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September 06, 1979 - Image 79

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-06

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 6, 1979-Page D3

CAMPUS CO-OPS, COMMERCIA L THEA TRES SER VE LARGE MARKET
Film establishments: fare for fanatics, casual fans

t By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
--,What is this, Dick Cavett? People
were wincing so badly it took a good
three seconds to realize that someone
-bad just asked nothing less than the
quintessential Ann Arbor question.
-Director Alan Rudolph had just
screened his unreleased movie
Welcome To LA. for a hip crowd of
students, filmmakers, and the local in-
telligentsia at Angell Hall. Rudolph is
-your typical post-film generation direc-

greatest director of all time, how
Roman Polanski "went commercial" in
1967, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
But then there's that other, charming
side: Everyone is talking about the
movies. And loving it. What are the
alternatives? Not to exaggerate, but
has anyone actually read a book since
1969? And you'd all surely agree (much
to the chagrin of a few loud-mouthed
actors) that next to a night at the flicks,
several hours of live theater really falls

lean back, smile, and, remember-it's
only a movie.
* * *
THE CAMPUS CO-OPS: The four
major student-run film co-ops (in ad-
dition to several smaller operations) all
program mostly 16 and an occasional 35
millimeter print at $1.50 a shot. Bet-
ween the four of them, there is a choice
of at least two (and, on weekends, five
or six) films a night, with a selection
that spans the fads, classics, stand-

movies-everything from Birth of a
Nation to The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre. The Guild screens four or
five films a week. One of its most out-
standing features is its free Monday
night series, which has included
Japanese, Soviet, and East European
films.
Housed in the Old Architecture
Auditorium, Cinema Guild's cozy
screenings will also recall the days (for
those who'd like them recalled) when a
samurai was something out of a
Kurosawa movie, rather than a nutty
tailor who threatened Hari Kari
because Dan Aykroyd couldn't pick the
right suit.
Cinema II. A rather restrained alter-
native to the healthy eclecticism of the
_Ann Arbor Film Co-op and Cinema
Guild, Cinema II has no real
"specialties," but seems to lean toward
foreign films and away from the eccen-
tric schlock the other groups always
throw in for a little spice. The
screenings generally come three times
a week, and are always in Angell Hall
Auditorium A, which has an intermit-
tently atrocious sound system, but is
nevertheless the most comfortable and
inviting of any of the co-op houses. For
those who enjoy foreign fare that's
slightly less popular than your typical
Bergman or Truffaut (e.g., Ray's Apu
trilogy, The Mother and the Whore,
Eric Rohmer), Cinema II can be a
goldmine.
The Ann Arbor Film Co-op. Alter-
nating screenings between the cool con-
fines of the Modern Languages Building
and the comparatively sumptuous
Angell A, this group is the most diverse,
daring, and genuinely exciting on cam-
pus. In addition to virtually everything
else you'd ever hope to find at the other
three groups, the Ann Arbor Film Co-op
scrapes the archives of obscurity to
bring you the kind of never-heard-of-
it cult films that make Pink
Flamingos and Freaks look about as ob-
scurely offbeat as Gone With the Wind.
This refers to stuff like Dr. Chicago,
things by Kenneth Anger that even he
probably never knew hemade, and the
only musical western with a cast of
dwarves.
The co-op offers obscure early works
by name directors (pre-Phantom of the
Paradise Brian De Palma, Scorcese's
Boxcar Bertha) and little-seen stuff by
Ford, Hawks, and Lubitsch that should
start the doctrinaire auteurist's saliva
a-flowin'. Every spring, Cinema Guild
and the co-op share the honors of
hostingtheAnnhArbor 16mm Film
Festival, one of the most famous and

prestigious such events held anywhere
in the country. Definitely a schedule
worth combing with a magnifying
glass.
UAC. Whe it comes down to a choice
between a movie on the UAC schedule
or that of one of the other co-ops, it may
pay to go to the latter simply to avoid
UAC's incomparably inadequate
facilities. Speaking of rotten places for
showing movies, the Natural Science
Auditorium has got to be second only to
Michigan Stadium. Three-quarters of
the seats are at next-to-impossible
viewing angles, the screen has large
cracks in it, the sound appears to be
piped in through someone's pocket
transistor radio, and, when it's full, the
place can become so miserably hot that
you may have to spend Dr. Zhivago's
intermission, in sub-zero temperatures
without a coat on to recover for the
second half.
The group's schedule, which offeres
films thrice weekly, is often put down
because of its overtly "commercial"
leanings, but what's wrong with com-
mercial if it means All the President's
Men, M*A*S*H, or The Godfather? If
you go, though, make sure you dress for
summer. And bring a pair of binoculars
- otherwise, you might miss the movie.
* * *
COMMERCIAL THEATERS: The
contemporary movie scene in Ann Ar-
bor has gotten about eight times better
during the last year. There used to be
this little, uh, problem: Half the movies
never even showed up, or if they did,
they were sometimes about six months
late. But several of the theatres have
expanded into double or even quadruple
affairs, and now a reasonably meaty

