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February 18, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-18

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Tuesday
February 18, 2003
michigandaily.com
mae@michigandaily.com

Z ren lt
ARTS

5

Mya discusses Oscars,
'Chicago,' new album

By Ryan Lewis
Daily Film Editor
The excitement around this year's
Oscars has much to do with the 13
nominations garnered by front-run-
ner "Chicago." Up for everything
from Best Picture, to two Best Sup-
porting Actress nominations, to Best
Sound, this rampant adaptation of
the Broadway smash has everyone
expecting a resurgence of the Holly-
wood musical genre.
As one of the film's supporting
players, R&B sensation and emergent
pop-superstar Mya sat down with The
Michigan Daily to talk about "Chica-
go," her experience, her future plans
and the current awards buzz.
While quite limited in her film
experience, Mya still found the transi-
tion from the music stage to the musi-
cal world to be relatively smooth, even
with the rigorous schedule.
"Rehearsals were pretty lengthy every
day, about six hours or more. The most
rehearsal that I spent was with Cather-
ine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere. I
enjoyed it to the fullest," Mya said.
"My part was very, very brief, but we
had rehearsals for about two months in
Toronto. I enjoyed myself, and every-
one was just a joy to work with."

Having only a small role in the film
didn't put a damper on Mya's experi-
ence. Should the movie musical return
to prominence following the critical
acclaim of "Chicago," Mya has some
suggestions for her next appearance.
"Well, if I was given the opportunity
to do something for the big screen
along the musical side of entertain-
ment; I was really a fan of 'Jelly's Last
Jam' because of the amount of tap
dancing it had in it. I saw that proba-
bly about three times. (Tap dancing) is
probably my number-one forte, so I'd
like to do something involving tap."
After experiencing camera perform-
ance vs. stage dancing, Mya had quite
a different look at the seemingly simi-
lar final products. "On stage you can
pretty much improvise. There's more
interaction with an audience. I would
almost call it very spiritual on a live
stage." But she also had a soft side for
film. "With the movie screen you have
the ability to touch so many more peo-
ple, but it's just a longer process, I
would have to say, in terms of per-
formance," she said.
Unaware of the extent to which
"Chicago" would been honored with
Oscar nominations, the rising star
had a bit to say about the buzz sur-
rounding it. "You know eight Golden

I didn't sell out, I started there.

Courtesy of Miramax

I've won so many of these things, they let me write my own name in under Best Actor.

By Luke Smith
Daily Arts Writer
Phillip Noyce's adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955
book "The Quiet American" into a film of the same name
is a poignant, careful examination of a love triangle
framed against the backdrop of a Vietnam attempting to
liberate itself from the French.
Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine), a jaded journalist,
fled both London and a disparate marriage
to cover the Vietnamese attempts to usurp
French colonial rule. Cynical and world **
weary, it takes a wire from London request-
ing Fowler's return to England to get the THE
craggy reporter working again.sAmE
It may be the Vietnamese scenery that AM
has endeared itself to Fowler, but one At the St
woman in particular has captured his heart. Mi
Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) is a liberated
dancer reliant on Fowler's affections and finances.
When Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), a U.S. intelli-
gence officer posturing as an economic aid worker,
meets Phuong, he is smitten with her. The ensuing trian-
gle between these characters is mirrored in the social
climate of Vietnam.
Fowler is caught in a lie and Phuong gives into Pyle's
affections, abandoning the journalist in favor of the
intelligence officer - an officer directly responsible for

9r

Q
R
at
rar

a third uprising in Vietnam.
Pyle is a naive idealist. Noyce uses Pyle's wardrobe as
a guide - Pyle's white suits indicate his self-righteous
advocacy of U.S. intervention in Vietnam. An especially
telling moment in the film is when, after a bomb
explodes, Pyle tries wiping the blood (not his own) from
his pants - this gesture is Noyce's most subverted politi-
cal statement. Pyle's wipe of the blood parallels the
American wiping of Vietnamese blood from its own
hands in the name of defeating commu-
nism. Even worse, Pyle is apathetic and
calculating while tragedy surrounds him
- he barks orders to a man snapping pho-
%UIET tographs of the injured, the dying and the
ICAN dead. Contrastingly, Fowler's grays portray
ICAN his indecision, or perhaps his impartiality
e Theater to the events encompassing Vietnam.
max The story is so compelling and mirrored
so perfectly in the relationships between
Pyle, Fowler and Phuong it teeters on being unbelievable.
Noyce's direction shows a war-torn Vietnam, complete
with the slaughtered innocents and necessary graphic vio-
lence to convey a tumultuous and horrific period. Yet,
there is a distinct beauty to Vietnam in the face of vio-
lence. The streets' air possesses a misty sheen coupled
with a well-captured sense of anticipation and ominous
dread - doubtlessly foreshadowing the death and
destruction to ravage the countryside.

Script, visuals shape elegant melodrama
By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Writer

Globe nominations and five Screen
Actors Guild nominations. I defi-
nitely think the buzz that has been
created will lead to an Oscar nomi-
nation and award."
Of course, even with all the film's
hype this member of the "Lady Mar-
malade" quartet hasn't sidelined her
singing career. When asked about a
new album, Mya replied, "I'm actually
in the studio wrapping it up, and it
should be out early summer." And, as
always, her fans can expect to see
more star collaborations, more appear-
ances and, hopefully, more big screen
roles in the near future.

