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March 21, 1995 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-21

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8- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 21, 1995

'Strawberry and Chocolate' a tasty treat

By Shirley Lee
Daily Arts Writer
Miramax films, "Strawberry and
Chocolate"'s U.S. distributor, would
like viewers and critics alike to consider
this film as a cozy friendship between
volatile opposites, ultimately signify-
ing the possibilities for unity and mu-
tual tolerance in the larger realm of a
politically divided and equally volatile
country. So on and so forth, blah blah
blah.
The message is hardly original or
specific enough to do this engrossing,
multifaceted film from Cuba any jus-
tice. With all their chatty marketing-
bites about kinky sociopolitical com-
mentary and colorful character types,
the posters and the press set us up for the
"I Love Ricky Show." Do not allowed
yourself to be fooled.
"Strawberry and Chocolate" serves
up a soft spin in a hard attack on the
complexity of human relationships,
unraveling in adeceptively simple way.
The film focuses on the increasingly
passionate relationship between a guy
who "likes chocolate" and another guy
who "likes strawberry"-two sides of a
social coin. This coin, however, is also
the currency of Castro's Havana in the
late '70s.
Diego is a worldly art-lover and

openly gay man; David, a naive politi-
cal-science major and a devoted mem-
ber of the student socialist movement,
is aggressively straight. In line with his
party, David initially views Diego's
homosexuality as mere deviance-a
Strawberry
and Chocolate
Directed by
Tomas Gutierrez Aleca
At the State Theater
strategy in directdefianceoftheculture's
compulsory heterosexism. While the
inevitable sexual tension between the
two might easily have slid to center,
director Tomas Gutierrez Alea opts for
a wider political focus, associating this
sexual dance with the sensuality, spiri-
tuality,andexpressive variety of Cuba's
literary and artistic traditions before the
communist revolution. While I awaited
a romantic clich6 at the finale of the
reel,Igotaknotof lovely and surprising
complexity instead.
Diego attempts to seduce David and
David entertains Diego in order to spy
on him for the ruling party. Although

Diego and David's connection sprouts
from a dual deception, their relation-
ship gradually matures beyond these
limited agendas, freeing them to shed
the social rhetoric and strip down to a
more personal politics.
"Strawberry and Chocolate" is
inundated with prop cues: Diego's
tiny apartment is crammed with books,
photos of Cuban composers and writ-
ers, and large unfinished sculptures
of Catholic saints with exaggerated
stigmata. Alea gracefully eschews the
bombastic sermonizing of many
American films in favor of odd pair-
ings, flawless characterization, and
witty intellectual sparring.
David learns to recognize and ap-
preciate Diego's resistant stance as
another side of patriotism and Diego
discovers that his stubborn idealism
has some very real and even painful
consequences.
The film is technically unsophis-
ticated. A majority of the scenes are
straight-on interior tote-a-tetes which
could only work well on stage. The
one exception to this claim is the
introduction of Havana itself as ades-
titute, once-decadent character with
its own stories. The style is all in the
content here and in this case, that is
plenty.

i

Pitch Shifter
The Remix War
Earache Records
Mostremix albums are nothing more
than long-winded musical orgies; sure,it's
really exciting anddifferentat first, but by
the end it's kind ofrepetitiveand pungent,
and you'll be lucky if leave with the right
clothes and few unusual stains.
Not with Pitch Shifter. Once inside
the tasty sugar walls of their infectious
industrial / metal dance machine, all
caution slips away. Along with the
band's own four overhauls of songs
from their last album, members of
Therapy?, Biohazard and Gunshot give
each a song an extended tryst, all ex-
tremely gratifying. Therapy? adds a
thumpin' techno edge to "Diable" and
Gunshot pumps up "Triad" as the great

lost hip-hop record Helmet nevermade.
Granted, this isn't music to deeply
penetrate your mind. "Diable," has just
two lyrics, one a spoken word sample of
aman screaming "Hail Satan!" and the
other vocalist J.S. Clayden growling,
"Hands up who wants to die?" But why
be long and meaningful if you can be
quick and nasty? Edgy, butt-shakin',
groovy and hard. I'm spent.
- Kirk Miller
Today Is The Day
Willpower
Amphetamine Reptile
Recorded in Detroit's very own White
Room Studios, Today Is The Day's sec-
ond album "Willpower" is a churning
mass of rockoplasm. The title track slams
into being with a woman screaming "I tell
you I look in your face and I know that

you're lying" in a truly angry fasmon. It
sets the tone for the entire platter pretty
well, with both the unmistakable scent of
anger and the judicious use of samples.
The music proceeds like a soundtrack to a
stalking movie. The guitars are all dis-
torted but the rhythm and energy of the
songs keep a lethargic killing pace.
Take the song "Many Happy Returns."
The bass is pretty repetitive, but the
twisted sound of the instruments keeps
it interesting. And the raw lyrics "Red
light you want pussy fuck 200 marks far
away from home I want pussy fuck
ready to ride" rounds out the
atmosphere.The album as a whole is an
almost unrelenting assault of gut
wrenching noise. And there's nothing
quite like a band with a raptor trying to
pop out of their pants. Woo!
- Ted Watts

'A
By Sa
Daily A
Fo
tance,"
AlfieB
satisfi
andw
nugge
tain of
initial
ter Ro
the ph
warnin
down
half o
clearth
forget
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veil. I
middl
much
league
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at time
Be
sires t
around
Wilde
with a
pletely
as the
Fitzge