sample of the current fare is generally
offered not too long after opening.
The Butterfield Chain. Dominating
the campus area are Ann Arbor's three
oldest theaters (the State, Michigan,
and Campus). The State underwent
drastic renovation only a few months
ago: It became four theaters, two up-
stairs and two down. The Butterfield
Theaters have several , noteworthy
features: For one, the regular $3 ad-
mission is chopped in half Wednesday
afternoons and Monday nights (the lat-
ter, "guest night," is a two-for-one
arrangement).
Less fun but, in its own way, just as
remarkable, is the zzhhhp! zzhhhp!
zzhhhp! you hear as you scrape along
the floors, sticky with fifty years' worth
of spilled cokes, squashed raisinets,
and assorted forms of strange biological
See AZ, Page 4

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Daily Photo By JIM KRUZ
THE STATE THEATRE is just one of many spots for film lovers in Ann Arbor. Private as well as campus theatres provide
a constant flow of films-including both new releases and classics.

tor, with long hair, dark beard, and a '
starry-eyed commitment to his
"vision" that is just vaguely in-
timidating.
He was fielding questions and com-
ments now, standing before a packed
house and. looking fashionably ill-at-
ease holding the microphone ("Never
did understand these things-I'm an ar-
tist, man!"). The questions meandered
by in a tepid stream. People seemed as
interested (or more) in how Rudolph
"got into film" as in the move the guy
,,bad travelled 3000 miles to show.,
AND THEN IT HIT: "I noticed, in the
film," came a New York-twangy voice
from somewhere in the first three rows,
"that some of the characters were
looking into the camera. What I wanted
to know is, were you influenced by
Godard?"
There was a short silence, and the
last word hovered over the crowd like
.the hot air balloon it was-that peculiar
.emphasis on the "-dard," as if the
questioner, no doubt some sophomore
film major, wanted the sound of it to
bounce off the back wall once or twice.
Rudolph offered his most gently con-
descending smile, and issued the per-
.feet reply: "No. Actually, I've never
-even seen any of his movies."
Godard. Go-da-a-a-r-r~rd. Aside from
its\ terminal preteniousrdess, Rudolph's
'.film had been "influenced" by French
director and beyond-the-New-Left
,revolutionary Jean-Luc Godard about
as much as by The Reluctant
Astronaut. Besides that, who really
cared? But our friend the film major
was there to make connections, not
sense.
AND THAT, IN a nutshell, is the
great bane and-simultaneously-the
incredible charm of Ann. Arbor movie-
'going. There is so much film
-here-screenings, classes, and endless,
.endless discussions-that you almost
get shell-shocked by it.
The result is two-fold: People are
constantly spouting gobs of the most
obscure crapola about why Blow-Up is
overrated, why Samuel Fuller is the
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nothing short of a grand bore. And
television. . . well, who goes near that
disaster area since they stopped re-
running My Mother, the Car?
BUT MOVIES-fast cars, big stars,
get out your handkercheifs, and all that
stuff-now there's something you can
rally sink your teeth into. Let's have a
little enthusiasm for all the television
generation drop-outs. And if we do have
to endure a few Gary Godards, well, so
be it! They're all getting jobs in public
television anyway. But to get back to
the nitty-gritty, here is a brief run-down
of all the available film-going outlets in
Ann Arbor. Unless you go to New York
or Cannes, you really can't do a whole
lot better. Just make sure of one thing:
If you're standing in line for Night of
the Living Dead, and someone starts
explaining how it's actually a Vietnam
parable, don't spit in that person's eye
(although it is probably deserved); just

outs, and obscure relics of film history.
Here's a little bit of what to expect from
each co-op:
Cinema Guild. The oldest group on
campus. Back in the good old days,
when the cops halted a Cinema Guild
screening of the notorious underground
movie Flaming Creatures because it
contained some discreet nudity, the
Guild was the lone group around. It
refrained from screening anything as
vulgar as "modern" films, opting in-
stead for the likes of classic oldies such
as the silent comedies, Erich von
Stroheim, traditional coffeehouse
favorites like Treasure of the Sierra
Madre, and of course, the pick of the
foreign circuit.
Since then, the Guild has relinquished
its penchant for oldies, along with most
of its bohemian charm, but carries on
with an intelligent selection of old and
new, foreign and domestic

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