Cunt' turns taboo into strong inspiration

Pedro Almodovar's "Talk to Her," the recent recipient of
two Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screen-
play and Best Director, is a cinematic reminder of the inherent
differences between the way Hollywood directors and foreign
filmmakers go about bringing a story to the screen. Avoiding
the insipid formula of a Tinsel Town melodrama, Spanish
filmmaker Almodovar uses a different brush and canvas to
paint his elegant soap opera.
The film opens with an avant-garde dance performance of
two women swimming across a stage sporadically laden with
chairs and tables. Two strangers sit next to each other in the
audience, one the teary-eyed journalist Marco (Dario
Grandinetti), the other the empathetic nurse Benigno (Javier
Camara). These two men share nothing in common other than
an appreciation for dance, but soon they find their lives inter-
twining in an intricate web of love and tragedy.
Through work; Marco meets Lydia (Rosario Flores), a
heralded Spanish bullfighter who has received national
recognition for being a vocal female matador in a male-
dominated profession. The two become lovers, but their

By Uzzle Horevltz
For the Daily
Pull out Inga Muscio's "Cunt: A Dec-
laration of Independence" in any public
place and it won't take long for the
bewildered stares and questioning to

Feminists and non-feminists alike
may ponder how any so-called decla-
ration of independence for wom-
ankind can use this hateful word as its
title. Indeed, Muscio goes to great
lengths to explain the history of the
now ta boo word.

begin. Even asking for it
by title at Border's is a
thrill. But there is more
to Muscio's book (now in
its second expanded edi-
tion) than shock value.
Contrary to popular
misconceptions, "Cunt"
is not a demeaning porn
novel. Nor is it a compre-
hensive feminist mani-
festo, or a guide to the

CUNT: A
DECLARATION OF
INDENPENDENCE
By Inga Muscio
Seal Pr Feminist Pub

Nonetheless, Muscio
takes it upon herself to
appropriate the often-
debasing word for
female empowerment.
While women are "tak-
ing back the night," they
are also "taking back
cunt." Muscio's straight-
forward style sweeps the
reader up in full rallying
argues: "Besides global

self-education, educating others about
"cuntlove," learning self-protection and
using consumer power to support
(ahem) cuntlovin' businesses.
In her newly added post-Sept. 11
rantings about homogenized media,
blind consumerism and the abhorrent
political situation in Washington, she
urges readers to take action, seek out
non-biased media sources and strive to
impact the government. Muscio
includes a comprehensive "cuntlovin'
guide" with alternate media sources and
"pro-cunt" organizations.
For readers unwilling to support
only woman-run businesses and only
read books by female authors and
only listen to music by female artists
for at least one year, as Muscio urges,
this book may be overbearing and
unrealistically prescriptive. However,
those with open minds and a willing-
ness to contemplate Muscio's ideas
will find the book informative and
perhaps even inspirational.

brief relationship is put on hold when Lydia is
gored in the bullring and falls into a coma.
Some of the most glorious scenes in "Talk to
Her" are of Lydia's bullfights - each
instance filmed with grace and splendor by
Almodovar, highlighting the artistic rudi-
ments of the traditional Spanish sport.
Benigno works at a hospital caring for a
comatose dancer, rarely leaving her bedside.
The young woman is Alicia (Leonro Watling),

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Did you catch "Joe Millionaire" last night?
Alicia, where Benigno watches over the ill women. When
Marco and Benigno meet again in the confines of their bed-
stricken lovers, the two men instantaneously go from
strangers to friends. This point in "Talk to Her" is when coin-
cidence endsand revelation begins.
Almodovar eloquently dances between the past and the
present, progressing his tightly-woven plot
through a series of flashbacks that reveal not
only the memoirs of his beautifully illustrated
characters, but also the creative brilliance of
O HER writer/director Almodovar. The time shifts are
seamless in the context of the narrative, accen-
ichigan tuating the film's poetic qualities.
ater "Talk to Her" is one of the most visually-
es Classics striking films of the past year, as Almodovar
manages to show off his artistic flair without
being ostentatious. From his meticulous use of slow motion in
the bullfights to an uproarious homage to the silent film era,
Almodovar makes a strong case for his Best Director nomina-
tion. The sensational plot of the film may not seem as foreign
to Hollywood, although it is distinctly more abstruse, but
Almodovar shapes this rather conventional story, at least by
his standards, into a truly unique piece of art.

TALK Ti
At the M
Thea
Sony Pictur

female body.

support. She

Neophytes to femenism would benefit
from less biased texts, such as "Woman:
An Intimate Portrait" or even "Our
Bodies, Ourselves." Muscio's book is
simply what its title implies: a declara-
tion of independence.

subjugation, our cunts are the only
common denominator I can think of
that all women irrefutably share."
"Cunt" outlines several other respon-
sibilities for women that she expands
upon per chapter in the book, including

the victim of a car accident and the object of Benigno's
desire. Despite Alicia's inability to communicate with him,
Benigno falls in love with her with a rapport that sways
between true love and psychotic behavior. Camara does a
superb job in portraying a disturbed character for whom
viewers can't help but feel sympathetic.
As fate would have it, Lydia is sent to the same hospital as

I

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