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November 02, 1993 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-02

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Rare theater glimpse
of Kubrick's 'Paths'

By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
Three years before outgoing Presi-
dent Dwight Eisenhower issued his
infamous warning against the mili-
tary industrial complex, Stanley
Kubrick did much the same thing
with his third film, "Paths of Glory."
aths of Glory
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, written
by Kubrick, Calder Willingham and
Jim Thompson; with Kirk Douglas.
Kubrick's warning extends beyond
the cold war condition to condemn
the institution of war and the military
mentality as a whole. "Paths of Glory"
is a cinematic accomplishment which
* be considered among the most
searing indictments against war in
any medium. It is "Guernica" on
celluloid.The film does not succumb
to the low-brow temptation to induce
emotion by spilling blood. In fact,
neither battle nor the fear of death is
the central issue. The enemy is the
military itself.
The ambitious General Mireau
orge Macready) orders an impos-
le charge and when it fails, he
seeks to set an example by court-
martialing three of the men for cow-
ardice under the punishment of death.
The situation would seem almost ab-
surdand fantastical, void ofany foun-
dation as an indictment against war, if
it were not based upon a true story.
Kirk Douglas, who also helped
Sance the film, portrays Colonel
, a lawyer by trade, who, as the
lone non-career military officer is also
the lone officer to assist or sympa-
thize with the accused. Douglas' per-
formance as the colonel struggling to
find a humane ally and a shred of
common decency or sense amongst

the military bureaucracy highlights
an excellent ensemble cast which also
includes Macready, Adolph Menjou,
Timothy Carey, Ralph Meeker and
Joseph Turkel.
The GeneralMireau charactermay
seem heavy-handed in his representa-
tion of the military mentality, yet this
is not a caricature, but rather,
Kubrick's refusal to be uncompro-
mising. He presents Mireau as the
embodiment of ugliness, fanatical
order and lack of compassion for or
recognition of the individual.
It is rare that a film of such emo-
tion can transcend multiple decades
aswell as this 1957 picture. Kubrick's
use of a World War I setting lends a
validity to the film's power which is
greater than the recent proliferation
of films regarding the considerably
less popular Vietnam conflict. The
strength of "Paths of Glory" does not
depend upon the politics of the audi-
ence. Its poignancy is universal.
The film is a glorious conglom-
eration of style and substance. It is
proof that film is art and that popular
culture can be both entertaining and
enriching.
If you wish to introduce yourself
to Kubrick's work or if you are only
familiar with his subsequent, more
popular films such as "Dr.
Strangelove," "A Clockwork Orange"
and "2001: A Space Odyssey," this is
the perfect opportunity to enjoy what
may be his finest cinematic moment
and one of the silver screen's most
underrated accomplishments. Con-
sider it a post-Halloween treat cour-
tesy of the Michigan Theater. You
may never get the chance to view this
masterpiece in a theater again.
PATHS OF GLORY is playing
Tuesday and Wednesday at The
Michigan Theater.

treats on Halloween
By HEATHER PHARES
Looking at the audience at the recent Buffalo Tom/ Bettie Serveert show
was nearly as entertaining as listening to the bands - more than half of the
crowd was costumed up as various
ghosts, vampires and ghouls lurking
Buffalo Tom with in the depths of St. Andrew's Hall,
awaiting the witchinghourthatwould
Bettie Serveert start the festivities.
St. Andrew's Hall Bettie Serveert was up first, dis-
playing live what the very receptive
October 31, 1993 audience already knew from the
band's excellent debut "Palomine"
- that this band has a talent and charm that distinguishes it from its
contemporaries. This talent and charm resulted in an electrifying stage
presence: the guitarist literally threw himself into his work, the drummer held
the long, experimental jam-style songs together and the charisma of the lead
singer, Carol Van Dijk, was so powerful that the audience followed her every
move onstage, like flowers turning themselves to the sun.
It was Carol's voice - suggesting joy, fear, despair and frustration, that
was the focus of the performance. Her interpretations of the band's repertoire
made the nearly hour-long show fly by. Standout tracks included their singles
"Tom Boy" and "Kid's Alright," as well as the album tracks "Sundazed to the
Core," "Leg" and "Brain Tag," the B-side "Totally Freaked Out" and a new
song called "Dew Feathers." Bettie Serveert takes all the pain of living and
forges it into beautiful, eloquent melodies: Pop as catharsis doesn't get any
better than this.
Buffalo Tom was equally competent at their trademarked raucous, catchy
songs. Lead singer Bill Janowitz bellowed "Happy Halloween!" and tossed
out candy treats to a rather shocked audience (he continued to do this between
numbers), but the real treat was watching this power trio perform hits off their
new album, the slightly disappointing "Big Red Letter Day" and from their
older records "Let Me Come Over" (a far better album), "Birdbrain" and
"Buffalo Tom." Among the best performances were "Staples," "Birdbrain,"
the new single "Sodajerk" and "Velvet Roof." The audience enthusiastically
moshed, yelled and sang along through the entire performance and didn't let
up until the last encore. Neither did Buffalo Tom, leaving the audience
drenched in sweat and knowing they got their money's worth.

