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March 10, 2000 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-10

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The Michigan Daily -- Friday, March 10, 2000 -11

* Polanski returns to
Satanic theme in
latest 'Ninth Gate'

'Empire' conjures up
football memories"

By Shannon O'Sullivan
Daily Arts Writer

The Baitimore Sun

Yes, Roman Pol
returns him to son
themes he so mast
"Rosemary's Baby"
But before you
"There he goes ag
minute. His satanic
standing, "The Nint
second Polanski fili
its central - tho
It's amazing what
successful film early
do. Especially when
submissive New Yo
is secretly impreg
himself, is still giv
"I just have this r
reason of dealing a
or the supernatural,"
the phone from St
"In fact, I think it's
movie. But in my ]if
interests me the leas
Certainly, the 66
can claim masterp
movie genres. "Tes
Kinski as the do
Thomas Hardy's nov
manners and morali

for both best picture and best director
Oscars. So was "Chinatown," with
lanski's new film Jack Nicholson as a private eye track-
me of the satanic ing down water rights and murder sus-
erfully handled in pects in 1930s Los Angeles.
32 years ago. However, while "Rosemary's Baby"
u start thinking, may be the only true horror flick on
gain," think for a Polanski's resume, elements of horror
reputation notwith- have appeared in many of his films -
h Gate" is only the including two of his first three.
n with the devil as He spoofed the genre gloriously
ugh offscreen - with 1966's "The Fearless Vampire
Killers, or, Pardon Me, But Your Teeth
t one astonishingly Are In My Neck," then used Catherine
yin your career can Deneuve to plumb the depths ofpsy-
that film, about a chological horror in 1965's "Repul-
rk housewife who sion," a film perhaps even more
nated by Lucifer chilling than "Rosemary's Baby."
ing audiences the There's also a certain unholy flavor
to Polanski's life. A survivor of the
eputation for some Third Reich, he narrowly escaped
ilways with horror being removed from the Krakow ghet-
Polanski said over to by the Nazis and spent much of the
uttgart, Germany. war with a Polish peasant family. In
a good theme for a 1969, he was out of the country when
fe, it's a theme that his wife, actress Sharon Tate, was
A." .butchered by followers of Charles
-year-old Polanski Manson. And a conviction on charges
pieces in several of having sexual relations with a minor
s," with Nastassja caused Polanski to flee the United
omed heroine of States in 1978 rather than face sen-
vel of 19th Century tencing. He has never returned.
ty, was nominated Still, labeling him a horror director
resigs from Asso

Michigan vs. Ohio State. These few
but powerful words trigger excitement
and enthusiasm, and lead a boy on the
adventure of his life in Ray Murphy's
second novel, "Empire and Victory."
At age 12, Joe Pakotas runs away

from his troubled
Empire and
Ray Murphy
Grade: B+

Courtesy of Artisan Entertainment
"The Ninth Gate" is director Roman Polanski's latest effort, starring Johnny Depp.

andabusive home,
abandoning his
Free Press route
and leaving his
family without a
good-bye. He
takes a Grey-
hound to Ann
Arbor with only
one goal in mind
- to see his hero
Billy Taylor play
in the Michigan-
Ohio State game.
The atmosphere
of Maize and
Blue leaves him

because of "Rosemary's Baby" is like
calling Steven Spielberg a war film
director because of "Saving Private
Ryan." And Polanski bristles at such a
one-dimensional tag.
"I've also made films that have noth-
ing to do with horror, like 'Tess' or
Knife In the Water' or 'Chinatown' or
'Death and the Maiden.' You name it.
Still, for some reason, it's a problem
with people sending me scripts ... Most
of the propositions I get always some-
how deal either with the devil or with
But given a reputation he's clearly
unhappy about, why return to things
satanic? "The Ninth Gate" stars Johnny
Depp as a New York rare books expert
hired to track down copies of a cen-

turies-old tome reputed to have been
written by the horned fellow himself.
"I was aware of the fact that may be
brought up," said Polanski, who's in
Germany preparing for the March 31
opening of "Tanz der Vampire," a
musical adaptation of "Vampire
Killers" that recently closed a success-
ful two-year run in Vienna. "On the
other hand, I thought this was so dif-
ferent in tone than 'Rosemary's Baby.'
"'Rosemary's Baby' did not have
any humor in it, or very little. This one
has much more irony. Every character
is almost a caricature, or at least some
kind of parody of what we've seen in
this type of movie ... It's very much a
detective type of film, with some type
of supernatural in it."

