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October 15, 1970 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-15

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday; October 15, 1970 d

Page Six THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, October 15, 1970 M

S
I

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"
cinema:

A documentary in

A disappointing' Virgin

5

By NEAL GABLER
Yvette (Joanna Shimkus) and
Lucille return to Colgrace from
their schooling in France. Lu-
cille is the more pragmatic and
insensitive of the two; Yvette'
is the more pensive and roman-
tic. She ponders her inert ex-
istence and exclaims, "Nothing
ever happen except silly
things." She is trapped by the
narrow minds of her vicar
father, her bitchy aunt and her
deaf grandmother who clings to
life with sadistic tenacity. Vic-
torians all, in Yvette's post-Vic-
torian England. Pharisees all,
when Yvette seeks sincerity.
Then comes the gypsy (Fran-
co Nero) blue eyes flashing,
body glistening sweat. He de-
sires her but =she demurs. Then
,come a fast-living, unmarried
couple who reveal themselves to
her, notas immoral ogres, but
as exciting and, what's more,
as honest. A short time later the
flood-gates literally open. And
while the water fills Yvette's
house the gypsy arrives, carries{
her to safety, commands her to
disrobe and slips into bed beside
her. Morning comes. Granny is
dead. The house is destroyed.
The gypsy is gone. Yvette'climbs
out of her window into the fast-
living, unmarried couple's car
and drives off into the horizon
with her chastity gone and wis-
dom gained.
What The Virgin and the
Gypsy is telling us, I guess, is
that a little sex may very well
be the antidote to an overactive
sense of Victorianism. While
this may be earth-shaking to
the Victorians, it leaves me un-
moved. So 'what? So what if you
have a nasty, evil-minded, os-
tensibly moral father, and you
go screw just to break loose? I

say more power to you, but a
vicar, virgin and gypsy don't
make a film good. You can
make it look like it's good, you
can dress it up in cool English
style-rich photography, ac-
cents, a soundtrack with skirts
rustling, birds twittering, leath-
er creaking, horses clopping-
put in the end style doesn't
make content and no film critic
can make it so though they of-
ten try their damnedest.
The absence of eternal veri-
ties wouldn't be missed if the
film were at least witty, which
it isn't. It is British though, and
you feel almost obligated to give
a perfunctory snigger; but most
of its humor is derisive, directed
at the film's bevy of hypocrites.
You know, the vicar who has to
be reminded of the Bible by his
impertinent, but r i g h t e o u s
daughter, or the, aunt who re-
fuses a potato at dinner because
'people eat too much" and who
afterwards wolfs down a box of
chocolates. The film's somewhat
dubious equation is that Victor-
ianism equals hypocrisy while
defiance of the conventional
morality equals honesty.
Then, of course, there is the
phallic symbolism without which
no adaptation of D. H. Lawr-
ence would be complete. The
Virgin and' the Gypsy has as
many phalluses as Winter Light
has crosses. Not that director
Christopher Miles is content to
let the phalluses sit there. No,
he has to give us 'distracting'
close-ups that'not only flow con-
trary to eye scan but that have
as their soul purpose to show us
how much a knife or log or
whittling stick or fishing lure
resembles the good, old, male re-
productive organ.
Enough for debits. On the right

side of the ledger, the aesthete
can get an eyeful of the stun-
ning Northern English country-
side and of Miss Joanna Shim-
kus. Miss Shimkus is in the
Deneuve mold - dignified and
distant. She really doesn't have
to act at all; all she has to do
is look beautiful, and she does.
That may be a bit of my male
chauvinism rearing its ugly
head; but let's face it, girls.t
Deneuve and Shimkus are ob-
jects, as real as a fashion maga-
zine cover. Fortunately, beauty
is often its own reward. Too bad
it doesn't work that way for
movies.
ORGANIZATION
NOTICES
Child Care Action Group and Sup-
porters will meet at '3:30 p.m. in front
of the Administration Bldg. before at-
tending the Regents meeting.
* * * *
Free University steering committee
meeting, Sunday at 7 p.m. for a pot
luck dinner at 1309 Washtenaw, Apt.
No. 3,
* * * *
Christian science organization, Oct.
15, 7:30 p.m., 3545 SAB. Regular meet-
ing: all are welcome.
Important A.F.S. Club meetinig, Oct.
18 (Sunday) 7:00 p.m., Room 3C, Un-
Ion.
Gay Liberation Front, general meet-
ing postponed to Thurs., Oct. 22, 8:30
p.m.. 3B, Union.

(Continued from Page 2) .
made on the stage. Drama
comes from watching a charac-
ter react in a given situation;
if he is important enough, the
fact that he reacted that way
becomes news. Unfortunately,
Kipphardt's script reads like old
news, the subject of which is
even older news. It is for this
reason that Josef Sommer, as
Oppenheimer, must spend the
second half of the play facing
upstage. With Oppenheimer and
with the others we never see,
the cause becomes the effect.
All of a sudden they jump from
a controlled tension to a con-
trived intensity, contrived be-
cause the playwright has not
given them the necessary tran-
sitional steps which would also.
make them human.
Eleanor Lester's article in last
Sunday's New York Times (Oc-
tober 11) approaches the same
problem in another way. She

cites Abbie Hoffman of Chica-
go Seven fame as the most suc-
cessful practitioner of Theatre
of the Apocalypse, for he has
been able, on numerous occas-
ions, "to let the living embodi-
ments of the forces in today's
society create the drama." And
the creation takes place in peo-
ple's living rooms on the evening
news. He gambles that good re-
porting and film techniques
will capture the climaxes of the
day. Their effect on the popu-
lation lies in their immediacy
in time and space. We can only
wonder how Oppenheimer would
have performed in a world as
media-conscious as ours today.
Would he have let us see his
crises, his points of decision?
Or would he have quietly turn-
ed away, back to Princeton and
pure research?
Oppenheimer was written as
documentary drama, with t h e
limitation of taking only t h e

drama.
actual court records, a job of
editing rather than creating. It
is my opinion that the term is
self-contradictory. It is an ex-
cellent documentary, but does it
not rather belong on TV where
we expect this convention? In
the final analysis the greatest.
tribute to director, Allen Fletch-
er is that having chosen this
play he chose not to force it in-
to being a play, which it is not,
but to make it an exciting doc-
umentary on the stage.
--Jacques

TONIGHT...
Why not curl up with a warm, friendly
paperback or hardcover from' our vast
collection of books for pleasure read-
ing

'I

LITTLE PROFESSOR
BOOK CENTER
Maple Village Shopping Center
Open every night till 9:00
662-4.11 .

AGAINST THE WAR!
Reservists, Guardsmen, ROTC
Local Affiliate of Reservists
Committee to End the War
Organizational Meeting
15 Oct.-7:30 P.M.
Lobby SAB

IHA ELECTIONS TODAY
IHA Elections will be held today at dinner hours to
" vote on new I HA constitution
* elect a president and vice-president, as a slate
0 elect 3 members of the residence halls board of governors
" elect 19 council representatives from the various
district constituencies
VOTE IN YOUR DINNER LINE. IN OXFORD, vote in Seely
Apt. Lounge. IN FLETCHER, vote near mailboxes or at loca-
tion of your meal contract.

4

663-7357

663-7042

U ______ I

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