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January 27, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-27

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Monday
January 27, 2003
michigandaiiy.com/arts
mae@michigandaily.com

ARTS

5A

Best-selling author and
doctor discusses Dalai
Lama, newest book

By Ricky Lax
Daily Arts Writer

Daniel Goleman wrote the best-
selling book "Emotional Intelli-
gence" and several others.
Nominated twice for the Pulitzer
Prize, Goleman recently released his
narration of a scientific dialogue
between the Dalai Lama, Western
psychologists, neuroscientists and
philosophers. The book is called
"Destructive Emotions." Last week,
Goleman came to Ann Arbor to read
from and discuss his book.
Following is an interview with the
author:

The Michi-
gan Daily:
Have Buddhist

Courtesy of Miramax
Personal log, day 14 - I still cannot shake the feeling that I am continually being followed by a man with a riding crop and the dog from "Frasier."

i n s i g
changed
way you

h t s
the
view

By Zach Mabee
For the Daily

Casual moviegoers oblivious to modern Aus-
tralian history may be rather perplexed by the title
of director Philip Noyce's ("Clear and Present Dan-
ger") "Rabbit-Proof Fence." The few, and proud,
aware of the film's historical context, however,
likely appreciate the fence's significance, aside
from its knack for deterring pesky hares. The
fence, which effectively bisected Australia, served
as a homeward guide to three young aboriginal
girls, Molly (Everlyn Sampi), Daisy (Tianna Sans-
bury) and Gracie (Laura Monagahan), following
their escape from a governmental reconditioning
camp intended to purge the Australian white popu-
lation of Aboriginal blood and culture.
Noyce, a native Australian, employs the girls'
dismaying tale as a microcosmic
study of his country's unjust political a
and social policies of the time; conse-
quently, his primary goal is realism. *B
Aside from vignettes of Mr. Neville
(Kenneth Branagh, "Othello"), the RABBI'
colonial superintendent of the Abo- FE
rigines, in his urban office, the plot of At the
"Rabbit-Proof Fence" unfolds entire- Th
y in'the'sorehed, desolate{Australian M;
outback. The setting of the film is Mir:
perhaps its strongest tenet, as the
ad2s9pa 4n ke v athos within audiences,
not to mention the struggle of the three young girls
through it.,
Limited character development also contributes
to the film's realism, insofar as it enhances the

ALMOST
FOOL PROOF
OUTBACK HISTORY
EXPLORED IN 'FENCE'
girls' emotional appeal. Molly, Daisy and Gracie
are all children who initially have limited concep-
tions of their nation's state of affairs. They know
that they love being with their mother and living
lives unencumbered by government intervention.
Upon being declared "half-castes" and being
seized by government officials, the
girls' emotions are shattered, leaving
them distrustful and angry towards
** all those whom they encounter.
When sent to a reconditioning camp,
PROOF the girls isolate themselves and
[CE remain rather taciturn, a condition
4ichgan that further develops after their
ater escape and subsequent travel home,
leavingrtheirnpers na4ities to be-,
max rather enigmatic.
The girls' personalities, or lack
thereof, play, directly into the hands of cinematog-
rapher Christopher Doyle ("Made"), who uses his
camera as an emotional conduit between the girls
and the audience. Doyle captures detailed facial
expressions with simple camera angles and

methodical zooms, forcing viewers to absorb the
characters' often painful, wrenching emotions. Not
only the girls are filmed in this manner, however.
Doyle frequently captures Branagh's vile smirk,
which is reminiscent of his role as Iago. Perhaps
the most intriguing visage, though, is that of "the
tracker." A nameless Aboriginal man who has been
hired by Neville's agency to track "half-castes," the
tracker is perhaps the most enigmatic and reticent
character of the film, often expressionless and
noticeably more loyal to his people than to his de
jure employers.
Albeit mundane and overly rhythmic in certain
regards, the score of "Rabbit" (composed by Peter
Gabriel) may very well be the film's linchpin.
Aside from the initial kidnapping and subsequent
sequences at the reconditioning camp from which
the girls escape, the majority of the story's duration
focuses on the girls' trek along the rabbit-proof
fence. Gabriel's score greatly enhances the film's
palatability, as it provides a crucial rhythm to their
often-tiresome quest.
Technicalities aside, Noyce's film succeeds
through its emotional and personal appeal. Culmi-
nating the girls' epic journey with actual film
footage of them as elderly women, Noyce strikes a
personal chord with viewers who likely have no
priorinowledge of or concern for the story."Rab-
bit-Proof Fence" is undeniably demoralizing
throughout and relegates plot and character devel-
.opment in favor of emotional appeal, and realism,
but the latter qualities make it well worth seeing. It
tempers a historical tragedy with the most visceral
human instincts, forging an emotive work that is
also intellectually engaging.

