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May 25, 1979 - Image 11

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-25

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 25, 1979 -Page 11
Woody caught in self-indulgence
(Continued from page ten)

our tears as well, and they're not nearly
so easy to procure.
THOUGH ANNIE HALL'S Alvy
Singer was decisively headed in the
realist direction, Isaac Davis is Allen's
first truly fleshed-out, three-
dimensional cinematic persona.
Though Isaac still throws out one-liners
with the rapidity of Allen's idol Bob
Hope, the jokes are no longer employed
in the context of a cartoon loonyness but
rather as the self-deprecating, defen-
sive humor of a vulnerable but real
human being. This ought to be a
revelation, a catharsis, but in the con-
text of Manhattan, it's not. It's just sad
Woody Allen, no longer the screwball,
exhibitionistically lamenting his com-
plexes -complexes basically in-
distinguishable from the libidinous
hangups of a Fielding Mellish or a Miles
Monroe.
Yet the grand absurdism of those
earlier films provided a necessary
distance, scope, even a certain dignity
in uncovering the terrors which lay
embedded in the author's psyche. In
Manhattan Allen simply lets it all hang
out minus even the guise of the
ridiculous, and the resultant self-
exoteism rite (presumably to "have a
little faith in people") becomes a
slightly shabby, squirming experience.
Moreover, Allen is, ironically, very
much the wrong actor to play himself in
a straight film. However earnestly he
applies his thespian abilities, all we can
see is that great, inimitable clown's
face up on the big screen ogling back at
us like the national treasure it is. It's
like asking Eric Sevareid to be fun-
ny-the two elements just don't mix. As
a serious actor Allen is trapped in the
wrong physique and the wrong persona,
crying plaintively "love me, love me!"
to an audience that already loves him
but for past and different reasons.
SELF-OBSESSION needn't always
be so embarrassing. Probably half the
great novels of the world are products
of similar absorption, yet a novel is
inherently a personalized, singular
creation that often justifies its egotism.
A motion picture is necessarily a
multipersonal project: Would Manhat-
tan be half so deft without the free-flung
genius of cinematographer Gordon
Willis, would it seem half as haunting
minus the urban lyricism of George
Gershwin? Would its script be half so
penetrating without co-writer Marshall
Brickman? Do all these contributions to
Manhattan justify the self-
worship-however modest-that
plagues the film from beginning
(Allen's musings on how the city effects
him to end (Will she come back to me?)
Probably the only measure of the

The romance between Tracy (Mariel Hemingway) and Isaac (Woody Allen) is the focal point of Allen's latest,
"Manhattan," though as Isaac points out, he's "older than her father."

justness of an artistic ego trip .boils
down to whether the artist possesses
the sheer creative talent to get away
with it. Allen doesn't possess that
talent, at least not yet; as he continues
to mature as a filmmaker, perhaps he
will-his structural growth has recently
been a breathtaking thing to watch.
Beside the physical assuredness of
Manhattan, a film like Bananas seems
almost primitive, light years removed
from the director's current
capabilities. Yet for all its crudenes,
Bananas remains the more enjoyable
film, an anomaly which will persist un-
til Allen learns to apply his longings to
the universe at large rather than vice
versa.
He has given us much: Manhattan
is gentle, funny and often memorably,
touchingly wise. But it is not a great
film. And until the day its director
decides that what he pays to tell his
psychiatrist doesn't equate with what
we pay to see him for, we must wait, be
happy with what he's provided us, and
hope faithfully for a better future. The
promise still seems bright.

Friday, May 25 Aud. A, Angell Hall
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
(ELIA, KAZAN, 1961)
William Inge received Best Story and Screenplay Awards for this extrordinary
and sensitive film. WARREN BEATTY and NATALIE WOOD are superb as the
idealistic young lovers in the Puritan atmosphere of small town Kansas in
the late 20's. Ella Kazan has brought to the screen with great insight and
integrity the agony and tragedy on the young people, and captured the essence
of Main Street USA. (124 min.)7:30 & 9:40
Cinema If is accept ng new member applications-
pick them up at afl Cinema ii film showings.
ANN ARBOR CIVIC THEATRE
Proudly presents
THE TONYAWARD WINNING MUSICAL
0 Stephen Sondheim's 0
0 0
0 0
Book by James Goldman
0000000000000000000000
First time in this area
May 31, June 1-3, 1979
Tickets available by mail: Follies, P.O. Box 1993, AA 48106
($3.50-12.50. *See diagram.) or at Tix-Info Jacobson's i-Shop.
State St. 662-5129.

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperstive presents at MLB
$1.50 FRIDAY, MAY 25
VIGILANTE FORCE
(George Armitage, 1976) 7 & 10:20-MLB 3
A true exploitation classic! The peaceful little community of Elk Hills becomes
a boom town plagued by rednecks when its reserved oilfields are opened.
When the town elders decide to import a man to "tame the town" and he
proceeds to organize prostitution and gambling rockets, mayhem and anarchy
abound. A tough as nails little film by a director destined for big things.
2000 MANIACS!
(Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964) 8:40 only-MLB 3
No, it's not the hash bash. Two carfulls of attractive Northern couples arrive
in a Southern town on the one-hundredth anniversary of that town's Civil War
defeat. The 2,000 locals make their visitors honorary guests and proceed to
torture them to death in increasingly gruesome ways. Praised by Godard and
classed with NIGHT OF THE. LIVING DEAD and PSYCHO, the film combines
suspense, kinky sexual innuendo, the supernatural, and plenty of gore. "I
love it"-Paul Schroder.
Tomorrow: THE APPLE WAR by Danielsson at MLB

ac 8.50. .0 3S
250 S
STAGE

FOLIE S
at Power Center

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