The Michigan Daily
Friday, March 6, 1992
Perel's painful journey
dir. Agnieszka Holland
by Austin Ratner
Europa, Europa is the astonishing
rue story of Solomon Perel, a
German Jew who survived the Ho-
locaust as a teenager through a com-
bination of fortuitous circumstances
and ingenuity. Only truth could be
so strange as this unique tale of
survival, horrifying suspense and
tragedy (despite what Holocaust
Revisionists may have to say - or
The film begins in Peine, Ger-
many in 1938, where Solomon
(Marco Hofschneider) and his fam-
ily suffer brutal terrorization in the
Nazi pogrom known as Kristall-
nacht. From here on, events unfold
with such devastating speed that we
Are hardly aware two hours have
passed by the film's end.
After moving the family to Lodz
to flee persecution, Solomon's father
sends Solomon and his brother,
Isaac (Rene Hofschneider) east,
hopefully to safety.
While crossing a river, however,
Solomon is separated from his bro-
ther - one of many separations and
losses he suffers, and one of many
poignant representations of the
destruction wreaked on individual
lives during the Holocaust, in which
the victims are known to most sim-
ply as statistics. As Solomon says at
one point after the death of a friend,
"I won't go on, I can't go on."
After being sent to an orphanage
by Russian soldiers, where he is
trained to be a good communist, So-
lomon is captured by the Germans.
Concealing his Jewish identity, he
maintains that he is a German or-
phan who was captured by the Rus-
So begins Solomon's adventure
as a member of the German Wer-
macht and his struggle to maintain
secrecy about his identity - dif-
ficult because he is circumcised and
because he has no one to confide in.
Each of the locales and scenes is
photographed with a realistic frank-
ness appropriate to the shocking turn
of events. Two surreal dream se-
quences deliver through eerie im-
ages a sense of the internal horror
and fear Solomon feels.
Besides the unusual facts of
Perel's life, the perspective offered
by the film is a unique one, in that it
depicts the German point of view in
World War II - and even sheds ad-
ditional light on the perplexity of the
There is probably some general-
ity to Solomon's means of survival
among the gentile Germans and
other subjects of Nazi rule. As Eu-
ropa indicates, to join was clearly
the surest way of surviving Nazi ag-
gression and terrorization.
Furthermore, Europa suggests
Solly (Marco Hofschneider) is consoled by Leni's mother (Halina Labonarska) in Europa, Europa, a realistic and
wrenching portrait of the bizarre circumstances of Solomon Perel's survival.
the tremendous intoxication of po-
wer for the persecutors, the arbiters
of the fates of the persecuted. And
finally, a total immersion in anti-
Jewish and anti-Bolshevik propa-
ganda among the soldiers and citi-
zens of the Third Reich is apparent
- a fundamental assurance that the
Jews and Soviets are a dire threat
and the cause of all their woe.
Hofschneider's adequate perfor-
mance, which doesn't register the
full emotional trauma of the events
as completely as it might and occa-
sionally lapses into incongruous,
lightheartedness, doesn't detract
enough from Europa to reduce its
impact as a stirring, moving docu-
ment of the Holocaust.
EUROPA, EUROPA is playing at
the Ann Arbor 1 & 2.
Some Morrisseys ar
b Andrew J Cahn
ow's this new Bill Morrissey
disc?" a middle-aged folk music
devotee asks the resident folk expert
h( one of Ann Arbor's finer record
"Well," says the all-knowing one,
O'He's great, but his stuff keeps get-
ting sadder and sadder. I'm almost
afraid to listen to this one."
When I relate the conversation to
the New Hampshire-born folk
singer, he responds, "Are you sure
he wasn't confusing me with the
other Morrissey? ... My last one,
Standing Eight had a bit of depresso
stuff on it, but the new one's nothing
If the record guru was afraid of
another sad disc, Morrissey says,
"he's really going to like the new
In the liner notes for his latest
release, Inside, Morrissey dedicates
the album to his fiancde, Ellen, but
that does not mean the record is
filled with soft love songs, like John
Lennon's pledges of eternal devotion
to Yoko. He does admit, however,
that "Off-White," which is about
preparing for a wedding, is based on
his relationship with Ellen.
"Chameleon Blues," which de-
scribes a woman who changes com-
pletely to go along with each new
lover, is about an old girlfriend of
his. "One good thing about songwrit-
ing," Morrissey says, "is that I get to
lash out at people in a public way."
He is sure that she has heard the
song, and he knows that her current
boyfriend likes the song, but he
doesn't know if either of them "get
But Morrissey says he generally
thinks of his songs as fiction. His
storytelling ability is evident in
"Man from Out of Town" and
"Everybody Warned Me." The set-
tings of those songs, possibly be-
cause of the minimal production, or
the fact that they are folk songs,
make the listener think of New
England, which is where he has
lived all his life.
Though he currently resides out-
side of Boston, he is originally from
New Hampshire. Unless you've
spent the last month studying for
midterms or partying in some colo-
nized Third World island, you would
know that the New Hampshire
Presidential primary took place a
few weeks ago.
