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September 22, 1992 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-22

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 22, 1992

Gratuitous hanky-panky adds to the fun
by Aaron Hamburger
It is commonly acknowledged
among fledgling film connoisseurs at
college campuses that European
filmmakers have higher standards
than their American counterparts.
That's why a film like the current
import from Spain, "Lovers," is so
refreshing. "Lovers" has plenty of
gratuitous sex and melodrama to
FILM REVIEW

Lovers
Directed by Vicente Aranda; written
by Vincente Aranda, Alvaro Del
Amo, and Carlos Perez Merinero;
with Victoria Abril, Jorge Sanz, and
Maribel Verdu; in Spanish with
English subtitles
spare, but that's what makes it fun.
Think of the movie as "Basic
Instinct" with a Spanish accent.
The film's love triangle centers
around a lackadaisical young soldier
with raging hormones named Paco
(Jorge Sanz) who is urged by his
prude fianc6 Trini (Maribel Verdu)
to move to the city and get a job.
Unfortunately for Trini, Paco's land-
lady Luisa is played by Victoria
Abril (the magnetic star of the last
two Almodovar films, "Tie Me Up!
Tie Me Down!" and "High Heels").
Luisa seduces Paco and so begins
the web of intrigue that is the cor-
nerstone of "psychological thrillers"
like this one.
Besides the film's portrayal of
sex with a handkerchief, what makes
"Lovers" unique are the vital per-
formances of the three leads. Each of
the actors makes his or her character
believable and even, at times, sym-
pathetic. Abril, for example, (whose
ferociously intense performances
come close to matching the power of
the great Judy Davis) fleshes out her
stock character of the evil temptress
by revealing Luisa's bitter loneliness
land deep-seeded need for sexual
'gratification. You can't really hate
her because you understand her so
well.

No place like Rome
If you've ever felt like you
really belonged in the 3rd
century ruling a bunch of
Romans, we're afraid you're
really out of luck. However,
we'd like to suggest a reasonable
alternative (which, incidentally,
doesn't come from Seattle - go
figure.) Ann Arbor resident Al
Sjoerdsma has written a play
about Roman emperor Julianus,
called, appropriately enough,
"Julianus." And guess what! Ann
Arbor's own Performance
Network is staging it. But the
best part is that you - yes, you
with your Roman nose - can
play a part in it. The Performance
Network is holding auditions on
Wednesday at 7 p.m. Call 663-
0696 to start your big break.
...Life is but a dream
Have you been dreaming of
unusually large towers, red-
woods, flagpoles, and other such,
well, objects? Well, personally,
we think you might need to see
someone about that (because
admitting you have a problem is
the first step - and we care, I
mean, we're concerned), but if
you've only got time around, say,
7:30 p.m. tonight, then what you
want to do is talk to the folks at
the I.C.C. Education Center
(1522 Hill). They want to discuss
the hidden symbolism in dreams
- and they won't charge you for
it. Call 665-3522, especially if
you have that one about the Eiffel
Tower again.
"The play's the thing"
As for the tube, flip it over to
A&E and relax. What they've got
for you is "Living Shakespeare:
A Year With the RSC." What
could be better on a Tuesday
night than highlights from the
30th anniversary season of the
Royal Shakespeare Company?
What more can we say?
Stare master
And don't forget, the Museum
of Art has a Picasso or two, up on
the second floor, just crying out,
in a cubist sort of way, for people
to stop in and ogle.

*1

0I

Luisa (Victoria Abril) and Paco (Jorge Sanz) are certainly smokin' in the new Spanish sexfest "Lovers," playing at the Michigan Theater.

Maribel Verdu, as the innocent
Trini, effectively plays up the des-
perate love her character feels for
Paco, in her futile attempts to com-
pete with Luisa in bed. Her last
scene in the movie is as affecting as
it is shocking.
The only truly despicable charag-
ter in the movie has to be the shift-
less, scheming Paco, who can never
get up the spine to betray either
woman (one whom he loves, the
other whose sexual prowess he can't

live without ) until the very end of
the film. But even then, Sanz makes
Paco's actions seem understandable,
if not laudatory.
The only problem with the movie
is when it attempts to take itself too
seriously, as Great Art. "Basic
Instinct" entertained because director
Paul Verhoeven (alright, he's
European, but it was an American
production) reminded the audience
every step of the way that he was
making a shlocky piece of entertain-

ing kitsch, a pop opera that was
never meant to have anything to do
with reality. Here, director Vicente
Aranda tries really does take himself
seriously. It's as if Aranda thought
he was directing "Casablanca,"
when what he really had was a good
episode of "General Hospital."
Still, one can't deny the cheap
voyeuristic thrills of "Lovers,"
which does feature several memo-
rable sequences, including one

where Paco and Trini huddle under
an overcoat in the rain, and another
where the three principals meet by
accident on the street and Abril icily
rebukes the embarrassed Paco, "You
don't have to be so formal with me.
We're friends."
Don't be scared off by the subti-
tles. "Lovers" is truly American at
heart.

LOVERS is
Theater.

playing at the Michigan

----- ----

CA

STER

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