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March 14, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-14

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 14, 1980-Page 7
ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL
New era a difficult transition.

" By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
The Ann Arbor 16mm Film Festival
launched a new era this week, and as
with most transitions, the new clothes
fit a bit uncomfortably. Gone forever
are the cramped confines of the Old
A&D Auditorium, expansively replaced
by the vast recesses of the Michigan
Theater. Though the reasons for the
geographical switch are obvious and
,justifiable (the Michigan provides a
more suitable and comfortable
screening forum to judge the many en-
,trants, and has a seating capacity to
1meet the perennial overflow of Festival
Ipatroris), the mad carnival atmosphere

almost through his runners, leading the
viewer on an astonishing journey
through a primeval wilderness Valhalla
so magical one almost expects gnomes
and elves to emerge from behind the
forest trees or out of the often om-
niscient mountain mist. Survival Run
proves an exhilarating tribute not only
to the spiritual determination of the in-
dividual, but also to the epic grandeur
of nature which inspired it.
Mary Bellis' TV 33 is a far more
problematical film, as witnessed by the
ample chorus of boos which followed its
screening. Seizing the shopworn theme
of television as our age's Frankenstein
monster, Bellis breathes new life into

images. Bellis' accompanying soun-
dtrack hurtles together fragments -of
TV words and sounds, then twists and
warps them into a tumultuous,
cacophonic symphony of dementia.
THERE'S nothing satirical or cutesy
about TV 33; it's an uncompromising,
all-out raging assault on the media it
despises, a howl of paranoic despair
over an institution which invades,
shackles and mutates us. (The words
"It won't happen to n,.!. repeat again
and again amidst the aural tumult.)
Bellis' movie is an absolutely daz-
zling piece of technical virtuosity - an
amazingly textured, sophisticated
work which blends its visual and sonic
elements into a breathing, menacing
serpent. The director extends herself a
bit too much toward the end, begins to
repeat without ever reaching a
resolution either for good or evil. Yet
the scope of TV 33's cinematic mastery
ought to be enough to make more than a
few big-time filmmakers purple with
envy.
TWO WORKS also vied for the
evening's pitsville honors. Magdalena
Rangel's Four Times/Four Times of-
fered us four fluctuating rectangles,
whose perpetual transmutations of
color and texture might have become
interesting had they not been accom-
panied beat for beat by a near-blinding
strobe effect. plus a pointless,
jackhammer sound track which
seemed malevolently; designed to send
the average viewer home in the perfect
mood to smack around his wife and
kids.
Tim Bruce's A Cup of Tea presented
a series of long, strangling shots of
assorted household furnishing and
utensils, occasionally interspaced by
equally vapid domestic sound effects
and a few brief monologues treading
tritely and gratuitously across the in-
tellectual dustbowl of alienation. Bruce
seems passionately committed to the
ancient underground principle that the
longer you hold your cameraonan ob-
ject, the more likely it is to acquire the
auspices of metaphysical truth. Thank-
fully, this time-honored con job's'

heyday appears definitely on the way
out.
THE REST of the program was at
least mostly enjoyable if not too
memorable. Pat Olezsko's Kneel and
Dimples was an entertaining urban
fable featuring her own knees in the
roles of a tiny, dressed up couple
touring the sidewalks of New York.
Though Olezsko is one of the free-flung
geniuses of our time, Kneel and Dim-
ples is not really one of her better
illusions; too often the audience is
aware that her miniature protagonists
are merely extensions of her own ap-
pendages, and thus the hoped-for visual
spell is often disrupted and its accom-
panying humor de-fused.
More successful was Paul Glabicki's
Five Improvisations, a diminutive but
mad little universe of assorted sym-
bols, words and squiggles pulsating and
mutating in accordance to strict
musical harmony. It rather resembled
a computer screen of a spaceship gone
haywire, yet maintained a charmingly
delightful order within the boundaries
of its own insanity.
NOW AND THEN even an unsuc-
cessful film would contain some
-momentary element that rendered it
briefly memorable. Included in the
midst of Richard Balkowski's
Punk/Deaf - an otherwise very or-
dinary film about a punk rock hangout
in LA - was a modified slow-motion
shot of the club's jumping, dancing
clientele. The effect of the slowdown
was to transform the revelers into
grotesque, shambling ghouls straight
out of George Romero. The image
seemed to symbolically rip away the
masks of the dancers toreveal some
hideous sub-spiritual underlayer; this
perhaps accidental effect provided an
insightful interlude that was genuinely
terrifying.
Speaking of magic moments, I'm
especially grateful to Tom Brenner's
Tri-Color-Last for giving us a several-
times-repeated shot of multi-imaged,
multi-filtered swans cavorting in a
pond to the strains of the Poulenc. It
was a sequence so pastorally perfect
that I found myself gladly willing to
forgive the total. irrelevance of the
remaining 97 per cent of Brener's
otherwise interminable opus.

