20 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 22, 1997
makes for love
sto in 'Kssed'
By Julia Shih
Daily Arts Writer
When the people run to theaters to see the new
romantic movie, "Kissed," it would be best if they are
forewarned that it is not the usual sappy Hollywood
In fact, the movie is anything but mundane.
"Kissed" tells the story of a pretty girl named
Sandra Larson (Molly Parker) who has a fascination
with death - not just the morbidity of it, but the spir-
itual and mysterious aspects of it. Her fascination with
death leads her to a local funeral parlor, where she
becomes an employee. It is there, surrounded by
death, that'she finds meaning in her life.
During the day, Sandra learns the tricks of the trade.
Throughout the night, Sandra experiences intimate sex-
ual relationships with the male corpses, which allows
her to feel what it's like to "cross over" to the other side.
As she works at the funeral home and studies the art
of embalming, she meets Matt (Peter Outerbridge), a
lonely and passionate medical student with whom she
falls in love.
According to Lynne Stopkewich, the director of
"Kissed," "Matt is the first person to whom Sandra has
revealed herself in a long, long time. He is fascinated
by her passion and then develops his own obsession
with it. Like Sandra, he wants to lose himself in it, feel
what it's like to cross over, get out of his head for a
moment. He wants to experience sex in the way
Sandra does and achieve what the French call 'le petit
mort'- orgasm ... described as 'the little death."'
But Sandra refuses to allow Matt to experience her
world in which love, sex and death intermingle, result-
ing in "Kissed" becoming a movie about a tragically
Though the movie tells the tale of a woman who is
a necrophiliac, the film does not focus itself entirely
on this tabooed subject.
"The film is more about obsessive love than any-
thing else. And love, nature and desire. And about
larger things like sexuality and mortality," Stopkewich
"It wasn't ever meant to be a documentary or a slice
of life about a character who has this particular sexu-
al preference," she continued. "It was more than that.
Basement Arts ends
season with 'subUrbia
Molly Parker stars in "Kissed," a love story based around necrophilia.
So in making this movie, given our limited resources,
I thought it would probably be the strongest choice to
focus on her story and to maintain that voice through-
out the movie no matter what.
"And there was a lot of temptation in the shooting
and the editing and all the way along, even the writing
to sort of create all these other subplots of other char-
acters. But you have to be pragmatic when you're
making your first film and just focus on taking one lit-
tle step at a time and handle what you can handle."
For Stopkewich, "Kissed" is the Canadian director's
trophy after a lifetime of hard work and dedication. As
a chronic film student, Stopkewich completed a BFA
in film production at Concordia University in
Montreal, where she created her first 16mm short
films: "The Flipped Wig," a musical comedy about a
girl's first trip to the gynecologist, and "The $3 Wash
& Set," a hilarious romp through a 1960s beauty
salon. After winning various festival awards in New
York and San Francisco for both short films,
Stopkewich then headed to the University of British
Columbia to complete an MFA in film.
With so much knowledge and expertise gained from
years as a film student, Stopkewich felt that she was
ready to tackle her first feature film.
After falling in love with a short story about
necrophilia, titled "We So Seldom Look on Love," by
Barbara Gowdy, Stopkewich decided to write a
screenplay based on the story. Gowdy later approved
of the screenplay, and the rest, as they say, is history.
While preparing "Kissed" for production, the hard-
est thing was the casting. The adult actors were rela-
tively easy to cast, but the child performers required for
the scenes of Sandra as a child were difficult to track
down, considering the film's subject matter.
When willing young actors were found and every-
thing was in place, the production went smoothly and
Stopkewich was quite pleased with the results.
Apparently so were critics everywhere, as "Kissed"
has earned rave reviews and was also among five
Canadian features selected for showcase at the
Independent Feature Film Market in New York.
Though the success of "Kissed" with the critics has
left Stopkewich stunned, she is unsure of how the gen-
eral public will take the film.
"I don't think this film is cut out for everyone,"
Stopkewich said. "Or, I don't think everyone is cut out
for this movie, I should say. I don't think you take on
this kind of story without thinking that there are cer-
tain people who might walk out, or people who might
be angry with you creating certain images ... But I
hope they can see past that and enjoy the way the story
has been told and the integrity with which it's told.
