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March 23, 1993 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-23

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ARTS

Laugh at the title, but not at this film

by Jon Altshul
"The last uncontaminated man," wrote one turn-of-the-
century anthropologist of Ishi, the only surviving memberof
the Northern California Yahis. Forced to assimilate into the
white man's world as his only means of survival, and without
the most basic English communication skills, Ishi revolu-
tionized stereotypes of Native Americans- from that of
Wsh: The Last Yahi
directed by Jed Rifle and Pamela Roberts
narrated by Linda Hunt
savage to that of gentleman.
Pamela Roberts and Jed Riffe have made his experiences
in Anglo culture from 1910 until his death five years later the
subject of their latest documentary film "Ishi: The Last
Yahi."Narrated by therobustvoice of Linda Hunt ("Yearof
Living Dangerously," "Silverado"), the prject is both grip-
ping and thoughtful.
Ishi's sojourn in the white world coincides with the
advent of contemporary anthropology. By 1910, scientists
badbegun to move beyond "superiorrace" debates, and were
now toying with a cultural relativist approach to examining
Native American tribes. This historical occurrence legiti-
mizes "Ishi". The film is clearly not the result of historical
revisionism- cultural biases are never revealed and past
injustices are never lambasted. Instead, Roberts and Riffe
present a singularly objective, if not optimistic account of
Ishi's post-tribal life.
A small, though proud tribe through the mid-1800's, the

were eventually devoured by post-civil war hunters and
surveyors. Unable to defend themselves against the settler's
guns, a tiny group of survivors went into hiding in 1871,
living on aremote Northern Californian cliff. For forty years,
the group struggled for survival, until a ruthless pack of
surveyors unprovokedly murdered them and stole their
animals. Only Ishi remained.
Without food or family, Ishi was forced to enter a world
he'd never even seen before. What follows is particularly
touching and poignant. The white anthropologists quickly
befriended him, never objectifying him or labeling him a
savage. Despite communicating through the most rudimen-
tary hand gestures and being exploited by the San Francisco
press, he established himself as arevered and much beloved
character in the white man's world.
The film concerns itself primarily with the relationship
between Ishi and young anthropologists Alfred Kroeber and
T.T. Waterman. Their friendships are unique. As each side
struggles to rationalize the civilizations of the other, curi-
ously strong bonds are formed. Ishi becomes their riding
partners, storyteller, and friend.
He represents the last remnant of a forgotten and now
extinct native tribe. Butultimately Ishi transcends the stigma
of "lab rat" or museum spectacle. Rather, he helps the
ethnocentric whites realize how human they actually are.
The film is short- running under an hour- but both
tremendously engaging and potentially disturbing. You may
laugh at the title, but you certainly won't laugh at the film.
"ISHI: THE AST YAHI" is playing at the Michigan
Theater on Wednesday at 5:30 and Thursday at 7:30.

John Woo shoots bullets at you

by Michael Thompson
Overdone,overblown,overdramatic
andprimarily overkill. Congratulauions,
you'vejustmadeitthroughthefistfive
t ;minutes of a John Woo picture. And the
fun has only just begun.
While most films try to have an
exciting beginning that will pull you in
fast, Woo begins with utter chaos and
then continues onto new, more unbe-
lievable levels. But realism can take a
back seat to fun any day. And that's
what'shappeninghere,ladiesandgentle-
men,goodold-fashioned, subtitled fun.
"Bullet" tells the story of three bud-
dies who make a critical mistake and
must flee Hong Kong. They decide to
head to Vietnam to make their fortune.
The year is 1967 so the war is on. Get
ready for the ride of your life.
Woo explodes the screen from the
furstmoment withaScorsesesquemon-
tage of fun and violence. Like "Mean
Streets," guns are very important in this
film. One character says, "With agunin

our hands we can have anything in the
world." And he's almost right.
These three buddies are just kids
living in a very violent world and lov-
ing it. They are young, carefree and,
above all, stupid. They've been ex-
posed to tremendous horrors since be-
fore their voices started changing. But
Woo takes them further into a world of
violence where guns, violence and
immorality are all part of daily life.
Soundmelodramatic?Youbet. Woo
has a wonderful time critiquing not
only the action genre, but melodrama
as well. His filmsbuildto tremendous,
unbearable emotional crescendos only
to push the envelope even further. The
situations are so overdone that you
can'thelp laughing. Woo is forcing his
viewers to realize how silly movies
are. But don't worry, this isn't one of
those deep-into-theory films. It's fun
ftm start to finish.
Much like Woo's "The Killer,"
"Bullet" has amazing escape scenes

