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October 14, 1998 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-14

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 14, 1998 -

LOCAL/STATE

lurping it up

Protest held on the Diag

f a

AMNESTY
Continued from Page 1
impacted her work for the chapter.
"From now on when I am trying to be
active for human rights, I can do it, with
more enthusiasm," she said.
The forum attracted students' attention
toward Amnesty International's cause.
"It's pretty dramatic, but it really hit
home that someone must be suffering;"
LSA senior Mark Valente said. "It seems
like a worthy cause."
Outside the cage, other Amnesty
International members asked students
passing by to sign two petitions.
This year Amnesty International
focused their forum on the plights of
indigenous people facing political perse-
cution.
Leticia Moctezuma Vargas, a teacher
and member of the Tepoztlin communi-
ty in the Mexican state of Morelos, is
being persecuted for campaigning
against the construction of a multi-mil-
lion dollar, government-funded golf
course to be built on land that the com-
munity considers sacred, according to
Amnesty International.
In reaction to her campaign, Vargas,
her family and members of the Tepoztlin
community have received death threats
and have endured physical abuse, the
group says.
The first petition asks the Minister of
the Interior of Mexico to take immediate
action and end their persecution.

The second petition requests the
release of Tek Nath Rizal, a member of
the Nepalese minority in Bhutan. Rizal
protested against Bhutanese authorities
who required the Nepalese to adopt
northern Bhutanese traditions, according
to Amnesty International. After fleeing to
Nepal, Bhutanese officials arrested Rizal
in 1989 and charged him with what
Amnesty International calls "sowing
communal discord."
Amnesty International's petition asks
the King of Bhutan, Druk Gyalpo Jigme,
to immediately pardon Rizal. "Our goal
is first to work for these two specific
cases," said Jacobs, an LSA senior.
Amnesty International succeeded in
attracting attention yesterday, but the
group faces additional challenges in
motivating students to take action on
their own.
"There were some people who
expressed that nothing we do could
change anything;" Nicewander said. "But
we are effective at fighting individual
cases."
Engineering senior Jeremy Molenda
said he was not sure how signing the peti-
tion would help the cause, but he still felt
inclined to do it.
"I don't know what kind of influence I
am exerting in Mexico, but you can't not
sign something like that,"he said.
Jacobs said that under pressure, dire
political situations are reformed. "In
about half of the cases, with in two weeks,
there is an improvement," Jacobs said.

Last night's Oyster Beer Fest at Real Seafood Company on Main St. featured Cockenoe Oysters, Top Neck Clams and beer from the Goose Island Brewery.

KELLY MCKINNEL/Daiiy

Winfrey plays lead in film that grapples with the pain of slavery

WINFREY
Continued from Page 2.
all share."
"Since the film draws its plot and setting from a chapter
in black history, Winfrey, who plays newly free slave
mother Sethe, believes the film offers a revolutionary per-
spective of the experience of slavery, a view that focuses
on the psychological. A
"In all the movies we've ever seen and books we've
r d about slavery, we always look at the physicality,"
Vhfrey pointed out.
"Slaves worked in the field, they worked hard all day
long and they worked from sun-up to sundown. Yeah, that
was hard. Nothing is harder than
the realization that you're life is
not your own." "The whole
:That realization is what causes

And Sethe is precisely the kind of woman Winfrey
thought she could be for the span of the film, immediate-
ly upon reading the novel.
"Everybody who reads a book has in their own mind a
visual image of the characters. When I read this book, I
always thought I was Sethe and Danny Glover was Paul
D."
Glover, who plays Sethe's former friend and present
lover Paul D., was also Winfrey's costar in 1985's "The
Color Purple," a fact that proved a disadvantage to getting
the "Lethal Weapon" star cast opposite her in "Beloved."
"Some people said, 'God, you don't want Danny Glover
... they'll think you're trying to do ("The Color Purple")
again,"' Winfrey remembered. "I thought, well, it's been
13 years since we did
'The Color Purple.'
moVe/ 's People play different
roles all the time. I

