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A nerd finds love
Sleeping beauties wake
by Michael John Wilson
Why does it take a non-American to
make a good film about growing up?
Nearly all the classic coming-of-age
tales are foreign films, from "Fanny and
Alexander" to "The 400 Blows" to
"Murmur of the Heart" to "My Life as
a Dog." And what do the Americans
make? "A River Runs Through It,"
"Dead Poets Society" and "Home
Directed and written by John Duigan:
with Noah Taylor and Thandie Newton
Australian writer/director John
Duigan is the latest master of the form.
"Flirting" is the second film of his pro-
jected trilogy, a cycle about growng u
in Australia. Thie first film, 'The Year
My Voice Broke" (1987) followed
Danny Embling (Noah Taylor), a pre-
teen in love for the first time. Using the
same actors, "Flirting" picks up the
story three years later, with a teenage
Danny now residing at a repressive
It's not necessary to have seen the
first film to enjoy "Flirting"; both sto-
ries relate independent episodes in
Danny's life. But knowing both films
deepens the experience. The characters
and the landscape seem vaguely famil-
iar, almost as if they were your own
childhood memories. And seeing the
same actor as Danny in both films is
similarly gratifying. We're watching
both Danny and Noah Taylor himself
grow up onscreen. Duigan intentionally
waited for Taylor to grow up a bit before
he made the film.
In "The Year My Voice Broke,"
Danny was a typical, lovesick, nerdy
youngster; a few years later, however,
he's become a full-fledged teenage out-
cast. It's not your average teenager who,
when faced with a dilemma, asks him-
self, What wouldJean-PaulSartre do?"
The leisurely plot finds Danny in love
with another outsider: an African ir
(Thandiwe, played by Thandie New-
ton) in an all-white boarding school.
Duigan achieves a keen balance be-
tween the tragic and the comic elements
of Danny's story. le doesn't drench the
story in nostalgia, or copoutwith straight
comedy. Instead, adolescence appears
in all of its ugly, excruciating reality.
The fihn starts and ends with Danny in
pain; the very first scene shows Danny
being whipped by the headmaster.
But it's a bearable pain because of
the familiar absurdity of Danny's story.
We can laugh at Danny from a safe
distance, because we've been Danny
Do film companies even see the movies they promote? They must have
considered Danny Embling (Noah Taylor) too ugly to put on a publicity photo,
so they give us this shot- an irrelevant picture which, ironically, Danny
fights to prevent from being taken. Guess he failed.
by Darcy Lockman
Self-help books flourished in the eight-
ies, as players in the "me decade" at-
tempted to cure what ailed them. Some-
how though, amidst all the hype and all
the copies of these cure yourself epics
penned, 49% of the population was mys-
teriously forgot ten.
"There have been a tremendous num-
ber of (self-help) books on the market for
women. Very few have addressed issues
of men," says Dr. Robert Pasick, psycho-
therapist and author of the recently pub-
lished "Awakening From The Deep Sleep:
In hisimale patients, Pasick saw symp-
toms of what he now terns a "deep sleep."
He explained, "The deep sleep means
being shut down to emotions, going
through life on cruise control."
Pasick's book sets out to wake men
up, to make them more attuned to their
emotions. "Until recently, men tended to
ignore their feelings. They were taught
that they had to bring home the bacon, not
that they needed to tend to their own
emotions," he said.
Pasick feels that the women's move-
mnent played a part in confusing men
about their roles, making them perhaps
more prone to the deep sleep. "Men are
confused by the changes the women's
movement is bringing about. There's a lot
of pressure to push themselves, to be
strong and successful," he said.
Pasick revealed that even he has
not been free from some of the symp-
toms of thes deep sleep. Ile said, 'l've
gone through it myself. I push myself
to be successful, to have a best seller.,
Manhood is a constant challenge. But
I've come to realize that strength is
not measured only in the physicalr
sense. Being a sensitive person is an-
other form of strength."
So is Pasick's book for other men
who have reached the same conclu-
sion? Well, yes. "It's for men who
want to avoid the deep sleep, for men
who are aware of problems of sexual
socialization, men who want to wake
up and make decisions. Women have
also responded well to the book be-
cause it explains why men are the way
they are,' he said.
So if you're one of those eighties"
types of guys who's been secretly (or
openly) longing for a self help text
written just for you, Pasick's book °°
might be just the tiling. Looks like the
self-help trend might stick with 11
thi-otI-ih the nineties.
