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February 07, 1985 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-07

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ARTS

. ....... . ..

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, February 7, 1985

Page 5

New film takes you along to

Paradise

By K. L. Bazzy
FILMED IN BLACK AND WHITE,
Stranger Than Paradise is Jim
Jarmusch's first major release feature
film and a welcome diversion amidst
recent mediocre film offerings.
Stranger Than Paradise is refreshing

even besides being mercifully without a
single farm or salt-of-the-earth charac-
ter. The characters in this film are
unlikely to appear anywhere west of
Toledo.
Eddie (Richard Edson) and Willie
(John Lurie), two Heckle and Jeckle
type characters, live in New York and

make their money at the track cheating
at poker. Eva (Eszter Balint), Willie's
sixteen year-old cousin, arrives from
Hungary and must stay with Willie
before going on to Cleveland. From the
moment she arrives, things start to
happen, and that's how the remainder
of the film progresses. Things just

happen. The characters never seem to
have motives for action or inaction.
They just do things because they feel
like it. Why not? This seems as suf-
ficient a reason as any.
Stranger Than Paradise is comprised
of three segments: "The New World,"
"One Year Later," and "Paradise."
The film, like other journey or on-the-
road films (except the trek of these
characters), begins in Hungary and leads
them to New York, Cleveland, and a
motel in an undisclosed Florida city far
north of their Miami destination.
Climatically speaking, everything in
this film is blatantly cold. New York is
plain cold, Cleveland is buried in the
snow, and sweaters are worn on a chilly
Forida beach; all of which creates a
sense of bleak and harsh landscapes.
Jarmusch's fades to black between
sequences smacks of European direc-
tors Godard and Wender. The many
static longtakes suggest a feeling of
going nowhere, and makes it seem as if
you never leave Cleveland.
Jarmusch's presentation of bus
stops, hot dog stands, racetracks and
dirty snowbanks creates an almost

pleasant view of cheap, tawdry
America. On first arriving in Florida,
Eva, Willie, and Eddie purchase chin-
tzy dark sunglasses at a gas station
cum souvenir stand. This seems closer
to the America that we know than most
films express, and is definitely
reminiscent of Herzog's and Wender's
semi-nostalgic look at the trailer-park
aspect of America.
The soundtrack abounds with Jar-
musch's own compositions, a bad
recording of Screaming Jay Hawkins,
and other banal noise that are all osten-
sibly appropriate for the various
dramatic situations of the film.
Another relevant production aspect of
the film is its obviously low budget.
Jarmusch seems to create the best with
the least.
Jarmusch finds humor in such simple

things as T.V. dinners and card games,
as well as in Eva's date at a martial ar-
ts movie, which Willie and Eddie
chaperone. The film is rife with
humorous moments better left unex-
plained, and a few poignant ones in the
same category.
Eddie and Willie, having decided to
visit Eva for their vacation, arrive in
Cleveland. Disappointed at what he
finds, Eddie declares its just like
everyplace else. Thank God we know
he's wrong.
Stranger Than Paradise is unlike any
other film. Newcomer Jim Jarmusch
arrives as welcome fresh blood for in-
dependent cinema. Stranger Than
Paradise has already been named best
film of 1984 by the New York Film
Critic's Association, and is sure to be
included on many best film lists.

Eddie (Richard Edson) gets a lesson in Hungarian-American living over another goulash dinner.
Vatzlav provides Polish avant-garde theatre

By Jeffrey Seller
i i VATZLAV totally opposes the
V kind of theatre we usually
see," says Ron Miller, ambitious direc-
tor of Vatzlav set to open Thursday at
the Performance Network.
"It's a radically different kind of
theatrical experience," declares
Miller.
Though not well known here, Vatzlav,
written by Slawomir Mrozok,
epitomizes the Polish avant-garde
Theatre. The play, with ample absur-
dity, chronicles the experiences of Vat-
zlav, an empathetic slave who climbs
his way towards the bourgeoisie, all the
while poking fun at political and social
institutions.
"It's almost like a giant political car-
toon," suggests Alison Maker, Univer-
sity student and actress in the play.
According to Miller, "(The play's)
basis is in the real world, but the far-
cical links which mock and satirize are
totally absurd." Not unlike other ab-
surdist plays, its circular structure
sends the central character back to
where he started, having accomplished
nothing.
For Mrozek, a cartoonist and social
commentator, Vatzlav is the
culmination of his absurdist plays
which react against naturalism. Miller

characterizes them as pure form.
Fast-paced and almost cinematic,
Vatzlav has a whopping seventy-seven
scenes. "It gives you the close-ups, the
tight shots, and the long shots in rapid
succession," states Miller.
Staging an absurdist play, described
by Miller as a fantasy world lodged in
convoluted logic, would seem no easy
task. A multipolicity of characters,
scenes, and bizarre, fragmented
situations are finely interwoven into the
farcical text.
"It's difficult to get at the style which
is so foreign to what most of us are ac-
costumed to dealing with," notes
Miller.
The cast, an amalgam of Ann Arbor
actors ranging from teenagers to aging
ingenues, includes Alison Maker
playing a ruling cpaitalist "who sucks
the blood of the people."
Maker, who has previously perfor-
med in University productions such as
The Hostage, philosophizes, "The Per-
formance Network offers a different
avenue of theatre than the normal fare
at U. of M." She adds, "It's a very sup-
portive atmosphere which can be
lacking at the University."
Both Maker and Miller, actress and
director respectively, believe that cap-
turing the spirit of the play is the most
difficult aspect of the production. Both

W~here every around C r4'atk*S a picture.
tttr{tHIII2I )E~lc~ l"['\INI)"tKd~. S'iii
a7 - Atl ft Antu tn
Opens Friday, February4';. . 8h he rn'er.Iyo(u.IIN'. ISI \IS -N
Opens Friday, February 8th at a theatre near you.

