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June 02, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-02

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cinema
Cannes festival: The best and the worst

4

By MARK ALAN FARBER
Special to The Daily
CANNES, France.
CANNES IS SEEING three to
five films a day. Most of
them are bad, but then again
sometimes there's a surprise.
For those of you used to sitting
through a double feature, I con-
gratulate your perseverance. But
four films a day is not an ideal
condition for film criticism.
It's absurd to waste paper on
most of the films (yet isn't it
funny that paper is much cheap-
er than film stock), therefore I
thought is would be wise to touch
upon the Festival's highest and
lowest points.
The best film so far or at least

the most powerful one, has been
an American production entitled
Johnny Got His Gun. Now don't
start rifling through your movie
guides to see this one, the film
has yet to find a distributor.
Johnny Got His Gun is Dalton
Trumbo's screen adaptation of
his 1937 national book award-
winning novel of the same name.
The film is also directed by
Trumbo. In case you're wonder-
ing who this Trumbo cat is, may
I say that this is his first ex-
perience in film direction, but in
former life as a screenplay writ-
er he has such scripts as Kitty
Foyle, Exodus, Spartacus, and
one of my favorites, Lonely Are
the Brave.

Johnny is by far the best anti-
war film I have ever seen. It is
about a young boy who goes off
to war and loses his arms, legs,
sight, hearing, jaws, and teeth;
yet is kept alive by Army doc-
tors for observation because
they believe the hunk of flesh be-
fore them to be unfeeling and
unthinking. However, Johnny
can think, and upon regaining
consciousness realizes his help-
less state, but is powerless to do
anything about it.
He can't talk because he has
no mouth
He can't hear or see because
he has neither ears nor eyes.
He can't move about because
he has no extremities.

THE FILM ALTERNATES
between black and white hospi-
tal scenes, which signify Johnny
in his present condition, and
color footage which represents
flashbacks and morphine-induced
hallucinations. The intercutting
unreels until the climax when
Johnny realizes that in spite of
his condition, he can communi-
cate. He does so by thrashing his
head about until the nurse and
doctors decipher the Morse-
coded message: He asks to be
put on public display as a re-
minder of war. When he is denied
even this, he asks repeatedly,
Let me die
Let me die
let me die,

- s smusic
New stars shine at Zappa concert

By ANITA CRONE
Arts Editor
STUDENTS AT THE Univer-
sity should take note. A group
of Oakland University students
has put together one of the finest
concerts this reviewer has seen
since the Grateful Dead played
at Michigan State last March.
Despite the 50-degree weather,
more than 8,000 people saueezed
themselves into the Baldwin Pa-
vilion and spread out over the
grounds where the Meadowbrook
Music Festival is held.
The attraction was Frank Zap-
pa and the Mothers of Inven-
tion, but that didn't stop the
crowd from enjoying Livingston
Taylor and Bambu.
Bambu is a local group who
had their Oakland University de-
but when they played the back-
ground music to Alice in Won-
derland. The group, composed of
a flutist/guitarist, drummer, two
more guitarists, a lead singer,
and a pianist, will he something
to hear when they get more used
to playing with each other. They

are a far sight better than most
groups who are just getting
started.
Bambu's attraction was in the
inventive introductions. Unfor-
tunately, towards the middle of
the songs they began to merge
and each song began to sound
like the others.
But the use of the flute in parts
gave what might have been just
another song, added appeal. The
flutist by the way, had a lot to
do with this. He was excellent,
not only with trills and innova-
tions, but in playing with the gui-
tar and not smothering or being
smothered.
Effective as they were with
vocals, which were hard to un-
derstand due to the proximity
of the too many amps, (I
shouldn't complain. I could see
and hear. The people who sat on
the other side of a hill were lost
to view) Bambu is a most effec-
tive instrumental group. Their
forte is hard rock, without the
concessions to teeny - boppers.
I'd like to hear Bambu again,
and I think that there's a good

possibility of that when they real-
ly get their music polished.
THE SURPRISE of the evening
was Livingston Taylor. I knew
he existed, and that he was
James' brother, but his music
and style of singing, as well as
his own voice is superior to
James'.
Taylor didn't put on a show, he
came on stage with his bass ac-
companist Walter Robinson, and
sang. No innovations. Just some
soft-sell country and folk rock.
Singing old favorites with new
twists, "Somewhere over the
rainbow, wake up high . .,,
"Marijuni" is the real thing, to
the tune of the coke commercial,
mixed with songs of Carolina, It's
a Carolina day. He strengthened
the mood that he was his own
singer, and not following in
James' footsteps.
Taylor has a powerful voice
that isn't lost in the microphone
-something that often happens
in outdoor concerts-and belted
his songs in a manner refreshing
to hear. Even my mother would-
n't get upset if I turned the vol-
ume up on Taylor.
After a 45 minute set-up Zappa
and the Mothers made their ap-
pearance. Zappa, is one of the
few performers who doesn't real-
ly try to relate to his audience.
They're paying money to see him
destroy them. And Zappa did not
disappoint this audience. When
someone tried to upstage him,
Zappa demanded his name telling
him to "stand up and identify
yourself." The kid did, and Zap-
pa promptly said, "Fuck you".

But enough. Zappa's music was
Zappa's show and vice versa. It
must be said that Zappa and The
Mothers did indeed present a
show.
The voices in "Billy the Moun-
tain" were a show in themselves.
You see, Billy is this mountain
who posed for pictures on post-
cards. He has a wife, Ethel the
tree, growing out of his right
shoulder. He had caves for eyes
and a cliff for a jaw.
One day, Billy got rich and de-
cided that he and Ethyl would
take a vacation, and it was a
vacation watching and listening
to The Mothers go through the
entire story.
THE EVENING was fun, and
the cost not too much. The whole
thing was put together by stu-
dents with faculty advisors, but
one finds herself wondering why
if other universities can attract
big names, and be able to pay
them and still make money,
where t h i s University went
wrong,

The film is by no means un-
flawed. It is the relevant story
line that makes this a fine pic-
ture and not Trumbo's inexpert,
heavy-handed direction. When it
comes down to the final analy-
sis, it must be said that Johnny
Got His Gun is merely a pow-
erful storyfilm (and that's quite
enough for me).
Now, as I promised, to go on
to the worst. There is no debat-
ing the subject; by far and away
the worst film was John and
Yoko Lennon's entry, Apothesis.
It is 20 minutes of unedited te-
dium, shot with a stationary
camera. The camera is mounted
on a balloon and documents five
minutes of ascending into the
sky, 10 minutes of a white screen
while the balloon is in the
clouds, and then five minutes of
breaking above the clouds and
seeing the sun. I know that is
sounds as if could be a good film,
but then again so did Warhol's
The Empire State Building from
Dawn till Dusk. Fortunately, the
audience booed and catcalled so
as to let the Lennons, who were
in attendance, know what kind
of shit they were making. At the
press conference afterward, John
and Yoko insisted that this was
a serious film and not a put on.
Yoko said that "wemustustop
intellectualizing film", a point
which I agree with 100 per cent.
However, we must also be selec-
tive about the subject matter we
choose to film and make use of
that little device known as a film
editor.
ALL IN ALL, I was disap-
pointed with the Lennons' film.
I was happy to find out how
friendly and real John and Yoko
are. I met them in the theatre
later that night and after a very
brief talk, realized that their
marriage was more than a public
circus and that Yoko's strange-
ness was not mere put-on and her
very high intelligence not mere
rumor.

I1

420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in all reprints.
Wednesday, June 2, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
NIGHT EDITOR: ROBERT SCHREINER

II

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