The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, October 17, 1978-Page 7
By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
Anyone who goes to many European films encou
r ideology that leaves no room for question. Movies like Z,
Above Suspicion, or The Battle of Algiers, accept a prior
"attuned to the evils of right-wing extremism and the liber
alternative. They don't explore political complexities a
filmmakers' pre-digested ideologies.
If one was riding high on Nixon's downfall, therefore
up its politics using our own political situation as eviden
correct point-of-view. If one's sensibility were closer to t
could ignore the message and enjoy Z for its story-tell
admittedly the director probably wouldn't have consider
Pauline Kael so accurately said, "Z damn near knocks y
BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI'S four-hour film 1900 h
this past weekend, care of Cinema II, a year after openi
the film is just as pblitically simple-minded as most
cinema, that's really not its problem. Its problem is tha
your seat. It doesn't do much of anything, really.
Bertolucci obviously planned to make a stylized a
between the oppressors and the oppressed, that would d
poeti power rather than character dissection. The filml
sensibility that might well inform a pamphlet for Russian
plausible that Bertolucci went no farther than the Com
his philosophy. What this means, is that the peasants ar
that fascism.is exemplified by a character (Donald
decadent that he gets his kicks out of activities like sm
A rtfor the proletariat
nters a stream of leftist But since the movie seems an elaborate vehicle to exorcise the director's
investigation of a Citizen bourgeois guilt, one might be willing to overlook its ridiculously simplistic politics
i that their audiences are (although that's really difficult) and ask how the film works emotionally, if it
ation offered by the leftist achieves some sort of epic poetic force. Unfortunately, that's where it is most
s much as presenting the disappointing, for'1900 is bereft of even the crudest narrative sweep.
IN ALL FAIRNESS to the film's writer-director, several matters should be
, one could go to Z and lap pointed out. 1900 was originally filmed to be six hours long (it is now four), and
ce of the film's intuitively Bertolucci obviously had to massacre the film. The early scenes lovingly linger
that of a Bill Buckley, one over the daily activities of the peasants, to express the languid rhythm of their
ing expertise - although lifestyle. The second half abounds in ezquisitely-photographed interiors, in which
ed his work successful. As the characters flow as gracefully as in an underwater ballet. In the cutting
ou out of your seat." process, whole chunks of scenes obviously had to be removed, resulting in an
editing style antithetical to the atmosphere of lush haziness Bertolucci envisioned.
Then there is the sound, perhaps one of the crudest post-synching jobs of any
ad its Ann Arbor premiere major film. The dubbing is so uniformly abysmal that one stares at the film in a
ng in New York. Although kind of outrage, as actors like Robert De Niro speak with the same unrealistic flat-
other European political ness one is used to hearing with lines like "We must kill Godzilla! "
it it won't knock you out of
GIVEN THE severe technical limitations, however, there is still a central
failure of will. 1900 is two films that never come together: a propagandistic, tex-
bstraction of the struggle tbook chronicle of Italian revolution in the 20th century, and a romanticized,
erive its impact from raw enigmatic journey through the personal decadence of bourgeois society. Bertoluc-
preaches Marxism with a ci has fused these two before - most notably in his often brilliant The Conformist
n kindergartners. It seems _ but in 1900 the peasant uprising is so estranged from the rest of the film's volup-
munist Manifesto to forge tuous texture that the last half hour, which recounts Liberation Day, 1945, pops in
e universally saintly, and as if another director was suddenly at the wheel.
Sutherland) so insanely
mashing live cats with his I was bored by some of the second half, an uneven jumble of novelettish vignet-
tes, but at least the director was at one with the filmns sensibility. The Marxist
preaching that undermines the rest, on the other hand, is so sterile, the peasant
scenes so mechanically cartoonish, that Bertolucci seems to be wielding his
camera at the bequest of a totalitarian government forcing its artists into produc-
ing tools of education for the masses. Bertolucci suddenly comes alive to the
material when he abandons the proletariat for the lush extravagance of a dance
hall sequence. It is in these elliptical interludes, and with the luxurious, neurotic
Dominique Sanda character, that Bertolucci's "poetry" is in full splendor.
