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November 10, 1989 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-10

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 10, 1989

Girl in a Swing falls
Sexist film keeps myths and stereotypes alive

The Sugarcubes
Here Today, Tomorrow Next
"Well is it any good?" you might
ask. This question can be answered
with a definite "maybe not." Some
factors remain the same: you enjoy
Bjork, with her elfin voice, which
changes from captivatingly weird to
a vibrant and powerful primal scream
in a brief line. She has a great com-
mand over it, which in turn does
some commanding of its own. The
infamous Einar Orn plays far left to
her little girl persona, sort of a neu-
rotic, super-staid Rod Serling ranta-
like. Anyone who really hated Einar
missed the point; without his de-
mented ravings as a sense of coun-
terpoint to the poppish structure of
the songs, the tension would lessen.
And that's a large part of the Sugar-
cubes' strength; their mastery of the
The first one was good; damn
good, in fact. Which is why Here
Today is a disappointment. Seeing
this side of the Cubes is like falling
for Bjork's voice, then seeing the
video and noticing that her eyebrows
meet. The first two songs, "Tidal
Wave" and "Regina," are good
enough. The former boasts a seven-
piece horn arrangement that adds
much flavor, and the intricate synco-
pation of Bragi's drumming com-
bined with Thor Eldon's fretwork
construct a good groove to get
caught up in. On the latter, Einar
remains as laughable as ever with
his pre-chorus line, "I REALLY
Other intriguing moments in-
clude the horrendous "Shoot Him"
and the paean to perversity, "Pump."
The Cubes' knack for lyrical ab-

We all know the English can be stuffy, humorless
and overbearing. In Girl in a Swing, we also learn that
they can be stupid and sexist.
Based on a Richard Adams (Watership Down,
Shardik, Maia) novel, this film pretends to be the story
of a man who marries a woman and has supernatural
things happen to him that culminate in his wife's death.
But it's not really about that. It's about how insensi-
tive, naive and generally callous Gordon Hessler (I re-
peat, Gordon Hessler), the writer/editor/director, can be.
The film is riddled with stereotypes from scene one:
dim-witted, uncultured Americans buy ceramics from
Our Hero - a smart and savvy British antique dealer -
with their ghastly (but nevertheless necessary) American
Express cards. But Hessler isn't content to leave us with
just a criticism of materialism, he then moves on to a
wonderful thesis on sexism. First he makes it a point to
have all the women either not wear undergarments or
wear low-cut clothes, and he doesn't forget to have
semitransparent fabrics with plenty of backlighting to
enhance the effect. Next he has such wonderful dialogue

as "I wish I had your brains." "(Don't worry) you don't
need them." Guess who says what?
Billed as an "erotic mystery," most of the eros con-
sists of gratuitous missionary-position scenes and a
scene where The Woman is undressed until all that's left
is her long pearl necklace dangling like a noose around
her neck (Gordo must have seen Behind the Green
Door recently but figured no one else had). There's more
where this came from: a wonderful scene where we find
out that He raped Her (we never see it) and she liked it,
a cute interchange where He blamesHer for having sex
with him in their kitchen while the guests are on the
lawn, and the glorious theme of the film itself: that
killing your children just so you can marry The Most
Wonderful Man in the World is bad, because they will
come back to haunt you and you will die after having
I sincerely hope Adams is not responsible for this
because it would ruin my view of rabbits forever, but if
he is, I hope he chokes on his porridge.
GIRL IN A SWING is playing at Ann Arbor I &2


straction remains as interesting as concept as well as kicks. Uneven is

ever. Bjork sings "consume me love,
I want you to inhale me... drown me
love, in a bottomless pond, I'll
never return." To this Einar retorts a
horrid rebuttal of "I hate you, your
smug little smile makes me sick,"
and so on; you can almost hear his
spittle spattering the microphone
head. At the bridge, there's an orien-
tal-flavored whistle that is madden-
ingly effective, and Bjork becomes
sexy again near the end, where she
chants the chorus in her best
"Mama" voice. This one is far better
than the whole of Life's Too Good,
for sure.
But there are lapses into utter
silliness and thin stretches, as well,
such as "Eat The Menu," where
Einar attempts to imitate the Lucky
Charms Shamrock, or the senseless
"Dear Plastic," which is lacking in

the experimental "Planet," a pleasing
bit of pseudo-pop laced with strings,
for something approaching depth. At
one point, the violins dive into an
incredibly goofy, campy bit of
humming shtick, straight out of the
Disco '70s.
Here Today is uneven and a
shaky successor to LTG, which is
understandable for a second album.
There are extensions of concept, and
at times, better instrumentation.
Sometimes the Cubes do their best,
at others, they actually do sound like
the B-52's. There are rhythm guitar
solos and Jetsons FX, as well as lots
of album filler. But it's quite appar-
ent that this Icelandic sextet will
have to venture onto different ground
the next time, to hold onto their cult
-Forrest Green III

,.q t

Continued from page 9
proprietor, "Henrietta seems to be
always waiting. Nights, she rattles
around the apartment like one big
pea in a pod." We never get what we
might expect in a novel like this.
Val and Henrietta do not fall in love
with each other. The mysterious
stranger does not save her from her

loneliness. Instead, a strange teen-
ager named Cleat, an orphan who
prints up and passes around his own
religious slogans ("If you were
suspected of being a Christian and
arrested for it, would there be enough
evidence to convict you?"), falls in
love with Val. In this pathetic ado-
lescent crush, there are all the ingre-
dients of the sense of something
missing from all these character's
lives. They look to religion, love,

work, and chocolate for fulfillment,
but nothing seems to work.
The narrator gets into all of their
heads and articulates their plights
much better, probably, than they
could themselves: they don't know
it, but what they are looking for has
to come from within. Even if we
have heard that tune before, we can-
not help but appreciate Mojtabai
playing it in her quiet, humble style.
-Mark Swartz

Deadheads play live show
Oroboros, from Cleveland, Ohio, was the first band in the area to play covers of Grateful Dead songs. Tonight
they're coming to the Blind Pig to provide a fix for those whose classwork is starting to suffer from a few too
many road trips. The band's named after the way-cool mythical snake that eats its own tail.

Take 10 seconds and decide
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