Buffalo Tom pleased the Halloween crowd at St. Andrew's.

sz examinRes issues of politics and poetry

jar ' 'assion'comes
through on anthology
By TOM ERLEWINE
When Graham Parker first emerged on the scene in the mid-'70s, his fiery
R&B-based rock & roll foreshadowed the birth of British punk and new wave
by a year. Parker and the punks shared a righteous indignation at the sense of
decay in England as well as a passion-
ate belief that music could make a
difference. Yet Parker, like his con-
Graham Parker temporary Elvis Costello, didn't want
Passion is No Ordinary Word to abandon rock traditions, he wanted
to reinvigorate them.
1976-1991 His first two albums, "Howlin'
Rhino Wind" and "Heat Treatment," were
burning, incendiary records that
rocked with abandon and pulsed with excitement; they made little impact on
the charts. After those two terrific records, punk stole whatever thunder Parker
had in the press and charts. Two years later, he returned with "Squeezing Out
,"a strong; angry, focused set that is easily his best album. Although it
d sell fairly well and gathered a lot of acclaim, it didn't receive all the
attention it deserved. Throughout the '80s, Parker recorded a string of patchy
albums before regaining his strengths with 1988's "The Mona Lisa's Sister."
Since then, Parker's output has been consistent, with several good songs on
each record.
"Passion is No Ordinary Word," a two-disc, 39 song anthology does a
spectacular job summing up Parker's impressive career. Although most of his
records have been slightly spotty, "Passion" has no dross whatsoever. From
the white R&B of "White Honey," the vindictive "Mercury Poisoning" and the
nning "You Can't Be Too Strong" to the strong sentiments of "Don't Let
reak You Down" and "They Murdered the Clown," the anthology contains
nearly every great song Parker has written. While the music is consistently
great, it becomes clear no matter how melodic and memorable Parker's songs
are, they are too uncompromising and rough for a wide audience. All of his
musical idioms are familiar - straight '50s rock & roll, Stax and Motown
R&B, Stones-style swagger and Dylanesque acoustic ballads - but his
subjects are altogether too strong and, indeed, too passionate for commercial
airplay.
"Passion is No Ordinary Word" is very accessible and rewarding for
anyone interested in Parker -the liner notes filled with Parker's caustic wit
F worth the price for any hardcore fan. Those that are unfamiliar with
ker's music will be impressed by this comprehensive compilation. It is a
deserved appreciation for an acclaimed yet unrecognized songwriter.
Catch Graham Parker's solo acoustic performance at the Blind Pig
tonight. Doors open at 8 pm and tickets are a mere $10.50. It promises to
be a memorable show.

By WILL MATTHEWS
"I am not a political poet. I am not
a political writer," explained poet
Czeslaw Milosz to a group of report-
ers at a recent press conference.
Milosz, who read from his work last
Friday night at the Rackham Amphi-
theater, spoke of politics and poetry
- two areas of thought and writing
that he usually prefers to keep sepa-
rate. Sometimes, however, the two
paths cross. "Occasionally, when I
get very angry, I become a political
writer," he said.
The brutality and devastation
brought by the German occupation of
Poland in the early 1940s was one
such situation that spawned his indig-
nation. Milosz, who was born in
Lithuania in 1911, had moved to Po-
land by the Second World War and
was living in Warsaw at the time of
the occupation in 1943.
"There are poems in which I deal
with the reality I observed under the
Nazi occupation, but I tried to pre-
serve a distance and not to be a jour-
nalist in covering those events. The
best poems of mine are quite detached,
but because of my anger and moral
indignation I have written some po-
ems which are a direct testimony, like
the time of the destruction of the
Warsaw ghettos by the Nazis. I wrote
a poem entitled 'Campo dei Fiori.' "
In that poem, he writes, "Those
dying here, the lonely / forgotten by

the world, / their tongue becomes for
us / the language of an ancient planet.
/ Until, when all is legend, /and many
years have passed / on a new Campo
dei Fiori / rage will kindle at the
poet's word."
Recently, the situation in Bosnia
has also caused his indignation. "I
believed a few years ago that a new
international border based upon the
The individual human
experience ... remains
... constant throughout
the broad movements
of history. MIlosz'
poetry Is thus firmly
rooted in human beings
and their world.
respect of international law can be
introduced, and so that no possibility
of atrocious events during the Second
World War could be repeated. But I
witnessed the events in Yugoslavia. I
witnessed the Republic of Bosnia,
recognized by the United Nations,
and then invaded, shamelessly, and
no reaction. And I have written a
furious poem, 'Sarajevo,' toprotest. I
consider [the situation in Bosnia] an
ominous event."
Milosz sees similarities between
Bosnia and the rise of totalitarian re-

gimes in the 1930s. "For that reason
I attach much importance to what
happens in Bosnia as far as undermin-
ing the authority of international law,
of the inviolability of borders - be-
cause that is precisely what is in-
volved ... The analogy between the
holocaust and [Bosnia] is obvious."
Milosz also spoke of Poland's
meager recognition in the post-Cold
War years: "I should say that the
result of the elections in Poland is
largely due to the attitude of the West.
Because the West took Poland for
granted as being pro-Western, Catho-
lic [and] nationalistic, so Poland re-
ally didn't need any financial support
according to the economies of the
West. Now think of billions and bil-
lions of dollars invested by West Ger-
many into East Germany to keep the
country alive after the reunification,
and practically nothing in Poland..."
Poland's agricultural products

were not as important as industry in
the post-war years. "Poland wanted
to be a part of [the] European Eco-
nomic Community, wanted to be part
of Europe in all possible respects, but
it found a rather tepid attitude from
the European Community."
The individual human experience,
however, remains relatively constant
throughout the broad movements of
history. Milosz' poetry is thus firmly
rooted in human beings and their
world. "Writing is notdependentupon
the fluctuations of political scenes,"
explained Milosz. "What is the sub-
ject of poetry?" Milosz asked. "The
subject of poetry is the world. Spring,
summer, winter have changed? Tu-
lips change? Clouds change? I con-
sider myself an admirer of reality, of
everything we see and hear which we
perceive by our five senses. That is
the source of poetry, for me in any
case."'

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