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March 09, 1994 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-09

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 9, 1994

'Accompanist' sheds
'Piano' comparisons

BY CAMILO FONTECILLA
Since its release, Claude Miller's
film "The Accompanist" has had to
suffer inevitable comparisons to its
more boldly titled sister, Jane
Campion's "The Piano." Miller's
movie, however, is distinctly different,
despite the intrinsic presence of piano
The Accompanist
Written by Claude Miller and Luc
Beraud; directed by Claude Miller;
with Romane Bohringer, Elena
Safonova and Richard Bohringer.
music that both films share.
Campion's Ada plays to maintain her
own identity, and her musicality is
primarily introspective; on the other
hand, Miller's Sophie plays as a way
to project her identity out into the
social world. In short, it is not so
much a way to keep living as a way to
keep existing.
Against the backdrop of occupied
Paris, 1942, we meet Sophie (Romane
Bohringer), a recent graduate of the
Consdrvatoire with a special ability
to capture the subtle sensibilities of
piano music. Hungered by the wartime
recession, she is taken on as
accompanistsby Irene Brice (Elena
Safonova), an extremely popular
Parisian diva. Through Irene and her
husband Charles (Richard Bohringer),
Sophie soon begins to sponge in the
new fashionable life that surrounds
her.
She soon realizes, however, that
her status will always keep her a step
beneath her employers. Finding her
life dimmed by the brilliance or
Irene's, she chooses to become an
appendage, if possible indispensable,
to the glorious diva. Thus, she slowly
finds herself discovering the secrets
that lurk within the Brice household,
from Charles' political subterfuges to
Irene's affair with a member of the
Resistance.
The relationship dynamics
generated by Miller and Beraud are
fascinating. Sophie has a thunderous
spirit, as Irene guesses early in the
film, but she blankets it with thick
layers of meekness and servility. She
P
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Second Stage Productions
Anton Chekhov's
isf eas
March 10-26, 1994 L
Thurs., Fri. & Sat. at 8:00 p.m.
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, 2275 Platt Road
AU Ikets$$8.00
Tickets or Information, Call 971-AACf

becomes completely absorbed into
Irene's life, but with an intensity that
doesn't allow her to be a mere casual
observer. She becomes messenger to
her mistress and spy to her comings
and goings.
Charles Brice, successful business
entrepreneur, finds that he has to
escape France to guarantee the safety
of his family after he enrages the Nazi
command. As they travel, Sophie
learns to respect Charles and soon
becomes torn as to who deserves her
loyalty. Struggling with the powerful
knowledge of Irene's affair, she
becomes hungry to see more. On the
one hand, she desires Irene and
Charles together, a harmony in which
she has adefinite role. But witnessing
Irene's turbulent affair is a window
into a world of heightened passions
which she alone cannot attain.
Music plays an important role, but
only in the sense that it creates a very
clear distinction between Irene and
Sophie. One is the singer, the other is
the accompanist, the piano eternally
in the shadow of the voice. At the
keyboard, Sophie's bitterness grows;
the piano makes her wonderful, and
yet she obtains recognition only from
lrne. She loves Irene for giving her
what she has and hates her out of
spiteful jealousy.
Romane Bohringer's Sophie is
wonderful, delicate and awkward at
the same time, extremely musical but
with a monotone voice that informs
of her subservience. Safonova is
brilliance, and she illuminates the
screen with her irradiating presence.
But it is Richard Bohringer as the
earthy Charles that performs
memorably here. His scratched voice
commands his household with
authority, but Bohringer's face is
wrinkled by self-doubt. And although
Charles' wisdom is conventional,
Bohringer makes it doubly poignant.
While Richard Bohringer's
performance is more than enough
reason to remember "The
Accompanist," one cannot forget the
corrosive simplicity of the plot.Miller
colors it with a husky wartime Europe
that strongly permeates the lives of
our three protagonists, and reflects
the growing tensions between the
characters themselves. Finely
constructed and delivered, "The
Accompanist" continues and
exemplifies the accomplished
tradition of recent European imports.
THE ACCOMPANIST is playing at
the Ann Arbor 1 & 2.
Read the Daily.
Largest IUrary of nformation inU.
19,278 TOPCS - All SUBJECTS
order Catalog Today wh Visa / MC or COO
S80-351-0222
Or, rush $2.00 to: Research Information
11322 Idaho Ave #206A, Los Angeles. CA 90025

No, "Romper Stomper" is not all fun and games; it's a "Clockwork Orange"esque bunch of skinheads. And no one takes them bowling.
Stomer roves different is 2ood

A. A.

By MICHAEL THOMPSON
Much like Mike Leigh's "Naked," the first
scene of "Romper Stomper" tells you that you are
in for something different. And with the way films
are deteriorating these days, different is good.

Romper Stomper
Written and directed by Geoffrey Wright; with
Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock and Jacqueline
McKenzie.
Geoffery Wright's film "Romper Stomper" is
a not-so-happy story about a gang of skinheads.
They go around beating people up and are all
slowly caught or destroyed. This is more fun than
any of us have had since "Reservoir Dogs."
The film revolves around Hando, a semi-
psychotic skinhead and his new girlfriend, a very
psychotic groupie who wanders from one abusive
relationship to another. Hando's group of loser
skinheads roam the city streets looking for Asians
to beat up and stuff to break. But before you know
it the carnage has begun and you are in the middle

