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October 28, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-28

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Guild House reading
Check out one of Ann Arbor's premier cultural attractions this evening.
The Guild House Writers Series will feature harpist and poet Laurel
Federbush and performance artist Steve Marsh doing a very special
reading. Now that the World Series is over, you have no excuse but to
enrich your mind. So head on over there. The reading starts at 8:30
p.m. at 802 Monroe St. Call 913-4574 for more information.

.October 28, 1996


Epic 'Michael Collins' revi
Director Neil Jordan brings forgotten tale to life

olutionizes Irish film genre

By Jon Petilnski.
liaily Film Editor
About 75 years ago, one dedicated Irish man's movement
r peace paved the way for a free Irish Republic, indepen-
nt of British rule. Known as a controversial figure and
glossed over or even ignored by many history books, this
man's tale finally unfolds in Neil Jordan's true-to-history epic
film, "Michael Collins."
Starring Liam Neeson in the title role, the film opens in
1916 with the Easter Uprising, when Irish revolutionaries,
including Collins, Eamon De Valera
(Alan Rickman) and Harry Boland
(Aidan Quinn) surrendered after a six- R E
day standoff against British forces.
rom the first minutes of the film, the ei Mi
amera sweeps over the remnants of the
battle scene, and we are invited to
immediately digest the conflict. Best
friends Collins and Boland are impris-
oned; upon their release, they emerge as the new leaders of
the Irish independence movement.
Impassioned and devoted to his cause and aided with infor-
mation from Ned Broy (Stephen Rea), Collins organizes a
secret force - the Irish Volunteers - to wreak havoc on the
British army and police on a previously unmarked scale.
While Boland and De Valera are in America rousing support,
ey miss Collins-led attacks on the British, the British Black
T'nd Tans' retaliation, and Collins' budding romance with
Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts), the young woman his best
friend left behind.
Collins, who eventually brings Britain to her knees, is sent
by De Valera to negotiate a treaty for Ireland's freedom. Upon
his return, however, his heightened popularity plummets (the
treaty still requires an oath of allegiance to the British crown).
Dissatisfied, the people blame Collins, who will continue to
stand by his quest for peace - even at the price of his good
friends, a brewing civil war and his own tragic downfall.
Clocking in at more than two hours, "Michael Collins" art-
fully merges both the romantic and political aspirations of
Collins. In one intimate scene, the camera lets us watch him
and Kitty on a bed in a dark room, with only an outline of a
rose between them. We listen intently to their hushed voices,
marking the first signs of their love.


In seconds the camera jolts out of their perfect moment,
flashing us scenes of shooting, blood and terrified faces. This
juxtaposition of both intimate, horrifying and ultimately pow-
erful scenes contributes to the overall balance of the film.
Jordan ("The Crying Game") makes sure that Michael
Collins is real for us. We do not just see him fighting all the
time; instead we also get to see the personal motivations and
desires that both humanize him and drive his quest.
Neeson shines bright in his role as Collins. From the first
moment, his passion and purpose are glaringly evident,
because Neeson makes them believable
for his audience. Whether Collins is ral-
VI E W lying, fighting, loving, spending time
with friends, or confronting conflict
chael Collins and enemies, Neeson manages to pull
off all his scenes (and his accent) with
grace and ease.
At Showcase In strong supporting roles, both
Quinn (Boland) and Rickman (De
Valera) give high-quality performances (despite Quinn's
unconvincing accent), as first Collins' friends and then the
leaders of the civil war against him. Moreover, both remind
the audience of the rifts in the relationships in Collins' life -
political with De Valera, and social with Boland. The actors'
convincing performances magnify the tension between these
once same-side forces.
Roberts' portrayal of Kitty, however, certainly leaves a dif-
ferent taste in viewers' mouths - a bad one. Not only does
her accent move through a progression from bad Irish to
Southern to no longer identifiable, she puts an over dramatic
damper on an otherwise appropriate and emotional ending to
the film. Luckily, real footage of Collins' funeral and a nos-
talgic song by Sinead O'Connor almost allow us to forget
Roberts' lacking performance.
In the end, Jordan's long-awaited "Michael Collins" suc-
ceeds on multiple levels. Ultimately the film forces us to
absorb not just the story of an Irish nationalist and his brutal
battles, but also of the complications - both personal and
professional - thwarting him and the consequences of his
actions. Endearing performances (minus the accents), a fast-
moving, uncomplicated script and the cinematography all
breathe life into a tale - with all its elements of romance,
courage and purpose - that was just waiting to be told.

