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September 21, 1990 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-21

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Friday, September 21, 1990

Page 5

The Greatest Story Ever Told

In 1977, I was eight years old. I
believe I was in the fourth grade at
the time. There was this movie play-
ing that had a lot of great music, all
these slick outfits and, most impor-
tantly, starred my idol, Vinnie Bar-
barino. I just had to see it. All my
friends got to see it. But my Dad
wouldn't let me. I never quite under-
stood why. It had something to do
with the movie showing too much
sex or something.
To my parents' dismay, I finally
did get to see Saturday Night
Fever. This weekend, everyone can
go see it again and recapture the
spirit of the 1970s Disco craze. The
role of Tony Manero made John
Travolta a huge star, and rightfully
so. With his dapper white suit and
glistening gold chains, he was a hero
of his time. The music remains ad-
dictive today. Hey, I will freely ad-
mit that I begin to groove every
time I hear "Stayin' Alive," or
"Night Fever."
What I would never have under-
stood when I was eight was that
Fever is in actuality a well-dis-
guised version of the classic tale of
kids growing up and trying to break
away from home. It just so happens
that this time it takes place in dis-
cotheques in Brooklyn. Manero and
his friends just want to make enough
money so that they can go out danc-
ing and drinking on the weekends,
and escape from the doldrums of their
everyday jobs.
But the dancing is still a lot of
fun to watch. And besides, there re-
ally hasn't been a dancing movie
made since 1977 that is even in the
same league as Fever. For further
proof, arrive early to this double fea-
ture and you'll be able to catch the
last few minutes of Lambada: The
Forbidden Dance.
At the MLB at 10 p.m. on Saturday.
-David Lubliner
Michelangelo Caravaggio was
one of the best, most colorful and

controversial painters of his time.
Derek Jarman is one of the most
colorful and controversial filmmak-
ers today. Naturally, Jarman had to
make a film about Caravaggio. Vi-
sually impressive - even though
shot on a less-than-shoestring budget
- Caravaggio concentrates on Car-
avaggio's bisexuality and its effect
on his art, his violent life and his
tragic death.
Jarman attempts to generalize
Caravaggio's fate to modern times
by intentionally introducing
anachronisms (such as '40s era
trucks and '80s era calculators into a
16th-century setting) and setting up
many of the shots to look almost
exactly like Caravaggio's actual
paintings. Unfortunately, though,
not all of these experiments work,
but in many cases even the ones that
fail are still impressive and amusing,
especially considering Jarman shot
the whole thing in a warehouse in
London with props pulled from his
and from the crew's basements.
At Angell Hall Aud A, Saturday
7:30 and 9:15
- Mike Kuniavsky
Ken Russell is a director with
two faces: one is serene, beautiful,
covered with luscious adornments,
whispering sensuous greetings
(Women in Love, The Rainbow); the
other is decaying, puss-covered,
screaming vulgar profanities while
hairy bugs crawl out of all orifices
(The Devils, Lair of the White
Worm). Crimes of Passion is a

product of this second visage.
Kathleen Turner gives a shock-
ingly bold performance in this film
about a fashion designer who lives
out her darker side at night. Walking
the streets in a sleazy part of town,
she becomes China Blue and satis-
fies the fantasies of all slimeballs
who approach her. Russell pulls no
punches in showing this world to be
one of the levels of hell and every
shot is set up to be as unpleasant as
possible. This film is disturbing, to
say the least.
Anthony Perkins (Psycho) tests
his dramatic range by playing a psy-
chotic preacher with murderous ten-
dencies and more than a few perver-
sions - Preacher Mike will never
seem the same again. Ken Russell
mixes sex, religion, and the human
condition with his camera until it is
a stinky, sticky, disgusting mass of
sludge that makes you wonder how
you've stayed so naive about other
people for so long.
Crimes of Passion was given an
X-rating when it was first released in
1984 and cetain shots of a policeman
and his nightstick were subsequently
cut to get the R. Regardless of
which version they show, for God's
sake don't take a date with religious
beliefs or your goodnight kiss will
seem like a disgusting, blasphe-
mous, scum-filled lick from a per-
vert.
At the MLB on Friday at 9:15.
--Brent Edwards

Dumbo (actually Ganesha the Scribe) laments the =death of coffee table books in ancient India.