of chaos. Happy trails.
"Romper Stomper" features acastofunlikable
characters. It's sortof like "Bad Lieutenant" cubed.
But the acting and directing make these characters
compelling. We may not like them, but we want to
see what will happen to them.
Russell Crowe's performance as the lead is so
absorbing that it is almost possible to relate to him.
He's never an outright bully like so many "bad"
characters are in the movies. Writer-director
Wright blurs the lines and we are left spiraling.
Every time we get some kind of foothold in either
hatred or sympathy, the characters do something
we can't easily respond to. The film doesn't keep
you guessing - it keeps you feeling.
The other actors are equaling disturbing.
Jacqueline McKenzie is perfect as the crazy
groupie. We feel sorry for her and hate her at the
same time. And Daniel Pollock, as Davey, offers
up the most confused and confusing character of
the bunch. At first he seems like the die-hard crazy
guy, but then he progresses into something more
and maybe a little less.
The film ends up coming across as a new take
on "A Clockwork Orange." Wright has taken the
theme and some of the plot and injected almost

real people into the roles. The gang in "A
Clockwork Orange" was always something
fictional. The gang in "Romper Stomper" is real.
These are people we might see on the street. Yeah,
it is that scary.
The violence of the film is pretty intense, but
never over the line. Although banned in Germany,
this film is frighteningly tame in terms of American
violence. This is the kind of film that America
deserves right now. It beats us up as we try to so*
up the violence. It's sort of like "Reservoir Dogs,"
only with a sense of morality. There are no long
speeches to laugh at; instead we listen in fear as
Hando explains why he's a neo-Nazi. His reasoning
is so sown up for him that we know he will never
change.
"Romper Stomper" is the kind of movie that
will offend people. When you go, people will
walk out; hell, you might. But that's the way this
kind of film should be. Skinheads are an offensive
group and Wright won't walk away from that fkt.
He wants you to go in and feel guilty. There would
be no point without it.
Go have fun.
ROMPER STOMPER is showing at Angell Hall,
Aud A, March 11 and 12 at 8 and 10 p.m.

RECORDS
Continued from page 5
posings. Many of the songs start out
promisingly, but they ultimately have
no meaning of their own - they're
way too referential and reverential of
their veritable British past.
Furthermore, the album's sound is
much too shrill and trebly; if the proper
adjustments aren't made on the stereo,
then fingernails on a blackboard
compare favorably to "Modern Life
is Rubbish."

To be fair, ther
songs buried amon
"Advert," "Star-
Jeans," and "Sunda
most skillful pas
favorite bands andt
something of an
However, includin
tracks," the albu
songs long, and 4g
15 boring ones
America," "Oily M
World," "Villa
Tomorrow," etc. is
average. The1

e are a few decent constructed, derivative songs
lgst the "rubbish:" completely obscure the halfway
Shaped," "Blue decent ones and turn the album into
ay Sunday" are the an ear-numbing, mind-dulling Blur.
stiches of Blur's The main problem with "Modern
they actually have Life is Rubbish" is that Blur cannot
original flavor. reconcile the fact that while they
ng hidden "bonus believe that "modern life is rubbish,"
m is a taxing 19 the bands they turn back to in
good songs versus desperation were, in their time,
such as "Miss relentlessly modern. The one saving
Water," "Chemical grace of this album is that it might
Rosie," "For possibly open the ears of the
not exactly a great uninitiated to the likes of true British
boring, poorly eccentrics past such as Bowie or The
Kinks, or perhaps interest people in
cooler current bands like The Auteurs
h or Suede. But if modern life is indeed
rubbish, then Blur are part of the
problem, not the solution.
- Heather Phares

St. Marys Student Purist
by Fr. WmIStresonPastor
St. MaysCatholic Parish
at the University of Michigan

Contest, Paula Kelley is sure to take
the gold. As guitarist,.vocalist and
songwriter for Hot Rod, she borrows
more than a little from Hatfielgt
unique phrasing. This is not to say
that Hot Rod is redundant or that the
band's debut, "SpeedDangerDeath,"
is unnecessary in the face of Hatfield's
"Become What You Are." Far from
it. The record is an unnerving
collection of 10 guitar-heavy pop
tunes built around Kelley's vocals
and the energy that comes from
recording all of the tracks durin a
marathon 24-hour session last Ma.
While Kelley's voice begs to be
taken lightly, the music has enough
hooks to give it the necessary bite.
With excellent support from guitarist
John Dragonetti and the rhythm
section of Mat Flint on bass and Eric
Paull on drums, she is able to push
each song over the top and into the
part of the mind that insists on
humming a single chorus throughout
the day. If the songs were any heavier
or if the production was any cleaner,
the album would drag. The
combination, however, of the
sweetness of Kelley's vocals with the
bitterness of the music works well,
particularly on "Firewalker" and
"Candy Star." This is not the posturing
metal that the title
"SpeedDangerDeath" suggests but It
is mighty tasty rock 'n' roll. 4
- Dirk Schulze
. 1 WEEKEND ETC.

.

Evanlizing ContemporaryYoung People
dwthe ofthe Dominant
American CultUre

Open to a Interested sthdents, faculty and others
Wednesday Mrch 9,1994
at %he Ne mn Center 331 Thompson Sre*
7:00 p.m.

..... .

U

Graduation:

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TeL(503) 223-7938 Fx (503)223-7946

This syour moment
Ifyou have something to share
with classmates,family, andfriends:-
Here is your opportunity

Wanted:
Student Speakers for the 1994
LS&A Spring Commencement
(Fourth annual competition)

The University of Michigan
CENTER FOR CHINESE STUDIES
presents the thirteenth annual
ALEXANDER ECKSTEIN MEMORIAL LECTURE

Who:

Open to all LS&A seniors eligible to graduate by
the end of Winter Term 1994.

I

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