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March 13, 1980 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-13

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 13, 1980-Page 5

A2Film Festival opens with bizarre program
filmmakers were always impressive (particularly in its two latter sections) strobe editing and pretentious dividing bedroom floor, dwarfed by a normal Lost and Found of the
S HARVEY even when bordering on tedium. but too inactive for most viewers. Like titles ("Entombment," "Symmetry broom and shoe. be anyone's. This o,
or Film Festival got Some of the evening's most in- many of the festive entries screened, it Retouched," etc.) to form a work at on- The character's w
arre start last night novative projects were, unfortunately, can't really be described beyond a sim- ce stunning and hollow-fascinating to THE LONGEST selection of the becomes increasingl3
16mm shorts that of more interest to cinematography and ple listing of repeated images of motifs. watch, but seemingly devoid of any evening was its only narrative film. The becomes apparent ti

The 18th Ann Arb
if to-a suitably biza
mith six hours of

mind. They could
ne wasn't mine."
world-weary air
y ridiculous as it
hat the terrifying

seemed tipped even more than usual in
the direction of pure visual experimen-
tation. The evening's two later
programs offered-out of 19 films-only
one narratives movie. The remaining
selections were all dutifully bent on
technical inventiveness and expanding
the boundaries of the medium, and
though the resulting barrage of discon-
ected images and sounds was often
s than compelling, the efforts of the

art students than anyone else, and the
audience at the Michigan Theatre
broke the stretches of boredom with oc-
casional boos and catcalls. The biggest
target of abuse was probably Chance
Chants ... for Patty and Adam, an 18-
minute, three-part exercise in graphics
that was unwisely placed at the
evening's end and certainly made
everyone happy to leave. This film by
Andy Voda was visually intriguing

SOMEWHAT MORE interesting,
though no more dependent on plot or
"meaning," was Sharon Couzin's 22-
minute epic A Trojan House, a dizzying
visual collage that could have passed as
a summation of all the techniques
available to 16mm filmmakers. Couzin
threw together fish-eye lens views,
speeded-up motion, pixillation, frantic
montages, animation, superimposition,

meaning beneath its surface.
Other intriguing experiments in
technique included Melissa Harmon's
Lumens, in which neon-lit dancers
whirl around hypnotically in time-
exposure photography; Rebecca L. Ab-
bott's imaginatively titled Story of the
Western World, or, Mom and the Arab,
another bizarrely beautiful visual and
sural bombardment; and Norman E.
Magden's mystic Kinethesis, a suc-
cession of blurred, haunting images of
DAVID HAXTON'S Painting White
and Green Lights consisted entirely of
projected negative images of a man
painting, over what appeared to be line
drawings. The effect was visually
mesmerizing but finally tedious.
However, Randy Grief and Julie Meer-
baum's Black Film was a wholly suc-
cessful exercise in abstraction-using
what looked like film frames that had
been directly scratched and/or
cracked, the filmmakers created a
nightmarish, nearly overwhelming
succession of chaotic red, black, white
and blue patterns.
In a more playful spirit, Rufus Butler
Seder's Naked 97 was a great parody of
bad, pretentious older experimental ef-
forts, with a symbolic Everywoman
nude passing through a dismal black
and white cityscapes and Caligari-type
settings. John Feldman's Dry Year-
nings offered ingenious special effects
of a scaled-down mime artist on a

Hobbs Case, written, directed and
produced by Allen Coulter, was a
shrewd parody of detective movie con-
ventions, with the elegant structure and
polish of a commercial feature. The
central Bogart/Alan Ladd figure,
played with skill by Guy Boyd, in-
troduces himself thus: "My name is
Joe Hobbs. I can tell you everything
there is to know about me in three wor-
ds: I'm a loner." Having had repeated
and hilariously visualized nightmares
involving a tea set that serves itself,
Hobb tosses off typical B-movie
banalities: "Dreams come from the

"case" he's working on is nothing more
than a figment of his neurotic
imagination. As this idiot humiliates
himself by stumbling into furniture and
yelping like a child in his own apar-
tment, the film finally becomes a sharp
and even chilling story of paranoia.
Though Tuesday's films too often
lacked a sense of humor and may have
stretched the patience of the viewer
from time to time, the Festival shows
no signs of falling flat. As usual, the
week promises to offer some of the
most innovative and entertaining work
in 16mm from around the world.

The Writers In Residence Program
at the Residential College
presents a reading by:
Winnter of the 1980 Michigan Artist Award
Benzinger Library
(First Floor East Quad, East University between Hill & Willard)
Faye Kicknosway will be the guest at the Hopwood Tea, Thurs , March 20.
3:30 PM, the Hopwood Room, 1006 Angell Hall.
The Writers-In-Residence Program at the Residential College is made possible
in part by a grant from the National Endowment For The Arts and by gifts
from friends of the Residential College.
March 13-15 at 8 POWER SEVEN
March 16 at 3 CENTER DEADI
Uof Michigan School of Music/DANCE COMPANY SINS

Not all of the entertainment is on the screen at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which opened its 18th year Tuesday in a
new location, the Michigan Theatre. Here we have a typical group of Festival viewers immersed in grabbing what-
ever culture they can. Film showings run through Sunday.


