Page 8- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 19, 1989
Scandinavian film fest
focuses on children
BY MARK SHAIMAN
Anyone who knows anything
about film knows of Ingmar
Bergman. And that he is from Scan-
dinavia. And maybe they have seen
all of Ingmar's films, but have they
seen other Scandinavian films?
Probably not, with the exception of
My Life As A Dog,, which is an
exceptional film. But for the next
few Thursday nights there will be
ample opportunity to see other films
from that part of the world as part of
a free series entitled "The Image Of
the Child in Scandinavian Cinema,"
which is sponsored by the Scandina-
vian Program in the University's
Like My Life As A Dog, the
films in the series have children as
the main or focal characters. The
films are not necessarily for children,
but instead the directors have chosen
to explore the world through the
eyes of children in order to provide a
different view of the world. And the
fact that these filmmakers are of a
different culture adds another
interesting level to the varying per-
spective that is presented.
Films included in the series are
all shown with English subtitles:
Jan 19 at MLB 4: Ake and
His World , Swedish, directed by
Allan Edwall, and Hugo and
Josephine, Swedish, directed by
Jan 26 at MLB 4: Little Ida,
Norwegian, directed by Laila
Feb 2 at Lorch Hall: Rubber
Tarzan, Danish, directed by Soren
Kragh Jacobsen, and I Am Maria,
Swedish, directed by Karsten Wedel.
Feb 9 at MLB 4: The Story
of a Mother, Danish, directed by
Klaus Weeke, and The Elephant
Walk, Swedish, directed by M-L de
Kevin Kline has gone from eating chips with fish to drinking coffee with parrots, and in The
January Man, he's just as cuckoo as he was in Wanda.
Man lacks rhym e, reason
BY MARK SHAIMAN
30 days hath September/ April, June, and Novem-
ber/ All the rest have 31/ Except February, which has
Something has always bothered me about that
poem. Maybe it's because it doesn't rhyme, and it
looks like it is going to; it undermines itself. That's
the same problem with the film The January Man.
Kevin Kline, hot from his role in A Fish Called
jWanda, is back in another comedy. At least I think it's
a comedy. But it's also a mystery. And the mystery
parts were just as funny as the comedic parts. How-
ever, the mystery parts were meant to be serious.
November and 28 just don't rhyme!
A serial killer has been stalking New York City for
nearly a year, killing once every cycle of the moon,
7-bringing new meaning to the phrase "It's that time of
the month again." After 11 months of this, the Mayor
breaks down and reinstates Kline, who was kicked off
the police force for allegedly taking a bribe.
Kline is a veritable Sherlock Holmes and the only
man who can solve the case. Along the way he falls
for the mayor's daughter, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
(The Color Of Money). And he also has his eye on
tSusan Sarandon, who is married to the chief of police,
Harvey Keitel (The Last Temptation of Christ). And it
just so happens that Keitel and Kline are brothers.
Lots of plot complications, which provides lots of
humor. And lots of seriousness. Woody Allen got
away with that in Hannah and Her Sisters, but director
Pat O'Connor was not the Man for this job.
The script was written by John Patrick Shanley,
who picked up an Oscar for penning last year's Moon-
struck. The January Man too has a great script, just
not a great director. While the movie is funny on the
whole, it suddenly becomes absurd as Kline, in just a
few hours, figures out the method behind the killer's
year-long madness. Fortunately, Kline knows his as-
tral constellations and his Neil Sedaka songs just as
well as the murderer does, and thus he can predict the
exact location and date of the next murder. This would
be a perfect parody on the deductive reasoning powers
of such infamous detectives as Hercule Poirot or
Charlie Chan, but the only thing it parodies is itself.
One line often repeated in the film, understandably
used for rationalization, is "In a hundred years we'll all
be dead." Take that to heart, especially if you plan to
be stuck in Purgatory, cause The January Man too is
stuck in the limbo between comedy and seriosity,
leaving it to be a tragedy of mediocrity. At least that
The Pursuit of Happiness
By now you might have heard "I'm An Adult
Now." The lyrics grab you first - "I think I'll call
my dad up and invite him," "Man tries to understand
what the hell went wrong." (How does that guy know
what I'm thinking?) On the third or fourth listen, the
relentess power trio rhythms seize random extremities
and get 'em moving; after a half dozen spins, the per-
fect harmony vocals complete the best future sucks
anthem since the totally unrelated Stooges classic
An unusual quintuplet, The Pursuit of Happiness
hail from Toronto. A standard g,b,d trio forms the core
of the band; two female vocalists fill out the ranks.
