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June 16, 1971 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-16

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, June 16, 1971

Death' Images rather than words

By MARK ALLEN FARBER
Special to The Daily
CANNES - This is my last
piece on Cannes for it is impos-
sible to find peace in Cannes. In'm
cutting out three days early and
missing--the new Losey film,
The G Between-Jack Nichol-
son's, Drive He Said- and Sa'e((
and Vinzetti. I will see these
films one at a time and yet nmuch
more out of them.
By far the festival's best film
has been Visconti's. Death in
Venice. It is one of those mou-
mental films that speaks ir.

images rather than words. Death
in Venice is Visconti's screen
adaptation of the Thomas Mann
novel of the same name. and is
living proof that great direct-Ors
can indeed cenquer the impos-
sible. Mann's novel although bril-
liant is not the usual soat of
H-llywrod scenario. It is heavy,
philosophical and lacks actien. It
is the type of project which is
either abandoned due to artistic
integrity or emasculated uc to
economic hypocrisy. Thankill┬░,'
Visconti does neither.
Visconti and his film are a sic-

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cess because of his genius at
visually capturing a specific era
and his adroit camera sork in
photographing young men ire-
member The Damned). He is one
of the few directors who unde-
stands what a period piece is, and
remains faithful to the original
time span. (The results of doing
otherwise can best be compre-
hended by remembering the dis-
aster of Joseph Strick's apda('ns
of Tropic of Cancer). Visconti un-
derstands that Mannis novel is
not just the tale of Gustav Van
Aschenbach, a composer and con-
ductor from Germany who falls
in love with a young adolescent
boy - but rather the story of
Gustav Van Aschenbach, a com-
poser and conducter from Ger-
many. who falls in love with a
young adolescent hoy while ri-
sorting in Venice in 1911. In
other words Venice, the resort,
and 1911 are equally as import-
ant as the storyline of unrequited
love. Subsequently Vissunti first
introduces the compose:, Vauu
Aschenbach and the Vnice 1911:
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Stumeresmsianiublsed Tuesday
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the stately Lido Hotel, the prc-
cessor of the hotel clerks, the to-
imal drinking and dining parlors,
and the wealthy international
bourgeoise who gather at such re-
sorts. Only after all this has been
presented 'is Tadzio, the adoles-
cent catalyst introduced.
Howevei Death in Veni.e is
not as it sounds: a gay Love Story
( or Truman Capote's reto' t to
Eric Segal). Van Aschenbacn is
thoroughly repulsed by his emo-
tions toward Tadzio. TNis is it
so much because of the homosex-
ual implications insolved but
rather because of the composer's
whole aesthetic philosophy. Van-
Aschenbach is a German com-
poser, much like Gustav Mahler,
so much so that the Mahler es-
tate is suing) who thorcughly be-
lieves that art is a thing of the
intellect and not the senses. Time
spent on the senses is time which
could be better spent on pure
thought or pure music. Thus the
composer is disgusted with him-
self not because he considers his
specific admiration of thi' young
boy deviant but because he con-
siders any intense love emotion
be it between male or female) a
waste of time. Yet in spite of Van
Aschenbach's intellectual theor-
izing he can neither tear hiiuself
away from the resort nor get up
the courage to talk to his young
love object. Me merely wnatches
the child from a distne, seciet-
ly follows him through the streets
of Venice, and fantasizes an ac-
tual encounter.
Death in Venice is also a story
of plague and the Venetians at-
tempt to hide its presence so as
not to discourage tourism. (Same
basic motive as Ibsen's, Enemy
of the People). Visconti juxta-
poses Van Aschenbach's grow-
ing awareness of the blight with
his inability to flee the resort
because of his enchantment with
Tadzio. The composer is indif-
ferent to the invading odors and
fleeing tourists. He walks endless-
ly through the dead city search-
ing for the adolescent but never
daring to speak to him. One day,
however, Van Aschenbach and
the boy remain alone together on
the beach. Here death by the
plague comes to claim the ob-
livious composer and he salutes
with a last and final smile the
adored child.
"Standing pale and upright
against the sea, mysterious and
charming statue of Eros beckon-
inghhim to death and desperate
night."
That's the story. It sounds a
little 1950 melodrama but it's
not. Dick Bogarde, as Van As-
chenbach, gives his best perform-
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ance to date. and that's quite an
achievement, considering the Bo-
garde of Darling, The Fixer, and
The Servant. Bogarde has made
himself up to look like Mahler,
has adopted the gait of a man
losing his prime, and has added
nuance where most actors would
add specific character traits.
The only word to describe his
performance is superb. As for
16-year-old Bjorn Andresen who
plays the part of Tadzio, one can
only say that he is beautiful. The
part merely required unsurpass-
able beauty and a captivating
stare. Andresen has both. His
beauty is the ambisexual purity
of youth. The twilight zone be-
tween male and female before
voices start to change and body
hair starts to sprout (Enough
Said!h
Oh in case anybody is wonder-
ing how Dick Bogarde always
comes up with such fascinating
character portrayals his explana-
tion is as follows. He says that he
belongs to the Dame Edith Evans
school of acting technique: "I
merely dress them up and play
them." (I wish I could do the
same with such success.
Cannes confessions or out-
scooping Shirley Eder-
Antonioni is making a new filni
starring Jack Nicholson.
Nicholson is really as stoned as
she media reports him to be.
John and Yoko may make a
Beatle film minus McCartney.
Buck Henry is keeping Mamtia
Cass company.
There's a new Swedish sex
star, named Christina Lindberg
who is going to go far. Lind-
berg, who is currently on display
in a Swedish sexer called Ex-
posed turned up at the press pic-
nic and did what her movie pro-
mises. After exposing herself
completely and posing for pho-
tographers, the Cannes police
fcalled by her agent I'm sure)
helped her on with her clothes.
The only thing the police had to
say about Miss Lindberg's esca-
pade was "Ca Va!"
Please Follow Smokey's ABt
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BE sure to
drown all fires
CAREFUL to
crush all
smokes
SMOKEY
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TONIGHT Cinema Guild presents the Premiere of
CRY DR. CHICAGO
a film by George Manupelli
One show only-9 P.M. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16
ARCHITECTURE AUDITORIUM

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