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February 03, 1984 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-03
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Pushin'4
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popcrn
14th Annual Ann Arborg
8MM Film Festival
Ann Arbor Film CooperativeI
Angell Hall °:.
Thursday, February 9 - Sunday,
February 12, 7 & 9 p.m. ,

Forma
good
time
Cyndi Lauper
She's So Unusual
Portrait Records

By Bob King
W HAT CAN YOU find in a Super
8mm film that you can't find in a
major motion picture? More cynically:
If $20 million and two hours of 35mm
film (that's 70mm-hrs) frequently
produce celluloid better suited for
wrapping left-overs, does Super 8
warrant an evening's time? Not in
home movies, to be sure, but the Ann
Arbor 8mm Film Festival will present
five days of Super 8 films with enough
artistry and satire to lure even main-
stream movie-goers away from the fir-
st-run houses. Super 8 can more than
'make your day.'
A word of caution, though: Don't
take this show for granted. Since the
early '70s the 8mm Film Fest has
grown from a weekend affair at East
Quad into a city-wide program of films
solicited from over 3000 schools, in-
dividuals, and institutions. Only the
best of the submitted films make the
festival, and several thousand dollars
in prizes help both the artists and the
quality of the show. This isn 't
high school.
Now back to the medium itself. What
are the advantages of filming in Super
8? Surprisingly, the quality. The
imaging is high-quality in all lights, and
in sound (with stereo capability) Super
8 exceeds both normal 8mm and 16mm.
The superior portability is a clear ad-
vantage over 35mm machinery.
From the artists' viewpoint, Super 8
offers the financial dexterity to ex-
periment, and these relatively short
films are the perfect medium for the
portrait of a single theme.
Like lyric poetry and candy canes,
these works are short and sweet. The
film may conclude in five minutes, but
the ideas remain long after the spec-
tacle of Rockies I-III fade to black. And
as a medium of communication Super 8
demonstrates the earthy reality studio
movies lack (except for Flashdance)
and artistry not always found in nightly
news broadcasts.
Technique alone, though, isn't what
moves the popcorn. What will be the
main attractions at the Festival? One
will be a special retrospective of Latin
American Super 8 films. This
exhibition will begin Wednesday Feb. 8
with the screening of Bolivar: Synfonia
Tropikal, a biography of Simon Bolivar
narrated in music rather than dialogue
(not subtitled). This cinematic sym-
phony was blown up to 35mm for the
Cannes festival, and promises to be one
of the week's highlights. This
retrospective continues on Saturday
Feb. 11 with a free exhibition of Latin
American Super 8 films at noon,
followed at 2 p.m, by Venezuelan direc-
tor Carlos Castillo's special program

p.

Super 8mm: Everything from artistry to satire

Ten Years of Venezuelan Super 8, as
well as an appearance by the director
himself (all shows are in Aud. A)
Concluding this section of the Film
Fest will be Mario Piazza's Papa
Gringo at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon,
which you can read about below.
Papa Gringo is a 19 minute documen-
tary of Ward Bently, an American who,
in 1979, moved to Bogota, Columbia to
found the Children of the Americas'
program. Bently and his international
group work in the blighted barrios of
Columbia's capitol giving para-medical
aid to hundreds of "gamins"-street
children not unlike London's famous
Oliver Twist.
Don't confuse it with romanticism,
however, These kids don't live in
novels. Ward Bently not only sees these
unrecognized orphans as "the world's
greatest wasted resource'," he is
working. to aid them. Again, however,
it must be stressed that Bently, like this
documentary, is more than romantic.
He warns that society's apathy
destroys more than the children them-
selves, "Children denied basic
needs-love and human caring-grow
up to destroy the societies that neglect
them."
The emotion in Papa Gringo isn't just
created for an evening's catharsis, it
somes from a reality that does not it-
self fade. Sorry, Uncommon Valor.
Bently himself will be speaking at the
viewing Sunday, the proceeds of which
go directly to the Children of the
Americas' foundation.
Another center of attention in this
year's Film Fest will be the films of
British animation expert Lewis Cooper.
His films are clay and cel animation,
ranging in length from the three and
one half minute Table Manners to the
epic animation of -an English
everyman, The Life and Death of Joe
Soap.
The latter represents nine months of
work from conception to completion,
and the precision of all of his works is
exquisite.
A previewed work entitled Bonzo's.
Last Trick (shockingly apolitical) was
so skillfully performed that even an in-