Winfrey's character to run from gratifying. It's very hard
her enslavement in Kentucky tog
the freer, greener pastures of for me TO watc .
Ohio.
When Sethe says, 'Looked like - Oprah Winfr
I ved my children more when I Lead character in the new movie Belov(
got here, because as long as we
lived in Kentucky, I knew they
weren't mine to love,' what she knows is every day, when chased the rights to it, I
she went to the fields, that from sun-up to sundown, she I knew that it needed a I
lived in the psychological space of knowing that when she ty. I thought, at first, II
came home, her children might not be there." that."
It is at her own realization about "Beloved" that After meeting with
Winfrey calls upon her "favorite role model, my mentor," Australia's Peter Weir.
So ourner Truth, who had 13 children sold off into slav- "Beloved" craved a "wor
for reinforcements. -This led her to meet
"To come home 13 different times and have your chil- Campion, indie filmr
dren gone and not lose your mind?," Winfrey pondered. Hollywood wunderkind.
"That's the history, that's.\the strength, that's the real "Beloved" in her thesis a
power, that's the courage." "Jodie didn't think sh
Of course, when it came to "Beloved," others looked to Campion didn't think sh
Winfrey as a role model. experience. Other womei
Co-star Thandie Newton, featured in such films as had the technical skills t
"Gridlock'd" and "Interview with the Vampire," plays the ject."
enigmatic title character to Winfrey's Sethe and took note Next, Winfrey thought
of Winfrey's acting technique. ply "'cause he was blac
"Beloved's allowed'to cry for herself, she's allowed to was using the wrong crit(
f the pain of what she's suffered," Newton explained. tors.
"Sethe, on the other hand, I think a very interesting choice "Then I decided to cc
that Oprah made as an actress, was not to cry for herself doing?' What you really
as Sethe." your vision, somebody w
Winfrey disputes Newton's notion of a certain inge- passion and energy that y
nious approach to acting, citing Morrison's lucid incarna- She found those qualit
tion of Sethe in the novel as the real deciding factor. sible for such disparate
"I didn't decide, Sethe decided for me. Sethe does not Lambs," "Philadelphia" a
cry. I cry a lot but Sethe does not cry ... That's the kind of "I met with lots of dir
woman she is. Because she knows that if she goes there, meeting I would come aw
s won't be able to stop crying." the one? And when I sat

rey
ed

couldn't see anybody else
playing Paul D."
Winfrey did not pos-
sess the same certainty,
however, when choosing
a director for her pet pro-
ject.

"When I first pur-
knew this was a special project.
kind of layered, subtle sensitivi-
needed a foreign director to do
such foreign luminaries as
, Winfrey next believed that
man's sensitivity."
with "The Piano" auteur Jane
maker Julie Dash and even
Jodie Foster, who had dealt with
t Yale.
he could get it on screen. Jane
e knew enough about the black
n I met with, I didn't think they
o pull it off - this is a big pro-
she needed a black director sim-
k," before she realized that she
eria altogether in scouting direc-
ome to my senses. 'What am I
want is somebody who shares
vho has the same compassion and
you do."
ies in Jonathan Demme, respon-
works as "The Silence of the
and "Married to the Mob."
ectors in 10 years and after each
way thinking, Is he the one? Is she
down with Jonathan, I knew he

Courtesy of Touchstone Pictwes

Thandle Newton, Oprah Winfrey and Kimberly Elise star In the film "Beloved."

was the one, I didn't have to ask anybody ... He saw what
I saw, felt what I felt."
Though any other director may have felt threatened by
Winfrey's clout, Demme and Winfrey engaged in an
unspoken agreement that precedes most productions.
"Bottom line is that I'm the producer and executive
producer and all that stuff, but the director rules," Winfrey
stressed. "When you get down to creative differences,
everybody understands going in it's the director's decision
that gonna rule."
Such a complete concession for the good of the film
was also made by Toni Morrison, who sold the film rights
to "Beloved" to Winfrey outright without a negotiation
because she was so emotionally drained after writing the
novel that she "didn't want these people in her house
again," Morrison said.
And Morrison knows now that it was the right decision,
despite initial apprehensions, Winfrey said.
"My greatest compliment has come from Toni,"
Winfrey recalled. "She said, 'I don't see Oprah on screen.'
She was worried that I'm emotional, which I am, and
Sethe is not. But she said, 'I don't know whether she
inhabited you or you inhabited her, but I didn't see
Oprah.' So that is my greatest critique, it's better than
Time magazine for me."
Regardless of what Morrison or Time or Rolling Stone
say, though all have been especially generous with their
praise, Winfrey has faith in the power of "Beloved"'s two-

