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March 12, 1992 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-12

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The Michigan Daily-Weekend etc. March 12,1992 Page 1

All sold out
and no
place to go
n'91's best jam, the transatlantic
rhymekickin' "Can't Truss It,"
Chuck D. decried the disintegration
of Black unity all by itself, just as
much as the external destroyers of
that love. Even more dramatic and
encompassing than the paradigmatic
"Who Stole The Soul?" from PE's
Fear OfaBlackPlanet, "Can'tTruss
It" deconstructs the mythology of
the Black experience like no other.
Ponderous in its might and elu-
sivein its swiftness,"Can'tTruss It"
moves us from the coasts of Goree
Island and Sierra Leone to the trad-
ing blocks of Jamestown, Va., to the
street corners of Inner City, America
with a disturbing ease.
Chuck begins and ends his tale
"Kickin' chief 'cause we had a big
beef / Because of that now I grit my
teeth," in themeantime finding him-
self "smacked in the back / For the
other man to mack," and bridges the
tragedy of the African holocaust in
the harshest, most soulless terms
Rightfully, Chuck erodes the
Black-white line of demarcation
which keeps the struggle so simple
to so many. He reminds us, as with
the deaths of Huey Newton and El-
Hajj MalikEl-Shabazz in "Welcome
To the Terrordome," that "Every
brother ain't a brother." Where's
your soul? he asks Black people all
over the world, shifting his shaky
ground from revolutionary leader to
hip-hop griot because it's the best
he can do.
Like the practice of socialism, I
realized that soul must exist every-
where at the same time to work
effectively. If not, the people with
soul will be drained and rendered as
inhuman as their soulless surround-
ings. And then it occurred to me that
a Black college would've only fore-
stalled the soullessness of this Uni-
I wanted to go to Morehouse
College in Atlanta, Ga., not the Uni-
versity of Michigan, in the home of
coffee and tie-dyed t-shirts, Michi-
gan. I'd hoped to go someplace
where the Black community, the
soul, would be so great I could do
nothing but belong.
Then I learned that the frigid
Michigan airs so prevalent here al-
most pale in comparison to what's
lurking beyond the Howard Univer-
sities and Morris-Browns, just after
the Morehouses and Spelmans.
"It's a good experience,:'my el-
ders told me. "You'll learn how to
deal with white folks."
Four years later, all the natives
ask, "Say, man, you know we got to
stick together, man. What's the mat-
ter with you? Where's your soul,

I don't know.
Actually, I do.
It rots unheeded on lavatory
floors all over the campus, under the
heading Notes From Underground.
It molders within stacks of drop/add
forms in the basement of Angell
My soul hides under the veneer
of urban alienation, wizened by the
knowledge that anyone who calls
me "bougee" has gotta be pretty
"bougee" his or her damn self. It
hears a Black guy walking with a
girl of another skin color, accused
by frustrated people of being a "sell-
out," and knows both sides all too

For weeks, eyes looking like unhatted Resi-
dents have been staring at passers-by from
kiosks, shop windows, telephone poles. These
handbilled eyes have been announcing the imminent arrival of
the celebration of the Ann Arbor Film Festival's 30th Anniversary, a once-in-
a-lifetime opportunity to catch a few of the many great films screened at the
festival during the past three decades.
Besides a seven hour-plus chronological retrospective of some of the films
that have won at the festival during the past 30 years, the AAFF has organized
a series of workshops, individual showings and panel discussions which begin
on Friday morning and continue through Monday evening, the day before the
Festival begins. Participating in the conference, titled 'Thirty Years and
Beyond: Celebrating the IndependentFilmmaker," will be many major indepen-
dent filmmakers such as Kenneth Anger, Barbara Hammer and George Kuchar.
Since its founding by George Manupelli and the Once Group cultural
organization in 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival has been one of the most
powerful forces in making Ann Arbor a cultural mecca. It has also allowed
filmmakers to have their films presented to large public audiences. Far from the
mainstream, the festival has always heralded the achievements of many differ-
ent members of the avant garde, from the work of Anger and Larry Jordan in the
'60s to the achievements of Ayoka Chenzira and Hammer today. Festival
director Vicki Honeyman calls the festival "the vanguard in independent and
experimental film exhibition."

films run the gamut
from documentary to ani-
mation, lyrical abstract to
Natives by Scott Stertling and
Jesse Lerner of Los Angeles is a docu-
mentary about anti-immigration sentiment
in Encitas, California, a black and white piece
distinguished by the elegance of its composi-
tion and by the symbolic, non-narrative foot-
age that punctuates the interviews. Economi-
cal editing captures the irony and sympathy
behind often incendiary talk.
Geometria by Jane Milroy of Vancouver
turns to the abstract in a collage of colors and
images and sounds, bookended by an altered
representational image of an accordion player.
Faith and Patience by Sheila M. Sofian of
Newhall, California, combines animation with
live action in an endearingly unfocused discus-
sion with a little girl about her doll and her new
baby sister. The simplistic


March 13-16
Thirty Years and Beyond:
Celebrating the Independent
Four days of workshops.
March 14, 7:30, 9:30 & 12
The AAFF Retrospective
Three different shows of films
from the past 29 years.
March 17-22 (see Weekend
etc. List for showtimes)
The 30th Ann Arbor Film
r%^_r E1lTO

riting about a
film festival
V consisting of
around 80 films from a
sample group of 10 can't
be as difficult as choosing
the 10 that will accurately
and enticingly represent the
festival in its entirety. Such
is the task of

the selec- ' ' palette of the animation,

tion com-
mittee of
the Ann Ar-
bor Film
which also
films from the
mitted. Over the

success for
the '92 fest

set to an atonal rendition
of "Twinkle TwinkleLittle
Star,"serves to communi-
cate the uncertainty of
childhood, while the
child's discussion with her
mother renders her safe.
Tales From My Child-
hood by Francisca Duran

about 80
280 subm

Manupelli, who actually ran the festival from his residence in Canada for a few years
in the'70s, will provide opening remarks at the Retrospective. He explained, "I defined the
Film Festival as servicing the collaboration between filmmakers and audiences. They seem
to have kept it alive."
It's probably easy for the local resident to take the
Film Festival for granted, just because it has been a
local fixture for so long. But as the founder of the
Festival, Manupelli remembers a time when chal-
lenging, experimental, independent film was even
more difficult to see in public showings than it is

course of the Festival, win- B '! EN B II of Toronto tells, retrospec-
ners will be chosen in vari- tively, the stories of achild
ous categories by the Festival's judges in war-torn Chile after Allende's assassina-
(filmmakers, critics and educators) and tion. It's a pastiched memoir of disparate st6-
still more films will be selected to travel ries, held together by themes of a childhood
around the country in the Festival's na- unconscious.
tional incarnation. Submission, selection, Madcap by Phillip Denslow of Venice,
narrowing down, judgment, disappoint- California uses abstract images and whimsy to
ment, acclaim: the cycles of life. make a statement about bureaucracy and art,
If these films even approximate the punctuating his "animated improvisation" with
festival as a whole, this year's showings darkly ironic lettered warnings that "opinions
should not be missed. Vicki Honeyman, expressed in this film are not necessarily those
director of the Festival, says that this of the filmmaker" and do not "represent the
year's submissions were some of the best budget constraints on arts funding" nor do they
she's seen in the 15 years that she's been offer "an endorsement of Western Civiliza-


hMO WI ecause 1th New Y ork audiences liked a narticular ____

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