dividual with a neurotic aversion to
animation enjoyed it. Cooper states
that his first aim is to please, and in
more than this he appears successful.
Other films of interest: Kidcon is a
series of three television commercials
aimed at children, commercials ' for
which Saturday night Live would have
given their adrenal cortex.
Kidcon demonstrates exactly"how lit-
tle glitter need be removed from adver-
tising to make Army LSD experiments
look good in comparison.
Also shown will be the Brazillian
surrealistic film Saudade, a piece
closely related to the works of Bergman
and Fellini, from which actual footage
is borrowed (drool, film majors).
In the background of this entertain-
ment will be the Meg and Lawrence
Kasdan Award, a cash prize going to
the producer of the best Super 8 film by
a University student. In someone's
words, you never know where a legacy
begins.
The format of the Festival will be two
shows nightly from Thursday Feb. 9
through Sunday Feb. 12.(at 7 and 9
p.m.), and a 2 p.m. showing Saturday,
in addition to those- listed above. All
shows will be held in Auditorium A in
Angell Hall, and all of the shows will be

different. Admission
for a double feature.

is $2 per show, $3

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Challenging Career in
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OFFERS '
A TWO-YEAR
GRADUATE
TRAINING PROGRAM (M.A.)
in
JEWISH COMMUNAL SERVICE
concentration also
available in
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for information write to:
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LOWN SCHOOL FOR
NEAR EASTERN & JUDAIC STUDIES
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WALTHAM MA 02254
617-647-2641

By Steve Marks
THE FRONT cover: A young woman'
orange hair,contorted body, knock-
kneed, flailing arms, bizarre grimace,
dead flowers, and whispy skirt.
The back cover: White pumps which
just happen to have Van Gogh's "Starry
Night" casually splashed on their soles.
Should this jacket tell us anything
about the artist's attempt to be dif-
ferent? Is this genuine or studied eccen-
tricity? We think a little of both.
Give Cyndi Lauper credit for
providing us with a pretty good album:
Inconsistent, but overall a respectable
effort. She's So Unusual is a case study
in ececticism. Lauper experiments with
a variety of styles here - understan-
dable, this being her first solo effort.
This variety can be explained either as
an artist who is still searching for a
musical direction, or, as seems to be
the case here, an artist for whom diver-
sity itself is the goal.
Side one is by far the stronger side. It
opens with "Money Changes
Everything" which sounds a lot like a
Graham Parker song. Lauper spits the
words out in a gutsy, biting voice. She
Offensive
alloy
Judas Priest
Defenders of Faith
CBS Records
By Don Pappas
HEAVY METAL is probably the
least respected form of music
around. Even ardent metalheads can't
deny that typical heavy metal songs
contain vapid lyrics and substitute
distortion and volume for creativity.
Yet, despite these inherent qualities;
there is no reason why heavy metal
cannot be entertaining - just listen to
Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-da-Vida if
you don't believe me. Unfortunately,
more often than not, it is not enter-
taining.
A perfect example of how poor heavy
metal can be is Judas Priest's new
album, Defenders of the Faith. It is not
so much an album of songs, but a
collection of raunchy guitar riffs, lyrics
being only a feeble attempt to
rationalize the songs.
The worst part about Defenders is
that the riffs are virtually in-
distinguishable from one another.'
Nothing is catchy or inventive about