, continuing a change in THE FILM opens on Liberation Day, but the story begins the first day of 1900,
of rock material that on which a rich patriarch (Burt Lancaster) and his head peasant are each borne
Tumbling Dice" on Simple sons. We watch Alfredo (Robert DeNiro), the land-owner's son, and Olmo (Gerard
oh Baby Baby," the old Depardieu), the worker's son, as friendly rivals in childhood, compatriots as
ber, is next and it is simply young men, and finally as embodiments of the opposing forces in the revolutionary
avid Sanborn's alto sax struggle. Their relationship (and the central political question) is distilled by
ay through the piece with scenes of roughly the following subtlety: Olmo, the peasant, loves nature and does
s sounding very 1940s. courageous things like lie under speeding trains; Alfredo is a little snot who doesn't
like to get his clothes dirty and always loses fights (message: in,brute force, the
ZE VON'S"Mohammed's peasants are overpowering).
ric Kaz's "Blowin' Away" As they mature, Olmo metamorphizes from a screwy roughneck into a brawny
m's weakest. Zevon write lusty, peasant Adonis, who marries a loving woman and leads the peasants to
ted for Ronstaft the way revolt; Alfredo parades around obscenely in his World War I uniform after the war
is over, like some member of the Hitler youth, and marries a spoiled, decadent,
armelita" were. Kaz. who rich bitch-goddess (Dominique Sanda). Exploring the relationship of two friends,
orrow Lives Here" lfor torn apart by personal and political ideology is a theme without limits, but Ber-
iorro is another r oa tolucci persistently undermines it with political rubber-stampling. Olmo is a
Never, he also doesn't work peasant first, a three-dimensional character second.
round. Whereas "Sorrow
" is an excellent song, THERE ARE splendid moments in the second half when Bertolucci's camera
ay" is just mediocre and virtuosity overshadows any questionable thematics. During the interior scenes
e been replaced with characters seem to move through a luminous dreamscape. There are entire
ore suitable. sequences of gorgeous compositions, given the incandescent three-dimensional
feel of a painting. If Bertolucci's visual sense were any more hyperbolic he would
render," the Elvis Presley be the Italian Ken Russell. Fortunately he rarely steps over the edge, although his
te record's closer. It is a style is generally more effective the farther it moves from reality.
onstadt has been doing at But the film has no drama. The expected emotional surge of the peasant
s for almost two years uprising never comes, because Bertolucci tacks on a corny epilogue long after the
hel's acoustic guitar and second half has abandoned the one-dimensional peasants-are-good scheme. Sanda,
ls are perfectly suited for DeNiro; and Depardieu all have roles too simply sketched in to give very emotional
xcellent renderng. performances. Consequently, the climactic collision of DeNiro and Depardieu
devolves into a petty squabble rather than a microcosm of the struggle for power.
to be given to Ronstadt's
ire one of the best in the SOME WILL recall that Bertolucci haggled and haggled with his producer to
sides - Watchel and Don get 1900 released in the original, sixhour version. During the fight, which dragged
keyboards, she has Russ on for years as film students lamented the movie's delayed release and the
eran session man, on moneymen violating the artist's freedom and so forth, Bertolucci spewed forth
Dugmore, on pedal steel comments that were tantamount to '"Forget commerce; would you have cut up
and Kenny Edwards, who War and Peace?" There is something curious about a director who is self-
er from the Stone Poneys righteous about a several million dollar extravaganza made to preach to the
hem?), on bass. The band workers of the world. With all its style and bee-yoo-ti-ful photography, 1900 is a
perfect setting for Linda's classic piece of bourgeois art.
- Living in the USA,
Ln By WILL RUBINO
Linda Ronstadt is an interpreter. Sh
is also unquestionably one of the bes
female vocalists in music today. Th
question of whether or not she can
handle the material is irrelevant; we
know she can. She has proven i
innmuerable times. Therefore, the only
real criticism that can be made of he
albums is exactly what material she
chooses to do.
On her latest album, Living in the
USA, the choices are right on target
' missing the bull'seye only a few times.