by N. M. Zuberi
46It's the poetical history of
mankind," says the narrator Vyasa to
the Indian boy who listens to The
Greatest Story Ever Told. Long be-
fore Roman soldier John Wayne
stood at the bottom of the cross and
boomed "This man is surely the son
of God," Indian storytellers, per-
formers and cartoonists were re-.
telling pieces of The Mahabharata.'
Written in Sanskrit over 2,000
years ago,The Mahabharata is the
national epic of India. It's part litera-
ture, part religious philosophy and
*some early Indian history. Peter
Brook's three-hour film of his nine-
hour play centers on the conflict be-
tween the Pandavas and the Kau-
ravas, two feuding families compet-
ing for a kingdom. Without wishing
to simplify Hindu myth too much,
this war serves to highlight particu-
lar cosmic tensions in the universe
and to make evident philosophical
truths for the whole of mankind.
Most of the strengths and weak-
nesses of the film are common to
any adaptation of a stage play. The
acting is impeccable though a little
theatrically overwrought. But the ca-
dences and rhythms of the multi-ac-

cented, multi-cultural cast provide
the movie's great pleasure, and force
the viewer to dwell more carefully
on the words in Jean-Claude Car-
riere's excellent script. It's easy to
see why The Mahabharata was
dubbed the "theatrical event of the
decade."
But when it comes to the big
screen, an epic should get the Kuro-
sawa treatment with huge landscapes
and more cinematic grandeur. Brook
has tried to open up the play with
large elaborate soundstages and a,
roving camera, but the production
still feels trapped. The lighting falls
flat and no exteriors were shot. One
wishes Brook had spent another $70
million to make the movie a greater
spectacle.
However, The Mahabharata,
unlike most movie fare, does actu-
ally demand the viewer to reflect a
little on life, the cosmic order and
such urgent matters as the ethics of
violence. And as far as the Western
world is concerned, it does reclaim
Hindu philosophy from the Beats
and hippies (not to mention the New
Age-ists) who misread the Bha-
gavad-Gita, and spouted all that
dopey "love and peace" stuff to
anomie citizens. Returning to the

source material, as Brook and Car-
riere have done, reveals that Hindu
doctrine actually packs more of a Ni-
etzschean punch than the above cul-
tural tourists would have us believe.
All fine and good, but white
Westerners are still the ones inter-
preting Hindu Indian culture. Yet
again, we find that the voices of
post-colonial writers and directors are
conspicuously absent. An Indian
reading of The Mahabharata would
have conveyed more of the humor
and rambunctiousness of the original
text, as well as its deep, enduring
message.
THE MAHABHARATA is being
shown at the Michigan Theater
through September 29. Call 668-
8397 for times.

We set the standard in recycling.
kinko's0
.o
00
Rec le
Uses e ials!

"Coney Dog" Dinner on Sunday
4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
AXA
(Lambda Chi Alpha)
1601 Washtenaw at Hill
Across from "the Rock"

338 S. State
ii. , , I I I I I I I I I I I : A

p 1" 1 FXT=i=%Fm:pb ., '. . . . 1 .01%.

!,° '

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r T I I I I I I I I I I I I I I a - I I

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FRIDAY'S SPECIAL (3-7 p.m.)
Italian bread pizza
Made with our own homemade sauce
(Betty's secret recipe!)
A meal in itself -- Only $4.25

SATURDAY'S SPECIAL (11:30 a.m. - 5)
. select Longnecks $1.25
" Beef or chicken fajitas & all the fixins...
for uno $8.95....for dos $12.95
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Open 24 Hours
540 E. Liberty
761-4539

Open 7 Days
Michigan Union
662-1222

Open 24 Hours
1220 S. University
747-9070

s

The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC

HELP US
EVALUATE THE
UNDERGRADUATE
EXPERIENCE
Positions are available on the
following committees:
" Atheneum
" Academic Counseling
* Pedagogy
. Graduation/Distribution Req.
Decrintisnea f ch nf thee committee scan h

Sun. Sept.

23

Faculty Piano Recital by Jeffrey
Gilliam
Beethoven: Variations on an Original Theme
in F Major, Op. 34
Cotton: Solely Responsible for Its Content
for piano and tape (premiere)
Schumann: Toccata in C, Op. 7
Rachmaninoff: Etudes Tableaux, op. 39
Recital Hall, School of Music, 8:00 p.m.
Faculty Recital by Earl Coleman,
baritone, with Susan Keith Gray,
piano

Mon. Sept. 24

Order your college ring NOW.
Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
Monday, Sept. 17 thru Friday, Sept. 21,
11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.,

11

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