Liam Neeson
(above and left,
center), Julia
Roberts and
Aldan Quinn star
in director Neil
Jordan's Irish
historical epic
"Michael CollIns"

Tharpl dancers frolic at Power Center show

By Stephanie Glickman
Daily Arts Writer
Sexy, vibrant and under 22. For a modern dance
company, Tharp! dancers are young - very young.
Choreographer Twyla Tharp has always selected her
company members with a certain physical "look" in
mind. Tharp!, her newest company, which presented
her three most recent numbers at Power Center this
weekend, is no exception.
A revolutionary of postmod-
em dance, Tharp, whether she
intended to be or not, is now a R E
superstar. She has set pieces not
only for her own companies, but
also for dancers from the likes of
the Martha Graham Company or
the Joffrey Ballet. More than
100 dances are manifestations of
her creative genius for the past 30 years.
The work of any prolific artist evolves over the
years, reflecting changes in motivation and intent.
Tharp is no exception and nothing proves this more
than Tharp!, whose look is flashy, sophisticated and
hip. Tharp's early desires to make meaningful dances
and experiment with movement have evolved into
dances filled with glamour, theatrical,'spectacle and
sex appeal. This continues with Tharp!, a dance com-
pany much more concerned with style than content.
With her 13 Tharp! dancers, she spices up and


refreshes the look of dance. Unlike their balletic coun-
terpoints, modern dance companies are often com-
prised of more mature dancers. Tharp. however, has
abandoned this notion and found technically very
strong, but still uncultivated dancers. The youngest
dancer is a mere 16 years old.
"66," set to '50s bachelor pad music and comprised
of different vignettes of travelers down the classic
American highway, is neither angst-ridden nor particu-
larly deep. A theatrical romp
down memory lane - complete
V I E W with two larger-than-life tires
that interact with the dancers -
Tharp! the spirited and lively "66"
Power Center induces laughter. (Sometimes,
we forget that modern dance is
Oct. 24 a& 25. 1996 allowed to amuse us). Tharp
injects her quirks into the
Broadway-esque choreography, making movement that
has the potential to be flat and unoriginal more than just
trite show-biz behavior. It's a musical with a modern
twist. Some call this a sellout, an affront to theoretical
principals of modern dance, but Tharp has never been
one to follow rules. Why should she start now?
"Sweet Fields," which is set to American religious
choral music, radiates simplicity. The profound mood
is created by an empty, dark stage with dancers clad
only in white performing richly textured, sinuous
movements. The theme of community underlies the

curry, breathy choreography. often danced in lines
reminiscent of folk dance formations. Within the trah-
quillity and modesty of "Sweet Fields" the dancers
are sexy. White pants hug the men's shapely muscular
legs. The women wear tight white shorts and tiny tops
with sheer, flowing jackets nearly slipping off (heir
shoulders as they curve their way through space.
This sex appeal is even more striking in the, final
piece, "Heroes." The dance is sexist in its sexuality.
Three topless men, wearing only silver pants, which
later become only black shorts, display their physiques
in a reoccurring diagonal theme. They stand side 'by
side. hands on hips, torsos thrust forward while a
female. equally sexy and tightly dressed, continuously
tries to penetrate their self-made wall by lunging. her
entire body at their chests. The women's choreography
is all legs. They kick and leap, except for when they are
buffeted about by men. The men engage in boots'of
complicated partnering among themselves. The piece *s
busy, complicated and overtly sexual. The divisiori
between the sexes continues throughout, showin
Tharp's affinity for choreographing for male dancers.
Not only a choreographer with an eye for partnorhg
and manipulating large groups of dancers, Tharp.is a
business woman. Tharp! is out there and ready to be
consumed by audiences lured in by the Tharp name
and the Tharp look. It is dance entertainment at'its
flashiest. Give Tharp! a script and nothing would sep-
arate its concert from Broadway.

he Twyla Tharp dancers performed at Power Center this weekend.


Find special election coverage
inside this week's edition

At Canterbury House, we start each day with silent meditation and prayer.
Join us...if you think you can stand it! Tuesday - Friday, 9:15 - 9:45 A.M.
721 East Huron Street
The big blue house one block east of State St.
The Rev. Matthew Lawrence, Chaplain

Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Thursday, November 7, 1996
6:00 p.m.
Whitney Auditorium
Room 1309 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.


Don't Panic!
If you think you're pregnant..,
call us-we listen, we care.
Any time, any day, 24 hours
Fully confidential.
Serving Students since 1970.





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