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March 09, 1995 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

lunes to
live by
In each of our lives there is a
soundtrack. Accompanying each
Temory or time in our lives is a song
which has the power to unlock emo-
tions long left in the back of our
minds to collect dust. But with only a
few notes of a particular song, a flood
of nostalgia comes raging forth.
Music has an incredible ability to
hold on to things we temporarily for-
get and then call them up for us at any
given moment. Through this power,
r-music can make us sad, cheer us up,
set our toes to tapping or just fill the
emnti smaceP of a1 rnnm

ANN

ARBOR

FILM

FEST
16mmn

No.
OF

33:
LOVE

By Alexandra Twin

I always have an acute awareness
of what the music is around me. It
helps me to solidify whatever I am
experiences so that it will be an even
more powerful memory later.
Growing up, there was always
music in my house. Both my sister
and I took piano lessons, though I
gave them up years before I should
have. Everything from Brazilian to
Motown to Linda Ronstadt's "Blue
Bayou" was played on the stereo at
my house. And of course it was all on
inyl, even when tapes became popu-
lar my father wouldn't buy them be-
cause he didn't think that they were
practical.
I gained an appreciation for jazz,
especially live, spontaneous jazz, be-
cause my dad played jazz trumpet. He
wasn't in a band but often friends
would drop by to jam for awhile.
Watching these local Detroit musi-
,ians create definitely put a new face
.oh music for me.
Because my parents listened to a
wide variety of music, my collection
has also been varied. Think about
how boring my life's soundtrack
would be if it only played Elvis or,
heaven forbid, Barry Manilow.
It's funny to think about all the
songs that have meant something to
me in my life. Sometimes I even have
4 wonder what I was even thinking to
'pike a particular song so much. I guess
I'll just have to chalk it up to youth.
The Bee Gees will always remind
me of the trip I took to California
when I was in second grade. Kenny G
stood by my side as I broke up with
my boyfriend during my senior year
in high school. My friend Mike and
Prokofiev will forever be linked in
a y mind. Sheryl Crow and I defi-
itely danced up a storm in Key West.
Because of the memories that
music continues to keep fresh for me,
listening takes on a kind of spiritual
air. It's great to be riding in the car and
hear a song that makes me laugh up-
roariously. Or to put on a certain CD,
look through some old photos and
remember an old friend.
Music brings all the sensory
memories to a new height of inten-
sity. Through the notes of a song I can
remember more vividly the smells,
sights, feel and even other sounds
associated with a certain time.
I can remember reading "In Cold
Blood" and listening to my mother's
old Beethoven records. Even now
when I hear "Moonlight Sonata" I can
recall, if only briefly, the chilling
rscription of those brutal murders.
Sometimes song lyrics and titles
put things better than you could ever
hope to put them yourself. It is always
easy to find a line from a song that fits
whatever occasion at hand. For ex-
ample, a creepy guy walks over to you
and begins to tell you his life story.
Some people might hesitate, not
knowing exactly what to say. Not me,
just turn to him and say "Here's a
arter call someone who cares."
Every couple of weeks it seems
that I come upon a new song which I
sort of adopt as my themesong. It's
amazing to me how many songs have
narticular relevance to my life at any

A tall, skinny anarchist strolls along
the busy streets of San Francisco chat-
ting amiably with tourists. He wears a
camera strapped to his head. He wears
combat boots. Other than that, he's
buck naked. "Reality is an acquired
taste," he informs us.
One pert little five-year old girl
ascends a stage to deliver a fairy tale,
complete with alternating scary mon-
ster and good princess voices. She is
wildly applauded. Our hero, an equally
pert little five-year old girl, ascends
the same stage seconds later, takes a
good look at the audience and
promptly passes out.
Raw hands, wet hands, clenched
hands, gripping each other in fear
give life to the horrific murder of a
Chilean folk singer that the story's
voice-over can only allude to.
A child's mechanical toy has been
overwound, the manic, evil little mon-
key spurts loudly, jumping up and
down, pounding the ground inces-
santly, rhythmically. It's kind of an-
noying, but seems harmless enough
until SCREEEECH! The monkey
jerks towards the camera in a horrific
grin that would almost seem funny if
it didn't conjure up such immediate
images of "Monkey Shine" and every
other evil, possessed animal horror
film you've ever seen.
Yes, that's right, the annual Ann
Arbor Film Festiyal has once again
arrived and while the experimental
films offered rarely comply with stan-
dard forms of categorization (Would
"Charlie Chimp," the aforementioned
evil monkey expose count as a narra-
tive? Personal experience? Character
study?), they also rarely fail to amuse,
intrigue and often dazzle the eye.
Take for instance "Gasping For
Air," a three-minute computer ani-
mation piece in which a can that's
been thrown into the ocean struggles
desperately to get free, or "Utopia" in
which a young girl named Narcissus
steps into her drawing, reveling in the
ultimate example of self-obsession.
Perhaps even more impressive
than the visual aerobics of the experi-
mental animation are the narratives.