"If you listen to the state's local
satirist, Barry Crimmins," Morrissey
says, "Every one thinks we're really
smart for a few weeks every four
years, then all of a sudden we're
That, however, is not the reason
why he moved away. "I wanted to be
near a major airport," he says.
Morrissey says he also wanted to
be near a bigger folk music scene.
Along with Colorado, Boston has
always been a center for up-and-
coming singer/songwriters. Morris-
sey says that he sees the genre
expanding to many other areas of the
country where it hasn't been excep-
tionally popular before. Including
artists like Christine Lavin, John
Gorka and Patty Larkin, Morrissey
sees himself as part of a group of
young performers involved with, and
partly responsible for, this folk mu-
They are only partly responsible,
since the relatively small labels they
are on have been promoting the
artists a great deal. When Robert
Johnson went gold last year, Mor-
rissey says, "There were literally
people at Columbia who said, 'Can
we get this guy on Letterman?"'
Although he is happy when other
artists, such as Suzanne Vega, who
sings on Inside's title track, are
signed by major labels, he feels that
he is in the best possible environ-
ment. The people at the indie
Rounder, Morrissey says, "are fans
of their artists, care about the music,
and give me complete artistic free-
dom. My friends who are on the ma-
jors feel a pressure to crank out hits.
"All I have to do," he says, "is
write good songs." At least he
knows what his priorities are.
BILL MORRISSEY plays at the Ark
Sunday with Johnny Cunningham.
$9.75 for members, students, seniors
and $10.75 for everyone else. The
show is at 8 p.m., but you can catch
Morrissey playing for free at
Schoolkids' at 1p.m.
The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Sun. Mar. 8
1 Tue. Mar. 10
Thu. Mar. 12
Faculty Recital by
Willis Patterson, bass
Premiere of Gabriel's Call by DaCosta and
music of Scarlatti, Mozart, Handel, Wolf,
School of Music Recital Hall, 4 p.m.
Jerry Blackstone, conductor
Scott Van Ornum, piano
An American Program :
Lauridsen: "Mid-Winter Songs" and
works by Pfautsch, Gershwin, Ives and
Undine Smith Moore
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Ed Sarath, director
North Campus Commons, 8 p.m.
New Works from the Electronic
Music of Angell, Chambers, Costa, Hogan,
Morrison, Palmer, Newby and Phan
Guest artists Matthias Biehler, Tom Frank,
Doug Hagley, Jeremy Steward and members
of the University Dance Company
Rackham Lecture Hall, 8 p.m.
Faculty Artists Concert
University Musical Society
Selections from the Edison Collection, with
Karen Lykes, mezzo-soprano, and Jerry
24# Laser print, white, 8.5x11
Phone: 665-9200 Fax: 930-2800
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332 Maynard St.
across from Nickels Arcade
Members of Malini Srirama's dance troupe display the eleg ant costumery
that accompanies Indian classical dance.
Throw away those toe
shoes forIndian ballet
by Diane Frieden
After being exposed to canonized ballet, it can be a refreshing change to
view another culture's representation of the classic art form, one that has
been performed for over ten times as long as our country is old.
Absent are the cotton candy tulle skirts and the stark leotards. The troupe
of Malini Srirama is wrapped in traditional costumes which Srirama brought
back from one of her many trips to India; they wear exotically colorful lane
scarves and elaborate gold ornaments.
Billed as "Classical Indian Dance Ballet," Srirama & Troupe offer
Nritya-Ganga, which translates to "The Divine River of Dance." The three
movements flow through the history of east Indian dance style, starting with
the gods and ending in the present.
"This is a new, original dance ballet." Srirama said. "I wanted to d
something different, with Hindu mythology and a historic perspective df
Srirama culled ideas from both ancient and modern poets, from Sanskot
text dating as far back 2000 B.C. The music includes "a small interlude of
drums," played on stage, said Srirama, and what she called "famous lyrics,"
written by the poet/historian/sage Bharatha Natya in the book Natya Sastra
which covers dance, drama, and music.
Bharatha appears as a character in the first movement, who receives
dance instruction from the gods and translates it to those on earth. The
second episode in Nritya-Ganga leans more toward fantasy than history,
where "dancers perform for the queen Shantala in 1080, in a temple, as
beautiful sculptures," said Srirama. The queen has built a beautiful temple,
full of carvings, and she falls into a trance-like state and "visualizes celestial
dancers," Srirama said.
That the title's translation evokes images of water is no accident. The
performance is a benefit to aid the Rural Drinking Water Project, to provide
clean and safe drinking water in several villages in India. Aside from that
positive and environmentally sound outcome of the performance, Srirama
thinks that people should attend the ballet to stretch their experiences. "Ites
good to be exposed to another culture." she said. "And it's very good
NRITYA-GANGA will be performed March 6 at the Power Center at 8 p.i.
Tickets are $7 and $5 with student I.D. For more information call 763-
TKTS or (313) 645-6666.
Doe s your resume have all the
punch of a 98-pound weakling?
PUMP IT UP.
Sun. Mar. 15