The Michigan Daily
Friday, October 6, 1989
Season of violence
A Dry White Season stuns with look at apartheid
BY TONY SILBER
The out-of-the-ordinary Guarneri String Quartet, which will be performing at Rackham Auditorium this Saturday,
is famed for its longevity and wit.
BY SHERRILL L. BENNETT
W HAT do the Beatles and the Guarneri String
Quartet have in common? They are both groups of
four men with individual musical styles and distinct
personalities who have dared to walk the precarious
road of artistic collaboration. Along the way, each
group paved new ground and left in their tracks a
musical legacy rich in both tradition and innovation.
But Guarneri has one up on the Beatles - they're
still making tracks, 25 years and running strong.
When asked to account for their longevity, vio-
linist Arnold Steinhardt replies simply, "We still
love what we do." And so do Ann Arbor audiences.
This marks the Quartet's 24th appearance in our fair
city, which will take place on Saturday as the first
concert of the University Musical Society's Cham-
ber Artist Series. "We are four different personali-
ties," says Steinhardt, whose "deep-rooted musical
convictions" have been strengthened through the
years, and explain the color and vitality characteris-
tic of their playing.
Their roots trace back to their college days at
"Curtis Institute playing chamber music," says
Steinhardt. Later, they all took part in Vermont's
Marlboro Music Festival where they came in con-
tact with and performed with many top notch musi-
cians and increasingly with each other. Their experi-
ences there played an enormous role in their musical
development both as soloists and as chamber play-
ers. In fact, "all of us play in recitals and appear as
soloists with orchestras in addition to the Quartet,"
On the concert circuit, they've rattled off over
2,000 concerts in halls all over the world - South
America, Europe, Japan, and of course the United
States. They've also released a sizeable number of
recordings, of which "the highlight was a recording
with Arthur Rubinstein," Steinhardt comments. But
their main interpretative decisions are based on the
concert hall rather than the recording studio. They
try out a phrase in the hall, and if it works there, it
works, period. Their repertoire, a broad sampling of
music past and present, consists of "music we love
and that pleases us," says Steinhardt.
See GUARNERI, page 8
The streets smell like death. You
can smell the unmistakable stench
on the streets of Soweto. But you
are not there; you are merely watch-
ing a motion picture. Something in-
credible has just happened - but
what? This is only a movie. Films
that make your palms sweat are a
dime a dozen, but when a film
makes you shudder, really shudder,
take notice because it won't happen
too many times in your life.
A Dry White Season is the worst
kind of horror film. The indescrib-
able and repulsive practices of the
South African police and military are
shot into your heart and mind like a
sharp nail, begging for justice. This
film represents far more than the re-
turn of Marlon Brando to the screen;
it is a graphic and revealing educa-
tion into a dark system of grotesque
The story behind this picture is
not Brando, but its director. Euzhan
Palcy, a Black woman, heads the
production with great insight. The
fact that she is a woman is extraor-
dinary in itself in the historically
sexist Hollywood hierarchy. Her
adaptation of Andre Brink's novel is
a film for the age, a monument to
the endless struggle against the in-
justices of apartheid.
A Dry White Season follows the
experiences of two South African
families in the violent year 1976.
Donald Sutherland portrays the white
boys' school history instructor, Ben-
jamin du Toit. His Afrikaner family
has a nice house, nice cars, and nice
kids. Winston Ntshona portrays
Gordon, du Toit's gardener. His fam-
ily lives in the Soweto Township
battle zone, and his children are ter-
rorized by police. He lives on the
edge of a world where cliffwalking
between death and any kind of cul-
tural identity is the only way to stay
A peaceful protest held by chil-
dren of the townships sets the tone
of the film. As they approach the
line of white soldiers and chant for
educational equality, the tension
mounts in terrifying boldness. Re-
fusing to disperse, the soldiers open
fire. This is followed by several
shocking and unnerving moments of
cruelty and inhumane treatment.
Gordon's son is dragged away in a
police truck, and thus begins the real
story - the search for answers and
understanding, neither of which
South Africa has to offer.
Gordon is eventually arrested,
leading to du Toit's limited in-
volvement in the conflict until he
discovers that his gardener has been
viciously murdered by the South
African secret police squad, led by
the sinister, overly ruthless Jurgen
Prochnow. The rest of the film de-
picts du Toit's crusade for justice
within an injust system, with pre-
dictable and depressing results. Di-
In A Dry White Season, Marlon Brando (left) and Donald Sutherland
(right) unite to fight the oppression of South African society.
rector Palcy, from the onset, creates
an atmosphere of letdown and futil-
ity. All efforts for fairness within.
this society are for naught.
And what about Brando? Isn't
that what everyone wants to know?
