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October 28, 1997 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-28

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 28, 1997 - 9

FairyTale' proves truly enchanting

By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
One of the more encouraging recent
trends in the film industry has been the
advent of high-quality live-action fami-
' movies. Often overshadowed by
Disney's well publicized feature length
animated fare ("Aladdin," "The Lion
King, ". etc.),
movies like "The
Secret Garden," "A R
Little Princess,"
"The Secret of
Roan Inish" and 99
"Shiloh" have
rewarded the few
ople who have
osen to view them.
A new film that can be added to this
list is "Fairy Tale: A True Story," an
intelligent, enchanting production that
is successful on many different levels.
When young Frances Griffiths
(Elizabeth Earl) arrives to stay at the
home of her Aunt Poily (Phoebe
Nicholls) and Uncle Arthur (Paul
McGann), the atmosphere is drab. The

couple has been in mourning ever since
one of their two children died. Their
remaining daughter, Elsie (Florence
Hoath), is somehow trying to hold on to
her childhood despite the loss of much
of her innocence.
Frances, with her bubbly personality,
manages to inject some life back into
the family, and she
and Polly become
V I E W inseparable. Their
FairyTale: daily routine con-
True Story sists of playing
near a wooded area
behind their house,
At showcase where from time to

E
A

In two masterful performances (even
by adult standards), Earl and Hoath
command the screen and control the
movie.
They create truly authentic charac-
ters, without resorting to typical cine-
matic cliches for children. Innocent
without being naive and completely
oblivious, clever without being wise
beyond their years, and enthusiastic
without being thoughtlessly self
absorbed, the children react to every sit-
uation in a realistic manner. Although
much of the credit should go to director
Charles Sturridge for his handling of
the girls, Earl and Hoath are truly a
pleasure to watch and appear to have
very bright futures.
Sturridge should also be commended
for his handling of a screenplay that has
the potential to be a bit sermonic.
Obviously, the natural adult reaction to
possible proof of the existence of fairies
is one of skepticism and cynicism. But
by presenting the viewpoint of the
doubters in a balanced, logical manner
the director avoids preaching. While

there are a few one-dimensional stock
characters, most of the skeptics are not
evil, but completely reasonable. Thus,
the film does not regress to a shallow
good-(as represented by the children)-
versus-bad-(as symbolized by adult
society) theme.
Moreover, by ensuring that the focus
of the movie is on Frances and Elsie,
Sturridge avoids being exploitative,
retaining much of the film's innocence.
"Fairy Tale" is more concerned with the
thoughts and actions of the two central
characters than with the adult world's
reaction to them.
As a result, famous figures Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle (Peter O' Toole) and
Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel), who
are key secondary players, do not take
center stage. The purpose of the film is
not to be a bio-pic of these two men, but
to tell the remarkable story of two chil-
dren. Sturridge perfectly uses the char-
acters of Doyle and Houdini, adding a
touch of realism that enhances the
movie's mystery and allure.
Overall, "Fairy Tale" has an inherent

time they see tiny
fairies flying around. Of course, no one
believes them when they talk about
these fairies, so they decide to take a
photograph as proof.
They end up taking a picture of the
fairies, which brings them instant fame.
However, the legitimacy of the photos is
brought into question, and controversy
breaks out as an overwhelming search
for the truth commences.

Young Elizabeth Earl believes in fairies, shouldn't you?

charm that should make it appealing to
viewers of any age. The film challenges
both the imagination and the intellect,
often at the same time, but does so in a
way that is thoroughly satisfying. While

the movie requires more intellec.tual
participation than the typical Disney
animated movie or average mindless
children's movie, the result is a tnuly
rewarding experience.

Solid characters, apt themes make 'Snow Falling' a powerful tale
Snow Falling an Cedars Denial

