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October 01, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Is

'Music' runs into Wall

By JOHANNA FLIES
Watching two men build a wall out of 10,000 stones is
dull. Imprisoning the men on a secluded estate, where they
are guarded by a redneck in overalls and must fight sexual
deprivation and depression does not make the event any
The Music of Chance
Directed by Philip Haas; written by Philip Haas and
Belinda Haas; with Mandy Patinkin and James Spader.
less dull, which is unfortunate for viewers of "The Music
of Chance."
Jim Nashe (Mandy Patinkin), a former firefighter who
has blown nearly all of a $200,000 inheritance during a 13-
month road trip, picks up Jack Pozzi (James Spader) while
heading home to Minnesota in his new BMW. Pozzi is a
professional card player headed to a sure-thing poker
match against two rich but unskilled players. When he
admits thathe does nothave the $10,000 needed to join the
game, Nashe offers to put up the cash for a share of the
winnings.
Pozzi's opponents, Bill Flower (Charles Durning) and
Willie Stone (Joel Grey) prove to be much improved
players and not only win the original $10,000, but take
another 10 grand as well as Nashe's car. To pay off the
losses, Nashe and Pozzi agree to construct a "wall of
10,000 stones" in the men's field while living in a trailer
next to the site. Surrounded by a barbed-wire fence and
denied a telephone, the men are prisoners.
The plodding pace of the film is accentuated by its
unrealistic and annoying characters and bad dialogue.
Flower and Stone are so smug in their triumph over Pozzi
that it is hard to understand why he does not attack them,
especially since Flower's attempt to convey menace by
simpering, "You boys are in a big heap of trouble," is

laughable. Calvin, the guard, is played by M. Emmet
Walsh, whose whiny drawl and sing-song intonation are
as grating as his tendency toward melodramatic displays.
Spader and Patinkin, however, are convincing despite
the fact that their characters are underdeveloped. Pozzi's
sleazy and rash behavior is complimented well by Nashe's
respectability and self-control. Spader especially should
be commended for effectively shrouding himself in a
repulsive persona- from his blue polyester suit and dirty
fingernails to his crass accent. He, along with Christopher
Penn as Calvin's son-in-law, carry the film's few humor-
ous scenes.
Any attempt by screenwriters Philip and Belinda Haas
to develop a significant theme is hidden by the many
unexplainable and incomplete scenarios cluttering the
plot. Nashe's desire to return home in time for his daughter's
birthday is meant to illustrate integrity, but conflicts with
the fact that he has not seen her in 13 months. The
omission of important details about his past leaves ques-
tions in relation to his current motivations. Equally puz-
zling is Nashe's unexpected burst into song while serving
dessert.
The film's most important unanswered question, how-
ever, is why Nashe and Pozzi can not find a viable way to
escape from the estate. What ever-present force plunks
them back inside the fence when they dare to venture out?
And what is the point of the damn wall anyway? The intent
of the filmmaker to be mysterious and vague becomes
irritating. The end of the film comes unexpectedly, leav-
ing the audience with the feeling that important scenes
were mistakenly cut. The filmmaker should have taken to
heart Nashe's declaration to Calvin, "I'm on to you. You
won't get away with this." Perhaps then we would have
been spared, at the very least, Charles Durning in a form-
fitting yellow suit and at best a mottled attempt to stimu-
late consciousness.

4 v
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HE MUSIC OF CH ANCE is playing at the Michigan
Theater.

Intelligent Latin films continue
Latin American Film Festival highlights the provocative

Jessye Norman's performance at Hill Auditorium Wednesday night once again proved she is a class of her very own.
Emotional Norman s nes

By KEREN SCHWEITZER
"She was larger than life!" my friend Suzy exclaimed
after the concert. She was referring to the operatic star
Jessye Norman who performed Wednesday night in Hill
Auditorium. After two hours of glorious music by Ravel,
Schumann, Strauss and Messiaen, and after three en-
cores, the audience was still hoping to hear more. Jessye
Norman has once again lived up to her reputation as one
of the most re-
vered and re-
Jossye Norman nowned vocal art-
I-ill Auditorium ists of our time.
September 29, 1993 The concert
began with some
of Schumann's
lieder. These songs were perfect showcases of Norman's
sensitivity to the music as well as to the text. "Meine
Rose" or "My Rose" was particularly breathtaking. Nu-
ances and extreme pianissimos created the romantic
mdod. "Der schwere Abend" of "The Sultry Evening"

highlighted Norman's middle and low registers.
The works of Strauss and Ravel were also superb.
Once again, Norman communicated a deep understand-
ing of the musical motivations as well as singing a
technically flawless performance. She was a consum-
mate storyteller in Strauss' song, "The Holy Three
Kings from the Orient."
The highlight of the evening were the songs by
Olivier Messiaen. These emotionally and technically
challenging pieces were sung with the utmost sensitivity
and careful consideration. "Priere exaucee" or "Granted
Prayer" was the most spectacular. The inflections in her.
voice, extreme range of dynamics, and theatrical presen-
tation, created a dramatic effect.
After two encores, Jessye Norman finally ended the
concert with her rendition of "He's Got the Whole World
in His Hands." She invited the entire audience to clap
along as she sang her heart out. What makes Norman
such a special performer is that she was not just singing
the notes, or the melody, she was singing true emotion.

