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November 06, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-06

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The Michigan Daily

Thursday, November 6, 1986

'River Runs'

ought to be dammed

By Geoffrey Riklin
Where the River Runs Black
tells the moving tale of a young
boy who battles for justice. The
plot: a boy born (born out of
wedlock no less, we're in sin
already) deep in the Amazon jungle
sees his mother murdered, grows up
Tarzan-style but instead of being
raised by apes he's raised by
dolphins. A ranking priest, Charles
Durning, rescues him from the evil
clutches of men who lust only for
profit, places the lad (whom he
names Lazarus) in a Catholic
orphanage (which provided a lovely
opportunity for the introduction of
a stunningly original character, that
of a fat and ugly and mean nun.
Only a director of genius could
create something so singular). One
day the murderer makes a campaign
stop (don't ask) at the orphanage
and Lazarus, recognising him,
resolves to kill him, and then goes
about it.
Lazarus results from a one
afternoon stand between a young
American (the Vatican will love
this) priest who canoes up a river
for no apparent reason and runs

across a gorgeous young woman
(who has very Western features,
something that is not common
among Amazonian Indians, which
she most likely is, not to mention
the fact that not many people are
terribly attractive anyway). She
wants him and he is willing to
break his vows (and I forgot to
mention that she lives all alone in
the midst of a very jungly jungle)
and naturally she gets pregnant and
to make it all perfectly believable,
on his way back down the river, an
anaconda snake rears up out of the
water and kills the priest. Get it?
He's just committed a severe sin
and a serpent punishes him. What
a superlative biblical allusion.
Gee whiz, I'm just now realizing
that space restrictions prevent me
from listing even a majority of the
improbabilities that damage this
film. So let's hit the highlights.
First, thebad guy gets done in by a
couple of dolphins (friends of the
priest's progeny). Second, the bad
guy just happens to show up at
Lazarus' orphanage. Third, a friend
of Lazarus at the orphanage, a boy
who almost certainly has never

been out of the city, speaks English
with very current American idioms.
Lastly, when our young hero runs
back to the area in which he grew
up, he reaches it without hesitation,
in spite of the fact that he does so
starting from an area he doesn't
know. In other words, it doesn't
matter if he knows his little half-
acre perfectly if he can't find it,
which, lighting out as he is from
an unfamiliar territory as he is, he
actually would not have been able
to do.
The character of Lazarus is one
of the oddest I've ever had the
misfortune of coming across. The
director, Christopher Cain, intends
him to be a sort of superman with a
correspondingly sparkling sense of
morality. But judging from La -
zarus' very selfish behavior during a
soccer game (which is not
compensated for by his provision of
assistance for his friend later on,
because even selfish people have
close companions whom they're
willing to aid, and the risks Lazarus
runs are not that great) and from
several of his statements of

murderous intent, he actually is
remarkably self-centered, ruthless,
and obsessed (and this at the age of
about ten; Lazarus is truly a
Sandinista-in-training.) Cain mis -
calculated unforgivably in his
contruction of his main character.
Charles Durning receives first
billing and is the only readily
recognizable person in the film.
Fortunately for the film's sake, he
actually has a small and somewhat
unimportant part-mostly he's a
narrator. It is fortunate because
Durning performs amateurishly.
Only the young boy who plays
Lazarus and the other who plays his
friend perform decently, or, more
precisely, decently by the standards
of child acting. The rest of the cast
is either inconsequential or bad.
The last objection concerns
the style in which much of the film
is shot. Cain has allowed himself
to become infected with the virus of
Michael Mann and his Miami Vice,
which is the catalyst for worthless
slow-motion sequences and long

looks at senseless facial reactions,
not to mention the more damaging
tendency to sacrifice what is logical
in human behavior and in film in
favor of shots that look good.

Marshall McLuhan's oft-quoted
statement "the medium is the
message" fits perfectly. It is totally
inconceivable that this director can
ever make a good movie.