David Guterson
Random House, Inc.
Is love more important than one's heritage? Can
Americans trust those who do not look "American?"
These are only two of the many probing questions that
David Guterson addresses in his novel "Snow Falling on
Cedars." Guterson takes his readers on a journey into the
hearts and souls of his characters, and thus the readers go on
a journey deep into the hidden valleys of their own hearts and
souls.
"Snow Falling on Cedars" is a novel about love, war and
rejudice. It takes place on the small island of Puget Sound,
:ar Guterson's birthplace, Seattle. Guterson
eloquently describes the beautiful
scenery of this island, a microcosm
of the world. At the start of the
novel there is a murder of a local
fisherman, and the novel unfolds
as Guterson reveals the relation-
ship of each character to this dead-
fisherman.-
'The story takes place around the time
,,fWorld War II, and therefore, as soon as a
-Wite fisherman turns up dead, a Japanese man is accused
of theiurder.
_Guterson masterfully ties this novel together by introduc-
ing each character in the present time and then showing a
flashback into his or her life. While doing this, he gives clues
about the murder that will eventually show up in the murder
trial. Kabuo is the accused Japanese man trying to prove his
innocence while retaining his Japanese pride, a difficult task
since jurors often judge innocence by the softness of ones
face and Kabuo was taught that no matter what the situation
he must never show weakness or emotion.
The reporter, a white man named Ishmael, has a skewed
vision of the trial, for he is in love with Kabuo's beautiful
Japanese wife Hatsue. Ishmael and Hatsue, though from dif-
ferent heritages, find love as youths. Yet as they grow older,
they face the horrors of the Japanese encampment and are
tainted by prejudice. Consequently, they realize that their love
'can never be.
One issue Guterson addresses is the relationship between
fate and choice.
Just as the people have no control over the war erupting
around them, many feel that they have no control over their
f ves; fate is deciding their destiny. Hatsue, for example, feels
at she has no choice but to end her relationship with
Ishmael and to starve the love she has for him.

Ultimately, however, she does make this choice because
she lets her mother's nationalism influence her. Ishmael, on
the other hand, feels that he can control his fate, ignore those
around him and continue loving Hatsue. Ultimately, he does
not have the choice because Hatsue destroys their future.
Hidden deep within the story is a parallel between the white
snow controlling,the people's lives and the white people con-
trolling the lives of the Japanese.
Just as people have no defense against a terrible natural dis-
aster, the Japanese feel that they have no defense over the
superior white people.
By addressing such issues, Guterson forces the reader to
evaluate the credos by which he lives his life. When the read-
er finishes the last page, he exits Guterson's world of solitude
and injustice to return to his world. Yet, his world is no longer
so familiar, because the reader begins to question his ideals
and beliefs.
Guterson's fluid style of writing
makes this book a very easy read.
Though it is easy to read, it is
full of so many hidden meanings
and messages that one feels the
need to read the book over and
over again until he has figured out
the last mystery. Though this book
evokes such powerful emotions, it is
also simply an entertaining story.
"Snow Falling on Cedars" is such a powerful book
because it not only probes the depths of the characters, but
forces the reader to probe the depths of his own character.
- Corinne Schneider
MAD: FOLD THIS BOOK! A
Ridiculous Collection of Fold-ins
Al Jaffee
Warner Books
Fold this book!
Just kidding, Idiot! Would you really fall for that again?
C'mon ... an anthology of legendary MAD Magazine artist
Al Jaffee's infamous fold-ins is too nice (and too expensive!)
to end up like the tattered back covers of the old issues of
MAD mom would disgustedly pull out from under your bed.
Besides, the fold-ins featured in this "Ridiculous
Collection" have already been FOLDED-IN for you! Or

l

rather, they have already been folded-in for the nostalgic baby
boomers who want to recapture the MADness of their youth,
but have grown too lazy to match the little A-B arrows up
themselves!
Al Jaffee's giddily cryptic masterworks began, we
learn from the book, more than 30 years ago. Intended
as a one-shot gimmick, the fold-in satirized the expen-
sive full-color three page fold-OUTS of magazines like
Life and Playboy. While those "snobby" magazines
folded out, cheap, cheeky MAD produced a black and
white fold-IN.
"Another Ridiculous Fold-In" soon became a MAD sta-
ple, allowing Jaffee to develop and master the painstaking
art of the fold-in. Along with an explanation in the begin-.
ning of the book detailing the fascinating, albeit frustrat-
ing task of fold-in creation (many of Jaffee's original
sketches are featured alongside completed works,) Jaffee
provides commentary throughout the book on his experi-
mentation with the form.
Jaffee's artistry is rebelliously inventive and this collection
provides a delicious opportunity to marvel at his genius for
tricky visual teasers. In Jaffee's twisty universe, for instance,
the Grand Canyon morphs into a father screaming at his
daughter ("What new chasm has been discovered that dwarfs
even the Grand Canyon?" asks the fold-in; "The Generation
Gap").
Arranged chronologically, the fold-ins in this vol-
ume, as well as the MAD covers featured beside them,
are a fascinating document of late 20th century social
history. From hippies, hawks and doves through Navy
sex scandals and Beavis and Butthead, MAD and Jaffee
tell a raunchy, frank and subversive version of the pol-
itics, protest and pop culture of the '60s, '70s, '80s and
'90s.
This is the sort of material that would really make U.S.
history "come alive" for the lazy, drugged-out students of
America. Which is precisely why the lazy, drugged-out
teachers of America continue to outlaw MAD in their
classrooms!
"What master underachiever has undeservedly attained
worldwide fame and fortune?" asks a 1991 fold-in. One half
of Bart Simpson's canary mug appears on each side of the
page, a sneaky attempt to fool those who would divine the
image before folding.
Yet Bart gets lost between the folds. Emerging between the
creased page is a smiling face, eyes closed like a benign mys-
tic and tongue sticking out: "Our own Al Jaffee."
Lucky for all of us, there's so much of Jaffee's brilliant
underachieving to enjoy.
Buy this book! And keep folding-in MAD.
- Jessica Callaway

