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March 21, 1985 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-21

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SThuRTS
the Michigan Daily Thursday, March 21, 1985 Pages5

Film Festival shoots below par

By Dennis Harvey

THESE ARE SCARY times we're
living in, and though like a Ror-
schach we may strain to read more
topicality into the annual 16mm Film
Festival than is really there, Sunday's
winners of the 23rd annual event
seetmed largely united by paranoid
moods and evasive tactics. And no
wonder-even those content to ignore
world events and retreat into cell
animation must be feeling the pinch of
shrivelling grant monies and ever-
escalating film costs, along with the
isolation of working in a medium, that,
as far as 'everybody' is concerned, is
practically dead, having been killed by
video.
This year's Festival suffered from a
dramatically lower number of entries
than' the previous year, and perhaps
inevitably the overall quality was a bit
sub-par; still more depressing was the
fact that weak attendance was capped
by a mere half-full Michigan Theatre
during the traditionally crammed win-
ner's night.
Still, if the circumstances surroun-
ding the Festival prompted more than a
few weepy recollections of presumably
greater Festivals past, the event itself
always carries some degree of
exhileration. Sunday night's winners
were a solid lot, rather low on real ex-
.citement but of steady quality and
decent variety.
The paranoiac tendency ran ram-
pant, often through the best films. The
recurrent motif was alienation, a
feeling of desolation and decay, of
terrible things happening or already
done just beyond our view. So many
films had muffled little almost-stories,
just the hints at a narrative, as if too
frightened or just too in love with am-
biguity to offer any coherent events.

There wasn't a single straightforward
narrative film the whole evening-the
only thing that came even close was
Leighton Pierce's Not Much Time,
which repeated and expanded on
chronologically disordered fragments
of a street shooting until they just began
to create an explicable incident.
Madhouse-type imagery dominated
four of the evening's very best films.
Sal Giamona's The Trip, which won the
Festival's largest prize, was a
hallucinatory road movie that could be
taken as a "trip" in both the conven-
tional and slang uses of the word. To
ominous soundtrack rumblings (very
big in this year), a driver worn by
either terror or exhaustion hurtles
/toward a destination that may be, yes,
Death, as time-lapse effects seem to
lend the world around him a violently
apocalyptic character of activity.
The stunning Cromazones, by Chico
McMurtie, was like a George Romero
splatter movie as a Dadaist art car-
toon; using clay animation, collage,
marionettes and other effects, it had
grisly figures whirling through lan-
dscapes both real and created like
denizens of Hell forced to endlessly
walk the Earth. Also dazzling, and
creepily obsessive, was Ya Sook Rhee's
X Space, a Caligari-like concentrated
nightmare with a lone live actor fran-
tically groping about a small square
room lainted with changing day-glo
images of limbs and faces peering in
from countless windows.
Jem Cohen's A Road in Florida was a
beautiful, ominous black and white
poem of another lone driver travelling
to an unexplained destination, through
meticulously shot Everglade scenery
and rural-life squalor. The soundtrack
use of the Everly Bros. singing the
gruesome old English ballad "Down in
The Willow Garden" and a Gun Club

song hinted at a subtext of violence and
fear that, in keeping with the tone of the
evening, simply vanished finally into
the atmospherics. On a lighter but still
on-the-edge note, Paul Tassie's delight-
fully cartoony animated piece Joe
Bagadonutz was like Gary Larson's
The Far Side meets Betty Boop's
classic St. James Infirmary via the
"Heaven" number in Eraserhead;
mind-bending, completely illogical
surreallism, inscrutable but perversely
very funny.
Elsewhere the emphasis on plotless
atmospherics and unexplained dark
undercurrents fared less well. Terre
Richards' Terminal started out very
promisingly as a sort of S & M film noir
parody of The Hunger with dialogue
like "You blight! You consumptive
whore!" but goes absolutely nowhere,
like the similarly, dread-crammed but
pointless "Waking Up" by Christopher
Coppola. The only complete dead
weight of the evening, however, was
provided by the traditional auditorium-
clearer, strategically scheduled for the
end of the 9:00 showing. Ideally titled,
Adele Friedman's 20-minute Untitled
offered a revamp of Maya Deren's old
introspection art epics slowed down a
few beats to exquisite vanity-
production stasis. In reliably stark
black and white, a skinny boy
tremulously and plaintively neo-pawed
(he ran the tips of his fingers along the
periphery of her torso) a woman too
lost in contemplation of the effect of her
profile on the camera to notice him. In
various settings. For twenty minutes.
Ten years ago, this sort of thing would
have been infuriatingly old hat. Now

