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January 23, 1987 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-01-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 23, 1987
Sci-fi groupies
invade Plymouth

Irons, DeNiro
go on a Mission'

By Lisa Nicholas
"Stark Raving ConFusion," the
Ann Arbor Science Fiction
Association Annual Convention, is
running tonight through Sunday.
This means three days of Sci Fi
extravaganza, sponsored by the
Stilyagi Air Corps (the Uni -
versity's science fiction reading
club, in no way related to the
ROTC) and it's intended for open-
minded people in search of a very
good time.
Author Katherine Kurtz (of the
Camber series) and artist Erin
McKee will be the guests of honor
at an event that promises to be
(pardon the pun) out of this world.
The Stilyagi have planned
workshops and shows that cover
everything from how to paint a
klingon, to how a Hugo is awarded,
to medieval dancing and the Max
Headroom Show. Saturday evening
even includes a banquet and a
masquerade ball.
Michigan Daily
AR7TS
763-0379

Over 900 people from all over
the Midwest are expected to attend.
The workshops will be from 8 p.m.
until 10 p.m. on Friday and 10
a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. They
will be followed by heavy dis -
cussion and heavy drinking. In an
attempt to sell the show, publicity
director Terry Calhoun says, "Every
one who goes there is very
intelligent. They are also quite
weird ... Physical appearances are
irrelevent." Sounds appropriate for a
science fiction convention.
So, sounds like fun - what's
the catch? Well, it's not within
walking distance from central
campus. Stark Raving ConFusion
will be held at the Plymouth
Hilton, on Northville Road, two
miles off of 5 Mile. Also, you'll
have to buy your ticket at the door.
The tickets are $16 for the full three
days, or $10 for Saturday only,
with an extra $15 charge to attend
the banquet and masquerade ball.
However, in addition to entrance to
the workshops, films, art shows,
etc., the ticket price includes all the
munchies and beverages you care to
consume.
For more information on Stark
Raving ConFusion, contact Terry
Calhoun at 994-4663 or the
Plymouth Hilton operations room
at 459-4500.

By Brian Hall
The Mission is a compelling,
often times depressing film set in a
beautiful South American rain
forest, home of the Guarani Indians.
Directed by Roland Joffe (The
Killing Fields ), it takes place
during the middle of the eighteenth
century, when the tribe has had
only minimal contact with the
more progressive Europeans.
These Indians are visited by
Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), a
Jesuit priest who attempts to
convert them to Catholocism. He is
aided by Mendoza (Robert DeNiro),
a former slave trader turned missio -
nary. Both men find great love
amongst the Guarani and both are
eventually forced to make a choice
between their own culture and that
of the Indians.
Although the Indians happily
accept Christianity, the film
quickly establishes its major point:
the religious conversion of a
culture, even when carried out by
compassionate men, is nothing
more than a way of enslaving these
people. The Indians' partial assim -
ilation into Western society cam -
pletes, in effect, their slide into
oppression. Director Joffe does an
excellent job of conveying this
point.
Although annoyingly self-
righteous and heavy-handed with its
accusation, the film is nonetheless
made with feeling and an honest
sense of purpose. "We're not
members of a democracy, we're
members of an order," claims
Father Gabriel. This is the reality
of Western life according to The
Mission, and agree with it or not,
the film presents a strong case for
itself. More importantly, it presents

its argument in a very real context,
drawing from actual events in
South American history.
This does not mean, however,
that the film speaks the "truth."
And herein lies the pitfall, as many
problems and contradictions exist
that heavily detract from the film's
message. Neither the personalities
of either Mendoza or Father Gabriel
are ever sufficiently explored, and as
such, it gives them each a cardboard
quality. The director's vain attempt
to make them super-human only
results in making them distant from
the viewer.
There are other problems as
well. How is Father Gabriel able to
exude so much love to his enemies
under even the most trying
circumstances? How can the
tyranical Mendoza so easily convert
to Christianity? These questions,
and many others, are simply
ignored.
Unfortunately, an even more
distracting problem exists. The
film's major concern is with,
obviously, the Indians. Yet it is
these very people who are never
once shown as complete in -
dividuals. Not a single Indian
establishes any sort of relationship
with the audience, and their entire
culture is casually skimmed over.
At times, it seems they are little
more than part of the scenery. By
ignoring the actual life of the
Indian, the film is guilty of some
of the same prejudices it claims to
despise.
.Nonetheless,The Mission is a
powerful film which stresses love
and concern towards our fellow
humans, whoever they may be. It is
well-acted, well-written, and highly
emotional. While much of it is
saddening, it is also very uplifting. -

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