Keith Ablow
Pantheon
Rarely does a book come around that receives so mush
acclaim for being a monsterly riveting novel, but has charac-
ters so distasteful that it makes it hard to read. But in Keith
Ablow's "Denial," he manages to achieve just that with a
work that is intriguing but extremely distasteful.
"Denial" claims to be a psychological thriller that takes
place amidst a series of brutal murders in the Boston area.
With the main character of Frank Clevenger, a forensic psy-
chiatrist as our guide, we are driven into the blackness of the
human soul and allowed to see just how disgustingly dys-
functional we all are.
Clevenger is first brought onto a case that involvesa
female victim whose body has been raped and mutilated. The
victim turns out to be a close friend and colleague of
Clevenger's girlfriend. Within days, more victims are found,
mutilated in the same way. Though the murders fohte
Clevenger to deal with the ghosts in his own closet, he fights
on to discover who is behind these murders before more vic-
tims are claimed.
The problem with "Denial" is not that it is not engaging
and fascinating. Ablow, who is a practicing psychiatrist with
a specialty in forensics, is very knowledgeable about the pro-
cedures involved with forensic investigations and is adroit 'at
weaving his knowledge into an intriguing tale.
Clevenger's search for the killer leads him through many
avenues of pathology and psychiatry, and Ablow fascinates
readers with his descriptions of places, people and procedures
that are well-kept secrets of the fields. Most interesting is the
character of Paulson Levitsky, the city pathologist who unrav-
els the clues of the murders through medical examinations.
Levitsky is a memorable character whose intelligence and
quirks are equally interesting.
On the other hand, almost every character in "Denial",is
corrupt in some way. Whether psychologically or spiritually
corrupt, there are no characters that are semi-likable.
Clevenger is an alcoholic drug-addict who is arrogant ard
into casual sex. The secondary characters, like the mayor and
Clevenger's sexual partners, are tragically human and hardly
deserve sympathy.
Readers may also feel dissatisfied with the book's anti-cli-
mactic moments and the haphazard way in which the story
unfolds. Ablow's rookie status at novel-writing is quite appar-
ent in his pacing and tying up of loose ends.
In the end, it is hard to deny that even though "Denial" was
written by a talented writer who has potential, this book is no
testament of that talent.
- Julia Shih

RECORDS
Continued from Page 8
Godflesh
Love and Hate in Dub
arache
Whir, whir, pound, pound. Mixed up
like crazy into overdubbed club-ready
tracks, Godflesh is making ammo for
some kinda post-metal war against
glassy lechno.
From the opening kicks of "Circle of
*Shit (To The Point Dub)" to the super
drawn-out burning atmosphere of "Gift
rom Heaven (Heavenly)," "Love and
4ate in Dub" challenges your assump-
tions about Godflesh.
You still have the underlying metal
construction. The beats come in the
same stereotypical ways they have for
probably the last 10 years from all
quarters of popular hair rawk. It's just
that it. doesn't sound wrong in dub.
"Frail (Now Broken)" sounds like it
could be based on a Motley Criie song,
ut not in the troubling way that you'd
Maybe it's just part of a trend in a lot
of areas of music where songs are
becoming more and more electronic.
Not that this is new; it happened in the
mid -'70s, too. But this time there's
much more bass and much darker
bands are embracing it to a much larg-

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