And the choices that we made cinematically to tell that
story. Because I tried to do everything that I could to
desensationalize (necrophilia) and not exploit it."
For a story on such an outrageous subject,
Stopkewich has done an excellent job at creating a
movie that speaks to the very heart of the soul.
So be forewarned that "Kissed" does not contain the
same subject matter found in your average romantic
fluff movie. But it does contain a level of emotion that
to which all audiences can relate through a passionate
love story, told using the union between life and death.
By Christopher Tkaczyk
Campus Arts Editor
Following the success of the Fall
Season's Basement Arts production of
"Burn This," BFA senior Allison Tkac
is again directing a show in the
Basement. This time around she is tack-
one of the more
modern and hipper PI
pieces of theater
that has come outW
of Lincoln Center. w
Written by Eric
"subUrbia" has been critically
acclaimed and has recently been filmed
by director David Lynch.
Tkac plans to present the play as it
was originally intended - as a comedic
drama that doesn't play up the better
side of life in the suburbs, but instead
makes things appear realistic without
painting a pretty picture of life. The
movie version of the play was changed
by Lynch to make the lives of its char-
acters seem happier, and doesn't dwell
on their realism.
The story of the drama surrounds a
group of teenagers who sit outside a 7-11
while waiting for a"former high school
friend to return. Pony, the former friend,
has made it big on MTV and is now a rock
star. While the characters remember Pony
d. at 4 p.m., Thurs. Sat.
at 7 p.m., Fri. at 11 p.m.
as being dorky and null of social skills.
they can't understand how he became so
famous. Unlike in "Waiting for Godot,
Pony does eventually arrive, and the rest
of the play follows the interaction between
him and the group of friends.
is strictly Generatic
X. Tkac explained,
for a tribe of people
who will under-
stand his work only
if they are a part of
the tribe. My
not understand this show"
While the play follows the story of a
bunch of slackers, it is not strictly a sta
version of "The Breakfast Club. Its issues
dig deep into modem events, including
homosexuality, AIDS and drugs.
Tkac is excited about "subUrbia"
She considers thisproduction to be her
swan song, since she intends to gradu-
ate in May. She explained, "this is the
largest cast I've ever assembled, and the
amount of enthusiasm they have is
incredible. They have enough energy to
blow the roof of the Arena."
This production concludes the Winter
1997 season of Basement Arts. With an
excellent story and an acclaimed, cre-
ative director, "subUrbia" looks to be
closing the Basement with a bang.
'Blank' soundtrack falls short of town's ritzy image
Grosse Pointe Blank
For a movie based in the suburbs of
Detroit, wouldn't it have been a great
idea to comprise the soundtrack of great
musical acts from the Motor City like
Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, The Stooges
and Ted Nugent?
Instead, we get a hodgepodge of pre-
viously released tracks, the majority
from '70s British punk and ska acts.
"Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack"
makes for a good mix of classic tunes
that are all worth a listen if you don't
already own them, and its few erratic
selections like Guns N' Roses' "Live
and Let Die" and Faith No More's "We
Care A Lot" add a bit of flair to what
seems like a customary film soundtrack.
Kicking off the record is the Violent
Femmes' classic "Blister in the Sun."
The Femmes have a second song on the
disc (you didn't know they had more
than one song, did you?) with a new
version of "Blister," titled "Blister
2000" The Clash makes two appear-
ances on the record with "Rudie Can't
Fail" and Armagideon Time," while fel-
low Brits The Jam ("Absolute
Beginners"), The English Beat ("Mirror
in the Bathroom') and The Specials
(with the reggae classic "Pressure
Drop") all show up with a track. Johnny
Nash's melodic "I Can See Clearly
Now," and David Bowie & Queen's
"Under Pressure" are two of the
record's best additions.
Pete Townshend's "Let My Love
Open the Door (E. Cola Mix)" and Los
Fabulosos Cadillacs' "El Matador" help
to pull in the slack and round out a what
makes for a soundtrack we could all
probably deal without.
Brian A. Guinat
Those wacky kids in Performance Art 354 are having their final performances
at the Media Union on North Campus on April 29 and 30, titled "Blisskrieg."
Expect a variety of expositions from poetry to body mutilations - fun for the
entire family! The class is led by Rusell Taylor, a.k.a. Satori Circus (bottom
left). Best of all, it's free! Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8.
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