He plays therplumpbarrister Ian
McKenzie, a renowned lawyer who
crusades for civil rights in South
Africa (this probably doesn't do
much for his winning percentage).
He represents Gordon's wife, Emily
(Thoko Ntshinga), in her complaint
against the police in court. Brando is
in crisp form despite his ten-year ab-
sence from motion pictures. He is
tactfully cynical and sharply critical
with his lazy, nasal drawl - this is
half the charm of his role. His 12-
odd minutes in A Dry White Season
are a treat in itself, especially his
expression at the moment of the ver-
dict. But Brando is by no means the
whole show here.
The real story in this picture is
the destruction of two families, one
Black and one white. Effective and
moving, A Dry White Season pro-
vokes thought and anger, frustration
and disgust. The only course of ac-
tion in an apartheid system is no
course of action. "Let things as they
are" and "don't challenge the system"
are the unwritten laws in the South
Africa of this film.
A Dry White Season is a mes-
sage movie with many messages.
Palcy shows us atnation that cannot
fight its way out of injustice. She
also shows us a nation of a couple
million whites who will turn their
backs on the suffering of over 20
million Blacks. The only major flaw
of the picture is that it overshocks
us, bombards us with depressing fu-
tility. It becomes quasi-propaganda,
albeit very powerful and important
propaganda. The performances by a
mostly African cast are solid and the
music by Dave Grusin, Hugh
Masekela, and Ladysmith Black
Mambazo is riveting.
But when the film ends and the
credits begin, silence will fill the
theater as each of you try to process
the horrible sights you have just
witnessed into a reasonable sense of
A DRY WHITE SEASON opens to-
day at Showcase Cinemas and Bri-
$99 ANYWHERE IN THE USA ON
NORTHWEST airlines! Bnngy ou NWA
voucher and AMEX card. CalEGNC
TRAVEL, 665-6122, ask for Ann or Dawn.
DREAM VACATION! A $299 five day va-
cation for 2 to the Bahamas. Package in-
cludes a roundtrip cruise for 2 from F Laud-
ejdale to Freeport. Offer expires June '90.
CallFadi @ 766351 or 763-827.
GET AWAY! Equipped cabins on lake in
wooded setting, s four outdoor hot tub,
boats & canoes. $38-58. ib min. from Tra-
verse City. (616) 276-9502.
Aca pco 519, Cancun 559 Freeport 439
Jamaica 519, Ski Lake fahoe 489,
Nassau, 459. WANTED: Student Reps. for
Spring Break. Call REGENCY TRAVEL
665-6122, ask for Dan.
STUDENT TRAVEL BREAKS AT STA-
MOS TRAVEL *** pen weekends and
some evenings.*** **Kerrytown Mall Ann
Arbor. 663-4400* *
GR EEK GAB
Michigan's Newest Sorority
Mass Meeting: Tes. Oct. 10
Kuenzel Rm., Michigan Union
CONGRATULATIONS to all the new Sigma
Kappa pledges. We love you!
FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES work
with the Pros. The Clothes Conpany has the
best prices for all party favors. Call Jon 994-
4045 or 1-800-366-8087.
Maize and Blue... its better in leather Michi-
gan Blue Leather Jackets. Get one individual
orderspor 12 jacket discounts. Ann Arbor
Leather Imports. 995-5104
Zeta Tau Alpha
Welcomes its fabulous
1989 pledge class.
We love you!!
I NEED an answering machine for $25. If
selling call Chris at 769-5540.
TWO-PHYSICIAN COUPLE in training
would like to house sit from Jul. 1, '90 - Jul.
7 '91 During fellowship year at Kellogg.
Very neat. CaI Dr. Steve Silverstein 508-
875-6523, eves. Collect.
COMPUTER TERMINAL with modem, like
new $390. Tapebackup for IBM PS/2, new
in the box, $350. Call 47-9400, 9-5.
HERB DAVID GUITAR STUDIO 302 E.
Liberty. 665-8001. Lessons- intro. special:
Pay for 4. Pet 5!
A reminder for theater freaks:
Daily Arts is holding a meeting this Sunday at 1:30
for anyone who wants to write about theater.
Come to 420 Maynard, second floor.
Hi-Tec MINI MICRO SYSTEM, INC.
u' Y 1a ATTENTION:
ApdHCC M-Care HMO
Back to school
AT starts at $749
XT starts at $440
North Campus Plaza
1683 Plymouth Road Suite F
Phone: (313) 665-3787
FAX: (313) 665-3507
i > . is........
pAl pEIf~%Al U*a
We are your
112$ n 603
Da I9 -os td.n4
Enriching the Black Student Experience
MEET REPRESENTATIVES FROM:
o CAMPUS MINISTRIES
. LOCAL CHURCHES
SHARE STUDENTS' EXPERIENCES!!