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October 15, 1971 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-10-15

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Poge Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, October 15, 1971

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Friday, October 1 5, 1971

Death ia
EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to technical ;
difficulties, the following review
could not be published while Death
in Venice was still playing and sub-
sequently was not published at all. 7
The demand from several readers for
an interpretive review of this film
prompted us to publish it at this '
later date.
By NEAL GABLER
Like it or not (and I don't
particularly), we're in t h e
throes of galloping aestheticism,

Venice:

Too much aestheticism

and pretty soon we'll have to
confront the question, Can our
art subsist on style alone? Al-
ready, crotchety academics point
accusing fingers at the light
shows, whining guitars, Cat's
Cradles and 2001's that many
young aesthetes canonize as Art.
These things may entertain or
narcotize, say the defenders of
culture, but they will never en-

lighten. The kids, of course,
clap their hands over their ears.
They're" getting used to hear-
ing this stuff, and they know
, that their voice-weary critics
will eventually find themselves
playing Beatle records or mut-
tering something about Weimar
Germany. Academe offers no
other options.
But you really don't realize

. images

how tight the grip of aestheti-
cism is even butside the coun-
ter-culture until you see a film
like Luchino Visconti's Death in
Venice, based on the novella by
Thomas Mann. Are you listen-
ing, all you humanties' graduate
students out there? Like other
Visconti films (Rocco and his
Brothers, The Stranger, The
Damned), Venice has won its
share of praise, including a spe-
cial award at Cannes. And like
other Visconti films it wins its
kudos chiefly for style-style
that practically oozes out of the
sprocket-holes. There's the lan-
guid, roaming camera that pries
decadence off the walls. There's
the luscious color that festoons
everything. There's the opera
master's magnificent orchestra-
tion of bodies and objects.
There's the uncanny attention to
detail. There's even a powerful
score supplied by Gustav Mah-
ler's Third and Fifth Sym-
phonies.
And the net effect of all this
dazzle is an almost hypnotic
languor, which somehow seems
perfectly appropriate consider-
ing the theme of the Mann
novella. For Mann an individual
can pursue truth and wisdom
through two routes - knowl-
edge, or perception of, the
beautiful. The first is a mental
process and, given the expan-
siveness of the mind, it is in-
herently spiritual and disorder-
ed. The second; being the
province of the senses, combats
disorder with formalism. After
all, we can see beauty. The trou-
ble is that a person's worship of
form, unless tempered by intel-
lect. may lead, in Mann's words.
to "frightful emotional excesses
which his own stern cult of the
beautiful would be the first to
condemn." This is precisely
what happens in Mann's Death
in Venice.

world-famous novelist now in
his declining years, escapes his
native Munich for luxurious
Venice. And no sooner does he
arrive on the Lido than he
sights Tadzio, a male nymphet
who seems to be perfection it-
self. After much internal wrang-
ling, Aschenbach becomes so
powerfully attracted to this
slip of purity, that he is over-
whelmed and ultimately defeat-
ed by his own aestheticism .. .
which is what happens, I guess,
when a formalist finds the per-
fect form.
This is not, however, what
happens in Visconti's filmati-
cization, even if you are willing
to accept the picture as some-
thing more than Boys in the
Band circa 1910. (It is called
Death in Venice, isn't it?) In-
stead of Mann's formalism and
knowledge, Visconti drags out
those old twins of freshmen
aesthetics, the mind and the
senses. Unfortunately, not only
are the typologies different, but
there is really no correlation be-
tween the two. Mann's "formal-
ism" is sensationalist but or-
dered; his "knowledge" is spiri-
tual but disordered. Visconti is
more conventional. The "senses"
are sensationalist and disorder-
ed; the "mind" is spiritual and
See VISCONTI, Page 10
workshop with
K1L LEN
on Songs of the Sea
SAT., OCT. 16-2 p.m.
The ARK
sponsored by the Folklore Society

THIS
WEEKEND
from England
LOU
KILLEN{
w/ concertino

Ks FRI.-~

SA T.-SUN.-OCT.

15, 16,

Albert King

"MR. BLUES

POWER"

THE ALLEY
330 MAYNARD

17

"unusually subtle and sen-
sitive . . . grand and vigor-
ous . . . "-Rbt. Shelton,
N.Y. Times
$1.50

The Devils: Beyond superlatives

HELD
OVER

Photo-Stanley Livingston
Fri.-Sat.--2 shows: 7:30-10 Sun.-] show: 10:00
Tickets All Shows: $2.50
COMING OCT. 22, 23, 24
JIMMY REED and the CHICAGO BLUES BAND
Advance Tickets-Salvation Records
330 Maynard and 1 103 S. Univ.