By MICHAEL THOMPSON
So you thought it was all over.
You thought you were going to be
stuck with Macaulay the death child.
Well, folks, fear not,because the Film
and Video Department is continuing
their festival of Latin American Cin-
ema. That's right, you're saved once
again from "Warlock 2: Electric
Boogaloo."
The weekend starts off with "Un
Sueno En El Abismo" (A Dream in
the Abyss). The film chronicles two
ambitious Venezuelan mountain
climbers who want to climb Mount
Everest. "La Frontera" (The Fron-
tier) follows with the story of a man
exiled to America for signing a peti-
tion. The little slice of America he is
banished to is a remote island that
was all but washed away by a mon-
ster tidal wave. "La Frontera" took
the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film
Festival while also capturing the Goya
Award in Spain.

The final film of the festival is
"Novia Que To Vea" (May I See You
A Bride). This film follows the lives
of two Jewish women growing up in
Mexico. Rifke Groman is a young
communist who is trying to find her-
self while OshinicaMataraso is ahope-
ful painter trapped in an oppressive
family.
The story takes place in the late
fifties and early sixties. We follow the
two women through childhood and
into adulthood. They are constantly
under attack by outside forces. Al-
though both Mexican by birth they are
treated as foreigners because they are
Jewish. They are even further torn
apartby the prejudices within the Jew-
ish community. Differing customs and
beliefs cause their parents to push
them further apart.
Director Gueta Schyfter clashes
culture and religion with truth and
certainty. The film blatantly shows
how it is impossible to be an indi-

vidual and yet be part of something at
the same time. Oshinica's mother dem-
onstrates a total lack of encourage-
ment and caring for her own child.
.She simply wants to marry Oshinica
off and get on with her own life. The
oppressive family is so believable that
sometimes they're difficult to take.
Love is also a factor here, but it's
hardly pretty. Oshinica's lack of love
contrasts Rifke's true passion. They
are both trapped in a world deter-
mined to shape them in a certain way.
And so we come to the end of an
extremely intelligent, provocative film
festival. But don't panic. Next week-
end you hardly have to see "Demoli-
tion Man." The Film and Video De-
partment is presenting a sneak of
Altman's "Short Cuts." If the Depart-
ment keeps this up we may never have
to see Seagal again. Hey, a guy can
dream can't he?
New Films From Latin-America is
playing at the Michigan Theater. ^

1 - - -v w - -

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As their name implies, the guys in
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"The Mission" voices concerns that
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war. "On With the Dream" shouts for
peace in a hate-filled air and contends
that with perseverance it's possible.
Sometimes the themes of the al-
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ficient level of melody. Drummer
Mark Poland (Chris' brother) and bass-
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them a sense of anger even when you
can't understand what he's saying.
Damn The Machine is a natural
outgrowth of the heavy Megadeth style
-a band with too many messages for
its own good, but with enough musi-
cal power to deliver many of them.
-Kristen Knudsen
Various Artists
Big Times in a Small Town -
the Vineyard Tapes
Philo Records
Here's a thought: take a bunch of
singer-songwriters and put them in
close proximity to one another for a
short time and record the nightly per-
formances. It's an interesting concept,
and last year Christine Lavin did just
that. "Big Tunes in a Small Town -

the Vineyard Tapes" is a collection of
17 of those performances from the
likes of Cliff Eberhardt, Patty Larkin
and James Mee.
As with any compilation, the qual-
ity is mixed and excellent perfor-
mances, such as Peter Nelson's "Sum-
mer of Love" and James Mee's "Big
Times in a Small Town" wind up
sharing company with material that
just is not of the same caliber, such as
Barbara Kessler's "The Date" and
David Roth's "The Star Spangled
Banner and Me." John Foster's "En-
tering Marion" is entertaining and
Pierce Pettis' rendition of "Nod Over
Coffee" sounds much better than the
version on his third album, but the
closing piece, a medley of tunes per-
formed a cappella by a great number
of people, including Lavin herself,
misses its mark completely.
As a quick once-over of some of
the talent on the current singer-
songwriter scene (though John Gorka
and Bill Morrissey are nowhere to be
found), "Big Times in a Small Town"
See RECORDS, Page 9

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We are seeking highly motivated college students to work with
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Applicants must have the following qualifications:
" Ability and desire to work with a diverse group of students
* Valid driver's license
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+ Available during the Fall and Winter terms

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I . Ann Arbor Civic Theatre sponsored in pa br THE NE YS
I MainStage Productions ANN ARBORNEWS
o sssM usic by
Oe&RICHARD
l RODGERS
Rnok &T;,vrir, lb

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