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February 01, 1984 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-01

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Page 5

he Michigan Daily

Wednesday, February 1, 1984

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film never cries wolf

y Byron Bull
EVER CRY WOLF is one of those
rare little films with a certain
ajesty about it. Director Carroll
hard (The Black Stallion) has an un-
nny knack for evoking the awe and
ystery of nature in a singularly per-
nal cinematic way.
His style is refreshingly austere,
lying on concrete visual tones as op-
sed to the neon-gauche stylizing of
lashdance or Risky Buisness. Every
ame has a distinct depth to it, with
ultiple layers of detail and subtle ac-
vity to entice the eye.
Originally a documentary film-
aker, Ballard has a keen eye, and an
bility to capture raw images on film
at are so inherently beautiful they
on't need embellishment. His
chnique is the antithesis of
urrealism, it's superrealism, and it
orks amazingly well.
A literal plot synopsis doesn't do the
lm justice. Ballard's storytelling is
ather conventional, it's his tone that is
o spellbinding. Loosely based on the
xperiences of naturalist/writer Farley
owat, the film chronicles one man's
ne trek into the Arctic to study the
ehavior of northern wolves.
Mowat's work, done over 20 years
go, was startling at the time. Wolves
ere then regarded as reckless
redators, out of control and tipping the
nvironmental balance. Mowat obser-
ed them as a vital link in the eco
ystem, feeding off of the weak and
iseased members of a species, ac-
ually strengthening it. Even more far
eaching was his observation on their
nsavage, even gentle nature.
The material could have been easily
rivialized because of the Disney
roduction banner. It isn't because
allad doesn't concentrate on ethology,
he makes the film a story of one
man's spiritual rebirth.
The young biologist, called Tyler in
the movie and played by Charles M.

Smith, is a lonely, alienated man who
accepts the assignment more out of
desperation than duty. He's an outcast
in society, life offering him little, the
future gloomy.
Alone, isolated and overwhelmed by
the crushing immensity of the Arctic
wilderness, he changes. The utter
alienness of the glacial expanse rekin-
dles the wonder and excitement he'd
long grown out of. All of his preconcep-
tions about the wolves prove wrong and
he grows to admire them, he even
develops a certain affinity despite the
physical distance he must maintain
from them.
The change is plausible, even
magical because of the way Ballard
and cinematographer Hiro Narita shoot
the film.
To them, thea ndscape is literally a
character in the film. They forsake
formal, flar compostion for a more
visceral, dynamic approach. The colors
are muted and toned down to em-
phasize the coarseness of the moun-
tains, the thickness' of the swelling
clouds. The whole terrain seems to
swell and roll like a seascape frozen in
motion. The grain in the rocks, the
delicateness of the foilage shines with
vivid clarity. Not since Nestor Almen-E
dros' photography in Days of HeavenN
has the screen been so open, with such
attention to scope and texture.E
Just as brillant as the look, is the
sound, some thing often neglected in
film. Sound editor Alan Splet creates a
soundtrack that is really an audio mon-
tage, never quiet, always breathing.i
The crackles, creaks of the ice, the1
sighing of the wind, fleshes out theI
visuals without intruding, it works
subliminally on the viewer.
And where a symphonic score would
have been grossly incongruous, Mark1
Isham's etheral music seems to rise up
out of the scenery. Enoesque in style, it
utilizes a blend of sythesizers, am-
plified woodwinds, and sparse strings '
for a sound that is at one moment icy
cool and the next, lyrically warm.

Li 5th Ave aof1.berty 761.9700
DAILY 1:00, 7:15, 9:35
DAILY 1:00, 7:00 9:25
You'tre Needed
AfllOver the
Ask Peace Corps Moth volunteers
why their degrees are needed in
the classrooms of the world's de-
veloping nations. Ask them why
ingenuity and flexibility are as
vital as adapting to a different
culture. They'll tell you their stu-
dents know Moth is the key to a
solid future. And they'll tell you
that Peace Corps adds up to a
career experience full of rewards
and accomplishments. Ask them
why Peace Corps is the toughest
job you'll ever love.

The wolves are, of course, a main
element of the film, and are rendered
with a deft sensibility. Tyler's first en-
counter with one, a large white male, is
enticing. As he chases after it, the wolf
weaves in and out of the morning mist,
vanishing and reappearing like a
unicorn in an enchanted forest.
The wolves are very real, however.
Ballard doesn't cheapen them by trying
to anthropomorphise them, or turn
them into symbols. They're definitely
wild animals, intelligent but often in-
At night Tyler watches the wolf and
his mate frolicking under the luminous
moon, disappearing into the darkness.
Where they go and what they do is a
mystery. Ballard makes one
authoritative comment on them, and it
rings true, besides being one of the
most arresting shots in the film.

We see the wolves sitting atop an out-
cropping, the wind that ripples through
their fur also sifts the tall grass and
slowly wraps strands of fog around the
distant hilltops. The impression sinks in
that the wolves are really an extension
of the land, part of a greater, vast
Tyler himself gets caught up in the
magic. Unable to join the wolves in
their late night howling he sits alone,
playing them a simple offering over his
bassoon. When the wolves attack a
caribou herd Tyler runs through the
herd, naked, exhilerated at being a part
of the moment. The scene is handled
with a spontaneous, sudden feeling, and
the wild euphoria is contagious.
Unfortunately, Ballad isn't beyond a
lapse into melodrama. The film's one
weak sequence is a confrontation bet-
ween some hunters and Tyler, it's

heavy handed and awkward.
The men, all fat tycoons, sit in patio
furniture, sipping drinks in the middle
of nowhere. Inside their expensive
seaplane rest a pile of dead caribou. We
get repeated close ups of the planes
engine, spewing flames and smoke, and
can't nut grimace at the clumsiness of
the metaphor. Ballard even stoops so
low as to have the pilot buzz Tyler,
seemingly missing him by inches as he
defiantly stands up against it.
There's nothing wrong with the sen-
timent, but the symbolism is intellec-
tually a poorly contrived one.
Regardless of that, the film works
splendidly, it's got style and heart.
More importantly, it's a intensely per-
sonal vision in a medium saturated with
market studies and showey but unin-
spired wonderkids. One hopes Ballard's
muse inspires him for years to come.