"Evidence," (the aforementioned
five-year old girl with stage fright),
from Australian filmmaker Kathleen
O'Brien is a black comedy about
young girls growing up, dealing with
adolescence, nasty friends and list-
less lovers whose detachment reso-
nates out beyond each sexual experi-
ence.
"How I Spent My Summer Vaca-
tion" from Chicago documentarian
Kate Wrobel is about the political
manipulation of children by their par-
ents. Footage was shot outside an
abortion clinic in Milwaukee, Wis. in
which anti-choice members brought
their children to help needle at and
physically block young women from
making use of the clinic's facilities.
"Avenue X," is a startling, almost
wholly visual narrative about life in
the projects of Coney Island, Brook-
lyn. It's directed by Leslie McCleave,
a recent N.Y.U. film school graduate.
Like McCleave, a number of the
contenders are very young filmmak-
ers, fresh out of film schools and
eager to make their mark. In choosing
documentaries, animation and short
narratives, they've picked an
entranceway that is often self-driven
and occasionally impenetrable. It's
festivals like these that give them an
opportunity to have their work shown
in an atmosphere that's ready, willing
and able to accept them, nontradi-
tional and experimental as they are.
The festival was founded at the
Art School in 1963 by George
Manupelli, a young film and art stu-
dent who wanted to create an annual
venue for experimental filmmakers
both nationally and worldwide. Inde-
pendent from the University since
1980, the festival is the oldest experi-
mental 16mm film festival in the coun-
try that exclusively screens film as
opposed to film and video. It stands as
a yearly "commons room" of sorts for
experimental filmmakers and fans of
the cinema. It also provides a unique
opportunity for Ann Arborites to get
to see the kinds of work that rarely
makes it out of the big cities, let alone
to a screen.

"So, they're, like, showing
the film then?" questioned a sur-
prised Michael La Haie when asked
to discuss his short quasi-documen-
tary, "Critizen" (the naked anarchist).
The film was Novi, Mich. native La
Haie's senior project at San Fran-
cisco State college. It's anti-hero is a
skinhead anarchist prankster who
roams the streets nude, collects hu-
man feces from behind his house to be
distributed to his rich neighbors, and
tries to make his job as a sales associ-
ate a bit more challenging (See photo).
"I'm motivated by dissatisfaction,"
he declares.
"I think I'm probably a lot more
like him (Critizen) than I want to be,"
said La Haie laughing, "But I'm much
too polite to live that way. So I wanted
to document that spirit and kind of
live through it. This is my way to sort
of get my kicks out without actually
making the commitment to that kind
of life."
Kate Wrobel's "Now I Spent My
Summer Vacation" was even more
personally motivated. "It's the most
insane place I've ever been in my life,
but I understood it," she said. Wrobel
grew up Catholic in a suburb of Chi-
cago where she was taught that abor-
tion and pre-marital sex were amoral.
She believed this until young women
in her Catholic high school started
dropping out and having abortions.
Most of the anti-choice protesters at the
clinics that she filmed were Catholic.

Seeing the young, anti-choice Catho-
lic kids at the sidelines was frighten-
ing to her, "I felt like it could have
been me. Kids don't have a political
agenda, they just want to please their
parents. I know what that's like. It
was scary, really scary. It's amazing
to me that people can be so Christian
See FEST, Page 7

ABOVE RIGHT:
Michael La Hai
in"Critizen."

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