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May 24, 1979 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-24

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, May 24, 1979-Page 7
Namesake illuminates Manhattan

Continued from page six)
piece on the Times' op-ed page while
Michael O'Donoghue, looking like he
just flew in from the planet Psycho,
pops up as a director planning a movie
about a guy "who screws so great that
when he brings a woman to orgasm, she
dies." In an early scene, Keaton, hiding
behind a maelstrom of cultural arcana,
rattles off a list of artists and writers
she and Murphy have righteously
relegated to their "Academy of the
Overrated" (members include Gustav
Mahler, F. Scott Fitzgerald) and Lenny
Bruce) while Woody looks on in barely-
contained fury. She's even more ob-
noxious than the pompous
Fellini-baiter who chewed Alvy
Singer's ear off in that movie line.
Here, though, there's no Marshall
McLuhan around to puncture anyone's
pretentions.
Some of this might seem better suited
to the satiric setting Allen honed to per-
fection in Annie Hall's California send-

us that his relationships with women
could be summed up in the old Groucho
Marx joke, "I would never want to
belong to a club that would have me as
a member," he converted a lifelong
conflict into a stinging one-liner.
Manhattan, easily the most hilarious
movie I've seen since Annie Hall, isn't a
comedy; except for a disquietingly,
funny scene with macabre skeleton as
metaphor, it doesn't use humor as much
as it throws it in for sideline spice. Now,
it's the drama that reached Herculean
heights. Allen and Keaton whisper ner-
vous encouragement to each other
while silhouetted by a planetarium's
ghostly lunar surface, and the effect is
stunning. The end, with a Mona Lisa
smile creeping onto Allen's face as
Hemingway implores him just to "have
a little faith in people," is sublime.
HOLDING ALL THIS together is the
backdrop of Manhattan as the mythical
paradise of Gershwinesque skylines, a
vision at once affirmed by the charac-
v.

pire State Building, Times Square, and
Central Park are plainer shots of
tenement housing and riverside dum-
ps-the glamor has accrued some of the
grit of modernity, but it's survived.
The film concludes with several of the
same shots, only the melodrama in
between lends them a deeply moving
resonance. The final shot is a warm but
"unglorious" picture of a bridge
swathed in heavy fog; it says that
Manhattan isn't simply a land of
romance and opportunity, but a place
where real people (yeah, just like you
and me) carry on with their lives. To
expand on the opening of Isaac's novel,

it's a metaphor for the survival as well
as the decay of contemporary culture.
Woody Allen's feelings about New York
are roughly the same as his feelings
about life in general: Sometimes, it
may look like it's going down the tubes,
but it's still the most wonderful thing
on earth.
Film critic Owen Gleiberman's ardent en-
thusiasm for "Manhattan " will be answered
by his colleague Christopher Potter in a more
restrained review on tomorrow's arts page.
More shots from the latest Allen vehicle will
appear as well.
--Arts Ed.

Allen wittily expostulates on a modern sculpture's "negative capability" in his
magnificent new film, "Manhattan." Diane Keaton, as his sometime lover
Mary Wilke, amusedly looks on.

up; the scene with Keaton is funny, but
sticks out as a rather pointed and pre-
packaged. But Allen is also intent on
exploring the relationship between per-
sonal integrity and its societal and
cultural foundations. The book Isaac's.
ex-wife is cashing in on is a tacky self-
help manual, though Streep righteously
calls it "an honest book," content that
her culture reveres "honesty" (as in,
"Ya gotta be true to yerself,
man ... ") above all else.
MANHATTAN is further evidence for
those who insist that Woody Allen is
America's (long-awaited?!) answer to
Ingmar Bergman. The analogy may not
be so bad, though, because there are
moments when pain drips from the
screen like huge tear drops. Part of this
comes from the way Woody's
lighthearted comic sensibility plays
with our expectations. When Isaac
leaes Tracy for Mary and Hemingway
begins crying helplessly into her ice
cream soda, the effect is truly-to
borrow aphrase-devastating.
Annie Hall registered its emotions
through comedy; when Alvy Singer told

ters' ambitions, their lust for living,
and undercut by their mutual waywar-
dness..The opening montage of skylines
(with Rhapsody in Blue in the
background) is a rapturous vision of
the Manhattan of crystal dreams.
Mixed in with classic views of the Em-
Residential College
Summer Players
announce
open auditions &
technical crew meeting
for
Bertolt Brecht's
PUNTIA AND MATM,
HI/S HIRED MAN
May 25, 26, 27 at 4:00pm
Residential College
East Quadrangle

For info call 764-0084

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