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November 02, 1977 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-11-02

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k :.

Silver's "Between

the Lines"':

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, November 2, 1977-Page 5

D URING I$ FIRST few minutes,
Between 'he Lines - the latest
sixties nostalga film playing at the
Michigan Thatre - maintains a
delicate b1ae between pleasant, un-
pretentious alism and pseudo-hip
comedy. The tory, which concerns the
ambitions anconflicts surrounding the
staff of the Bck Bay Mainline, a post-
countercuture underground
newspaper,'tesents easy oppgrtunities
to slip into TV sitgom glibness by
glossing evrything over with one-
Had the d'ector, Joan Micklin Silver,
trivialized !ier subject by having the
characters out crusading for some
naive, ulta-radical cause, the film
might hae ended up as a Mad
Magazine ook at the workings of an
undergroud newspaper: Fortunately,
the film's'ocus is not on the newspaper
but on th personaW interactions of its

characters, and the combination of
jocose detail and moderately understa-
ted insight makes it a funny, engaging
piece of entertainment.
Between The Lines is only Silver's
second feature, but is nevertheless a
vast improvement over her first, Hes-
ter Street, which was overloaded with
cutesy charm. Silver still isn't a partic-
ularly dynamic director - she never
goes all out for the big laugh or the
show-stopping scene - but she's
become a great deal more relaxed with
her subject and lets her characters
mingle freely. The film bears the ob-
vious influence of Robert Altman, not
just in its utilization of a multi-char-
acter cast and free story-line, but in the
deliberate emphasis on insignificant
details of day-to-day living. Silver
doesn't achieve the rich, true-to-life
hustle and bustle of Altman, but she
nevertheless makes the loose, casual
approach work for her.

THE MINIMAL PLOT, which rarely
dominates the action, concerns the al-
leged attempt of Roy Walsh (a money-
minded publishing entrepreneur) to
gain control of the paper and thus ruin
the integrity on which it was founded.
This conflict remains in the back-
ground, for we see little of the actual
workings of the paper; Silver obviously
didn't want to turn the film into the
other side of The Front Page, and were
it not for an occasional aside concern-
ing deadlines and copy lengths, one
might easily forget these people are
Instead, Between The Lines concen-
trates on the staff's personal lives, their
consistently precarious romantic in-
volvements, with the newspaper-rela-
ted incidents serving largely as a struc-
tural framework. None of the romantic
connections seem very definitive:
Harry Lucas (John Heard) has
cautious inclinations to reinstate a full-
time relationship with his ex-girlfriend

(Lindsay Crouse), but there always
seems to be some obstruction to a
smooth reunion. Mike (Stephen
Collins), the ultra-egotistical writer
who can't wait to break out of jour-
nalism and into better, loftier under-
takings, seems constantly on the verge
of losing his live-in girlfriend (Gwen
Welles), and spends half the film con-
vincing her to come to New York with
Although the characters are estab-
lished beyond being stereotypes, sever-
al resident oddballs serve their place
primarily in the comic scheme of
things: Max (Jeff Goldblum), the omni-
present wit who unbiasedly treats
everything without a grain of serious-
ness, a delivery boy (Michael J.
Pollard, who was C.W. in Bonnie and
Clyde) whose primary activity consists
of lying around with a half-crazed smile
on his face, and a stuffed-shirt advertis-
ing manager who looks like he has a

USO looses

Halloween spirit

SyIphony Orchestra celebrated
Hallowen in Hill Auditorium Monday
night b playing some of the most be-
witchir4 classics of orchestral reper-
toire. hey tried their best to scare the
aupiene, but heard applause instead of
screais as members walked onstage
wearig a devilish assortment of cos-
tumes from white sheets to a Michigan
Band uniform. And who was that mask-
ed cnductor? He turned out to be
Gusia Meier, as promised.
Ovarall, the, sound of the orchestra
wa full, solidand unified. At times the
perxussion was somewhat overwhelm-
ing especially the bass drums, but the
audence seemed. to like their seats