and his old Free Press route are con-
stantly in the back of his mind. He-won-
dered and imagined who had done the
route when he left, how his father was,
and if he still lived in the same house.
Several times he wrote to his-father,
never giving a return address, and was
crushed when his father never dot in
touch with him. Thus arises one-theme
of the book of holding on to the past.
Empires and victories, the.main
themes of the book, are crucial to
American life. Each person has a story
of work and hope, and the dream of
turning hopelessness into victory. Joe
fulfilled his dream of going to the Rose
Bowl, and learned many thing.Gong
the way.
"Empire and Victory" is full of rich
description. Football games are
described with vivid details, showing
Joe's profound love for the game. The
towns and places where the magazine
group stops on the way to California are
also described intricately, especially in
the unique reactions and characteriza-
tions of people in different areas.,
With Joe's voice being the only per-
spective we get to hear, readers.truly
come to know him. It was interesting to
read about cross-country travel apdmag-
azine subscription sales from the view-
point of a twelve-year-old. At times it
would have helped to hear what .other
characters were thinking, but Joe gave
enough insight for the novel to be clear.
Adventures in "Empire and Victo-
ry" have been compared to those of
Huck Finn, but surrounding football
and different circumstances. "Empire
and Victory" is definitely a good read
for football lovers but can also be
appreciated by those who aren't fans,
as the book reads more as a universal
tale of a boy's hopes and struggles as
he discovers life.

awestruck and determined to go to the
Rose Bowl.
By fate, he discovers an ad in the
paper offering an all-expenses paid trip
to California for the winter. Joe makes
his way West by selling magazine sub-
scriptions for a company run by scam
artists. His dream of going to the Rose
Bowl is fulfilled but at the same time
shattered, as Stanford defeats the
Wolverines. Joe runs off again on the
Greyhound, meeting Ramrod Ramirez,
a boy his age whose family Joe lives
with for a while.
As time passes, Joe becomes a news-
paper reporter and eventually. falls into
trouble, leading him to discover heart-
breaking information about his boyhood
idol, Billy Taylor.
Throughout his travels, Joe's father

Ciation of Broadcasters

The Baltimore Sun
NBC, saying it could no longer sup-
port a group whose positions "clearly
go against our best interests," resigned
Tuesday from the National Association
of Broadcasters, a TV industry lobby-
ing and self-regulatory agency head-
quartered in Washington.
Although several reasons for NBC's
resignation were outlined in a letter to
NAB president and CEO Edward
Fritts, the main sticking point cited was
the limit on how many local television
stations a single company can own.
Under current law, no group or indi-
vidual can own stations with access to
more than 35 percent of the nation.
NBC, whose network-owned affiliates
broadcast to more than 25 percent of
4 the country, would like to see that cap
increased or abolished. The NAB,
whose members include both local
affiliates and the networks, supports
retention of the 35 percent cap.
"Given the NAB's continued unwill-
ingness to embrace a forward looking

strategy aimed at securing significant
deregulatory relief for the television
industry, we find ourselves with no
other alternative," NBC president
Robert Wright wrote to Fritts.
NBC and the other broadcast net-
works have long been keeping an envi-
ous eye on the world of cable TV, where
there is no similar restriction on the
number of networks a company can
own - especially since, by definition,
each cable station is available to view-
ers throughout the country. In the world
of free TV, the more local stations a net-
work owns outright, the more revenue
goes directly into its coffers, and the
more leverage it has in selling its pro-
Most local stations, however, are
owned by smaller companies. Keepiig
the 35 percent cap gives these broadcast.
companies more power to broker deals
with the networks and generate more
money for themselves.
Not surprisingly, these non-network
broadcasters make up the bulk of the
NAB's membership.

"NBC has come to the NAB board of
directors and suggested we should
revisit our support for the 35 percent
cap," says Dennis Wharton, senior vice
president of communications for the
NAB. "It's the contention of our board
that these rules are still appropriate."
"An effective and vibrant NAB
should be debating what new regulatory
structures are needed to allow free,
over-the-air television to compete with
the newly dominant pay services,"
Wright wrote. "What's more, the NAB

should be moving heaven and Earth to
make these changes a reality."
"We very much believe the (35 per-
cent) cap should be raised, so that
broadcast free-over-the-air television
can compete in this unbelievably com-
petitive marketplace," said Gil
Schwartz, senior vice president of com-
munications for CBS, "and in that
belief, we differ with some members of
the NBA...
"But that belief doesn't detract from
our commitment to the organization."

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