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March 02, 1995 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-02

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6 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 2, 1995

'Red,''White' and 'Blue' good and multinational

By Sarah Rogacki
For the Daily
At the age of 53, the great Polish
director Kryzyzstof Kieslowski has
announced his retirement from Euro-
pean cinema. The creator of "The
Dscalogue," the acclaimed investiga-
tion of the Ten Commandments in
modern times, has crowned off his
impressive career with his Three Col-
org trilogy. "Blue," "White" and the
recently released "Red" attempt to
apply French Revolutionary prin-
ciples to an examination of contem-
porary life. As with his prior films,
Kieslowski takes on the difficult task
of transcending the daily existence of
modern characters to pierce the con-
scious soul by giving concrete mean-
ink to abstract ideals.
The Three Colors trilogy creates a
literary cinema, one in which the
viewer takes a page-turning journey
through the interior lives of its char-
acters. In "Blue," Kieslowski chal-
lenges the idea of individual liberty
against a backdrop of the national
libbration of eastern Europe. Juliette
Bihoche gives a career performance
as: a woman who has just lost her
composer husband and young daugh-
tet in an accident. Over the course of
the film, we witness her struggle to
build a new independent life.
;Keeping in mind the Polish saying
"E'veryone wants to be more equal
than everyone else," the director il-
lustrates the impossibility of true
equality in "White." Starring
Zbigniew Zamachowski and Julie
Delpy, the film documents the turbu-
lent relationship of two hairdressers
who try to find emotional and eco-
nornic equality after their divorce.

In "Red," all of Kieslowski's ideas
about human interaction and under-
standing come together in an analysis
of fraternity. Valentine, played by
Irene Jacob, discovers in a chance
meeting that a retired judge is ille-
gally eavesdropping on his neighbor's
telephone conversations. Although
she first feels contempt for the judge,
played by the great Jean-Louis
Trintignant of Bertolucci's "The Con-
formist," she soon comes to identify
with his loneliness and disillusion-
ment. In the end of "Red," the charac-

ters of all three films meet in a freak
accident which fulfills Kieslowski's
fascination with the way our interac-
tion with others directs the course of
our lives.
As a graduate of the illustrious
Lodz Film School with an interest in
documentary filmmaking, Kieslowski
aims to analyze modern life through a
purely realistic cinema. For the Three
Colors trilogy, the director and co-
writer Krzyzstof Piesiewicz flushed
out bare-bones scripts six months prior
to production. The films were shot

and edited sequentially, with the edit-
ing of "Blue" taking place during the
first week of the production of
"White." Kieslowski's expertise be-
hind the camera and in the editing
room renders a body of work which
seamlessly communicates the "essen-
tial life." The relationship of creative
vision between each work becomes
apparent through the beautiful cin-
ematography, the exacting camera
movements, and the multi-textural
sketches of the characters. Kieslowski
is an artisan of a collective vision
which creates itself upon the viewing
of each work.
Much controversy surrounds the
Three Colors trilogy due to its multi-
national crew, which has been re-
ferred to as the "European symphony."
Questioning the existence of a na-
tional European cinema, Kieslowski
worked with a cast and crew from
Switzerland, France, England and
Poland. This melting pot of talents
and financial interests has led to much
confusion with critic's circles and
awards, which caused the Academy's
refusal of "Red" as the Swiss entry for
Best Foreign Film. In a stroke of di-
plomacy, the Academy did name
Kieslowski among its nominees for
Best Director. Watch the awards cer-
emony this month to see if this ground-
breaking director will finally be hon-
ored for a lifetime of cinematic ge-
nius. In the meantime, pick up "Blue"
and "White" at your local video store,
or catch "Red" in its run on the big
screen.

0

Director Krzyzstof Kieslowski, the man behind "Red," "White" and "Blue."

Jumpin' Jiminy! Mathematic horror

0

Julette Binoche, as seen in the film "Blue."