To The Daily:
Ken Russell's The Devils is a
film which brings to the screen
an ultimate experience. To be-
hold it is devastating to one's
psyche. It's imagery is bril-
liant, repulsive and degenerate;
yet with all its sadism and tor-
ture, what is seen is believable.
It's distortion and horror are
between the realities and fan-
tasies of man.
The time of The Devils is
1634, the era of Richelieu and
rising Protestantism. The white
fortressed city of Loudon is a
jewel in the eyes of Cardinal
Richelieu, who is busy building
France into a nation while the
king, Louis XIII, is busy playing
Venus in baroque playlets. In
Loudon is the magnificient
Father Grandier (Oliver Reed),
who as, a symbol is a sexually
perverted Christ. He has power
and lust; he impregnates wom-
en without the slightest re-
morse. He defends his city from
the dispatched armies of Riche-
lieu. He is a Machiavelian priest
who is a hero to his people.
Now enter The Devils-from
the Church, from the State,
from the inner self they possess
the populace. Sister Jeanne (Va-
nessa Redgrave) is the pur-
veyor of perverted religious sex-
ual frenzie. Sister Jeanne is in
SATURDAY NIGHT
An eroti.c mystery, a phantas-
magorical film by Nagisa Os-
himo, "Japan's esthetically and
politically most radical film-
maker."
Diary of a
Shin.uku Burglar
in the JAPAN festival
ARM/Michigan Film Society
kit Natural Science Aud.
7:30 and 9:15

love with Grandier. Her fanta-
sies have Grandier, the sexual
Christ, come from his cross to
love and molest her:
But Father Grandier has fal-
len in love with a plain pious
woman and has renounced his
debauched celibacy to marry.
He discovers a new raison d'etre
and reunites himself with God
on new grounds.
Sister Jeanne, her .fantasy
lover abducted, stirs her order
of nuns to psychotic possession
with the devils of Grandier.
Word spreads, and Louis XIII,
who has placed his favor upon
Loudon visits the city with
amusement and plays a grande
farce to prove the possession by
devils a hoax. Bored, he moves
on to shooting blackbirds (cer-
tainly one of the cinema's
classic lines will be Louis XIII
saying "Bye, Bye blackbird," as
he randomly shoots a flock of

Huguenots dressed as crows for
entertainment at a lawn party.)
Maddened by the expose, the
possessed nuns, professional
witch hunters, sorcerers, al-
chemists, pawns of Richelieu,
jealous eunichoed churchmen,
and a frenzied populace set out
to crucify Grandier.
Serious film go ers who mar-
velled at Ken Russell's Women
in Love and were disappointed
with. The Music Lovers should
not miss The Devils. The film
has Russell's opulent cinema-
tography, costumes and set: a
barrage of gothic horror tactics,
frenzied sexual orgies, and gra-
phic scenes that are frankly re-
pulsive. It also has a beauty: it
also has a truth. The religions
should not see it for they will be
nauseated; the intelligent must
see it for they will think.
-Stephen Fisk, grad

cJrnICIGA

DIAL 5-6290
TODAY AT 1-3-5-7-9

Gustav

von Aschenbach, a

UAC-DAYSTAR
HOMECOMING 1971
"Let's Work Together"
Thursday, Oct. 28
PINK FLOYD
GUARDIAN ANGEL
$1.50-$2.50-$3.50

cINEMA

D 1.Iy

FRIDAY and SATURDAY
a double feature
at 7-
The Hound of the Baskervilles
(1939)
Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes
at 9-
OUNA DIN
(1939)
with Cary Grant, Sam Jaffe
and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
75c FOR BOTH FILMS
AUD. A, ANGELL HALL
next week: THE GRAPES OF WRATH

Friday, Oct. 29
Parliament-Funkadelic
BLACK ENSEMBLE
~1 -$2-$3

Saturday, Oct. 30
QUICKSILVER
CATFISH
$2-$3.50-$4-$4.50

4I

purveyois of paradise

HILL AUDITORIUM
ALL SHOWS START 9 P.M.
-TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY, OCT. 18-
MICHIGAN UNION 10 A.M.-6 P.M.

WARREN BEATTY -JULIE CHRISTIE in The Robert Altman-David Foster Production of "McCABE & MRS. MILLER"
Also Starring RENE AUBERJONOIS - Screenplay by Robert Altman and Brian McKay. Produced by David Foster
and Mitchell Brower - Based on the novel"McCabe" by Edmund Naughton- Directed by Robert Altman
PANAVISIONĀ® TECHNICOLOR(' From Warner Bros. A Kinney Services Company

1

IAN

The Actors Guilds
regrets to announce
The Killing of Sister George
the controversial play
that murdered
censorship in England
The Bereaved May View the Deceased on:
FRIDAY, OCT. 15-7 and 10 P.M.
SATURDAY, OCT. 16-7 and 10 P.M.
SUNDAY, OCT. 17-Matinee 2 P.M.
Evening 7:30 P.M.
Residential College Auditorium
TICKETS $1.25 available only at the door

DIAL 8-6416
NOW SHOWING

TONIGHT
AT 7-9 P.M.

Xtik;jj PaIMMIF

Box Offices Open 6:30
Show Starts at 7:00

I.

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i, solo Ā¢$ 08 ,, WILLOW 1483 6000

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