it's almost charmingly so, though I'll
admit to having gotten popcorn and
visited the bathroom during it without
much guilt.
Other winners of note included Al
Jarrow's very beautiful Celestial
Navigation, in which the filmmaker
charted the sun's activity i his studio
room during one year, from equinox to
equinox, employing an almost endless
variety of film techniques to com-
municate concepts of time and space.
Rock Ross' frenzied Isadora-Duncan-
troupe-on-speed Yespuccilland, The
Great and Free was a live-action Silly
Symphony that had all the energy so
many of the winners often lacked, as
did David Michalak's snappy minute-
and-a-half once a Face, which was
reminiscent of some of the old Ralph
Records music shorts. Also
refreshingly vigorous was Chel White's
Metal Dogs of India, a simple
progression of frame-drawn patterns to
a driving rhythm track, and the equally
bold patterns and bright colors of Dorne
Huebler's Corpus Callosum, which used
colored negative images and static ef-
fects for sheer joyous visual impact.
On a much larger scale was James
Wolpaw's Blind Date: A Look at Keats
and His Nightingale, an amusing half-
hour contrasting typical high school
literary documentary idiocy with man-
on-the-street views ("Poets are
homosexual. Poets can't play spor-
ts."); and Roger Dueutsch's 45-minute
The View from Avenue A, a documen-
tary about Lower East side artist Anton
Van Dalen that had just the right
loosely-structured; shargy-dog tone for
its subject.

Associated Press
When Franz Kafka wrote 'The Metamorphosis,' he may well have had
Phyllis Diller in mind. This before and after sequence demonstrates the
magic (or miracle?) of make-up.
Friars make some
un out o tradition

AND

SUMMER JOBS AT
CAMP
RAMAH IN CANADA

By Michael Astley
T RADITIONS abound at The
University of Michigan. In the Fall,
thousands of fans follow the Wolverines
through the football season. In the Win-
ter, students crowd the beaches of
Florida during February Break. In the
Spring, music lovers flock to The
Friars' Spring Concert. The Friars is a
vocal group comprised of eight talented
and fun-loving undergraduate men
whose tremendous popularity has ear-
ned them extensive appearances in
Michigan, Hawaii, and Europe.
The Friars was founded in 1955 by
Walter S. Collins, then a member of The
University of Michigan men's Glee
Club. Initially the select ensemble met
with considerable objection. Shortly,
however, the novel group proved itself
to -be an outstanding example of
ichigan excellence, and all protests

ceased.
Today, The Friars continue in the
tradition of Michigan excellence.
Members of the group are chosen
through a difficult audition process.
Further, only members of The Men's
Glee Club are eligible for the audition.
The audition occurs each April, and is
conducted by The Friars members.
New members are chosen to join the
group on the basis of vocal ability and
personal stage presence. Quality is the
major criteria.
The music sung by the group is
varied, and doesn't follow any par-
ticular theme, but all of their selections
echo the group philosopy. According to
Andy Rosenzweig, business manager
for the Friars, that philosophy is to
"have a good time-go crazy-enjoy
the music."
The Friars will perform at Rackham
Auditorium on Friday, March 22, at

For Counselors - Teachers - Specialists
Meet the Director of Camp Ramah:
MONDAY, MARCH 25, 11 - 3
HILLEL
1429 Hill St.
Please call 663-3336 to set up an interview.
For additional information, contact;
CAMP RAMAH IN CANADA
3101 Bathurst St., Suite 406, Toronto, Ont. M6A 2A6
Phone: (416) 789-2193.

Ann Arbor's fun-loving Friars include, from left to right, Tom Gallop, Steve
Googasian, Tim Monarty, Adam Parker, Fred Vipond (seated), Andy
Rosenzweig, Doug Bond, Kevin Whitted. The singing octet will be perfor-
ming Friday Night at the Rackham Audiorium.

8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $4.00 and are
available at all CTC outlets and at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office. The con-

cert will include some traditional
Friars' favorites as well as many new
selections.

'Pippin' spirit runs free at Power Center

By Emily Montgomery
JJUhEN the U.A.C./Musket com-
V panies held open auditions for the
all-student production of Hirson Sch-
wartz's musical Pippin, over 120 hop-
efuls tried out. From this they picked
what co-producer Leslie Compton calls
"the perfect cast."
"Pippin is just the kind of show that
lends itself to a lot of big dance num-
bers," said Compton. This is fortunate,
because the director for Pippin, dance
major Larry Nye, also choreographed

it. The end result is "a once in a lifetime
experience, with things never before
seen on a public stage."
Pippin is a very popular musical;
Even if you aren't familiar with it, you
probably have heard some of the songs
from it. The most well known include
"Corner of the Sky," "Join Us" and
"Morning Glow."
Set in the year 780 A.D., Pippin tells
the story of the son of "Charles the
Great," or Charlemagne, Prince Pip-
pin. As the musical opens, Pippin is
discontented with his studies at the
University of Padua and heads off in

search of fulfillment. After many ad-
ventures, Pippin comes to the con-
clusion that fulfillment is something
one finds himself.
Senior Don Grant plays the lead in
Pippin. Grant had been in numerous
Musket productions in the past, in-
cluding last year's production of Kiss
Me Kate. Sophomore Sue Kenny por-
trays Catherine, his leading lady and

Ben

Landman

plays King

Charlemagne.
Showtimes for' Pippin are 8:00 p.m.
tonight through Saturday, March 23,
with one 2:00 p.m. Saturday matinee.
Tickets are $5.50 and $6.50 and are
available at the Ticketworld office in
the Michigan Union, or at the doors. All
performances take place in the Power
Center. For more info:, call 763-1107.

9

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