fold "essence," simple lessons that can be learned from
Sethe and her mother-in-law Baby Suggs, played by Beah
Richards.
"You can love in spite of your circumstances. That's
what Sethe dared to do, that's what spirituality is all
about. That's number one."
"And No.2," Winfrey continued, "is Baby Suggs' 'Love
your hands, lift them up.' What she's saying is that is does-
n't matter what the world tells you about yourself ... You
hold them up and love your heart because your heart is the
prize."
That on-screen spirituality carried over in Winfrey's
own life, causing her to reexamine her life and the role
she plays in the lives of millions of Americans, which in
turn prompted her to renew "The Oprah Winfrey Show"
until at least 2002.
"That's me and that's what I now try to do every day on
my show, with these women who think that their heart is
some guy. It's what I try to do with women on the show
who think that their heart is their children and their chil-
dren don't respect them so they don't have a life. It's what
I try to do with people who feel their heart is what hap-
pened to them when they were seven and five and 10 ...,
that now they're stuck in that victimization."
"You're heart is the prize," exclaimed Winfrey as a final
reminder of "Beloved"'s message before jetting back off
to TV land, with America's heart a prize she's already
won.

TAXES
Continued from Page 1
Fieger is scheduled to release a more
detailed tax proposal tomorrow.
Across the state, legislators and poli-
cy experts have mixed opinions about
whether a tax cut is advisable.
"The economy is so uncertain and
when the (national) economy slows
down, the Michigan economy usually
comes to a halt," said State Sen. Alma
Wheeler-Smith (D-Salem Twp.). "This
is not the time to go blithely into a
(large) tax reduction,' she added.
Engler's plan would decrease state
revenue by $2.6 billion during five
years. The tax reduction would come
from the state's general fund, which
funds education and corrections.

Betsy DeVos,
Republican Party,

sign of an economic slowdown in the
state. She added that Engler has given the
state the fiscal strength needed to support
significant tax reductions.
"John Engler has taken a billion-
and-a-half-dollar deficit and has
transformed it into a rainy day fund of
hundreds of millions of dollars; said
DeVos, whose husband is the presi-
dent of Amway Corp. "One of the
great challenges we face at Amway is
an unemployment rate so low, we can-
not find good, qualified people to
hire."
Even if the economy was strong,
Smith said Engler's tax proposal would
not be a move in the right direction. She
said the governor's income tax decrease

chair of Michigan
said she has seen no

will disproportionally benefit the upper
class and will lower Michigan citizens'
quality of life.
"We're talking about cutting $2.6 bil-
lion that can be used for higher ed.,"
Smith said. If the government allocated
the money to higher education, "we'd
have businesses flocking to the state for
the skilled labor force," she added.
Joseph Lehman, spokesperson for the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy in
Midland, Mich, said the Center gave
Engler a B or a B+ grade for his tax poli-
cies. He said the new income tax propos-
al is a sound proposal that will put money
back in the hands of taxpayers.
"Governor Engler's tax proposals
have been in the right direction 'but
there's more to be done." Lehman
said.

METEORS
Continued from Page 1.
comet for the Nov. 17 Leonid meteor shower, and the recent
approach has astronomers excited for the upcoming shower.
The last time Comet Temple-Tuttle passed near the Earth,
observers in the Western United States witnessed the greatest
meteor storm of the century, producing between 200,000 and 1

The Lowbrow Astronomical Club is planning an open house
viewing night at Hudson-Mills Park in Dexter. More details
will be available at their Website next week.
As a preview to the November Leonids, the Orionids will
peak on Oct. 21, providing a worthwhile show with a potential
of over 100 meteors per hour.
December will showcase the Geminids on the 13th of the
month, with an expected output of up to 110 meteors per

"Z .LW E

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