follows this with the album's first
single, "Girls Just Want to Have fun,"
It's basically a cute little ditty, cer-
tainly devoid of any urgent social
significance, but fun. Lauper delivers
the song with a wonderful, energetic
playfullness, complete with a bobby
sock and pleated skirt chorus - trite
maybe, even reminescent of the 60s'
girl groups, but here, certainly ap-
proriate.
The album takes an abrupt turn here.
The song is familiar - Prince's "When
You Were Mine." The delivery,
however, is decidedly European in
flavor, as Lauper presents a synth-pop
version and makes the song all her-own.
The verses are subtle, conveying con-
strained, intense emotion - she can
barely hold back the tears. The tension
builds to the dramatic, climactic
choruses. Lauper breaks loose at one
point in an ear shattering scream, each
word piercing, searching, yearning.
Lauper contrasts this emotional
upheaval with a touching ballad, "Tiie
After Time." The song could have
easily become a brooding, sappy,
Manilowish droll, but Lauper maintains
the intensity throughout by avoiding too
slow a tempo. Her lower register here is
raspy, laden with feeling.
Then we hit side two. Though cer-
tainly not as forceful and effective as
the first, it does have its fun tunes and
moments of brilliance. "She Bob" is yet
another pleasant synth-pop song. It's
Jumpy, raucous, driven by a solid synth
bass line, and featuring some pretty
meaningful breathing. If anything, it's
an adequate vehicles to showcase
Lauper's fascinating voice: jumps,
screams, twists and turns - they'RE
ALL HERE.
The next songs are barely worth
mention. "All Through the Night," a
ballad, is boring, boty lyrically and
melodically, and "Witness" a pseudo-
reggae song, is worse.
these songs at all.
Dave Holland's unimaginative am-
phetamined drumming could have been
replaced by an overpowered drum
machine, and Ian Hill's bass lines are
lost in the mix somewhere under the
barrage of the Priest's two lead
guitarists, Glenn Tipton and K.K.
Downing.
Although using two lead guitarists
can be effective, with Judas Priest it is
not. Tipton and Downing don't play off
each other; they play against each
other as if trying to prove who can play
faster, and not necessarily better.
Almost every guitar break on the
album is simply a long series of in-
creasingly rapid trills. The album liner
denotes who does each solo so you can
keep score; but they both sound the
same anyhow, so don't bother.
Through the suffocating distortion of
the band rips the grating voice of Rob
Halford. Halford's voice has been doc-
tored up with flangers, phasers and
echos and yet remains blatantly weak.
Worst of all, Halford doesenunciate so
on top of all this rotten music the
listener must be exposed to some of the
foulest lyrics ever penned.
At least three songs are devoted
to making the point that Priests are
bad-asses, obnoxious bad-asses that
won't go away. In "Rock Hard Ride
Free," the Priest declares, No
denyin' we're goin' against the
grain/ So defiant they'll never put
us down. Over and over again, we

Cyndi Lauper: Fun - what more can a girl ask?

But all is forgiven when Cyndi breaks
into "I'll Kiss You." The vocals and in-
strumentation suggest Prince (even
more so than "When You Were Mine").
While the lyrics aren't quite as explicit
as would be expected from "His
Highness," here delivery leaves no
question as to what she wants.
The final two songs seem to be there
solely to show us just how "unusual"
Lauper can be. "He's So Unusual" is a
hear about victories, diehard
resolutions and Judas Priest leading
the way. What Judas Priest is fighting
against is never said though. My guess
is tastefulness.
Then there's a song about "The Sen-
tinel," a strange sort of guy who kills
his foes (again unknown) with knives.
Side two begins with the two sickest
songs on the album, "Love Bites" and
"Eat Me Alive." The first is about
raping a sleeping woman, the latter
about forcing a womanfriend at gun-
point to eat me alive.'
Then comes a song about the power-
mad freaks who are ruling the earth
... (who).devour your life and slice
your words to bits like knives. Gim-
me a break.
"Night Comes Down" is a weeper
about being alone and broken-hearted.
I'm sorry, but it's difficult to feel sym-
pathy for a rapist with a violent fetish
for fellatio.
"Heavy Duty/Defenders of 'the
Faith" closes the album and reminds us

'20s era Betty
to recreate a:
"Yeah, Ye
dumb song.
is an insult 1
the album on
But do not
only to hear
versatility c
She's So
discriminatir
that Judas Pi
that someda;
land. . .Wit)
we had listen
fectly idiotic
5'Sv
Lnt6
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I A Publication of The Michigan Daily

6 Weekend/February 3, 1984

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