Front man Moe Berg handles the lead vocals, guitars,
and the writing duties.
So, is there more to TPOH than "I'm An Adult
Now"? Happily, yes. Love Junk is one of the most
solid Pop Rock Action Candy albums in a long time.
The twelve effortless sounding tunes never miss.
Sometimes rambling, sometimes tight, but always
tasty solos, acoustic fills, classic chords and the odd
harmonica part keep things interesting.
Two elements of their sound do remain constant -
the ace rhythm section and the excellent back-
ground/harmony vocals. It's quite easy to lose yourself
in either Johnny Sinclair's persistent Steve Kilbeyish
bass playing or the refreshingly real, Bonhamesque
pounding of drummer Dave Gilby. Vocalists Kris
Abbott and Leslie Stanwyck supply plenty of their
own highlights; they shine when they - too infre-
quently - get a verse or chorus to themselves. How-
ever the extra vocalists supply my one, minor critical
nitpick with this album -- they could take a break
once in a while. By the time you make it to the clos-
ing cut, "Killed By Love," Berg is drowning a
breakup: "The more I drink you know the worse that I+
feel / I'm talking to the floor and I'm soaking in my
pee." Just when you think TPOH are gonna drop the.
pop and hit you with a real blues song the happy harp,
monies kick in, all too effectively distracting you from.
Love Junk neatly summarizes the song themes;
Berg touches upon love's highs and lows, but healthy
person that he is he keeps sex in the spotlight. The ti-
tle "Looking For Girls" explains itself; "Beautiful,
White" is a simultaneously depressing and warming
strip song. Berg uses simple, direct, and thoughtful"
lines effectively. "Walking In the Woods" supplies a,
perfect example: "I wished I could walk over and just
say hello / she's the kind of girl it would be nice to
know / but that's not the kind of thing you're likely to
do / on a subway train at eight a.m. /are you?"
The Pursuit of Happiness have the hooks, the
sound, the depth, and all that other mystical shit
needed to avoid one-hit-wonder status and send them
over the top. Love Junk's strength's should put them
CAL A SS RINGS
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Continued from Page 7
however, is a convincing plot. The
characters themselves are generally
believable, but the story is pre-
dictable and rather cliched. Halfway
through the book, the reader can pick
out in just what way the heroine wll
be able to escape from whatever
predicament corrupt aristocrats or her
own foolishness has landed her. To
Dance with Kings is much better if
read for its images and slices of life
than its story.
Both of these novels tell the story
of willful women struggling against
their subordinate place in society.
Although this theme is everpresent
in the books, it is done with re-
straint and style. Although there
are, more so than today, many ex-
ceptions, most of the male characters
are able to shift their attitudes toward
women in a believable manner when
they are shown what an intelligent
and determined woman can do.
Neither A Vision of Light nor
To Dance with Kings will ever be
noted for depth, or theme, or hidden
meaning, however. Both novels
make for fun and interesting reading
- the kind of relaxed enjoyment
that doesn't require much concentra-
tion or interpretation. If you have a
long trip to make for spring break,
or some free time at the beach, then
give A Vision of Light or To Dance
with Kings a try. The familiar yet
alien settings of history seen
through the eyes of women make.
otherwise light plots interesting and
Continued from Page 7
Tonight, another educator and ex-
pert on the avant-garde, P. Adams
Sitney, a professor of visual arts at
Princeton University, will introduce
the symposium with a lecture enti-
tled, "The Poetics of Seeing." Ac-
companying the lecture will be a va-
riety of important short experimental
In the coming weeks, Stan
Brakhage (Feb. 16,17) and Ken Ja-
cobs (March 16,17), the twonmost
experimental film artists in the U.S.,
will present and discuss their works.
Following them will be two of the
most exciting new avant-garde tal-
ents, Trinh T. Minh-Ha (March 30)
and Su Friedrich (April 6). The audi-
ence is invited to speak with the
filmmakers after their presentations.
The University used to be one of
the most prolific and diverse film
showing centers in the country, sec-
ond only to Los Angeles and New
York, but the number of local film
screenings, especially those of non-
mainstream films, has significantly*
decreased in recent years. Fortunately,
to quote the title of David Mamet's
latest film, "Things Change," and
Ann Arbor's ranking as a film com-
munity is on the rise once again with
tonight's symposium opening. So
for a few nights, forget about movie
stars and see some stars of your own
- the avant-garde is intended to
make your head spin.
Tonight's tonight's lecture and
showing will take place at 7:30 p.m.
at Lorch Hall. Admission is free.
Jan. 19 & 20
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