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April 04, 1986 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-04

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Friday, April 4, 1986

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Film uncovers pain

By A my Goldstein
S HOAH ("annihilation"), a nine-
and-a-half hour film which was an
unprecedented ten-years in the
making - intelligently depicts the
story of the Holocaust.
Testimonies from Jewish survivors,
former SS men and eyewitnesses to
the Nazi attempts to exterminate the
Jews, form the heart of the film:
These testimonies give more truth to
the history of the Holocaust than any
amount of archival footage could ever
hope to. French director Caluse Lan-
zmann allows the subjects to speak
freely and for themselves, adding
very little narration.
The film is long, but each new,
testimony supports the one preceding
it, imparting a deepersense of truth
about the Holocaust to the audience.
There are several languages in
Shoah, and the translations from some
are poor. For example, the Hebrew
and Yiddish were translated first to

French then to English, losing the
flavor of the original language. The
.subtitles should have been taken from
the first language, not the French
translation. But, the English tran-
slations from the German and French
are good because they eliminate mid-
dle translations.
Lanzmann attempts to inform the
audience of the precise conditions
during the Holocaust via personal
testimonials. The witnesses and sur-
vivors repeat the sensations of the
Holocaust; the smells, the sounds, the
touch of dead bodies. There is no
possible way the audience can begin
to comprehend exactly what the sur-
vivors are saying, as there is no
parallel event of this scope and
magnitude with which to compare.
This is a crucial point, specifically
because the survivors were con-
tinuously exposed to these sensations
throughout the Holocaust. The Polish
peasants living near the death camps
breathed the stench of burning human
flesh daily, affecting their taste.

Workers could not quell the
screaming of the victims in the tran-
sportation trains, or the gas cham-
bers, as the victims struggled for li-
Many of the survivors who worked
in the death camps on "special detail"
described the sights they encountered
while working for the Nazis. Those
who did not experience this work
could not imagine the dead bodies
falling out of the gas chambers, the
physical condition of bodies buried
under hundreds of others, or the feel
of decomposing flesh tearing off in
one's hands.
From the beginning, the pacing of
the film is slow, but Lanzmann
prepares the audience for this well.
He starts the documentary by
showing an encompassing shot of a
man in a boat floating down a river in
the middle of the Polish countryside.
He also uses visuals without sound,
does not use background music, and
See 'SHOAH,' Page 4

Director Claude Lonzmann sensitively handles the Holocaust tragedy in 'Shoah'

Joan Baez brings

folk to Hill

By Joseph Kraus
J OAN BAEZ doesn't really need an
Her name springs up automatically
whenever the subject of "protest
singing" comes up, and she tops the
list whenever the litany of performers
is recited.
Of the people that shook the com-
mercial world a quarter century ago,
only Baez seems to have held onto her
predominant role.
Phil Ochs is dead, Tom Paxton has
slowly settled into relative obscurity,
Bob Dylan reemerges every few
years behind a new mask, and the
numberless almost-as-bigs of the
early 60's reappear occasionally
before ever dwindling crowds.
But Baez is different.

Even today her name can fill up a
place like Hill Auditorium. Her
reputation is perhaps stronger than
her recording legacy. Far more
people recognize her name than can
cite a single hit of hers.
It's perhaps a cruel thing to say, but
Baez is such a strong draw more
because of who she has been than
because of who she is now. She hasn't
released a new album in several
years (I couldn't find one since 1982,
and that was a packaging of several
of her earliest recordings) and she
hasn't initiated a major change in her
style since she turned to more
personal songs and songwriting in the
But that doesn't mean that Baez has,
nothing to offer.
On the contrary, she still has one of
the finest sopranos anywhere. Her

treatment of any song, even if unin-
spired, demands attention, And when
she's inspired ... watch out.
Her versions of such classics as the
Band's "The Night They Drove Old
Dixie Down" and Woody Guthrie's
"Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Depor-
ted)" have a drama to them that
rings powerfully even today.
Baez has always been known more
for covering other artist's material
than for writing her own songs, but
she can be an impressive songwriter
on occasion as her "Honesty Lullaby"
She first came to popularity in the
early '60s as one of the "purest" of the
new breed of folk interpreters.
Like more singers of the time, she
soon turned to covering Bob Dylan's

songs, and, as a result of their highly
publicized romance they became one
of America's premier couples. Their
subsequent breakiup failed to dam-
pen either of their careers, and Baez
continued to appear as a folk super-
star at various festivals and in-
dividual performances.
In the mid '70s she turned gradually
from the overt protest songs that had
established her reputation to songs
about experiences and feelings, but
has never renounced protest music.
Saturday night's performance at
Hill Auditorium is Baez's first in Ann
Arbor in two years, when she played
to a capacity crowd at Hill. Tickets
for the 8 p.m. show are still availale
for $15 and $12.50 at the Union ticket

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Butler' serves up lusty laughs

After Words
Quality Books at uncommonly tow prices

By Lauren Schreiber
CA comedy awaits those at the Per-
formance Network, where the
Suspension Theatre is presenting Joe
Orton's What the Butler Saw. Essen-
tially a bedroom farce, the play tells
of the wild adventures of Dr. Prentice,
a lecherous and frustrated
Accoring to director Andy Mennick,
What the Butler Saw is "the funniest
play ever." The play is "extremely
well-written - Lots of verbal wit and
highly-stylized dialogue." Writer Joe
Orton is also responsible for the more
well-known Entertaining Mr. Sloane
and Loot, which the Suspension
Theatre produced last October.
Mennick explains Orton's use of
farce. "It was chosen as the best way
to get across the theme of a search for
build a strong
foundation with
good prenatal care.
March of Dimes

sexual identity." In the complicated
plot, characters are constantly swit-
ching identities, only to discover that
"proper" sexual roles are not
"I love it," says Christopher Flynn,
who plays Dr. Rance, the insane
Psychiatric Commissioner. "I think
it's just the craziest thing going. It's
one of the dirtiest shows I've ever
read, and there's not a four-lettered
word in it- figure that one out!"
John Nicolson, who plays Dr. Pren-
tice, describes the play as
"questionable material, you can't
help laughing at ... you get pulled in-
to it."
To match its plot, What the Butler
Saw has an equally outrageous
history. Orton's last play, it was
finished in 1967 just before the author
was beaten to death by his lover at
age thirty. It was not produced until
1969 due to the threat of a lawsuit.
When it was finally produced it was
labelled obscene and condemned to
obscurity until a London revival in
1975. It has now been ranked as one of
the finest examples of English farce
of the 20th century.

The six member cost includes four p.s
members of the cast of Loot: John
Nicolson, Christopher Flynn, Alison
Makes (as the nymphomaniac wife of
Dr. Prentice) and Scott Palmer (as a
hotel pageboy trying to get some por-
nographic pictures of Mrs. Prentice).
Also in the cast are Kaarine Quinnell
as Miss Barclay and Chris Korow as
Sergeant Match. All the actors are
members of the Suspension Theatre, a
three-year-old company based in Ann
"If you have a taste for an
outrageous, hilarious, witty, utterly
unique comic experience, you should
not miss this play," says Mennick.
"The comedy is the main reason to
see the show."
What the Butler Saw runs Thur-
sday-Sunday, April 3-6, 10-13, and
17-20 at the Performance Net-
work, 408 W. Washington St.
Thursday through Saturday per-
formances begin at 8 p.m., and
Sunday performances begin at 6
p.m. Call the Performance Net-
work for ticket information.





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