University Symphony Orchestra
. HillAuditorium
October 31, 1977
Gustav Meier, conductor
Theodore Lettvin, pianist
Mussorgsky............... Night on Bald Mountain
Saint-Saens........................ Danse Macabre
Berlioz.................Symphonie fantastique
(movements 4 & 5)
Dukas..................Sorcerer's Apprentice
Liszt ................Totentanz Piano Concerto
shaking and death dances are certainly
supposed to be scary. The strings play-
ed solidly, with good intonation, the
brass added volume and drama, and
the woodwinds, integral parts of most
of the works, were exceptional.
The evening began with Night on
Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky.
This dramatic symphonic fantasy was

played well, but lacked energy (outside
of the thundering drums), and the tem-
po was irregular in the middle section.
The strings were good, especially when
playing in the lower registers.
Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-
Saens, his first symphonic poem, is
famous for its description of Death
playing the fiddle in a graveyard while
ghosts dance in the background. In
spite of a few tempo problems, the work
sounded very good. The violin soloist,
George Marsh, played with authority
and accuracy, and the entire string sec-
tion used proper dynamics, phrasing,
and intonation.
The performance of Hector Berlioz's
Symphonie Fantastique, op. 14, (move-
ments 4 & 5), made the previous two
pieces sound like warm-ups. This com-


position is the most famous by Berlioz
and is his best attempt at programme
music, a music drama without words,
and reflects the inspiration of a ro-
mance and various literary influences.
Here, the orchestra not only played the
right notes, but achieved a dramatic,
exciting sound. In the 4th movement,
"March to the Scaffold," the strings
were beautiful and had good volume,
and the cellos and basses gave an in-
spired performance. The brass ran
away with the tempo several times, but
sounded solid and had enough blast.
The percussion finally found theright
volume in the 5th movement, "Dream
of a Witches' Sabbath"; the strings
were great, and the woodwinds made
this movement with exceptional preci-
sion. The orchestra did a good job on a
difficult work.
Paul Dukas' symphonic poem Sorcer-
er's Apprentice, based on a ballad by
Goethe, was given a fine interpreta-
tion. Good tempo control, and excellent
dynamics and balance vividly con-
veyed the rousing image of an appren-
tice making mischief while the master
sorcerer .is away. Again, the wood-
winds deserve credit for good work.
The last piece on the program was the
Totentanz (Dance of Death) Piano Con-
certo by Franz Liszt. This composition
really excited. the audience, primarily
because of the wild mannerisms of the
piano soloist, Theodore Lettvin. The
audience started laughing as soon as he
walked onstage - with his right arm in
a sling! He removed the sling before
playing, however.
Throughout the concerto, Lettvin.
dazzled the crowd as his hands raced
crazily up and down the keyboard. His
dynamics were good, he played difficult
rhythms well, and gave an interesting
interpretation (as far as a dance of
death goes). However, his tone and ac-
curacy were sacrificed for raging
theatrics, and by the end I expected
him to be foaming at the mouth. Can he
play with his feet? It doesn't matter, be-
cause the audience loved it and he took
four bows to a standing ovation. It was
a great conclusion to an exciting

There's a camaraderie among' the
characters - they've all been at the
paper since its inception seven years
ago - but they're not without their pet-
ty jealousies and rivalries. When Mike
catches his girlfriend in bed with
Harry, the first thing he can think of to
start raving about is his superior writ-
ing ability. Silver is perceptive enough
not to rectify such happenings with con-
trivedly. motivated apologies, letting
similarly touchy situations sort them-
selves out with minimal explanation.
Minor conflicts are always arising, but
they'never stifle the flow of events, and
you don't question the resolutions.
I'd havenoscomplaints about Silver's
comic sense if it weren't for a few gags
that could have benefited from not
being quite so center stage. Many of
Max's lines are low-keyasides, the kind
of humor that, in M*A*S*H, one caught
amidst a constant undercurrent of sec-
ondary goings-on. Here, the, rather
direct approach of much of the humor is
slightly at odds with the free-wheeling,
spur-of-the-moment feeling the film
goes for. The best single gag -, a long-
haired zombie tramps into the office,
smashes a typewriter to the floor, and
states he's just created a work of con-
ceptual art - is almost ruined by repe-
titious overstatement when Max and
the "artist" start destroying
everything in sight in order to out-con-
ceptualize each other. Also, I was ap-
palled to see the ancient coffee-
machine-where-no-cup-drops-out rou-
tine, which I assumed had been perma-
nently driven six feet under decades
ago on the Carol Burnett Show.
The major conflict - Walsh's ostensi-
A Lecture De
I "STAGE and Fl
by RON
Wednesday, Nc
in the Pendletc
in the Mic
For more information call 763- i1107