Exhibition and Sale
Of Fine Art Prints,
Laser Photos, and
Contemporary Gallery Posters
Mon. Nov. 3 thru Fri. Nov. 7
10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
"THE CLASSICS" - Impressionists, Surrealists, Modern. American. Works by DALI. DEGAS. HOMER, KLEE,
Hundreds More! Only $4.99 EACH, Take 3 FOR $12.99.
"THE GALLERY POSTER LINE" - Contemporary Gallery Posters from the Leading Publishers in the Art Industry.
Photography. Exotic Cars. StiI Lifes and almost anything by todays most popular artists can be tound in this collect-
ion. 30% to 60% OFF Gallery and Frame Shop Prices!
"LASER PHOTOS"- From cute little kittens and teddy bears, to wild lions and tigers. We now carry a full line of laser
photos. Also exotic cars, beautiful scenery and travel posters too'
Special Feature:
"Over 600 Different Prints at the

Network opens Beckett plays


By Grace Lee
David Hunsberger and Linda
Kendall, following in the wake of
last summer's successful produc -
-tion of Sam Shepherd's True West,
are attempting to repeat their
success with their current produc -
tion of two of Beckett's more
experimental one-act pieces: Play
and Not I.
Play explores the classic love

triangle: a man torn between his
wife and mistress. The man is
played by Jonanthan A. Smeenge,
who recently performed as Timiteo
in Revenge of the Madragola in the
Medieval Festival. Barbara Newell
plays his wife, and Maura Troester
his mistress.
Not I takes the audience into the
state of a demented woman's mind.
Her mouth, after almost a lifetime
of silence, begins to take on a life
of its own. By employing the
stream-of-consciousness technique,

Beckett reveals the tragedy of this
woman's life through her mouth,
which is played by trouper Sandy
Ryder (the mouth, not the life).
Play and Not I are Beckett's
experimental plays. Among other
things, he limits the number of
actors on the stage and attempts to
reduce the physical elements to one
particular feature ( a mouth as in
Not I) . It's a fascinating strategy
which guides the eyes of the
audience to focus on one point.
This absurdity is the excitement in

his writing. Beckett's writing is
fast-paced, with sharp and
surrealistic images. His use of
ordinary people in desperate
situations makes it easy for the
viewer to identify with the plight of
the actors.
Performances will be November
6-9 and 13-16 ,Thursday through
Saturday at 8 p:m. and Sunday at
6:30 p.m. at Performance Network,
408 W. Washington Street. For
more information call: 663-0681.


M Q,

Til Tuesday
Welcome Home
"Everything sounds like
Welcome Home, Welcome Home."
The heart melts when Aimee Mann
sings the chorus of "Coming up
Close." She croons in a warm,
inviting tone that appreciably
betrays the icy precedent set by 'Til
Tuesday's hit, "Voices Carry."
It is her voice, her whole voice,
and practically nothing but this
voice that makes Welcome Home
the record that it is. A vulnerable,
fuller version of the Pretenders'
Chrissie Hynde, Mann transcends
the very average support of her
Mann knows how to sing, and
how much to sing, in all the right
-parts. The fact that she had a hand
in writing at least the lyrics to
every track probably contributes to
the appropriateness of her
intonation. Mann really means
what she says, and even though the
-words are no breakthrough
poetically, they sound consistently
The numbers that work the best,
"What about Love" (The single, not
'to be confused with Heart's

abominadable hit from last year of
the same name) "Coming up
Close," and "Sleeping and
Waking," allow the listener to
notice them without clling
attention to themselves by
excessive instrumentation. Robert
Holmes, the androgynous-to-the-
point-of-deceptive-looking guitarist
slides a sole lead in a few well
chosen slots, but he works best
when backing up the leading lady.
The rest of the band moves along
pleasantly undetected.
'Til Tuesday is at its core a Top
Forty band, and the record
accordingly glides with seemless,
faceless production. But despite all
these trappings of the pop
supergroup, 'Til Tuesday and
Aimee' Mann have enough
substance to merit a listen.

This weekend



8:00 pm


Aimee Mann and 'Til Tuesday come out of the woods on their new LP
'Welcome Home.'


Help new students or their parents



d .Ll I ."1mI
I n 1 T



FullTime vmaid

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