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October 31, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-31

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Wednesday, October 31, 1990

'The Michigan Daily

Page 5



Blues for the superficial at heart
Life and Nothing. __
Btdir. Bertrand Tavernier

Southern boys go
beyond a whisper

by Mike Kuniavsky
SR ecently, it seems, certain film-
makers have taken to emotionally
distancing themselves from their
films and attempting to take a ratio-
nal, cold look at the reality they're
portraying. Goodfellas, Henry: Por-
trait of a Serial Killer, and even-
Wild at Heart all have a sense of
removal from their subject manner,
attempting to show reality (or, in
?avid Lynch's case, surreality) de-
tached from any emotional content.
Several recent big European films fit
into this mold: Jean de Florette,
Manon of the Spring and now,
Bertrand Tavernier's Life and Noth-
ing But.
All of these films, especially the
last three, have a certain "hyper-real"
feel to them, as if the directors are
working so hard to make everything
look and act exactly like it's sup-
posed to that they forget about the
story. This, regrettably, has the ef-
fect of making great-looking, su-
perbly acted (i.e. "perfect") films that
ale little but hollow shells (the old
phrase "eye candy" doesn't quite fit
here because there is a reason for ev-
erything, it's just that it's a superfi-
cial, self-indulgent reason). Life and
4rothing But, as the latest of these
ventures, is also it's best example.
Ostensibly the story of the encoun-
ters of three very different people -
each obsessed in some way with
WWI MIAs -- in a 48-hour period;
the film's screenplay is simultane-
Piccadilly Palare (7")
EMI import
Following the dictum of his hero
Qscar Wilde to "either be a work of
art or wear a work of art," the Bard
of Manchester continues to be a
cross between young Werther and
Dorian Gray. Morrissey's writing
- was always soaked with the Gay
*sensibility, but since the demise of
the world's greatest rock group
(post-1970), the camp aspect of his
work has blossomed like one of
Oscar's hyacinths. Morrissey vogued
and licked chocolate bars in the
"November Spawned a Monster"
video, and yet again, on "Piccadilly
Palare," he unashamedly minces at
least more than one syllable.
Back in the old days, Morrissey
was writing about homosexual desire
"A boy in the bush is worth two
in the hand/ I think I can help you

drivin' n' cryin'/Soul Asylum
October 29, 1990
Nectarine Ballroom
by Kristin Palm
"Do oyou think anyone in this
bar is here to see drivin' n'
cryin'?" asked a friend, one of the
few people who was at the Nec-
tarine Ballroom for that express
purpose. Although -the answer
was of a negative nature because
the crowd was full of flannel-clad
Soul Asylum fans, perhaps the
next time drivin' n' cryin' comes
around this will not be the case.
As soon as Kevn Kinney, Tim
Nielsen, Jeff Sullivan and Buren
Fowler hit the stage and blasted
through "Powerhouse" (and it
was) from The Whisper Tames
the Lion, it was evident that this
band from the South has no prob-
lem rocking the Midwest. This
was their first-ever Michigan ap-
pearance and, while the audience
wasn't overwhelmingly receptive
(i.e. they weren't engaging in the
usual practice of throwing people
all over the place and pretending
it's fun), people were spotted
mouthing lyrics, bobbing heads
and actually looking a little

pleased with the performance. It's
more than likely these guys will
be back.
There were no funky covers,
like Soul Asylum's rendition of
"Tracks of My Tears;" just, as
Kinney had promised, loud,
straightforward rock. The mel-
lower tunes had all but the diehard
fans milling about the bar but
"Scarred but Smarter" from the
band's debut album of the same
name, rivaled any of Soul Asy-
lum's best run-throughs.
Speaking of which, the boys
from Minneapolis were in top
form. Although the focus of the
show was the band's newer stuff,
everything was played with ap-
propriate fervor. "Veil of Tears"
rocked even harder than it does on
the album, almost making up for
the dearth of tunes like "Never
Really Been" and "Take it to the
It was most definitely a night
of culture, as Midwest post-punk
met Southern roots rock (No,
drivin' n' cryin' is nothing like
Lynyrd Skynyrd.). If enlighten-
ment were always this loud, this
sticky and this fun, we would all
be more damaged, more enriched
and, ultimately, happier.