ble wish to take over publishing opera-
tions - comes to fruition only in the last
part, when he makes his move and tur-
ns out to be as devious (though subtle) a
trickster as everyone envisioned. A
large part of the staff ends up quitting
rather than be subjected to Walsh's
tyrannical policy. But Silver, happily,
doesn't sentimentalize; the point is that
everyone will go on somehow, just as
they have in their fractured romances,
and the film ends on a note of optimism,
with a conversation between Max and a
long-time fan (portrayed by National
Lampoon founding father Doug Ken-
ney). There's no false sense of victory
in the conclusion; everyone knows that
Walsh was the winner. But it's apparent
that these people are resiliant enough to
spring back.
Between The Lines marks the ttium-
ph of a ditector's talent and sensitivity
over a potentially slick, cliche subject.
It only goes to prove how a modest idea
(and modest budget) can, with a little
wit and intelligence, go a long way.
ACTIONS and the
v. 2--4:00 p.m.
on Arts Center
ch. Union

QiLapay un

CANTERBURY HOUSE foolishly announces:
A Night of Clowning Around
with David Fly, Priest and Master Clown
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 2nd-8:00 pm.
(Catherine and N. Division Sts.)
ALSO, coming up right after exams t
5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4th through 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6th at Emrich
Conference Center, Brighton, Michigan
Cost: $20 per person Transportation will be arranged
for more information and to register

Quihpayun blends politics, song

TS BEN a long time since
singers ke Joan Baez stilled a
large, hush crowd and brought that
sad but pssionate sense of the
world's suering and striving for
freedom'ar simple justice. Which is
why Ann rbor should be warned
that the ;usic group Quilapayun
(quill-a-pioon) of Chile will be
coming he? this Friday, and is not to
be missed
The grop is part of .the folk rebirth
called Ne Chilean Song that swelled
with the ppular political movement
that broi ht Allende into the presi-
dency of.hile. The military junta in
1973 ovehrew Allende and banned
all artis; of the movement. Quila-
payun wxs touring in Europe at the
time an so survived to sing of the
unified olitical effort and the Chil-
ean spitin spite of the suffering and
death te junta dealt poets, artists,
and stuents as well as the working
people )f Chile. The oppression of
thousais continues today. It is
perhar impossible for an outsider to
grasp bw a whole cultural flowering
was kled with the political life.
But te music of Quilapayun goes
deepethan politics. It reaches into
the fol heritage of Chile. Enchanting
and tader flutes from the Andes,
Latin'hythms in a joyful song to
Cuba, panish lyrics from the poetry
of Neida and the singer Victor Jara
in beatiful harmonies are a celebra-
tion c Chile, of life, and of joy and
grief aared.
WICH BRINGS me back to Joan
Baez Listening to a Quilapayun
recor one drifts back to memories of
fine aa
give usa call...

folk concerts at anti-war marches.
Or one feels what a Peter, Paul, and
Mary campus concert used to stir up
- that powerful pain the Civil Rights
Movement grew. It was simple,
passionate and basic.
Quilapayun began with a few
university students in 1965. As the
group grew to include five more men
it incorporated more and more folk
traditions of Chile and other Latin
American musical instruments and
rhythms. All eight men sing and play
the assortment pf flutes, guitars, and
rhythm instruments. The harmonies
of the voicesand the combinations of
instruments and rhythms are infin-
ite. The music takes one into that
profound feeling and then into light-
That scopeof feeling and quality of
music, that meaning and sympathy
has been evoked in audiences all over
Europe and the USSR by Quilapayun.
An audience at Hunter College in
New York City waited four hours one
night in 1975 to hear the group while
they were being detained at Kennedy
Airport due to visa problems. They

have won critics' praise because of a
rare gift of universal music.
The sponsors of the songfest, the
Ann Arbor Committee for Human
Rights in Latin America, is the same
group that sponsored the Teach-In on
Latin America last November. The
same life force that drove last year's
speakers to nationwide rallies, the
same love for Chile, runs through the
music of Quilapayun.
Tickets for the concert, in Rack-
ham Aud. at 8 p.m. Friday, are on
sale in the Fishbowl.
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