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October 26, 1990 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-26

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 26, 1990- Page 1.


Descending from the literary tra-
dition of turn-of-the-century Jewish
immigrants depicting the displace-
ment of shtetl-dwellers forced to
cope with an alien, urban life in
*America, Uncle Moses brings to
life the conflicts of a generation in
exile. Uncle Moses takes place in
the years before World War I, after
one-third of the Eastern European
Jews left their homelands for Amer-
ica. Chased out by religious persecu-
tion and economic blight, Jews came
to America with a mixture of hope
and regret. While the American
* Dream flourished in their expecta-
tions, the demise of the traditional
family unit and old-world social
structure led to despair and the death
of a culture that rapidly became ob-
Maurice Schwartz, a leading actor
of the Yiddish stage, and Sidney
Goldin, a director who created many
films with Jewish themes, joined to
bring Uncle Moses to the screen for
*its debut in 1932. Although it
wasn't the first Yiddish "talkie,"
many critics celebrated Uncle Moses
as the first true Yiddish feature film
for its artistic quality.
Artistic quality it has, in its
touchingly unsubtle portrayal of Un-
cle Moses, played by Schwartz, a
tyrannical garment shop owner
struggling with greed and his univer-
sally human need for love. Although
the film is overt in its thematics and
ideology, the conflicts that it pre-
sents in polarized terms succeed. Be-
cause it is so overt, Uncle Moses
becomes somewhat of an allegory
with characters representing Biblical

Save your gelt for Uncle Moses, and pass by the borscht and matzoh
balls for a real taste of Jewish culture that transcends itself.

ture coming apart by the conflicts
that America, in all its metaphors,
For those who saw last year's
showing of the The Dybbuk, Uncle
Moses is the next step in Jewish
history. The Dybbuk portrayed a
shtetl community and its tradition,
while Uncle Moses brings these
same people to America and traces
the eventual collapse of the Old
Uncle Moses will show on Sat-
urday at 7:00 and 9:30 in Aud. A.
There will be a discussion of the
film by James Hoberman, lead film
critic for The Village Voice, at 8:30
(between the screenings) at the same
location. Admission is free.
-Jen Bilik
The Vampire's Kiss portrays a
real vampire who turns, or thinks he
turns, into a legendary vampire. Ev-
erybody knows a real vampire: the
kind of people who manipulate ev-
eryone around them just to feed off
the power play. Nicolas Cage plays
Peter Loew, the suave yuppie type
of vampire that appeared during the
'80s in epidemic proportion. The
movie opens as Loew begins to real-
ize that what he lusts after can't be
found in an endless round of one
night stands.
In the most poignant example of
this, he stares out of his office win-
dow at a happy couple in the street
below as his secretary's voice floats
out of the intercom, "Peter? Are you
there, Peter?" When he finds some-
one who cares about him, his fear of
dependency becomes realized in the

form of Rachel, a vampire domina-
trix, played by Jennifer Beals. As the
film progresses, he slowly convinces
himself of his vampiric nature.
A modern comic-tragedy, The
Vampire's Kiss succeeds because of
its depth. Rachel, for example, ap-
pears whenever Loew tries to estab-
lish a normal relationship. At the
same time the film never loses its
comedic element in such moments
as the lost and terrified look on
Loew's face as Rachel drags him up
to his room, or his manic run
through the streets of New York
yelling "I'm a vampire! I'm a vam-
The murky lighting, muted col-
ors, and off-beat camera angles make
the movie more visually interesting.
These techniques come together
when Loew, tripped out on mesca-
line, sits on the edge of his bed
watching Nosferatu. The flickering
gray light from the TV plays over
his vacant face as Rachel lays her
head on his lap and sighs lovingly.
Characters such as Alva (Maria
Conchita Alonso), the quiet but
tough secretary he assigns to find a
missing contract, and Jackie (Kasi
Lemmons), the woman who could
love him, provide an edge of realism
that makes Peter Loew's twisted
tumble into insanity believable.
- Jon Rosenthal

figures, archetypes and their com-
mon struggles. Yet with this alle-
gorical treatment, the individual
characters still develop to complex-
ity, inspiring compassion for those
that seem to begin as evil and one-
Uncle Moses, initially represent-
ing Moses bringing the Jews out of
Egypt by transporting his people to
New York, resembles instead the
Pharoah by enslaving the people in
his shop. Charlie, the Marxist, later
assumes the Moses figure in his ef-
forts to help the workers assemble
for humane working conditions.
Masha, the worker's daughter with
whom Moses has fallen in love, is
caught between family obligations

and the New World option of choos-
ing her own husband, of struggling
between being an independent Amer-
ican and a dutiful shtetl daughter.
For all the symbolism, however,
the characters are interesting and
sympathetic. The film traces Uncle
Moses' growth from despot to hope-
ful and benevolent lover to dejected
old man. Schwartz acts superbly,
with a physical performance that
communicates his character's psy-
chological states. Although Uncle
Moses is a tyrant, Schwartz conveys
him with psychological subtlety as a
man overcome by his ego. The
scenes of the community and
Masha's family, especially their
wedding, capture a closely knit cul-

Continued from page 9
lice" and a Ku Klux Klan pitch.
Consolidated blame their fellow
white American men for doing noth-
ing to counter a history of hatred and
institutional oppression. The chorus
is thereafter followed by the sample
of an anonymous person spitting,
"It's disgraceful, it's disgusting!"
This in turn is followed by a
brief, sterile cover of "It's About
That Time," from Miles Davis' Inra
Silent Way. The tune is the lis-
tener's only respite here and func-
tions medicinally, like "Show 'Em
Whatcha Got," by this band's clear-
est influence. "It's About That
Time" runs little more than three
minutes before the onslaught con-
tinues. A sample, "To think that.. a
bunch of rich, white men in Wash-
ington can control the reproductive
rights of.. poor women of color,",
kicks off "Love, Honor and Rie
spect," along with fat keyboard h1lts
and an exoskeletal beat. Even betMer,
is the funky "Dysfunctional Rea-;
tionship," a track that attacks the iti-
equalities between women and mep
on more personal levels. The best
statement within: "It is imperati.er
that men are more sensitive Jo.
women's needs."
At their show at the Nectarine-
ballroom a few weeks ago, during '
Q&A session, a skeptical listener.
asked Consolidated, "Are you guys;
for real?" The answer was affirnm-
tive. Strangely, to hear the messags
in this album coming from thpse
guys somehow seems more brac'
more profound, and more effective.
Is that fair? No.
-Forrest Green II









1> P4. r


with hot oil treatment
312 Thompson near Liberty
[ )

Premiere Performance of
for choir, soprano and baritone soloists,
harp, organ, handbells and congregation

by Stephen Rush
composer in residence of University of Michigan Dance Department
Friday, November 2, 8:00 p.m


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(OUR REG. 9.99 & 10.99 CD's)

Commissioned by Campus Chapel in celebration of
fifty years of campus ministry at the University of Michigan
1236 Washtenaw Ct.
parking in the University of Michigan Church St. parking structure



Tuesday, October 30
6:30 8:00 pm
Michigan Union
Pendleton Room



Considering an
Advanced Degree:
A Look at Where, What & How

Annenberg School of
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Sandraatel, Oke"orfeCarner Planing
Indiana University
School of Public &
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Jeanne Heeb, Coordknator. Reauknmeno

Washington University
Olin School of Business
Ron Van eet, AnciatD irector. AdmiNuions
University of Michigan
Horace H. Rackham School
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AM NakataNi. Diector, Graduate Admikons


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