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Pehle conquers. Academy,
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By Brent Edwards
Having won Best Film at the
Cannes Film Festival, the award for
Best Foreign Picture, and a
nomination for Best Actor at the
Academy Awards, the reputation of
Pelle the Conqueror has certainly
preceded its debut in Ann Arbor.
This type of publicity can easily
detract from a movie because the
audience's expectations have been
raised considerably - with just
cause - and many times the movie
will fail to rise up to meet the
audience's skyrocketed anticipation.
Women on the Verge of a NervousI
Breakdown is an obvious example
of this failing. But Pelle the
Conqueror doesn't just rise partway
- it gracefully soars.
Pelle has the look and feel of a
quiet filen since it has a slow,
determined pace and seems small in
purpose. The film begins with an
old Max Von Sydow and his young
son Pelle immigrating from Sweden
to Denmark in hopes of finding a
better life. Sydow tells his son that
wages are so high there that children
play all day instead of working.
After difficulty obtaining work
because of their ages, the two
eventually become farmhands; their
lives bought by a landowner for
menial labor. Here Pelle is taunted
by others and whipped by his
supervisor simply because he is
Swedish, and shown hopelessness all
around. There is turmoil everywhere,
both mental and physical, and it is
all there to be witnessed and
Ad mus be menti iileat time of
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is to do so he will get little help
from anyone and must avoid being
beaten into complacency like his
One of the many strengths of this
movie is its combined attention to
detail and atmosphere successfully
depicting the bleakness of life as a
farmhand in 19th century Europe.
Behind every scene are everyday
eventsof al 9th century farm which
seem to have a life of their own, as
if they would continue to occur even
if they weren't being filmed. This
combination makes the audience feel
that they have been transported back
to a fascinating and foreign past.
Much of the film gives glimpses
of wonderful and sad characters, each
with their own struggle with life and
a lesson to be learned for Pelle.
There is the bold worker who teaches
Pelle to fight for a better life and not
just accept what is given, as his
father does. There is the young
worker who falls in love with the
farmowner's son, but whose caste
difference produces tragic
consequences. There is the brawny,
bellowing peasant woman who
screams from the farm's courtyard,
See Pelle, Page 6
experienced by Pelle.
Sydow continues his brilliant
career as the simple-minded father
who cannot fulfill his own simplest
expectations. When his son is badly
beaten, Sydow vows he will take
revenge but instead immediately
apologizes to the teenage trainee
responsible. The extent of his hopes
is to find a woman with whom he
can live, who will serve him coffee
in bed on Sundays. Sydow, who so
obviously loves his son, tells Pelle
that he will one day conquer the
world, but it is apparent that if Pelle
Max Van Sydow won an Academy r
Pelle the Conquerer
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Agent for Bekins Van Lines
By Tony Silber
If you happened to have walked
through the piag during the annual
"Hash Bash" last Saturday, you
might have felt thrown into a time
warp back to the late '60s. It's an
interesting feeling, to say the least.
To transcribe this sensation into a
film is a very difficult task for a
director and writer to do, but 1969
does just that - for the most part.
1969 is tactfully portrayed as a
youth film about understanding and
not understanding, running away and
fighting back. Robert Downey, Jr.
and Kiefer Sutherland star as two
first-year students in college who set
out on a journey to find their place
in a troubled American .society
ripped apart by an unpopular
The film also examines the
volatile nature of the generation gap
in the relationship between Scott
(Sutherland) and his father, played by
Bruce Dern. This is one of the
essential conflicts of the film. It
represents the establishment vs.
rebellion extremes of the era. At
times, it is portrayed well, but at
others, it seems to be grinded into
our heads. Subtlety should have been
the method here.
Director-writer Ernest Thompson
THE ANN ARBOR CANTATA SINGERS
(On Golden Pond) mixes the visual
aspects of the film (hair styles,
fashion, cars) with good contextual
writing. The result is some romantic
expressions of nostalgic Americana.
One scene has Scott, in his van
painted with flowers and leaves,
driving past an army caravan on the
highway while Crosby, Stills, Nash,
and Young plays in the background.
As he gives the soldiers the peace
sign, they give him the finger.
The problem with 1969 is that
there are too many conflicts, and it
would be impossible to resolve them
all with any believability by the
film's end. Scott's marine brother
represents a conflict. Ralph
(Downey) attempts to destroy his
See 1969, Page 6
OW ad e
REQUIEM + MASS IN C
Sunday, April 16, 4:00 p.m.
First Congregational Church
608 E. William at S. State
for the Arts
Tickets are $12.00 ($10.00
students and seniors), at the
door or in advance by calling
662-3395 or 996-0812.
WEEKEND/ APRIL 71989
WEEKEND/ APRIL 7,1989