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October 25, 1988 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-25

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, October 25, 1988

Page 7

Kingsley
saves
stranded
Island
BY MARK SHAIMAN
As Donne said, "No man is an
island." But Basil Pascali comes
close - not because he can stand
entirely on his own, but because he
is adrift between two larger forces,
being pulled both ways. The gravity
of his situation burdens him with an
internal struggle mirrored in the
external events of Pascali"s Island.
Once again, as in his Oscar-
winning portrayal of Gandhi, Ben
Kingsley darkens his complexion,
shaves his head, and adopts a foreign
accent. And expectedly, though
definitely commendably, he succeeds
in capturing the essence of Pascali,
visually expressing his mental battle
by employing physical nuances; his
facial expressions clearly reveal his
thinking.
And he has much to think about.
The film is set on a small island in
the Aegean Sea, and the year is
1908. The Ottoman Empire is in
power, but the Greeks are rebelling
against the Turks, so conflict is the
most dominant power on the island.
And Pascali's family background is
vague, seeming to link him to both
sides. Interspersed throughout the
film are scenes of Pascali writing
letters to the Turkish emperor, ac-
counting the events on the island; he
claims to be an agent, but admits to
himself that he has received no
response in his 20 some years of
correspondence. This leaves the au-
dience as unsure of Pascali's
position as Pascali himself is.
But despite his internal struggles,
Pascali was not directly involved in
the problems on the island until the
arrival of Anthony Bowles (Charles
Dance,White Mischief), an English
_R . , 1
CNEMABRECTORT.
BARGAINATIGNEE306UTIL PMDAIL

ALCEXA BEZ/Daily
What's missing from this photo? Well, nothing yet, but soon after it was taken, at Game
Theory's Blind Pig show in January, Scott Miller's (far left) shirt was - soon to occupy a
place in the closet of some unscrupulous local concertgoer.

Ben Kingsley's portrayal of Basil Pascali is, not
unexpectedly, the highlight of Pascali's Island.

Music,
work -

wordplay
- n Theory

archaeologist come to do research
there. Pascali offers to act as his
interpreter, and thus becomes in-
extricably linked to this newcomer.
Pascali arranges a meeting
between Bowles and the Pasha -
the main authority on the island -
to discuss the lease of a piece of land
that the Englishman would like to
study. After an agreement is reached,
Pascali is told that he will be held
responsible for Bowles' behavior.
Weighed down by his fear of the
Pasha, he begins to watch Bowles
closely. What he finds is not to his
liking, which drags him farther into
the conflict, but also forces him to
take a stand.
Director and screenwriter James
Dearden manages to take the struggle
of one man and entangle it with the
problems of a society, allowing the

viewer to better understand the main
character. But this also proves to be
the main problem with the film. The
conflicts that are occurring on the
island are never defined enough for
the viewer to take one side or
another. This does help to relate,
Pascali's situation to the audience,
but it also engenders a sense of
apathy about all that occurs. It is
difficult to care about anything that
is not understandable and, un-
fortunately, a fair amount of
Pascali's Island falls into this
category.
However, these conflicting sides
never become confusing ,- the
Turks are the Turks and the Greeks
are the Greeks and never the twain
shall meet. But it would be a more
See Island, Page 8

BY JIM PONIEWOZIK
FRIDAY, January 23, 1988, was
not one of the finest nights of Scott
Miller's life.
His band, Game Theory, didn't
get a soundcheck before their show
at the Blind Pig. The stage was
almost too small to fit the band,
much less their light show. The
mikes didn't work. The equipment
overheated. The drummer missed
cues. The bass player stormed off
stage in frustration.
And, to top it all off, somebody
swiped his shirt.
S eo naturally, we're coming back
to the same place," Miller laughs.
After all, for somebody who once
had to reform his band from scratch
(the original members left just
before landing a recording contract),
getting a new shirt and trying again
isn't such a big deal.
And for a band in Game Theory's
situation, persistence is important.
Oh, not that they haven't gotten
attention - over the course of six
years, two EPs and four albums,
they've become one of the most
critically acclaimed bands in the
country. But you can't eat critical
acclaim.
Problem? Game Theory is too
clever for its own good. Musically,
the chord mazes and intricate pop
structures guitarist/singer/songwriter
MIiller weaves on each song risk
leaving his audience as dazed and
. frazzled as the Bugs Bunny cha-
meleon plopped down in front of a
plaid screen. Lyrically, listening to a
Game Theory album is like sitting
inside the bag of a lawn mower as it
runs over a dictionary.
But Miller makes no apologies.
"I'm all too aware of all the many
aspects of my personality that are
keeping us from being the number
one band in the universe," he said.
"That's one of them - (the songs)
are too complex, you have to listen
to them three times before you get
it or whatever. Well, sorry, I can't
just sit down and write a song I
think is simple enough."
Aha!, you say. But just what do
these songs sound like? Well, that's
jist what I've been trying to avoid

Game Theory songs are
harmonious, upbeat pop
songs, of the Hollies/Big
Star mold. And they're
not. They're mutated, pur-
eed versions of everything
you used to think sounded
good in a song, a la the
White Album. And they're
not.
telling you. Game Theory songs are
harmonious, upbeat pop songs, of
the Hollies/Big Star mold. And
they're not. They're mutated, purled
versions of everything you used to
think sounded good in a song, a la
the White Album. And they're not.
In essence, this means Miller
writes a melody anyone else would
be perfectly happy with and then
asks himself, "What can I do...?"
Sometimes this means singing the
acrid "Dripping With Looks" ac-
companied by a single distorted
guitar and a bass played with xy-
lophone mallets. Sometimes this
means tacking chords from "Stair-
way to Heaven" onto the end of
"24." Sometimes it just means
taking a gorgeous song and playing
it even more gorgeously, like the
heartbreaking "If and When It Falls
APart."
This is the approach he's taken
on the band's latest, Two Steps
From the Middle Ages. Compared
to the 1987 double studio LP, Lolita
Nation, (featuring excerpts from
earlier GT songs, a song with a
paragraph-long title, lyrics culled
from contracts and tabloid headlines,
and a vacuum cleaner), Two Steps
is radical in its normality.
Hair Styling with
a Flair
- 7 Barber Stylists
for MEN & WOMEN
SNO WAITING!!!
DASCOLA STYLISTS
Opposite Jacobson's
668-9329

"I had no desire to make 'Son of
Lolita Nation,"' Miller said. "I
thought I was losing this property of
my songs that they all had these
little climaxes in them. That's 90
percent of I was aiming at for this
record: to have those right couple of
seconds of emotional impact."
Does the simpler format mean the
band could be ready for the big time?
Probably not. Although Lolita Na-
tion was the band's biggest seller,
Miller said, "that still falls below
the 'unbelievably pathetic' stage."
See Theory, Page 8
FANTASY ATTIC
COSTUMES
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OUTSTANDING RENTAL
COSTUME COLLECTION
a selection of Halloween ideas:
Flappers:
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Zoot Shits:
companions to the Flappers
Devils:
a bright collection of Halloween
favorites
Jesters:
many eye-catching new jesters
We also have the largest area
collection of costume
Aw " accessories
Extended Halloween hours
305 S. Main

Eli Lilly and Company
(A Research Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturer)
Will be on Campus
Thursday, October 27,1988
at the Sterns Building
Conducting Interviews for
Systems Analysts -
CS, CE or EE degrees desired
or a strong computer background.

665-2680

- olod

I

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TOTAL IS NOW HIRIN
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