and lots of violence. "Bullet," however,
is harder to take than "The Killer." Woo
sets this picture in a world that is too
real.Wecan'tdistanceourselvesfromit
like we could in "The Killer."
In a sense, Woo is basically remak-
ing "The Deer Hunter." His film shows
the lives of three friends before, during
and after the war.'They are, of course,
forever changed, but that's okay be-
cause it's a bell of a ride watching them
get there. Woo once again redefines
film whenhe takes the Russian Roulette
sequence from "Deer Hunter" and
makes it his own. It's silly, amazing,
overbearing - in other words, great.
So if you're fedup with midterms or
just pissed off, go see "Bullet in the
Head." Its excitement will keep your
heart pumping for at least a week. And
don't worry about the subtitles; people
are too busy blowing holes through one
another to really say anything.
BULLETIN THE HEAD is playing
Fri. & Sat. at 7& 9pmin AHAud A

It's ironic that Soul Asylum is changing their sound from grunge to pop when grunge is just coming into vogue.
Soul Asylum goeson MT V
by Nima Hodael conscious effort to take what we were to sap some of the interaction the band
Soul Asylum isn't as new as you doing and make it more exact." thrived on in more intimate settings.
might think. The rock quartet out of This attention to exactness probably "We have a great light show," joked
Minneapolis, featuring Dave Pirner explains the band's long overdue ac- Murphy. "With the theaters, we're get-
(ead vocals / guitars), Dan Murphy ceptance, as illustrated by airtime on ting a little more comfortable doing
(guitars /backing vocals), Grant Young MTV, college radio and TV appear- them. Hopefully a lot of times when we
(drums)andKarlMueller(bass), sprang ances on shows like "Saturday Night play a theater, people will stand up,
out of the same heartland of punk / Live." Songs off the new album, like eventhough thereareseatsaroundthea.
garage roots with fellow groups like "SomebodytoShove"and"BlackGold" It'sjustalotmorefun that way.We'lldo
Husker DO and the Replacements over are about the most straightforward pop this Europe tour with Guns N' Roses.
10 years ago. It's taken about that long, songs Soul Asylum has ever played. We'll play in front of 70,000 people
though, for Soul Asylum's music to "Ideally, you want more people to every nightoutdoors.That'lltakealittle
reach the ears of mainstream corporate find out about your band,"Murphy getting used to."
rock whores. admitted. "You can'tbe selective about It would appear Soul Asylum is
Ironically, as Murphy pointed out in your crowd. People always ask, 'What's poised to take over the world, right?
a recent interview, just when "grunge it like being on MTV?' Better than not Well, not exactly.
rock" (their former style) has gained being on MTV, I guess. We're pretty "I'd like to make maybe one more
popularity, the band's new album, realistic about it." goodrecordandthenfigureoutwhatwe
"Grave Dancers Union," is the most un- Soul Asylum's semi-rise to success want to do with our lives," said Murphy.
"gnmge"-like of any of their previous hasn't been without its downsides. "I'm sure (SoulAsylum) will endsome-
works. Murphy noted a tremendous decrease day for whatever reason. I'm kind of
"Grave DancersUnion," as even the in older fans at their shows, along with sick of music. I don't like the business
band won'targue, is definitely the most analmostexponentialgrowthofyounger or what goes with it at all."
accessiblerecordin SoulAsylum's cata- fans who have just discovered the band You can almost hear their "Run-
log. Acoustic guitars, and a generally through "GDU." away Train" whistling off in the dis-
more toneddown style, comprisemany Amidstthecriesof"sell-out,"there's tance. It'll be a sad day for music, in-
parts of the album. no denying that more people than ever deed.
"I think the band kind of felt like we areawareof the group'sexistence, aided SOUL ASYLUM will perform at Hill
were in a rut," explained Murphy. "It by seven months of continuous touring, Auditorium Thursday, March 25 with
seems like if everything is so excessive including opening slots for awide range Goo Goo Dolls and Vic Chestnut.
it goes right over people's heads a lot of of performers like Beastie Boys, Keith Tickets are $10 (students) and $15for
the time. The whole spectacle of Soul Richards andan upcoming summer tour everyone else (p.e.s.c). Showtime is 8
Asylum was what everybody would in Europe with Guns N' Roses (!). p.m. Call 763-TKTS for info.
focus on, not the songs. I was always Older fans will remember the days
under the impression that Dave was a when Soul Asylum would pack a small
pretty giftedsongwriterandnoone paid club like the Nectarine. However, on R iverrain
attention to that because in our shows this headlining tour, the group brings
we were always pretty drunk and flop- their antics to the more spacious Hill
ping around. I think ('GDU') was a Auditorium.Abiggervenuewouldseem

