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January 20, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-20
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Starring Al Pacino
Directed by Brian DePalma
Now playing at the Campus Theater
By David Novak
F RIEDRICH Nietzsche once wrote
that "the secret of the greatest
frutifulness and the greatest enjoyment
joyment of existence is: to live
dangerously !"
Whether or not this is true you may
determine for yourselves. Scarface -
the character - however, firmly
believes that dangerous living is the
key to a rewarding life. He even seems
to crave danger - it excites him.
Violence is his means of expression.
Scarface - the movie - is a study of
the dangerous, the exciting and the
Some films, such as Ingmar
Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, are
"director's movies." The genius of the
movie is the director's genius. The ac-
tors, photography and script are com-
ponent parts of the director's message.

An Evening of Gershwin
Michigan Union Arts Program
Michigan Union Pendelton Room
Friday, January 20, 8 p.m.
By Jay Gordon Frost
alive, and had somehow heard about
this Friday night in Ann Arbor, he
would be very pleased. Pianists John
Jarrett and Randall Faber, and
soprano Joann Gustafson will present
an evening of his songs and tone poems
in the spirit in which they were written.
As Jarrett explains, "I like to see the
world of classical and pop together. No
contemporary composer has' accom-
plished that better thanGershwin."
The performers, in the spirit of the
composer, are more interested in the
music than concerto competitions, ad-
Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra/
Ida Kavafian
Michigan Theater
Saturday, January 21, 8:30 p.m.
By Robin Jones
T HE ANN ARBOR Chamber Or-
chestra will showcase a talented
guest artist in a diverse concert of rich,
exciting works Saturday night when
they are joined by violinist Ida
Kavafian, born in Turkey and raised
in the Detroit area, stunned the nation
at a recent Mostly Mozart Festival.

vanced degrees from the Eastern Bloc
or any other extraneous accolade.
They want to bring together listeners
with different tastes.
Gershwin himself was a self-
motivated worker without advanced
degrees in music or foreign concert
engagements, and was largely self
taught. Although he studied with
various teachers several times
throughout his career, he maintained
his own source of melody, structure and
A New York inner-city child, he
preferred street hockey to music and
considered those boys pursuing per-
formance "maggies." When he was
nine, he was struck by Rubenstein's
Melody In F while playing in an arcade.
As he revealed later, "To this day I
can't hear the tune without picturing
myself outside the arcade on 125th
Street, standing there barefoot and in
overalls, drinking it all in avidly."
By age ten he appropriated his
brother Ira's piano, but his early
teachers discouraged his jazzy style.
As his teacher Charles Hambitzer, a
fine pianist and operetta composer, on-
ce commented, "Don't you see that
these songs are like so much hack stuff,
with no imagination whatsoever?"

Despite their prejudices, Gershwin's
talent was virtually indisputable from
an early time. After moving to Tin Pan
Alley and eventually landing a job (for
$35 a week) as a songwriter for Harms
Publishing House, Gershwin began his
upward rise-musically and finan-
In 1919, at 21, his song "Swanee,"
made popular by Al Jolson in Sinbad,
was a million-seller. This was followed
by a string of hits (many of which will
be performed this Friday). Gershwin's
success, however, came with Rhapsody
in Blue which was premiered in 1924 on
Lincoln's Birthday by Paul Whiteman
and Orchestra in an all-American
music concert held in Aeolian Hall.
This concert proved that jazz, and its
foremost composers, could be taken
seriously. As Walter Damrosch said,
"Gershwin made a lady out of jazz."
While there is no fight to prove the
validity of jazz as an art form today,
there is still a search for music that can
;appeal to diverse audiences. In
:Friday's program, the performers hope
]that they will achieve this end.
Randall Faber, a University School of
Music graduate, will play eight solo
pieces-including the beautiful
Preludes. A former student of Charles

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play a rend
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Pfeiffer: Cuts through cliche