1 Albums by groups that have made
their fame on novelty singles can often
be anything from boring to tedious to
downright annoying affairs. The Flying
Lizards have combined all three
qualities on their self-titled album to
create what is overall a rather in-
teresting - sometimes even appealing
- album.
The hit single that spawned this
whole dubious chain of events was
"Money," a "disco" version of an old
*Motown classic (covered most notably
by the Beatles) employing minimalist
German synthesizer as background to
an even more minimalist German
model as vocalist. For some un-
fathomable reason, it was an enormous
disco hit. (Don't ask me why!) Their
previous and first single, "Summer-
time Blues" -was also an old classic
(this time by Eddie Cochran) that The
Lizards covered in ludicrously lame
9'Luckily, The Flying Lizards (a.k.a.
David Cunningham and various
vocalists) have not resorted to simply
formulizing their original concept into
ten songs of tediously amusing
similarity. (It's hard to say whether a
disco version of "Sugar Sugar" by the
Archies including a sewing machine as
rhythm generator would be a new high
or a new low in the history of recorded
sound.) Neither, though, have they
been able to forge a consistently unique
,sound 'on The Flying Lizards.'At timer
they sound like The Residents, at times
like Eno, at times like "Money"
retreads ... at times they even sound
like something completely new and in-
IT IS AT these times that you realize
that they have only narrowly averted
what must have been a major pitfall
right underfoot. The best example is
their latest single, "T.V.," which also
'happens to come midway through the
first side of the album. It is, actually,
their catchiest and most enjoyable song
to date. It combines a disorientingly
oblique Phil Spector feel with a pizza
parlor organ and alien dissonance. In
addition, it sounds just enough like the
otier singles without sounding redun-
dant that the group actually begins to'
acquire some depth and originality.
On too many cuts, though, they are
obviously stumbling around in the dark
* looking for a style .., any style. Their
most interesting borrowings come from
an album called An Electric Storm by
White Noise. The melancholically
angelic vocals, menacing undertone,
and predominantly, insect-like syn-
thesizer of "Her Story" on The Flying
Lizards could have been lifted in its en-
tirety from any song on the first side of
An Electric, Storm. The Lizards' ap-

propriations from this source are not so
bothersome because White Noise them-
selves never got the chance to follow up
on some of the-musical questions they
raised on their first album. The Lizar-
ds' copping of their concept is not so
terrible in that they have been able to
add to and in many .ways complete the'
interrupted vision of White Noise.
HOWEVER, other songs are not even
original in that indirect sense. The
military drumming, chanted vocals,

better. The disco-dub improv at the end
of "Russia" smacks of wasting time in
a vain attempt to give this song some
unique character.-
Even worse is the Bertolt Brecht
composition that starts off the first
side, "Der Song Von Mandelay." It is
simply ands unequivocally the most an-
noying song I have ever heard on a:
record. -It might be fun to say
something really obnoxious about it but
I haven't even been able to listen to
enough of it to think of anything
outrageous to say. All I know is that in
the first few seconds it seems to be a
German drinking song sung by Beverly
Sills through helium.
ACTUALLY, THE second side may
go the most toward defining a unique

group sound for The Lizards. Two songs
especially, "The Flood" and
"Trouble," combine an interesting
view of recent German music (incor-
porating both disco and synthesizer
minimalism) with almost ludicrous
vocals into a painfully distant and alien
sound. To be sure, tinges of Kraftwerk
and The residents still remain, but
overall these two songs are challenging
in their own unique way.
Overall, The F,ying Lizards is not a
fully realized album, though it does
show a lot of promise for David Cun-
ningham. The man obviously has a lot
of interesting ideas running around in
his head. Too bad that, at this point,
most of those ideas belong to someone

AO S: The University of Michigan Branch of the Society of Auto-
SP5ACE motive Engineers presents a
7:00 PM, THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 1980
20 people from the tune-up class will be invited to tune their own car at the
9:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, March 15
Diagnostic equipment, tools and guidance supplied
A $6.00 fee will be charged-$7.00 with air conditioning

and murky production of'"Russia" are
straight off of anything recorded by The
residents. What's worse, is that The
Residents do this kind of stuff much




Did you just settle for any
job because there wasn't the
time or money to get more
education after high school?
It's ct too late.
If you want to continue
your education, no-matter

financial aid administrator at'
the school you plan to attend,
or write to Box 84, Washing-
ton, D.C. 20044 for a free
booklet entitled "A Student
Consumer's Guide to Six
Federal Financial Aid

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