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January 16, 1998 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-16

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 16, 1998

Cameron's grand 'Titanic'

steers clear of disaster

By Jennifer Petlinski
Daily Arts Writer
"Titanic" and director James Cameron have successfully
sailed through moviegoers' impatience, premature criticism
and a lot of green stuff. Now in its fifth week of release and
currently grossing more than $200 million in theaters around
the nation, "Titanic" is proof that a disaster film can actually
be a treasure.
The Titanic, in all its size and splendor,
isthe disastrous backdrop for a fictitious
love saga between elegant socialite Rose
(played by British actress Kate Winslet)
and third-class passenger and starving
artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio). What
makes the romance so delicious, radiant A
and worthy of an audience's time (when
-people most likely came to see the action) is the frivolity of it
all. Both in their late teens, Rose - who is engaged to the
perfect jerk (Billy Zane) - and Jack fall in love Hollywood-
.style after about two hours. He saves her from suicide, they
dance dirty in steerage and they do it in the backseat of a
ford. Audiences fall in love with them. This fairytaletangent
isOK. Both Winslet and DiCaprio radiate from the screen.

1
3

But the glow of young love is disrupted, along with the
momentum of the film, by the scenes in the present, where
achievement-driven Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his crew
drink up an elderly Rose's (Gloria Stuart) never-told tale of
her experience as a lover on and a survivor of the Titanic.
Embellished in melodrama - despite several exceptions
of brief humor - and trite dialogue, the scenes with Paxton
and Stuart fail to hold together crucial
pieces of the film. Instead, they are dis-
E V I E WAI ruptive, prematurely chopping off the
forbidden love story between young
Titanic Rose and Jack.
Cutting back and forth between past
and present, although crucial to the pur-
t Briarwood & Showcase poses of the film, gives "Titanic" a chop-
piness to it. Add in some of Stuart's dia-
logue: "There are no photographs of Jack Dawson. He must
live on in my memory," and the unbelievable fact that Rose is
telling her granddaughter her story for the first time (in front
of crude, money-mongers no less), and the present becomes
an unnecessary distraction. Couldn't it just have been thrown
overboard?
Despite its weaknesses, "Titanic" emerges as one of 1997's

best films. Kudos to Cameron for the real treat of the film: his
spitting-image re-creation of the ship sinking. In fact, the film
manages to make audiences feel as if they are on the ship
themselves, experiencing the wrenching away of time, the
hopelessness and utter chaos on board.
Cameron does not exaggerate the modest-sized iceberg
with which the ship collides. Instead, the film focuses a good
chunk of its time on the passengers' desperation and fear after
the hit.
After the hit, though, the love story between Jack and Rose
becomes somewhat of a sideshow. "Titanic" ends up in two
parts, neither easily connecting with the other.
By the time disaster strikes, audiences are left not caring
too much about what happens to Rose and Jack; they've
already fallen out of their loving the couple almost as fast as
the couple fell in love.
The human element of the film is transferred from the love
story to scattered families on the ship, and, despite a problem
with continuity, it's not a bad switch.
Unlike the seen-that romance-novel story, the reality of
people's different personal tragedies on board hits audiences
like ice-cold water to the face.
In one tearjerkingly painful scene, a woman tucks in her
two children for their long sleep, knowing full well that her
steerage status won't get her off the ship in time. In another,
a man and his wife lie calmly nestled together in bed await-
ing their destiny as the water visciously laps and swirls
beneath them, moments before it engulfs them. This is pow-
erful.
It's no wonder that audiences nearly forget about Winslet
and DiCaprio.
These snapshots, pitted against the vast, terrifyingly awe-
some and painfully sad last moments of the ship before it
takes its final plunge, make "Titanic" worth all that time and
the $200-million price tag.
But some have a few bones to pick with "Titanic"
Residents of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin are mad because, in
the film, artist DiCaprio's Jack dreamily reflects on a lake
back home. As it turns out, the lake, which is man-made, did

Though it features a cast of thousands, "Titanic" actually stars this astounding computer-generated effect.
Beethoven sonatas receive new
treatment at School of Music

By Stephanie Love
Daily Campus Arts Editor
In 1796, Beethoven finished his
Opus 5 sonatas for piano and cello,
titling them "piano sonatas with cello
obbligato."
But thel8th Century cellists waiting
to emerge from their continuo back-
grounds as virtuoso instrumentalists
were by no means disappointed.That
the works were not titled "sonatas for
c1llo and piano" meant nothing, and
from this the age of the romantic cello
sonata had begun.
Jump to the 20th Century. A four-
year-old cellist gives his first recital in
Copenhagen, and Erling Blondal
Bengtsson's rise as one of the most
jnfluential living cellists has begun,
no thanks in part to Beethoven's kick-
off of an often overlooked era.
Half of a century later, Denmark's

