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March 18, 1997 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-18

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 18, 1997

35th Film Fest wraps up at Michigan

Bo n Ghose
D its Writer
you know that non-dairy creamer
is-highly explosive? Neither did I, until I
went to the Ann Arbor Film Festival's

Awards Screening
where Michigan
Theater audiences'
feasted on an eclec-
tic array of visuals
- from Bruce
C~ er's hypnotic,
V_4 i v e t
Underground-esque
search for magic
mushrooms to Johr

on Sunday night,
RE
35th
Fi
The Mic
n Scott Matthews'

homage to New York's gay S & M scene.
Shocking, disturbing, challenging
and, at times, irritating, the Film Festival
was and is not directed toward the con-
Mmfional "Sack Lunch" moviegoer.
RTs does not mean that only preten-
tios ., David Lynch-worshipping
hersnmians will appreciate the Fest. No
Mi^Like free-verse poetry and stout
Guinness, experimental films grow on
yp. Hipness is not a prerequisite for
beftst, but open-mindedness is.
-St$l, even with my brain's welcome
ewenthusiastically unfurled, I must
dmiii* that I could not comprehend some
cAha winning films. David. Gatten's
tifnilm, "Hardwood Process," won the

Festival's highest award, yet I found this
experimental film overly vague, frustrat-
ing and inaccessible to one-time viewers.
Although his looped-over footage was a
visual masterpiece, the Endgame-like
meditation made audiences feel dumb.
Selected by
Festival judges over
.VIEVW the weekend, the
Ann Arbor winning films were
ilm Festival spread across
Sunday's three dif-
higan Theater ferent 120-minute
March 16, 1997 screenings. These
segments contained
some of my personal favorites, including
Dan Tice's "Thank You For Not
Smoking," Dylan McNeil's "NY: the
Lost Civilization" and Don Hertzfeldt's
"Genre."
Tice, who hails from Ann Arbor,
explores the fear of real communication
and the inability to take action. "Thank
You For Not Smoking," which resem-
bles Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for
Godot," is complex, hilarious and sad
all at once, with clever writing and sur-
prisingly good acting.
Dylan McNeil's "NY (pronounce like
the word 'knee'): the Lost Civilization,"
winner of the Michael Moore Award for
Best Documentary Film, is a faux anthro-
pological study of a city built upon

smoke, better known to us as New York
City. Tongue planted firmly in cheek,
McNeil unapologetically studies
("mocks" would be more accurate) our
modern civilization the way an alien vis-
itor might, shedding harsh light upon the
oddities and ridiculousness of our cul-
ture. McNeil's commentary is sharp,
smart, but remarkably endearing.
"Genre," by California's Don
Hertzfeldt, was the funniest film of the
Festival. In this five-minute joyride of
recklessly funny animation, a hapless
cartoon bunny gets dragged through a
variety of cinematic genres by his wan-
ton animator. Our poor bunny endures
romance, horror, black comedy, porn -
with each new genre, Hertzfeldt's
wicked humor burgeons and swells until
peaking at the Itchy- and Scratchy-esque
closing that is sure to please any
"Simpsons" fan.
In addition, Awards Night possessed
plenty of great dramatic films that
deserve attention, including Marilyn
Levine's "Life, Death, Baseball,"
Jennifer Reeves' "Chronic," Tina
DiFeliciantonio's and Jane Wagner's
"Two or Three Things But Nothing for
Sure" and Charlotte Lagarde's "Swell."
Levine's documentary is a touching
examination of her own life and loss,
triggered by the filmmaker's pregnancy,

and a moving remembrance of Levine's
sister. Charlotte Lagarde's "Swell," an
extremely professional documentary
featuring four generations of women
longboard surfers, closed the festival on
a heartbreaking note when Beth, one of
the teen-age surfers, dies while catching
a wave.
If you are kicking yourself right now
for missing the 35th Ann Arbor Film
Festival and coping with your anger
through self-mutilation, you really
should stop. One, because it hurts; two,
because a four-hour tape of the Film
Fest's primo entries goes on tour this
spring and summer! On March 29 and
31, the Fest will be showing at the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
On May 5, the Fest will be at the Detroit
Institute of the Arts. On July 13, it will
be back in Ann Arbor, and on Aug. 1
and 2, the Film Fest will finish its tour
in Kalamazoo. And if you can't make
those tour stops, don't worry - the
Ann Arbor Film Festival will be back
next year. They promise.

Charlotte Lagarde's "Swell" closed the Film Festival on a heartbroking note.

v

~~q

UAC Committee Chairs Wanted!
for the 1997-1998 school year
Universities Activities Center is the largest student-run organization on
campus. UAC's purpose is to enrich the student community. UAC has a
spot for everyone. If you enjoy the arts, the entertainment field, or are
interested in technical work, business, or advertising, UAC would love to
have you join the team! UAC is made up of a fantastic team of students.
We're so much more that just programming; we're about fun, too. Not
only do we work together, we play together! There is never a dull
moment at UAC!
Committees Include:

y our
;ource for
campus
e news -
'rxyi :

4
b

Amazin' Blue
Comedy Company
Impact Dance Theatre
M-Flicks
The Rude Mechanicals
(formerly Soph Show)
MUSKET
Mini-Courses
Multicultural Programming Board
Michigan Academic Competition

Laughtrack
Soundstage
Special Events
Viewpoint Lectures
Eclipse Jazz
Homecoming
Michigras
Ticket Central

Applications are available at the UAC office,
2105 Michigan Union
Due Noon, Monday March 24

Univers4 Activities Ceate r

Universities Activities center
2105 Michigan Union
763-1107

www.kaplan.com ~
Consumer Psychology Experimental Laboratory
at U-M Business School

I

K

/

Students needed to participate
in market research

1 0

$1.0per hour

(

1-3 hours with some readings and survey)

Date
Place

: Call to schedule
: School of Business Administration

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