science and
psychology?
D a n i e l
G o I e m a n :
When I was
doing my doc-
torate at Har-
vard, I studied
Asian religions
as psychologi-
cal systems.
The psycholog-
ical system
within Bud-
dhism is very
little known in
the West, but
it's been oper-
ating for about
2,500 years.
We kind of have

Daniel G
. ... .. . . . .. . . . . .. . 4. 4... . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .

being a student and having exams.
They did eight weeks of training in a
method called mindfulness, and
what they found was that over the
course of that eight-veek training,
the subjects stopped feeling stressed
and overwhelmed and started feeling
engaged and enjoying their work,
and at the same time, their immune
system became much more robust.
TMD: Have the talks with the
Dalai Lama motivated further stud-
ies on how meditation, scientifically,
can change the brain?
DG: These encounters with the
Dalai Lama have catalyzed a new
level of collaboration between spiri-
tual practi-
tioners and
scientists.
Now, the
highest-level
practitioners,
the people
1Ct V ' who have
done years of
solitary retreat
'O and would
never go to a
lab, because
the Dalai
Lama . is
involved, are
coming into
labs. One of
these people
3 was perfectly
able to read
people's emo-
tional expres-
sions, didn't
startle to a
gunshot, and
had the high-

a hubris that psychol-

IT-
[N
'M
rea
r0 ,
irar

ogy started within the last century in
America and Europe, but it's been
around for millennia.
TMD: Your previous discussions
with the Dalai Lama and your new
book deal with the connection
between emotions, the brain and
health. What new discoveries'were
made this time around?
DG: One of the findings in chap-
ter 14 in this book is a recent study
where they taught a meditation
method to people who are in very
high-pressure jobs, kind of like

est positive value for the emotional
set point. Those are rather remark-
able finding in science.
TMD: How frequently are these
Lamas coming to the labs?
DG: It's very hard to get Yogis
and Lamas.to come to the lab.. First
of all, they tend to live in Asia.
Next, this lab visit isn't part of their
yearly routine.
TMD: So yearly lab visits aren't
one of the Four Noble Truths of
Buddhism?
DG: (Laughter) No, I don't think
so.

I

ABC's 'My Life' exemplies all
that is wrong with reality TV

By Douglas Wornert
Daily Arts Writer
It worked for Ozzy Osbourne's
family. But then again, not all fami-
lies can be like that one, where the
television masses tune in each week
to check out the never-ending hijinx
of Ozzy and company. Despite this,
somebody at ABC thought that
maybe, just maybe, some no-name
family in America could replicate
MTV's success and create the same
mainstream buzz. So they came up
with the idea to follow around eight
families and give the best one a sit-
com based on its real life. However,
after giving this show a chance, any-
thing, even rerun episodes of Jason
Alexander's short-lived "Bob Patter-
son," would be a welcome relief.
"My Life Is a Sitcom" scoured the
United States to find the perfect sit-
com family and sent a real-life Hol-
lywood sitcom writer to follow them
around. The first of these features
the Mozian family from Connecti-
cut; Joe, the energetic, obnoxious,
out-of work father (he even got
rejected from Enron ... ouch); and
his escapades with his sons, Michael
and Alex (four and a half and two
years old, respectively); and his wife
Michele, who obviously wears the
pants in the household. Joe is like
Mr. Mom, but he's really bad at it.
His inept cooking abilities and lazi-
ness lead to some difficulties. He
tries to make up for it with his like-
able personality, but he's basically a
fool who wants to be on TV. Who
else would put their 260-pound
frame in a Roman gladiator outfit
and make a romantic calendar for his
wife's anniversary if he wasn't try-
ing to get his own television show?.
Add to that a lunatic Grandpa
with 26 phones in his house and a
snobby mother-in-law with a French
accent and you have a family you

tell them to do it. Maureen
McCormick (Marsha from "The
Brady Bunch"), Dave Coulier (Joey

from "Full House") a
Faustimo (Bud from
"Married ... with Chil-
dren") have the ardu-
ous task of choosing
the family America
will completely forget
in a month. They look
for such things as star-
quality, likeability and
the inability to rap,
one of the qualities of
our pal Joe.
"My Life Is a Sitcom"

nd David

MY LIF
SITC
Mondaysa
ABC F
isn't your

nobody will want to watch and giv-
ing America a chance to change the
channel on them not once, but
twice. In all seriousness, watching
these families "make
love to the camera"
will make you roll
i your eyes after a
while, and soon the
E IS A only pleasure you'll
;OM take in from this show
is knowing that at least
at 8 p.m. it's not your family on
amily the tube acting like the
cast from "According
to Jim" or "The Hugh-
leys." However, you might want to
tell your father to give up his rap
career, just in case.

ordinary reality show. It has that
special quality of taking people

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