The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 16, 1995 -3
'Faraway' so close to perfection
By Sarah Rogacki
For the Daily
We are spirits in the Material
Almost all cultures have a figure
of divine guardianship in their my-
thologies. In the temple of contempo-
rary cinema, our angels look like
Nastassja Kinski in a designer pantsuit
Ty W ~i
Well, MelRose readers, since we
last met I've received a rather impres-
sive honor. It's not an award, or schol-
* arship, or the $10 million from
Publisher's Clearinghouse (though I
expect Ed McMahon any day now) -
it's much more personal.
Yours truly, MelRose, recently ap-
peared in Comedy Company's"Peep
Show." Not myself, mind you - my
character, my "persona," if you will.
I was portrayed on the stage of the
I am not aware of how exactly I
earned this illustrious position. But
suddenly I've rocketed to local celeb-
rity status. And I have Comedy Com-
pany to thank.
Now I'm all verclempt. Talk
amongst yourselves. I'll give you a
topic. Comedy Company involves nei-
ther a company nor comedy. Discuss.
Now, onto the subject at hand:
fashion. March is perhaps the worst
month for fashion in Michigan, and it
all goes back to the weather. One day
you're wearing cut-off jean shorts
and rollerblading to class, the next
you're up to your ears in Thinsulate as
you hack away at the inch of ice
coating your car. One dy it's so cold
your snot freezes, the next it's a sunny
72. And unpredictable weather + the
human need to cover ourselves with
*clothing = fashion disasters.
A recent study by the Fashion In-
stitute of Technology indicated that98
percent of all fashion disasters can be
prevented. All it takes is a little com-
mon sense. Here are a few simple year-
Shopping: The aforementioned
study by FIT also indicated that not
shopping at Sears reduces the chance of
a fashion disaster by a whopping 45
percent. Also, stay away from clothing
in grocery stores (Meijer, K-mart). Fish
sticks and fashion do not mix.
Inventory: Look through your
closet and use common sense. Burn
those day-glo orange socks, girlfriend!
Ask me. E-mail your questions or
requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can
also be hired out for individual fash-
ion consultations - wardrobe evalu-
ation or personal shopping assistance
- for a small fee.
The impending change of season
only complicates the rules, and com-
pounds the chances for disasters. From
winter to spring, there's not much
wardrobe crossover, and, the fashion
rules are stricter than they are from
spring to summer, summer to fall or
fall to winter.
So here are a few helpful winter-
Sweaters: Breathability is the de-
ciding factor. If it's wool or a wool
blend, you'll be sweating like Tom
Hanks on Oscar night. And if it's fuzzy,
bulky or over a quarter-inch thick, put it
into mothballs until next fall.
Shirts: Thickness and breathability
again Turtlenecks are out. Flannel is
iffy: If you're tying it around your
waist to achieve that I-want-my-MTV
look, it's okay. But unless it's serving
as an accessory or chilly-spring-
evening outerwear, forget it. Use dark
colors sparingly, and be sure they
look and feel light.
Pants: For dress pants, if they're
lined, they're for winter. But don't go
ripping out the lining as a last-ditch
effort to get some spring clothes. Good
news -most non-wool pants (espe-
cially jeans) are all-season.
Skirts: Again, the lining test applies
fordress skirts. Butotherwise, if they're
filmy and flowy, they're in for spring.
Shoes: Perhaps the toughest call.
The more boot-like they are, the more
wintery. If it says Timberland, it says
winter. Also, not much black makes it
to spring, unless it's a dress shoe.
And don't even think about suede.
White: Unless you're going to a
white party or getting married, don't be
caught dead in a white until April 16.
Whiteseason begins on Easterandends
on labor day. Observe it religiously.
I know this is all pretty overwhelm-
with wings, rather than a cherub in a
choir robe. As members of a post-
modern society, we invest our hope in
cinematic imagery as a replacement
for traditional religious iconography.
Our sight becomes dulled, our cellu-
loid angels save us from the depthless
reality of a commercial era.
In "Far Away, So Close," Otto
Sander and Nastassja Kinski play an-
gels who agonize over the plight of their
human counterparts in the streets of
modern Berlin. In viewing man as a
creation of divinity bound in urban suf-
fering, the angels act only as spectators
to the human lives that they wish to
touch and understand. Instead, they can
only comfort humans at the moment of
death. Cassiel, played by Sander, des-
perately wants to bring humanity back
to a state of spiritual perfection. He gets
his big chance when he suddenly be-
comes a human being himself.
Guided by the devilish Emit Flesti
(Willem Dafoe), Cassiel partakes in
the evils of gambling and alcohol to
gain a telling experience of contem-
porary life. During his trials as a hu-
man, he becomes involved in a sordid
plot of gun-running and pornography
which he strives to amend so as to
better modern man. In his few whirl-
wind days among the living, he learns
the difficulty of freeing one's spirit
from the materiality of reality.
Winner of the Jury's Grand Prize
at the Cannes film festival in 1993,
the film shines in its exquisite direc-
tion and cinematography. Wenders
uses a non-traditional narrative struc-
ture and black and white film to por-
tray Cassiel's transient existence be-
fore becoming a mortal. Speaking in
a poetic dialogue, the two angels have
the ability to move freely through
time and space. This may cause con-
tinuity problems for the viewer until
Cassiel's metamorphosis, which in,
troduces a more conventional style of
editing. Cinematographer Jurgen
Jorges photographs Berlin in an ur-
ban beauty which seems to weigh the
characters to their earthly existence.
Even on the small screen, the stagger-
ing visuals of the film are evident.
Sander gives a wonderfully inno-
cent portrayal of the angel fallen to
earth, while Dafoe's hard-edged per-
formance makes a perfect contrast.
Kinski's haunting beauty and a large
cast of fine German actors provide a
mix of dramatic grace and ability.
Lou Reed and Peter Falk make camel
appearances as themselves in the film:,
giving the ever-present theme of inm
age and corporeal identity an enter-
In a moment of frustratio,
Kinski's Raphaela observes: "Hi-
mans see differently than us ... they
take in, take notice of ... their eyes
can no longer give." Aware of his
medium, Wenders invites us to view
modern life from a new perspective.
Through the eyes of angels, we cad
recover spiritually by identifying th e
illusions of the material world. A little
Descartes, a little popcorn, and you've
got a night at the movies.
Used & Rare
Bought & Sold
113 W. Liberty
(112 block W. of Main St.)
-G ROWING GUIDES
-NATU RAL HIGH WEAR
-ROCK TA PESTR IES
215 S. State St.
Next to State Theatre -
Open 7 Das A Week
Lou Reed is jacked up on horse.
B U T L E R
V E R
S I TY
Distinguishe performe of Arabic music
will appear twice in Ann Arbor
UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES IN
GR EAT BRITAIN
Fully integrated study at British, Irish,
New Zealand and Australian universities
FALL OR SPRING SEMESTER * FULL YEAR
INSTEP * SUMMER PROGRAM * INTERNSHIP
Study Abroad Information Session
Representative: Faith Salter / Susan Leisure
Date: Thursday, March 16, 1995
Location: Information Table, Student Union (11-3)
Student Meeting, International Center (4-5)
**For more information, please call Bill Nolting at the International Office (747-2299)
or the Institute for Study Abroad (1-800-858-0229)**
Arab Instruments and Music
sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies
and the School of Music
Open to the public without charge
CONCERT WITH Ghada Ghanem
and the Dearborn Traditional Arabic Ensemble
An opera about eternal love, or so it seems...
Sung in Italian
: _ ". "