indictment for refusing to cooperate with the Selec-
tive Service System.
Ron has worked with SCLC, attended a conference in
Uruguay on "Non-violence and Latin American Revolu-
tions" and was one of 40 Americans to meet with repre-
sentatives of the NLF cnd of North Vietnam in Czecho-
slovakia in 1968.
Dedicated to non-violent action to solve social problems,
Ron is currently working with the Fellowship of Recon-
ciliation.
SUNDAY, MARCH 16-7 P.M.
First Methodist Church
Ron's apperance is part of the "To Pursue Peace" lecture-
discussion series sponsored by:
INTERFAITH COUNCIL FOR PEACE AND
ECUMENICAL CAMPUS CENTER
fIndividual lecture: students .50)

U
9

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"LEVELS OF RE)ALITY"
Paintings by
ALLYN LITE

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THE SEVENTH

ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL
MARCH 11-16, 1969
Architecture and Design Auditorium
SCREENINGS at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 P.M. (excluding Saturday)
SATURDAY MATINEE at 3:00 P.M.

ALSO FEATURING
CONTEMPORARY SUPER GRAPHICS
Albers, Appel, Chryssa, Indiana, Lindner,
Reinhardt, Rivers, Vasarey, Wesselman
PREVIEW AND RECEPTION
SUNDAY, MARCH 16
2:00-6:00 P.M.

*1

I U - .

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