David Curtis and Phil Milan (in bear head) confront eachother in Vatzlov, a
unique sort of theatre currently at Performance Network.

seem confident the audience will be
pleasantly surprised by the results.
"Like a political cartoon, you laugh
at it, and then say, 'yeah, I see that,' "
Maker comments.
Vatzlav will be performed February
7-9,10, 14-17, and 21-24 at the Perfor-
mance Network, 408 W. Washington.
Performance times are 8:00 p.m., ex-
cept for Sunday shows which begin at

6:30 p.m. Tickets are $6.00 (Fri. and
Sat.) and $5.00 (Thurs. and Sun.) with
student, senior citizen, and group
discounts. Of special note is an opening
night bargain for which you can buy one
ticket and get another free. Although
reservations are recommended (663-
0681), tickets can be obtained at the
door.

______ _ r - 1

Records

Ray Parker Jr.-
Chartbusters
A mere three years after his debut as
a recording star, Ray Parker Jr. has
released what seems to be a greatest
hits album. The use of the term
"greatest hits" is questionable because
only five of the nine tracks on the
"Chartbusters" album were actually
hits at the time of its release. Of the
four new songs, "Jamie" and "I've
Been Diggin' You" have become
popular, while the remaining two, "In-
vasion" and "Christmas Time Is Here"
have deservedly gone nowhere. "Char-
tbusters" attempts to be both a greatest
hits album and a collection of new
releases, but it fails to be either.
Ray Parker Jr. is a uniquely ap-
pealing vocalist because he employs a
sexy, groaning voice to describe
situations which capture our attention
and elicit our sympathy. In particular,
Parker has made considerable use of
the themes of jealousy and infidelity, as
expressed in the songs "I Still Can't Get
Over Loving You," "Jamie," "Woman
Out Of Control," "The Other Woman,"
"A Woman Needs Love," and "I've
Been Diggin' You." We are willing to
'. forgive Parker for his less than
Shakespearean lyrics because we iden-
tify with him in his various situations.
As for Parker's lyrics, in some cases
they are not merely innocently inane,
but blatantly sexist as well.
Specifically, in "Woman Out Of Con-

trol," Parker tells of how he initiated a
young virgin only to see her go "out of
control" in pursuit of other men, as he
moans, "I taught her every little trick
she knows/For her to show it off to
another man hurts me so." Again, in
"Jamie," Ray is left by a woman whom
he has "trained":
I trained her just the way I wanted her;
I taught her every trick in the book/
It ain't fair for her to give it all to
some other guy;
Jamieyou know you've got me hooked.
While sexist lyrics taint "Jamie," an
upbeat, lively tune, "Woman Out Of
Control" fails on its own as a dull,
monotonous song.
As for "Christmas Time Is Here," we
must keep in mind that "Chartbusters"
was released just in time for Christmas
and simply had to include the
ubiquitous Christmas song. Here, Ray
Parker, the "avergae guy" who "fools
around a little on the side" with "the
other woman," bids parents to remind
their children of the true significance of
Christmas; for some reason he does not
seem quite believable in this role. What
is refreshing about this tune, however,
is that Parker does not moan, but sings,
and sounds good doing it.
And just as listeners have recovered
from the Ghostbusters craze, Ray
Parker has given them what they could
have done without: an extended ver-
sion of "Ghostbusters." Please, Ray,
the short version was bad enough.
Another truly bad track is "Invasion,"
1 "
THRU FRI. AT MATINEE PRICES
Eve. Admission. Coupon good for 1 or 2 tickets. "
xcept Tuesday.0

an aborted attempt at funk that lasts a
painful seven and a half minutes. Ray
Parker succeeds at funk as well as
Barry Manilow would singing "Black
Dog" by Led Zeppelin.
What saves "Chartbusters" from
complete disaster are Ray Parker's
classic hits, "I Still Can't Get Over
Loving You," "The Other Woman,"
and "A Woman Needs Love." These
songs represent Ray Parker at his
Problems with
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experienced barber stylists
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sexy, jealous, unfaithful best. But what
is most disappointing about this album
is Parker's pathetic attempt to draw a
wide audience through the use of gim-
micks: a Christmas song, a quasi-funk
number, and a prolonged version of
"Ghostbusters."
-Ron Schecter
NOON LUNCHEON
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8th
Shirley McRae
Central America Refugee Committee
Ann Arbor Friend's Meeting:
"The Sanctuary Movement"
GUILD HOUSE
802 Monroe
(lunch is available for $1)

HEM

BUCK

EVERY THURSDAY

* "@"
"

t's a New Year
and there's a
new club in
town. A new
place to party
on Thursday nights.
The music room has
been made more spa-
cious and more social.
A new game room has
been added in the
basement. We've got
27 brands of beer in-
nhidi n acoe at

also feature reduced
cover charge for stu-
dents. Just a dollar.
For dancing to the
area's favorite bands.
If you've been to the
Pig before, check it out
again. If you haven't,
you're overdue. Make
hursday night
"Blind Pig Night".

01 e 4 44)a,1
PREMIERES TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1985
a weekly feature every Tuesday in The Michigan Daily
- mT . . .Yta .- .. Y .l

-
. g1NEW TWILIGHT SHOWS MON
" $1 X00with this entire ad $1 .00 off AdultE
" OFF Good for all features thru 2113185 e
" . . . . . . . . . . . 0 00
" LAST 7 DAYSI .
0 The adventures of two New Yorkers on 0

" " " " " " " " " . . " " "
6 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS
Inel ..RFT PICTiRF

"
"
s*

iZI LdIAIY.

I

I

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