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November 10, 1994 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-10

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, November 10, 1994 - 3

Better Nate Than Never

German film opens a 'Box' of delight instead of tortures

for ailments
After a grueling two hours and
five minutes of punching numbers
into a calculator, marking circles com-
pletely with a No. 2 pencil and trying
to remember the one formula missing
from my 3 x 5 index card, I felt slightly
relieved, having survived the last mid-
term of this semester.
After picking up the answer key
and thinking, "Hmmmm, this is inter-
sting," the relief quickly turned to
laughter. I have grown accustomed to
using laughter as a sort of tranquilizer
in such situations. This Prozac-esque
method tends to draw odd looks when
used in public, but it makes me feel
better nonetheless.
I learned this trick when I was five
years old and starting to get allergy
shots. Before seeing the allergist, I had
eard horror stories from otherkids. In
nestory,thenurse hadstuck theneedle
too deep into apatient's arm,jabbing it
through the bone and out the other side
of his arm.
It would be an understatement to
say that I was tense going into the
office. The allergist did a rather poor
job of calming me down. In an effort to
prove that allergy shots don't hurt, he
asked, "Does this hurt?" and began
, 9nching my arm. "Yes," I said.
It hurt. Not only was my arm going
to be on a shish kebab skewer, but I
had an old man pinching me. This was
a nightmare. It was the nurse and my
parents who brought me back to Earth.
They joked with me, made fun of me
and got me laughing so that I didn't
even notice the serum being injected.
The laughter turned to teals after I
oticed the blood coming from the
ounds, but laughing helped nonethe-
Sometimes I think I have become
too skillful at laughing.
Once while out to eat, the waitress
- let's call her Flo - took my
family's order and served my mom,
my dad and me with no unusual activ-
ity. Then, not wanting to reach over to
sister, Flo held the plate in the
ddle of the table, and said, to my
bsentminded sibling, "Could you
take this?"
I thought about that phrase - not
a particularly funny one - through-
out dinner, and the tone in which it
was said. As soon as the meal was
over, I broke out laughing, and con-
tinued to laugh so hard that I began
crying. I couldn't even look at Flo
*hen she returned, since the entire
situation had become so funny in my
mind. I ended up walking out to the
car, coughing and gasping the whole
way. But I felt much better after it was
all over.
People sometimes need to step
away from it all - and laugh. With
the depressing news of death and vio-
lence, which just becomes more and
ore unreal, there is often no way to
'rationalize it - no emotion fits.
Following the recent barrage of
negative election campaigning, I'm
sure there were plenty of laughing,
smiling faces coming out of voting
booths - it's over.
The possible uses of laughter are

No one was looking forward to the
-half-full, early-morning flight from
,hicago O'Hare to Detroit Metro -
-the last leg of a return trip from Ha-
waii a few years ago.
Despite passengers' glum expres-
sions, the head flight attendant began
with the safety instructions. "If oxy-
gen masks should appear above your
head, put on your own first and then
help the person next to you if they are
a child - or if they just seem child-
Ph. rior to landing, the flight atten-
dant, who I'll call Betty just because
Wilma is such an overused name, came
on the intercom again: "That loud thud
you just heard was the landing gear.
The pilot thinks he spotted Detroit."
Even though we had departed from

In the dark, with a cigarette and a double
vanilla latte, I situated my lethargic self on a
couch in front of a painfully blurry television
screen. As I stare drowsily at a silent German
film in the comfort of my lovely earthly room,
"Pandora's Box" hits upon a rush of images and
actions; they come naturally and beg to be
sculpted into beguiling shapes. In an endearing
way, the film is a blushing dramatization.
Chronicling fetishist Lulu (Louise Brooks),
who entices every man that crosses her path,
"Pandora's Box," filmed in 1928, is laced with
more layers of modernistic eroticism and subtle
seductiveness than you can shake a remote at.

Lulu's finger exudes more sensuality than all the
combined body parts of Sharon Stone.
Thematically, "Pandora's Box" hews tight to
the alien-
ated heart
of its
The story
Home presented
Entertainment tellsatale
Center of a
fatale and men falling victim to hercharisma. By
unfastening her casket of evils in the world, Lulu
risks allowing disasters to explode onto the screen.

She also allows her enticing ways to gradually
work against her. G.W. Pabst starts in the most
familiar, even cliched, ground imaginable and
takes off to the moon.
These hackneyed characters find themselves
dropped into absurd yet believable situations: the
enticing Lulu commits a crime and must fend off
a handful of policemen only to find herself the
subject of a 600 marks transaction.
The most striking unorthodox element in
"Pandora's Box" is one fantastically ahead of
its time. Pabst takes a crafty yet daring glance
into realm of bisexuality in the '20s, further
making the film eclectic and heavenly.
Another departure is its portrayal of women

in a less than mainstream fashion. Rather than
putting repressed women in the spotlight, Pabst's
work unflinchingly explores the many social
and psychological complexities of sexuality.
Pabst's delicate as well as ingenious ma-
nipulation twists "Pandora's Box" into a com-
plex and compelling monster. It has irresistibly
gleeful music despite the absence of dialogue.
Though "Pandora's Box" does not grab the
audience by the scruff of its neck and shake it
around, sparks lodge in their eyes. Pabst arouses
that heightened awareness that makes silent filmgs
more than messages emanating from every frame
of film. "Pandora's Box" transcends into a fusion
of feelings, sensations and images.





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