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May 05, 1977 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-05-05

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Thursdoy, Moy 5, 1977


Page Five

Thursday, May 5, 1977 THE MICHIGAN DAiLY Page Five

Altman's latest triumphs

ways been a director who
takes chances; he experiments,
does what he wants to do, and
doesn't worry about audience
reaction. As last semester's
Robert Altman festival pro-
gressed, Ann Arbor audiences
witnessed the way in which Alt-
man's style varies with every
film he makes.
Altman's latest effort, 3 Wo-
men, now playing at the Michi-
gan Theatre, represents a great-
er stride than he has ever tak-
en before towards a new direc-
tion, and the result is a film
that ranks withrhistbest. 3 Wo-
men was based on one of Alt-
man's dreams, and though per-
haps far removed from that
original inspiration, it is very
dreamlike in quality. In a
dream you encounter the ap-
pearance of everyday life with-
out the logic, yet you don't
question it, and the same is true
of 3 Women. Altman's dream-
file displays such consistency,
articulation, and beauty of
style, that its enigmatic quali-
ties serve to enrich rather than
confuse the experience.
Briefly, here is what happens:
Millie Lamoreaux (Shelley Du-
vall) and Pinky Rose (Sissy
Spacek) meet at an old age
health spa where they work.
Pinky immediately attaches
herself to Millie, and moves
into her apartment.
fectly groomed, looking
for love, and rejected by just
about everyone. With Shelley
Duvall's performance, we feel
compassion for Millie, even
though her lifestyle (organizing
recipes by how long it takes to
cook them) is enough to make
anyone keep their distance. She-
is ridiculous, but in a curious
way, unaffected in her ludi-
crous self-delusion (she says she
is "famous" for her dinner par-
ties, even though no one ever
shows up at them).
Pinky, on the other hand, is
cild-like, with an acute sense
sf mischievousness coupled
s ith antabsolute naivete regard-
ine just about everything.
The third woman is Willie
Hart (Janice Rule), who paints
tho murals seen throughout the
filn on walls and on the bot-
tont of swimming pools. She is
pregnant, and almost never
speaks. Her husband Edgar
(Robert Fourtier), a degen-
erate - machismo character, is
an ex-stuntman, who ,spends
most of his time on the shooting
range. Willie and Edgar own
both the apartment where Millie
and Pinky live, and the bar
where they hang out.

Millie grows increasingly less
patient with Pinky, and after a
particularly nasty fight in which
Pinky tries to stop Millie from
sleeping with Edgar, Pinky
tries to commit suicide. It is at
this point, as Pinky lays in a
coma in the hospital, that the
two women undergo the mete-
morphesis; they taking on the
passive and aggressive charac-
teristics of each other.
THIS "PLOT" serves only to
underscore t h e major
themes of the film, the fore-
most of which is a frenzied con-
flict between the sexes. The
murals that Willie paints depict
a man in bitter, teeth - baring
antagonism with three women
(one of them pregnant), and the
picture Altman conceives pre-
sents a frightening, gripping vi-
sion of matriarchy.

and Millie's apartment to say
that his wife, is having her baby,
we can feel him being phased
out before the final climax.
Millie shouts to him "she doesn't
need you", and they leave him
to wallow in his new subserv-
As the baby is being born,
Pinky is only a passive observ--
er, but it is she that fails to
get a doctor, and the blood on
her face after Millie slaps her
confirms that, in the large
sense, all three of them are re-
sponsible for the baby's still-
born death. It is a frightening
vision, but Altman has the skill
to bring it off without a trace
of melodrama. The matriarchy
foreshadowed by the murals
finally comes to pass.
3 Women on an enigmatic
note: We see the three women
as grandmother (Willie), moth-
er (Millie, and daughter
(Pinky). Edgar, we are told,
has been killed in a shooting
accident, and as the camera
shifts from their house to a pile
of discarded tires (perhaps the
last remnants of the moter-
cycles Edgar and his buddies
rode and used to assert their
dominance), we hear Willie
say, "Why did he have to be
sto cruel to ber'?" As always,
Alttan eleaves the viewer with
something to ponder. In this
case, it is whether Willie's fin-
al statement is an allegorical
presentation of our current situ-
ation or something else, vary-
ing with each individual's in-
terpretation. But regardless, it
is Altman's ability to create a
personal dreamscape that
makes 3 Women a fascinating
and beautiful film experience.
Pitcher Night
No Cover
6'11 CHUReCHAF GM15- 956

Starve no more.
1F those faded Van Gogh "art-print" reproductions that you
bought in the Fishbowl at the start of the term are starting
to make your skin crawl, and Picasso's "Don Quixote" is only
good for a few appreciative moans, then where do' you turn?
Would you believe a shopping center?
Well, ordinarily, most people would laugh, but crafty arts and
crafts patrons will probably head for Arborland Shopping Center
on Washtenaw this weekend to pick-up some incredible and orig-
inal art bargains at the summer's first "Starving Artist's Sale".
TOM LONDON, the brains behind the operation, is trying to
attract business to the shopping center, and coupled with the
regular Saturday flea markets in the front parking lot, he de-
vised this unique sale, scheduled for all day Friday and Satur-
"It's a great opportunity for artists in the community who
often are unable to display and sell their work," London ex-
plains. "And a great chance for the public to meet artists and
pick-up original artwork at reasonable prices."
You don't have to be an undernourished painter in order to
participate, the event is open to apone who brings their crea-
tions to the inside mall at 10 o'clock to be assigned a spot.
And you don't have to be a high-roller either, if you want to
buy something unique, the one limitation put on the participants
is that they keep their price tags under $25.
Besides being cheap, the art promises to be exciting, if not
technacally equivalent to the work at crowded and overpriced
Ann Arbor Art Fair, and the atmosphere will undoubtedly be
buzzing, with unusual displays and on-the-spot poetrait artists
" s " + " " w e" . . . . "
admission 50c for students with .. cand
Sd Appeorinq thru Sunday. ,
. 94-s3s0 516 E. LIBERTY 1i
s " r " .w o . . r .

Whether this is a warning, a
prediction, or a manifestation
of guilt on the director's part,
I'm not sure, but Altman defi-
nitely creates this feeling with
words and images throughout
the film. His efforts are often
best realized on the white, bar-
ren desert of the shooting range,
where Altman creates images
of extraordinary power, such as
when Janice Rule, shooting at
targets, suddenly points the gun
straight at the camera and
fires, her bullet hitting a target
of a man's silhouette right in
the neck.
As the film progresses, and
the Pinky - Millie metamorphe-
sis takes place, an-ever-increas-
ing sense that the three women
are one develops. The names of
all three are practically the
same (Pinky reveals earlier on
that her real name is Mildred),
Willie's husband Edgar sleeps
with all three of them, and fin-
ally, all three are connected
with the death of Willie's baby
(he is stillborn), symbolizing
man's ultimate death.
As Edgar staggers into Pinky

Who is Walter Egan? For a few licks, call 1-800-323-0654.


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