DR. ROBERT PASICK will be at the
Michigan Theater tonorrow at 4:00
f/or( a discussion and book signing.
and Thandiwe and survived. Danny's
romantic voice-over narration also
sweetens the bittersweet tone. Only near
the end does Duigan become overly
sentimental, as he makes Danny so he-
roic that it becomes unbelievable.
Until that point, there's a kind of
honesty to Duigan's portrayal of ado-
lescence that's completely foreign to
mawkish Hollywood coming-of-age
failures. Some scenes are so intensely
personal and so truthful that it's almost
a shock to see them onscreen. The word-
less moments are the best; when Danny
and Thandiwe's parents meet, for ex-
ample, the awkward silence in their
polite, nervous conversation is brilliantly
Natural performances by Taylor,
Newton and the entire cast give weight
to Diuigan's script. Minor roles such as
the meanie Nicola (Nicole Kidman) are
presented realistically. Even the evil
headmasters aren't one-dimensional -
see "Scent of a Woman" for a fine
FLIRTING opens tonight at 9:20 at the
Michigan Theater and runs through
with your host
and student comedians
saA]E Mve,t "..Joel Zimmer
ID ~ ""'for more information
Sweet Honey in the Rock. Sounds like a drink, doesn't it? It's actually a five-woman ensemble that have been lauded
as intoxicating by their many fans all over the globe. The straw that stirs the drink for the group, Bernice Johnson
Reagon, founded the group in 1973 and infused into it her sense of social awareness. The group's new album, "In This
Land" features songs which comment on the environment, AIDS and women's issues. The audience can expect them
to pull a few of these socially charged compositions out during their performance tonight at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium.
In the end, however, Sweet Honey's message reverberates only as loudly as their music. For most "the music's the
thing." Besides the ocassional use of hand-held percussion intruments and clapping, the group sings a capella, often
in four part harmony. Their versatile blend of blues, gospel and jazz defies categories and points to the African
American basis of their music. Tickets are $12 to $22, with rush tickets available today at the Union Ticket Office; call
Q 4 ft. Blac
Bulbs only $19.95, fixt
-*Sign up to win
s'fl" - Phish tickets
vstislavarama at Hill
Go Slava! This Sunday at 4 p.m.
the legendary Soviet-born cellist
Mstislav Rostropovich will give a
recital of German and Russian clas-
sics, accompanied by Sara
Wolfensohn. During his long career,
Rostropovich has participated in
many of the most respected cello
recordings made since the days of
Casals and Feuermann. More re-
cently, he has become a classical
music superstar (and a less than leg-
endary conductor).The Germanhalf
of the program includes J. S. Bach's
Suite No. 5 for Unaccompanied
Cello and Richard Strauss' youthful'
cello sonata. The cello and piano
version of Rachmaninov's sugary
"Vocalise" and S hostakovich's cello
sonata make up the second half.
Tickets are S18 to $48, with rush
tickets available Saturday at the
Union "licketOflice. Call 764-2538.'
It's the wonderful world of art!
The public is invited to the opening
of an exhibition featuring the work
of Susan Skarsgard and Sharon
Wysocki. Skarsgard, a well-known
calligtrapherand editorofQuill Jour-
nal, is showing her abstracted cal-
ligraphy. On the other hand, art thera-
pist Wysocki's oeuvre consists of
assemblage book covers. It all hap-
pens tonight from 6-8 pinattheAnn
Arbor Art Association and it's free.
Did you always think New Wave
was nothing butabrief musical stint
in the eighties? Think again. It's
actually a brief film stint in the
sixties that looked very mod back
then but just looks pretty silly now.
If you want to see the revolutionary
movie that started the whole thing.
Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless", is
on view tomorrow night. No, it
doesn't star Richard Gere; that's the
cheesy American remake. Jean-Pau P
Belmondo plays a French gangster
and Jean Seberg is the innocent
American who falls for him. It's at'
the Nat Sci Auditorium at 7 pin.
If you're really lazy and don't
feel like leaving the house, why not
Soderbergh's follow-up his mag-
nificent "sex, lies, and videotape,"
one of the best movies's of 1989, is
out on home video. Though it has
been criticized for being pretentious,
overly showy, muddled, and poorly
written, so is Martin Scorcese's
"Cape Fear' and critics ate that up.
Decide for yourself. Any movie with
Jeremy Irons can't be that bad.
215 S. State, Ann Arbor (upstairs)
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