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By Ted Watts
Daily Weekend Editor
Ever feel not quite up to perform-
ing really basic math? Then "Walt
Disney's Addition and Subtraction"
could be the album for you. Math
functions reduced to jingly 1963
5,e-c ,d
children's songs are undoubtedly just
the trick to impress them on the brain
inside your thick, thick skull. "Adding
Combinations (To Make Four, Five,
Six and Seven)" reinforces this idea
with that timeless lyric "I know you
are smart, not dumb / Add two and five,
three and four/Seven is the sum." And
it's sung by Rica Moore and Jiminy
Cricket. It was a smart move on the part
of Disney to get real artists like Jiminy
involved with this production, so that
the kiddies would pay attention.
One of the beautiful things about
this album is that in its vinyl form it
assists in differentiating the math-
ematical concepts it teaches. First, on
side one, are songs to help with addi-
tion, including the first song of the side,

cleverly entitled "Addition." It takes a
physical effort (that of picking up the
vinyl platter, turning it over and putting
the needle back onto the album) to
change sides and to change the thrust of
the concepts being put forth. How sad
that in today's modern times a child
would be listening to this program on a
compact disc and would not get the
impact inherent in being forced to pause
before the song "Subtraction" could
begin.
Ms. Moore's voice starts hissing on
"Addition" and tells us it is our turn to
add while a wicked nursery tune backs
her. On "The Glory Tree" she looks at
a tree and counts blossoms, while
Jiminy encourages the listener to count
along all the way up to 10. On "Noah's
Ark (Adding by Twos),"Jiminy sounds
like a Dixieland singer over an Old
West piano while he talks about the
armadillos, kangaroos and cockatoos
jumping on that boat and illustrating
the process of adding by twos. Who but
Disney could have thought of using the
Bible story of Noah's ark to add by
twos and the lyric "Here's a pair of
lizards / Up the walk they slithered"?
No one, that's who. "Adding Combi-
nations" has a Native American feel
to it in its pulsing piano rhythm while
at times reminiscing of the piano on
"Noah's Ark." At the same time, the
lead male vocalist is not Jiminy. Who
is it? We can only Imagine. Side one
ends with "The Pointing Game," an
exercise involving identifying those
higher numbers, all the way up to 10,
with the benefit of a bossanova rhythm
to accent different counts of the mea-
sure (a fact that our pal Jiminy brings
to our attention). Hey! Isn't that Lurch
from theAddams Family playing harp-

sichord? It's a mod ending to our dalli-
ance with addition.
Side two has a similar structure to
one, starting with the theme "Sub-
traction" (and the harpsichord that
ended side one). It slowly moves from
simpler concepts to the more com-
plex. "The Cannibal Song (Subtract-
ing By One)" has a rather jaded view,
which Jiminy encourages the listener
to say along with the album. Manners
of death include drinking turpentine,
becoming a politician, taking a dive,
going to Singapore and self-consump-
tion (which Jiminy refers to as "silly").
Not particularly productive cannibals,
since only one eats anyone, and that's
himself. "The Finger Game" is a sur-
prisingly boring song. Oh, such possi-
bilities lost. The final song, "The Mix
Up Waltz" moves very quickly and the
listeners who were having problems
with counting by one can only be con-
fused by the quickfire orders to sub-
tract four from nine, two from seven
and three from eight over a dance tune.
And Jiminy's admonition that every-
one knows the answers could have
destroyed many little math-stupid egos.
In spite of the valuable mathemati-
cal data imparted from this record, it
is also a self-image destroyer. Alli.n
all, Cricket's lines come together to
form anj image of him as a brutal math
overseer while Rica Moore lays downl
some contemporary children's pop.
On "The Simpsons," they said that
Walt Disney had the evil gene. It's
difficult to say what specific Disney
acts were evil in the view of the writ-
ers of that TV show, but this insidious
unit of mathematical and musical in-
formation could easily have been a
factor in that judgment.

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