Side one is a gem. It kicks off wit
Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA," on
of Ronstadt's best rockers to date
Many people criticize her for doing
"oldies," but they are one of her fortes
and many times they wind up sounding
as good if not superior to the original.
"WHEN I grow to Old to Dream," is
an Oscar Hammerstein composition
,which is a perfect showcase for Linda's
vocal range. A beautifully arranged
piece, it features a vibes solo that
combined with the vocals, can send a
shiver up your spine.
Elvis Costello's " Allison" is th
album's most unusual track. Ha
anyone ever said that Linda Ronstad
would be recording a New Wave artist's
song, I would never have believed it
But here it is, and it is one of album's
best tracks. Linda changes the gender
of the lyrics a bit, a practice she has
employed in "Poor Poor Pitiful Me.'
The result is a different, more suitabl
storyline than the Costello original.
LINDA'S FAVORITE songwriter, J.
D. Souther, provides side one's closing
track, "White Rythym and Blues." It's
one of those sad "loser in love" songs
that Souther is great at writing anc
Ronstadt can pull off so well..
Little Feat, one of Linda's most
consistent sources of material provide
"All That You Dream," which starts off
side two. Rbnstadt's vocals are her
began with "
weaves its w
Radib" and E
are the albun
just isn't soil
Me" and "Ca
this time a
e something m
e "Love Me'
, classic is th
y song that R(
r: Waddy Wat
e backup voca
t band. They a
e Kunkel, vet
s is still with h
g (remember t
s with the bestc
n WITH Sir
s Living in t
d work. And w
s The Holly
. P California w
s port in the U
r a total of 2
kSUP-ER SAVING s'-
THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STORE
save up to 600/
ON NEARLY OUR ENTIRE INVENTORY OF
SWEATERS * BLOUSES * TOPS * JACKETS
VESTS JEANS * PANTS * SKIRTS
DRESSES * COORDINATES
MANY "BRAND NAME"
can kick out the rockers
uple Dreams and now,
he USA, Ronstadt and
anager Peter Asher have
led to cut down the lush
ns so prevalent on Prisoner
and Hasten Down the
let Linda's voice do the
hat beautiful work it does!
wood-Burbank Airport in
vas the 60th busiest air-
rnited States in 1976, with
43,150 flight operations.
REC VEHICLE BOOM
the recreational vehicle craze did not
really begin until the manufacture of
the Ford Model T and didn't boom until
after World War II, campers were
taking to the roads in motorized get-
away vehicles as early as 1905, accor-
ding to the National Geographic
At the turn of the century, people
began strapping large steamer trunks
to the backs of their cars and taking off
to the woods, the society says. By 1920,
one million people were enjoying the
sport of motor camping.
SON OF BOOM-BOOM
QUEBEC (AP)-The Quebec Nor-
diques of the World Hockey Association
were hoping they were getting a chip off
the old block of ice when they signed
Dan Geoffrion, a fast right-winger who
stands 5-11 and weighs 185 pounds.
Department of Journalism presents *
Louis Filler Antioch University
Whiskey Rings and Watergates: Dynamics ina
Muckroking and Social Reform
* Thursday, Oct. 19-3:10p.m.
* Natural Science Aud. *
THE CENTER FOR AFROAMERICAN
AND AFRICAN STUDIES .*
AN FIANSUIS(Corner of Plymouth & H"o Park way -
Poctoral Student, Urban Planning . Monday-saturday 0 to 9 SA
LECTUR ING ON H*U s*a 1t
"CHINA AND THE STRUGGLES I
OF AFRICAN PEOPLES"
WEDNESDAY, October 18, 1978
CENTER FOR AFROAMERICAN PlymoUth Road
and AFRICAN STUDIES ..wL.
1100 S. University 761= 75
ALL WELCOME! Refreshments Served
BILLY JOEL made you miss the
SUMMER BUSINESS INTERN PROGRAM
MASS MEETING last Thursday?
You can still apply for a paid summer business internship in:
* New York
-COUPON- 2 for 1 Special -COUPON-
Buy 1 Super Salad-GET 1 FREE
Coupon good Tuesday, October 17
throuah Thursday. October 19 U