Scarface, however, is an actor's
movie. We do not experience it as a
great philosophical endeavor, nor is the
director moralizing or instructing us
how to live. Instead, Scarface is void of
an ultimate message.
There are many things to question in
regard to Tony Montana's life. But no
attempt is made to make Tony a
"universal character" or a "man with
a message."
Montana is a clever, courageous, and
violent Cuban immigrant. He is fasc-
inating and captivating because of who
he is and how he acts, not because of his
message. Scarface is Tony Montana's
We first meet Tony in the im-
migration office where he is under in-
terogation. In these first few minutes,
Tony's character and personality
become obvious. Unlike some charac-
ters who never fully develop even by
the end of the film, Montana's charac-
ter is fully developed by the close of the
opening scene. In fact, Al Pacino is so
brilliant in this role, that we im-
mediately forget that we are watching
an actor playing a part.
Every aspect of the production is
unusually realistic. We don't meet Al

Pacino: Brilliant as Tony Montana.
Pacino playing Scarface, we meet Tony
,Montana - his humor, his perceptions,
his emotions, and his volatile nature.
After this illuminating opening, we
follow Montana as he progresses from a
low-class punk to'a high-society cocaine
dealer. The root of every one of his ac-
tions remains his love of money and
As he accummulates wealth and
power, Tony grows greedy and
paranoid. Everyone associated with
Tony both benefits from his wealth and
suffers from his mounting mistrust.
Those who are closest to him - his
sister, his life-long friend Manny, and
his wife - represent the contradictory
extremes in his character. The interac-
tions between these characters as Tony
changes provide the fast-paced,
suspenseful, and passionate movement
of Scarface.
This variety of interactions would
make for a boring movie if the acting
was mediocre. This, however, is not the
case. Al Pacino's performance is in-
tense and dedicated. His humor is
natural and easy, while his violence is
passionate and explosive. Even his
facial expressions have the uncanny
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ability to reveal what words cannot.
This by no means discounts the-
ability of his cohorts. Their perfor-
mances are nearly tantamount to his -
even his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and
his mother (Miriam Colon) add flair
and originality to their cliched roles.
The acting is so convincing that I never
realized I was watching a movie - I felt
as though I actually joined the charac-
ters in their bloody adventures
Bloody? Yes, very much so. The
violence, however, is not at all inap-
propriate. It acts like a time-bomb, the 4!
threat of something horrible about to
occur. This threat adds to the suspense
and excitement of the film. Since
violence is always imminent, we

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remain in constant fear that one of the
clan will be subjected to it. And since
Tony loves to live dangerously, our fear
that he may push too far is augmented,
thus increasing the suspense.
Tony's nature comprises
unadulterated violence. Just as Woody
Allen's humor is self-castigating for a
reason, so is Scarface violent for a
reason. Certainly there are many gun
shots - but each one is necessary, well-
placed, and inoffensive.
If violence strongly disagrees with
your system, then perhaps this is not-
your kind of movie. But if only to wit-
ness the effects of cocaine upon the
body (demonstrated in the explosive
closing scene) -- see Scarface, take a
chance; after all, Tony does.

According to an article in the New York
Times she "spun out Mozart's Concerto
in D with irresistable warmth and a
sweetly singing tone."
Kavafian's masterful command of
the violin, a J.B. Guardagnini made in
1751, has garnered her international
recognition. Abroad she has appeared
in London and Tokyo, while here in the
States Kavafian has performed with the
Pittsburgh, Boston, Seattle, and Detroit
Kavafian's list of musical accom-
plishments is comparable to her talen-
ts. As a winner of the esteemed
Michael's Award, she gave a recital in
New York's prestigious Alice Tully
Hall. Kavafian has also won the Young
Concert Artist's International
Auditions, aside from holding a Master
of Music degree (with honors) from The
Julliard School of Music. With creden-
tials such as these, Kavafian is surely a
prize guest for any performance.
Kavafian will give the Ann Arbor
audience the unique opportunity to hear

Ida Kavafian: Viol
her perform Mozart's
and Vaughn William's
ding, both pieces whi
violin virtuosity.
The Ann Arbor Ch

in virtuoso
Concerto -4 D,K conducted b
s The Lark Ascen- will also per
ch will prove her by Boyce as
B flat by Hay
For ticket
amber Orchestra, ,996-006.
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