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March 16, 1990 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-03-16
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Some students, however,
expressed concern that the films
were shown in classrooms. "I
spend all day in class," complains
one such student. "The last thing
I want to do on a Friday night is
go to the MLB to sit in those
uncomfortable little chairs. I even
start thinking about my
professors." "We come here and
we dread it all week, so what are
we doing here at 10 at night?"
asked Dan Bickersteth.
Inspiration gave Julie Eisenberg,
first-year Art student, the answer:
"I know, it's much different to
come here with a buzz."
A LTHOUGH
mediatrics attributes
low interest in artsy
films to changing
tastes, Professor Ira
Konigsberg, director
of the Program in Film and Video
Studies, feels that the desire to
see creative cinema never really
disappeared. While the Co-op
sometimes has trouble drawing
crowds, F/V Studies has enjoyed
widespread attendance. All year,
the F/V Studies Program has
organized the Film Classics
Series, which shows free films
every Sunday night. Wednesday
nights students can see films from
the Avant Garde film series,
shown in conjunction with a F/V
class. In February, the Program
co-sponsored the Black
Filmmakers Series with the
Center for African-American and
African Studies.
The F/V Studies films are far
from mainstream, but they have
the advantage of exposure
through mailings to the F/V
Studies students and non-film
students who take film courses,
and the Program pursues
publicity far more aggressively
than any of the film societies.
They also have the contacts and
the educational status to acquire
free films from a variety of
sources. Because their films
usually run in a series, those who
attend one film are likely to find
out about the others, and are
more likely to be interested in
coming again to the same sort of
film.

on the lack of exposure films
receive among students, "I think
we've always assumed that
everyone knew what Current was,
that Cinema Guide was now
Current, and that everyone was
reading it. That's a stupid
assumption. The Co-op has been
dependent on Cinema Guide, and
now Current, for a bulk source of
advertising, and the Daily just
hasn't shown the kind of interest
we'd like." The Co-op admits,
however, that they haven't been
doing all they
can to
publicize their
events.
Name
recognition
plays
significantly in
film choice
among
students. Many
find
themselves
reluctant to see
a film they've
never heard of,
by an
unfamiliar
director,
maybe with a
title in a
foreign
language.'
Students may
be seeing n
mainstream
films because
that's all they
know, so
publicity is
integral to any
event's
success. For
instance, the F/
V Program's
showing of the
Yiddish The
Dybbuk pulled
1200 film-goers(
into the h(
Michigan
Theater, a
success
Konigsberg
attributes to
articles in the
Ann Arbor
News, the
Daily, fliers
and consequent word-of-mouth.
While recent films stick in
students' minds, the smaller,
older films need extensive
publicity to inform the public.
Still, even the Michigan
Theater must do
fundraising to support
itself financially as a not-
for-profit organization.
Russ Collins, director of
programming, asserts "We cannot

make money showing movies. We
have to raise over $200,000 a year
to keep ourselves operating." He
characterizes the movie theater
business in general as "not very
profitable."
Konigsberg feels that the film
community in Ann Arbor is far
from dead. "I've been convinced
for the last few years that there is
still considerable interest in film
in general, and also in alternative
cinema. Ann Arbor and the U-M
over the years have been one of

waiting for good cinema."
Though he views the campus
cinema situation optimistically,
Konigsberg does recognize certain
fundamental changes inthe film
world at large that have affected
the film societies. "Certainlywith
the accessibility of films on
videotape, it suddenly became
just as easy to pick up a film at
the store and stay at home."
Konigsberg mentions that
although the film industry has
changed its attitude in packaging
its films, the film
societies did not
respond until it
was perhaps too
late.
At the same time
that fees for
renting 16 and 35
millimeter films
went up, the
University began
to charge for use of
its auditoriums. In
the last two years,
the auditoriums
have been paid for
through the
university, partly a
result of the F/V
Studies Program's
negotiations. The
department is
currently trying to
convince the
University to
improve sound
systems in the
auditoriums.
Although the F/
V Studies Program
has been in
operation for 15 or
16 years, it wasn't
until two winters
ago that the
University decided
to review the
Program with the
idea of phasing it
out completely.
The Program had
begun as a
collaborative,
inter-disciplinary
effort in response
to film's rapid rise
as the major art
form of the 20th
century. Different
departments, especially English
and foreign languages, assured
the University that the Program
would cost them no money. The
Program worked on a shoestring
for the next dozen years, until it
virtually ran out of energy two
years ago. Dean Peter Steiner
called for a review of the Program,
and assembled a reviewing panel
which included prominent film
scholars David Bordwell of The
University of Wisconsin at

0' '

Turkish film Kite proves refreshing and entel

If you happen to bring up
Turkish prisons, at least to
anyone who has seen the 1978
film Midnight Express, nightmares
of filth, degradation, sadism, and
lots of other bad things will most
likely come to mind. But Turkish
director Tunc Basaran wants to
change all that with his latest
film, Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite,
the first Turkish film ever to
compete for an Academy Award
for Best Foreign Film.
According to Basaran,
"(Midnight Express) portrayed
Turkey and its 60 million citizens
in a very bad light throughout the
world. There wasn't a single Turk
in the picture the audience could
sympathize with."
In Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite,
Basaran does not attempt to
glorify Turkey or its penal
system, but merely to bring to the

screen a group of compelling
three-dimensional characters, a
sharp contrast to the faceless
foreign heavies in many
mainstream American films who
only appear to look and talk funny
and fuck with God-fearing, flag-
loving U.S. citizens.
The film has already won first
prize at the Antalya Golden
Orange Film Festival, Turkey's
equivalent of the Academy
Awards. Its story centers around
the friendship between four-year-
old Baris (excellently played by
real four-year-old Ozan Bilen,
who proves that simple childhood
innocence can be much more cute
than precocious, one-liner-
spewing brats) and political
prisoner Inci (Nur Surer, who won
the Best Actress Golden Orange).
Baris is taken into a woman's
prison as a baby when his mother

is arrested on drug-trafficking
charges. This practice is actually
fairly common in Turkey, where
there are no provisions for the
care of children of incarcerated
parents. Unlike the uneducated
petty criminals, Inci is able to
teach Baris about an outside
world which he has never
experienced. His endless
questions about things we take
for granted, from circumcision to
communism, provide not only
humor but an alternative
viewpoint of many very silly adult
habits. When he asks a soldier
guarding a hospital why he is
carrying a gun, there is no good
answer.
The story is based on a novel

by Feride Cicekoglu, who also
wrote the film's screenplay. The
character of Inci is based on
Cicekoglu, an architect who was
one of the many Turkish artists
and intellectuals to be imprisoned
during the crackdown on rightist
and leftist terrorism after the
military takeover of 1980.
Don't Let Them Shoot the Kite is a
film about hope, one of the few
themes that is virtually impossible
to overuse. The hope comes in
the form of a kite which Baris
spots through his narrow view of
the outside world in the prison
yard. At first he believes that the
kite is a strange bird, but Inci
explains to him what it really is,
and after she is granted amnesty,

he be
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to a f
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Without
University
subsidy,
the film
societies
must
rely on
Current
and the
Daily for
publicity

the premier communities for film
and video interest. But the film
community got caught in national
trends and tastes. The kinds of
films that made this campus
unique were just not being shown
anymore. I think we're bringing
back lots of films that were here
some years ago, and we're tapping
on a basic concern that's always
been here, that is still here, that
will continue to be here. This is
certainly a community that's been

because the cost of fliers and ads
is too high. Anita Weiner,
president of the Co-op, remarked

We welcome Jacobson's Charge, MasterCardt VISAS and America
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