Cranbrook vision blooms at DIA

Join the
Arts Staff!

By David Grayson
FEAST FOR eyes and mind
awaits any form-conscious adven-
urer at the Detroit Institute of Art's
resent exhibit Design in America: The
ranbrook Vision, 1925-1950. The bread-
h of this exhibit and the impact its sub-
ects have had on the architectural, ar-
istic and design concepts in America
oday are inspiring.
At the center of this display are the
deas and renderings which Eliel
aarinen produced while at the Cran-
rook academy of Art in Bloomfield
ills, Michigan.
Saarinen (1873-1950) came to the
nited States in 1923 from his native
ngland. Already one of Europe's
rominent architects, Saarinen was
sked to join the University Architec-
ure School faculty as a guest professor
here he taught from 1923-1925. It was
during this period that he began
collaborations with George G. Booth,
hen publisher of the Detroit News, on
the idea of an academy for the arts and
crafts on the Booth Farm north of
From 1925 to 1940 Saarinen designed
and supervised the construction of the
various buildings that constitute most
of the Cranbrook Institute, one of the
premier examples of institutional ar-
chitecture in the 20th century.
Not only did Eliel Saarinen design the

buildings of the Art Academy, but he
also devised the mode of teaching and
concept of artistic collaboration that
led to the recognition of Cranbrook as a
major force in artistic design.
Departments of architecture, interior
design and furniture, metalwork, book-
binding, textiles, ceramics, painting,
and sculpture were established in ac-
cordance with Saarinen's educational
groundplan. Saarinen's ideal of "total
design" is exemplified in the
Kingswood School for Girls and the
Saarinen Home (both on the Cranbrook
grounds). Everything from rugs and
draperies, to furniture and fixtures, to
the building itself is a combined effort
of design by each member of the
Saarinen family and other members of
the academy.
Along with the many works on
Saarinen, the exhibit contains works of
his wife Loja, son Eero, daughter Pip-
san, a'nd many, of the distinguished
faculty and students at Cranbrook
during the second quarter of this cen-
tury. This collection gives a fascinating
integration of numerous and diverse ar-
tistic style, in a variety of artistic
In his biography of the eclectic
Saarinen, Albert Christ-Janer writes,
"He (Saarinen) would not impose a
dogman on the mind of his associates;
he was too witty to be pedantic." This
attitude is visually apparent in the
works of all who were influenced by

Bold, geometric shapes and lines
pervade much of the exhibit's material
as one easily sees the effect of Scan-
dinavian art and Art-Deco on those at
Eliel Saarinen's design of the
Kingswood School pays respect to the
Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright,
while examples of both Saarinen and
his son Eero's designs of the 1940s show
leanings toward the International Style
so prevalent at the time.
The exhibit continues with works of
many artists associated with Saarinen
and Cranbrook in those productive
years. Foremost of these is Saarinen's
son Eero, whose achievements include
such innovative designs as the TWA
Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in
New York, the General Motors
Technical Center in Warren, Michigan,
and the University's School of Music.
Fine examples of Florence Knoll's
furniture designs are also on display.
Knoll, originally a student at Cran-
brook, now heads Knoll International,
one of the world's leading designers of
office furniture.
Also found are the works of Carl
Milles, principal sculptor at Cranbrook

for over two decades, whose work dots
the Cranbrook grounds along with
many major cities in the U.S.
For those who make the 45 minute
trip, works of artists such as Harry
Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames,
Wallace Mitchell, Maija Grotell, and
Zoltan Sephesy await.
The exhibit runs until February 19th,
when it will then move to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York (April 20 - June 17) before making
its final appearance in Europe.
The show is a must, not only because
of its visible relevance to southeastern
Michigan's architectural history, but
because architecture and design
exhibits of this quality are themselves a
rare occurence that should not be

Summer Session in Israel
June 3-August 8
" Language Studies (all levels) * Seminar on Kibbutz Society
Tours and Hikes with the Society for the Protection of Nature
FEBRUARY 2, 1984
3050 Frieze Bldg. - 4:00 p.m.
' h1lxme Co uit
Did yOU really think you
could get away with it?'

Attention photographers:
The Photo Department - 2nd Floor - stocks
AgaEnlarging Paper.

i. The WALT DISNEY WORLD* Vacation Kingdom, near Orlando,
Florida, is seeking professional Singers, Dancers and Musical Theatre
Actors/Actresses. Most positions are for full, one-year contracts with
some summer seasonal employment also available. Sorry, no
professional instrumentalist auditions.
2. The WALT DISNEY WORLD Vacation Kingdom and
DISNEYLAND* (located in Anaheim, California} are forming a 22-
member All American College Marching Band for each Park, plus, a
40-member All American College Symphony Orchestra to perform at
EPCOT Center. These positions are for summer-long employment,
beginning June 4 and concluding on August 18.
" Must be 18 years of age by June 1, 1984
" Must bring a current resume and photograph
" Must show movement ability
Columbia College Theatre/ COLLEGE MUSICIANS:
Music Center DePaul University
11th St. Theatre Fine Arts Bldg.
62 East 11th Street 804 Belden

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