Philippe Noiret and Sabine Azema star in Life and Nothing But, an enjoyable film that could have been better.

ously "about" letting go of old emo-
tions to continue with life and an
anti-war statement.
But more than this, Tavernier is
seemingly obsessed with making the
film look as much like WWI-torn
France as possible: picture-perfect
uniforms, destroyed villages,
makeshift Army headquarters, elitist
butlers, obsessed widows and lots of
mud all seem very realistic. Yet
there's something missing: the love
affair that develops between the Ma-

jor in charge of (and obsessed with)
counting the war dead and the
woman whose husband went MIA
several years before and who's ob-
sessed with finding him, dead or
alive, should be the centerpiece of
the film. But when the key point in
the affair finally occurs, it seems
unnatural, as if all of the actions
leading up to it were just the charac-
ters going through the motions.
This is not to say that the film is
worthless; it is far from it. Philippe

Noiret as the Major is great, keeping
his potentially preachy character
subdued enough to be believable and
Sabine Azema as Irene (the MIA's
obsessed wife) is good, too, but their
performances (and the film's good
cinematography) don't go far enough
to really save the film from its ulti-
mate spiritual frigidity.
the Ann Arbor 1 & 2 through Thurs-

rte - _ _ -

Irite with u


get through your exams"
("Handsome Devil") and "You can
pin and mount me like a butterfly"
("Reel Around the Fountain") - but
"Piccadilly Palare" goes another step
further in its explicitness. It's about
male prostitutes working in Lon-
don's Piccadilly Circus area. The
Pogues wrote about the perils of be-
ing a rent boy on the 'Dilly in "The
Old Main Drag," but Morrissey's
song celebrates male comradeship, as
well as pointing to the less salubri-
ous aspects of cruising and trolling
("It could go on forever/ In which
case, I'm doomed").
Palare (pronounced palar6), as
Morrissey reveals, is the "silly slang
between me and the boys."
"November Spawned a Monster"
dealt with a disabled girl yearning for
love, and "Piccadilly Palare" also
dwells on those that inhabit soci-
ety's fringes. Morrissey has always
fancied a bit of rough, whether they

be sweet and tender hooligans,
Rusholme ruffians or suedeheads.
This time it's the "West End Girls,"
the Pet Shop Boys referred to back
in '85. With that fascination for
street glamour has always been a fear
of getting beaten up and abused,
since Morrissey always casts himself
as the proverbial wimp. Here, he's
the novice afraid to admit that he
doesn't know the whole score.
"On the rack I was/ Easy meat
and a reasonably good buy," he sings
quite frankly, qualifying the fleshly
delights he has to offer. Suggs of the
late great Madness provides the muf-
fled voice of a client in the back-
ground. Of course, Kevin Arm-
strong's music doesn't approach the
sublime moments of Johnny Marr's
Rickenbacker, but it does skip along
in the perky manner of "Sheila Take
a Bow" and "Is It Really So
The flip side "Get off the Stage"

is as camp as a Nectarine boy's
pout. Morrissey chides an old glam
rock/metal star to an old time music
hall accordian shuffle. "You silly old
man/ With your mascara/ And your
fender guitar," enunciates the Hul-
merist. Could he be singing about
old slag David Bowie? Either way,
Morrissey's pronunciation of
"mascara" is one of those rare pop
moments that will make you swoon,
dears. And as for the phrase
"misguided trousers": surely another
gem to join the glittering jewels in
the Morrissey canon.
-Nabeel Mustafa Zuberi

E .. .. .. .. .. .......
. . . . . . . . . " i > S . . . . 2 ; ". . .
::.:: :ssaasag






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