The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 1, 1994 - 9
.'Advocate' aims high, lands in
the stratosphere of pretension
By SCOTT PLAGENHOEF
To be self-aware often reflects an attractive confidence and an intelligent
3harisma. Yet to be too aware is pretentious and repellent. The feeling that you
are saying or accomplishing something worthwhile, something important, can
often breed indolence and toss an otherwise fresh idea out the window, in the
crapper, or into the stratosphere of
Spren"Bugsy" was such a film. So were
"Scent of a Woman," "Driving Miss
The Advocate Daisy," and "Philadelphia." And so is
Directed by Leslie Magahey, "The Advocate." Each of these con-
cern themselves so much with the
with Con Firth idea that they are important works
and Lysette that they never take the time to prove
Anthony it to you.
The film is set in France in the
14th or 15th Century, a period in
*hich the traditions and the stigmas of the Medieval period were being
challenged by an embryonic sense of modernity. "The Advocate" explores the
4ifferent stringent class restrictions, inflexible social order, and extremely
backwards (or traditional) social and state laws of this period.
The clash between tradition and modernity, superstition and science is not
new topic of cinematic exploration, but to examine the relationship between
the two at its roots is largely unchartered territory. Unfortunately, this idea is
where the creativity ends.
An accomplished cast of British actors - most notably Colin Firth
("Valmont") as the strong, yet sensitive young lawyer, Ian Holm ("Chariots of
":ire") as the part-dutiful, part-cynical priest, and Donald Pleasance ("Cul-de-
Sac") as the title character and Firth's adversary - cannot save the heartless
script from sinking under its own expectations. The actors seem to struggle
with the lines in an attempt to do their damnedest to wring life out of a script
which is not entirely coherent.
Both Holm and Firth, however, are particularly excellent in the two roles
which do allow for flexibility in character and multi-dimensionality. Holm's
preacher struggles with balancing his increasingly private, liberal tendencies
with the very conventional demands of his public life and occupation; Firth
also balances his occupational duties and his conscience.
The characters are well-conceived, yet they serve to function only within
e script. Each represent a faction within society and find it difficult to escape
from the constraints of the role.
Certainly far from being considered a complete flop, (instead more of a
failed, flawed experiment) "The Advocate" does show in its skeletal form an
initiative which may serve director Megahey well, provided that he can
balance it with an improved feel for developing the script. Hopefully, this will
provide it with as much life and spark on cellqloid as it is capable of.
TH E ADVOCA T E is playing at the State Theater.
Sarah Lawrnce College
S Qalified undergraduates are invited to apply for a
year of study at Oxford. Individual tutorials with
Oxford faculty, Oxford University lectures, and full
affiliation with an Oxford college immerse students
in Oxford's rich education tradition.
For information contact:
Sarah Lawrence College at Oxford
Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708-5999
'Nosferatu' recreates silent horror
By ALEXANDRA TWIN
Easily overshadowing such recent
schlock-fests as "The Puppet Mas-
ters," "Wes Craven's New Night-
mare" and even a nearby showing of
Directed by F. W. Murnau;
with Max Schreck
The Michigan Theater
Saturday, October 29th
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show,"
"Nosferatu," F.W. Murnau's silent,
shining horror of the 1920s served to
remind us of just what it means to be
afraid of the dark.
In a packed Michigan Theater,
accompanied by an extraordinary, live
sinfonietta, this Saturday's presenta-
tion of the original Dracula film was
something of a watermark for campus
Although a number of people have
been fortunate enough to witness si-
lent film on screen, few have seen it
with a live orchestra, which is the way
that these films were meant to be
Previous such engagements at the
Michigan includeD.W. Griffith's "In-
tolerance" and "Way Down East."
Yet, perhaps neither is as intriguing a
tale as that of Dracula, particularly
right around Halloween.
A young agent named Hutter
(Gustave von Wangenheim) leaves
his wife, Ellen (Greta Schroeder) at
home to travel to Transylvania. He is
supposed to sell a house to the aging
Count Orlok (Max Schreck). Yet, once
there, he discovers that this man is no
ordinary Count and that he is not safe
so far from home. All attempts to
escape are futile. The power of the
count is unsurpassed. He is a vam-
pire, a "child of the night" and he is
making his way towards Hutter's
home and wife.
As restored and orchestrated by
conductor Gillian Anderson, the mu-
sic is broad and sweeping, providing
as strong a narrative as words might
have done, in some cases stronger.
While more pronounced and argu-
ably melodramatic than modern hor-
ror film music, the score cannot really
be compared as it not only serves to
accompany but transcend the impli-
cations of the narrative. In short, it is
a movie experience like no other.
And the Michigan Theater is a
moviehouse like no other, at least in
the near vicinity. With its lavish lobby,
massive screen, antiquated feel and
general aura of elegance, it is a unique
place to witness a unique event.
As far as performances go, Max
Schreck, as the undead, the nosferatu,
is a Dracula literally like no other.
While the majority of latter-day
Draculas are based around the notion
of a frightening, yet sensually capti-
vating mystery man, Max Schreck's
nosferatu is as strange, aloof and odd
a ball as they come. Yet, he, too is
intriguing. While there is nothing par-
ticularly sexual about him-his long,
bony frame and bulging eye sockets
do not inspire lust- he is definitely
an alluring center, a visual talisman
that serves to draw the viewer in,
sustaining his interest should the nar-
rative threaten to slip.
Yet, it rarely does. Beyond the
quality of this particular film, the leg-
end of Dracula and vampires as a
whole has peaked the interest of many
for decades. Since its publication in
1897, Brain Stoker's "Dracula" has
been made into at least seven feature
films, including the recent Francis
Ford Coppola debacle.
While Bela Lugosi is arguably the
most notorious of the pale-skinned
ones, it is Max Schreck that perhaps
best exhumes Dracula in the way
Stoker intended. The same for
Career Pathways in Asian Studies
For Bachelors & Masters Degree Students Studying East,
South, or Southeast Asia
>Day: Tuesday, November 1, 1994
>Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
>Where: Career Planning & Placement
3rd Floor, Student Activities Building
Sponsors: Asian Studies Program and
Career Planning & Placement
For more information contact
*Larry Paris: Lparis@umich.edu; or leave message at 763-6093
*Career Planning & Placement: 764-7460
The 1994 Ituaren
Sunday, November 6,1994
Students $4 * Adults $8
Tickets are on sale at the Michigan Union Ticket Office
until Saturday, November 5, 1994
*Entree Plus Accepted
Tickets will be sold on Sunday
at the door, starting at 2:00 pm.
For more information, please call
Caroline Huang or
19 a over
Rik' AmeicnCae6CurhQt 96247