acclaimed cellist is a professor of
cello at the University's School of
Music. This weekend, he teams up
with pianist and fellow faculty mem-
ber Anton Nei for a pair of recitals
showcasing Beethoven's complete
piano/cello music.
But why pro-
gram Beethoven's
cello music? PR
"You don't need B
Be
a reason to play Pia
two Beethoven
recitals," Tomorrow
Bengtsson said, Br

ni
itt

"but in this envi-
ronment, I think it is important to do
something a little out of the ordinary.
Since we have these five wonderful
sonatas for cello and three sets of varia-
tions, it accidentally just fits in with two
recitals, and it gives a good impression
of what Beethoven did for the cello and
piano."'
Beethoven's cello sonatas are con-
sidered a musical time line for the
development of Romanticism, but it's
rare to hear the complete works
played together.
"We are fortunate as cellists that the
two first sonatas are early, then the
third sonata is right in the middle peri-
od, and the two last sonatas are Opus
102, which is very late," Bengtsson
said. "So in a sense, we have the
whole musical life of Beethoven."
Of course, playing Beethoven has
its challenges, but Bengtsson, who
taught at the Curtis Institute and the
Royal Danish Conservatory in
Copenhagen before coming to
Michigan in 1990, isn't worried about
technical demands.
"The challenge is to somehow dig
in and find the soul of the work and
find out what Beethoven wanted -
why did he write like this, what can
we do?" he asked.
The recitals will also include

Beethoven's variations on familia
arias from Mozart's "The Magi
Flue" and Handel's "Judas
Maccabaeus."
"You have the music, which isa
kind of instruction, and the rest, you
have to create," Bengtsson said. "W
are the creators
and hopefully mak
E V I E W it come alive and
ethoven for make it present
o and Cello There is something
called artistic free-
and Sunday at 4 p.m. dom, but it is very
ton Recital Hall, Free important, and
especially in the
case of Beethoven to really obey what
the master wrote. That is the chal-
lenge."
Bengtsson has had many opportuni-
ties to play these works in various set-
tings around the world, but his enthu-
siasm hasn't faded.
"They are all good old friends,
Bengtsson said .
"One of the goals for a performing
musician is to feel like it is the very
first time you are doing this. And one
of the most fascinating things is that
you always find something new in
what you are doing," he continued.
Of course, no matter how many
times a piece has been played, collab-
orating with another musician pre-
sents its own challenges.
"I think Prof. Nel and I have very
much the same approach to music," he
said.
"And very simply, we sit down and
we play together, and we don't talk so
much. We just sit down and make
music, and that is a spontaneous way
of doing it. I'm really skeptical of peo-
ple who have 50 rehearsals."
"Cellists always complain that we
don't have much repertoire, but I
think with these five sonatas, we
couldn't really ask for anything
more." .

r
c
s
a
u
e
e
.
-
3
-
-

Peta Wilson stars in the USA Network's lackluster "La Femme

Mission unwat chable:1PUSA!'s
1 Si a ;ta .
lNkia' misses its target
By Steve Paruszkiewicz making the world safe for mankind. out the good writing that must acel
Daily Arts Writer Peta Wilson is cast as the blonde pany it. In a nutshell, this show is t
In a recent trend to turn old TV bombshell, Nikita, who uses her looks "Baywatch" of the prime-time circ
shows into movies, and old movies and talents learned from Section One It has beautiful women, action, 1
into TV shows, the USA Network has to become a deadly adversary. occasional romantic scene, and thir
added to the fray with "La Femme Also starring in the show is Roy tend to explode rather frequently.
Nikita." Dupuis, who plays Michael, the agent The only thing lacking in this-sh<
The show is a loose representation who transformed Nikita into Section is, unfortunately, the one thing tha
of the movie itself, with the plot essen- One agent respectable sh(
tially the same. A beautiful woman Josephine. Alberta in this time
with a troubled past is caught by the Watson playsREVIEW needs: a great
police for a crime she didn't commit. Madeline, the La Femme Nikita of quality writin
She is approached by a mysterious strategist of The actors tle
stranger, who offers her an alternative Section One. Don in" selves aren't
to life imprisonment. Francks plays Fox, Sundays at 30 p.m. blame for the pc
She decides to forfeit her previous Walter, the gadget quality of t
life, and become an agent for the mys- man who can be compared to "Q" of show, and one can't help but worn
terious Section One, a top secret gov- the James Bond films. Birkoff, the what else they could be doing inste
ernment agency specializing in anti- computer genius and cynic of the main of this.
terrorist operations. Her new life con- group, is played by Matthew Ferguson. All in all. "Nikita" seems destir
sists of going on various missions with Eugene Robert Glazer rounds out the to join the ranks of such prograr
other members of the agency, and group as Operations, the head of such as "Clueless" and "Highlande

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AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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