i
t

i

Abby Fruc
by Joshua Keldan
"Are You Mine?," Abby Frucht's
new novel, follows Cara and Douglas
as they make decisions which shape
their life. They deal with questions of
birth, abortion and surgical contracep-
tion. Frucht spoke about her choice of
subject matter, "As I grow older, I real-
ize that there are very important issues
that face people who are in love with
each other, and that physical intimacy
carries with it a lot of responsibility."
"I decided I wanted to really do a
close examination of a particular child-
birth the way I hadn't seen it done
befor. I did that, and I liked it. It didn't
seemtometobedonebecauseitseemed
like there were all sorts of other ques-
tions pertaining to adulthood and sexu-
ality, and I wanted to see if I could
address them all together in a single
narrative."

ht's
Frucht, t
novels, "Lic
as acollectio
the Month,"
ity withinher
withbotham
able world, a
ingherwork
unreality. Sh
is necessary 1
averytangib
like world, s
on topof itat
an emotiona
physical sid
explore that
times it has a
In her ne
stay with a
tion.;"Every1
of demands
You Mine?,"

characters shape their
he author of two earlier tional reality securely in the material to do was w
rice," and "Snap," as well circumstances of their world," she said. instance, the
n of short stories, "Fruit of In order to ground the novel in the tion withou
creates a sort of dual-real- real world, Frucht had to present infor- have no re
work,presentingthereader mation about each choice the couple nancial con
inutely detailed, recogniz- faced. Informing, however, was not her known as a.
nd at the same time infus- goal. Rather, she said, "I didn't think, have partic
with moment of fugue-like for instance, that there was any real way decisions th
e explained, "What I think of talking about abortion without really their heads
to do in fiction is to create looking closely at what happens, and not informe
le, concrete, documentary- what kind of conversations take place. Howeve
o that the fiction can exist How is the decision made? How is the might be fr
ad aroundit.I think there's procedure accomplished? I really stillallherw
a reality that parallels the wanted to follow this couple so closely feel. Frucht
b of reality, and when I that those decisions would be under- method. "A
emotional reality some- stood on a sort of daily basis." shapes, andi
a slightly surreal edge." "Are You Mine?"lacks expression- cal. I like tc
ew novel Frucht opted to ist feel of Frucht's other work, and its shape early
straightforward presente- characters are not as realistically de- stance, how
book makes a different set tailed as in the others. "I realize that my ing to be i
on its characters. In "Are characters are quite typical," she said, (these thing
I wanted to keep the emo- "They'resupposedtobe.WhatIwanted ifIdon'tIf

lives together

unburden them, so that, for
ey come to the abortion ques-
t any preconceptions. They
igious preconceptions, fi-
straints, they are in what is
good marriage, they don't
ularly strong politics. The
ey make are made solely in
and in their hearts and are
ed by the broader debate."
rdifferent "AreYou Mine?"
om Frucht's earlier books,
oorkislinkedby its 'shaped'
ascribes this to her general
Xl my books have different
they're all fairly symmetri-
o be able to anticipate that
on, so that I know, for in-
many voices there are go-
n the book. I like to know
s) in the beginning, because
ind that the writing becomes

random and arbitrary," she said.
This does notmean, though, that she
knows where the novel's events lead.
"They' rnotplotted, they're only rhyth-
micallyplotted,"shesaid,'Forexample,
in the one I'm writing now, I know (or
think I know), that it's going to be told
by five different women, but I don't
even know who three of them are yet."
AndFruchtrejects categorizing herstyle.
She won't be held to any one method,
"It's fine to have a shape in a book, but
I like to have a sense of freedom, too."
ABBY FR UCHT will readfrom her
work today at 7:30p.m. at Border's
on State Street. Admission is free.

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Center
Presen ts
Wednesday,
March 31
8pm.
THE PAUL WINTER
CONSORT
IN CONCERT
Transcending categories, the CONSORT'S music reflects jazz,
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BRASS, STRINGS, BASS GUITARISTS,
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INTERPRETERS For The HEARING IMPAIRED

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