"

o"Im

- BRIGH1 KO -V1"S
.....-
d A rd NeWDreai4
Fr Wa$ U-
M-A RClf
SO- NERRY/EYREMLC
CHARUE HADEN/ED BACKWELL
Ticket s/$ in advance
ON SALE NOW/MICLUH.NION 8.O.
For-more information/ 763-2071

ml

is q

the
DAEBRUDEICK
QUARTET

A scene from John Feldman's "Dry Yearnings", shown Tuesday evening at
the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

so endemic to Old A&D is thus far
'achingly absent from this year's
festivities.
Though the Michigan may eventually
prove as livable and warmly manic as
Zvas the Festival's former residence,
there was an irrepressible, sweaty
charisma to the old, dingy headquar-
ters that may prove irreplaceable. The
Michigan, of course, has loads of its
own atmosphere and tradition, but it's a
tradition of a different time and a dif-
ferent public. For the moment, the
Festival seems an orphaned tenant who
has lost some cherished uniqueness;
the once-madcap crowds seem for the
moment more like any standard movie
audience in a large moviehouse. A
capacity A&D mob looks puny and lost
jn the cavernous expanses of the
Michigan, and thus much of the close,
rah-rah unanimity of the old Festival
audiences is now shattered.
4THIS SLIGHTLY lost, agrophobic
sensation has doubtless contributed to
the general subduedness of this week's
Gerowds. Wednesday night's 7 and 9
o'clock shows certainly provided suf-
ficient grist for vocalized consumption,
though the programs were graced by
only a few examples of either outstan-
ding films or genuine stinkers Two
works emerged as the cream of the
bunch. Joaguin Pardo's Survival Run
was an absolutely breathtaking account
of a blind man who competes in an ex-
cruciatingly rigorous marathon race in
the Pacific northwest. Clinging
throughout the run to a seeing partner,
Pardo's protagonist navigates moun-
tains, forest and open plains while his
comrade shouts instructions all the
while over the fiendishly difficult route.
Survival Run's visuals and sound are
so exquisitely applied that one can
scarcely believe that one is watching a
documentary. Pardo's camera sweeps
and leaps over, around, and at times
Brubeck
.due at Hill
Dave Brubeck, perhaps the most
widely known jazz performer and com-
poser of his generation is due foe an
Ann Arbof appearance this Sunday,
March 16, at Hill Auditorium. Contrary
to popular opinion, there are plenty of
tickets left to catch the man who took
jazz to the top of the pop charts in the
early sixties.
SINCE THAT seminal work with
saxophonist Paul Desmond, Brubeck
has continued working in the main-
stream, touring extensively with bands
featuring his three sons. Bassist and
trombonist Chris Brubeck will join his
father in Ann Arbor, along with former
Michigan Jazz Band drummer and
Count Basie alumnus Buthc Miles.
Rounding out the evening will be Ann
Arbor's resident harmonica virtuoso
Peter "Madcat" Ruth. A veteran of
previous Brubeck and sons bands,
Madcat is a versatile soloist and quite a
crowd pleaser. Sunday's show looks to
be a solid evening of music accessible
to old and young alike.

the notion by extending the standard
motif of satirical madness (i.e., Being
There) into absolute madness, period.
While a group of silhouetted performers
hover in a zombie \ballet around their
TV sets, mutant images pulsate from
the screens in a grotesque, non-stop
malformation of familiar persons and

special guest
peter'maicat'ruth.
sunday, march 16, 8pm
hill auditorium
Tickets 7.50, 6.50, 5.50

now appearing LIVE !
FOOTLOOSE
! Saturday Night - 9 pm
0 $1 cover charge
2324 DEXTER RD ANN ARBOR, M[x Warnh
i! i" i" Watering hole

Tickets on sale now at the Michigan Union Box
Office. Also available at Schoolkids' and Dis-
count Records in Ann Arbor. For more informa-
tion call 763-2071.
GOOD SEATS AVAILABL.

presents

R J a6
. eR' .,n E

4 EC
'Of FRIDAY
SATURDAY
U 9pm -l am
- -
NO COVER!
t4 ipato
1140 South University
AT THE MICHIGAN THEATRE
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I C A \ITM AHiA M A T A ( P "1 %

CRISLER ARENA
Tickets on sale Monday, March 17
All seats reserved: $12.50, $10.00, $8.50.
Tickets Available:
Zr..af f .. ' . . - aI Ar an:n Dn s k-n. A... d.. I..r nA nA-..a. an fla ..eha * U. .ta.iaIa. a...n

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