(Albert Finney, left) must convince his friend Robbie (Rufus Sewell, right) that he's a man of importance.
Man of No Importance'is hardly a Wilde time
srah Stewart rens") steps on the double-decker bus, troduced. Virtually the definition of an'
rs Writer Alfieimposes his own imageupon her- innocent, Alfie painfully learns that
r much of "A Man of No Impor- in his eyes she's a pure, virginal, silver Adele is not as virginal as he is. He
"itseemsthatDublinbusconductor flower and the only woman capable of consequently takes to the streets of
Byrne(AlbertFinney)iscompletely playing the lead role in his "Salome." Dublin as Oscar Wilde, donning the
ed with life: as far as his passengers The play is never produced, but in- appropriate costume makeup and green
eknow,he'snothingbutwidesmiles, stead offeeling theregretofincompletion, carnation and seeking the costly affec-
ts of wisdom and an endless foun- it's almostarelief.The passengers/actors tions of a man. Even though this scene
fOscar Wilde quotes. While Alfie's sticks out from the rest of the film like
light-heartedness rivals thatof Mis- xR EViEW an American in Dublin, Finney per-
gers and Mary Poppins combined, forms it as well as can be expected.
ysically dark nature of the film is a A Man of No Although we feel nothing but sympa-
ng that this Irish gent is secretly Importance thy towards Alfie'scharacter, his interac0
on his luck. By the time the second tions with Adele fail to grasp ouremotions
f the film rolls around, it becomes Directed by Suri Krishnamma as much as Krishnamma must have ex-
hatdirectorSuriKrishnammadidn't with Albert Finney pected.Alfie'sundauntablefaithinAdele's
to turn up the lights; "A Man of No and Tara Fitzgerald. purity is so hard to believe thatitisequally
tance" never escapes from its dark At Ann Arbor & 2 unbelievable that he would suffer such a
nstead, as it is revealed that theA - & crushing blow when her true character is
e-aged Alfielongsto belovedby his are mildly entertaining in their Viking finally revealed. At least from an outside,'
younger and much straighter col- costumes - an obvious error on the part perspective, the parallelsbetween Adele's
e, Robbie Fay (Rufus Sewell), the of the costumer - but otherwise their overt sexuality and his repressed homo-
ecomes downright depressing and tedious rehearsals are as frustrating for us sexuality are notdirectenough to make his
es, downright dull. as they are for Alfie. You can't help but Wildecharadeappear tobe anything more
efore Alfie's more scandalous de- wonder why Adele, who is no more of an than an absurd stunt of desperation. "A'
ake center stage, the plot revolves actor than the rest of the group, would Man ofNolmportance" has several comic
d his dream of producing Oscar agree to be part of it. moments that break the tedium of the
's controversial drama, "Salome," Alfie's obsession with this play and film's depressing elements, but too often'
cast composed of his faithful, com- the idiosyncrasies of its author is pro- there is little to laugh at and less to like. If
y common bus passengers. As soon ducer Jonathan Cavendish's tribute to you're only willing to depress yourselffor
e wide-eyed Adele Rice (Tara Wilde and also the primary means by thesakeofareally good film,keepinmind
rald. Hugh Grant's wife in "Si- which Alfie's sexual frustration is in- that this one does not fit the bill.

........ a,..b.. ...... .... .. ...... ... .....

MEN
Coninued from page 5
children, teens and men. These were real
people who lived real lives and who had
their lives taken from them for as many
reasonsascouldbeimagined.Thesepeople
wereasrealasthetearswhichflowedfrom
dozens of nameless faces in the crowd
overcome by the sheer number of unnec-
essary deaths being read to them, and their
seemingly powerlessness (pronounced
"unwillingness") to try and stop it.
This play wasn'tjust about tears and
mourning, however. It was also about
finding solutions. The primary solution
wasself-love, love from within theBlack

community.
"I love you. I love you as much as
a dead man could love," Johnson said.
"I am not immune to love. It s love that
is immune to me."
That way of thinking must beelimi-
nated. But how? "I need for you to
touch me again, softly. I need for you to
teach me again, gently," Johnson said.
"Will you love me again? Because I am
alive. Because I am dying." "Love me
again," Rogers said. "Believe in me;
teach me my history. Don't give up on
us, and my brothas, let's not give up on
ourselves."
"We must move," Jenkins told the
Black men in the audience. "We must

startupsomething. We must aggrevate;
we must agitate; we must mess up; we
must kick; we must holler."
Black men must realize that "I am
the man, the true man, the Black man. I
am the strength upon which the great-
ness of this country was built. I am the
blood of this nation; one can not live
without blood. I am the bones of this
nation; onecan not stand without bones."
From this, the cast hopes to instill
one feeling - no, one fact - into the@
hearts of Black men everywhere. "No
matter what the world takes away from
me, I will not let it take away the essence
of me. I am strong; I am powerful; Iam
Black; I am da man."

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ENERGY AWARENESS WEEK
MARCH 20-24, 1995
SPONSORED BY THE SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
AND THE UTILITIES DEPARTMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
ACTIVITIES:
MONDAY, MARCH 20, 1995 - Presentation by Harry Morton and Liz
Elling of the School of Natural Resources and Environment - the
Topic is the "Nichols Arboretum Environmental Education
Center"
TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 1995 - Presentation by Wayne Appleyard of
S.unstructures - "Solar Energy and Conservation in Architecture as
Keys to a Sustainable Future"
M Tour of University of Michigan Central Power Plant
" Tour of University of Michigan Lighting Laboratory
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 1995 - Presentation by John Barrie of John
Barrie Associates, Architects - "Energy Efficient Design"
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 1995 - Presentation by Greg Keoleian of the
National Pollution Prevention Center -"Assessing the
Environmental Burden of Consumer Products"
ENERGY CONSERVATION FAIR AT THE MICHIGAN UNION

I

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