March 10, 2003
Courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Wherefore art thou not as of yet shaven?
Postwar setting adds
to absurdity in 'Wives'
By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Writer
The Ann Arbor Film Festival kicks off its 41st
annual celebration tomorrow night in a gala at the
Michigan Theater. The festival, which began in
1963, runs this year from March 11 to 16 with a
diverse lineup of events planned throughout the
week. Specializing in experimental
and independent 16mm films, the.
festival has been a landmark of the
Ann Arbor community for the past 41ST A
five decades and is recognized both ANN1
nationally and internationally as one FILM F
of the world's most celebrated film
festivals. At the]
Creative minds from as far away as The
South Korea and Iran will converge Runs Ma
in town this week to celebrate inde- Stude
pendent cinema. Festival attendees Gen
can expect to see a versatile body of
work from documentary features to animated shorts,
ranging in length from two minutes to two hours, all
highlighting the festival goal of "promoting film as
art and honoring the filmmakers who make it possi-
"The Projectionist" is one of the many films that
embodies the ideals of the festival. The 15-minute
experimental animated piece, by Australian film-
makers Michael Bates and Anna Messariti, follows
a projectionist who is overwhelmed by visions of
his life as he walks the city streets after screening
his last film.
be holding a
seminar on Thursday to show off its
new, personal digital video editing
studio, Avid Xpress DV v3.5.
Attendees will be given a thorough
demonstration of the new software
and can enter in a drawing to win a
free copy of the program.
Film Jam - a program where
filmmakers not entered in festival
competition can show off their work
in a communal setting - will be
held Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m.
The seminars of the festival are held
in the screening room of the Michi-
One of the unique opportunities of the festival
this year is a "Spotlight on Japan" on Saturday at 8
and 10 p.m. in the screening room. The event fea-
tures a wide array of gripping films from renowned
filmmakers such as Tadasu Takamine, Shiho Kano,
Takashi Ishida and Mizuki Akihama.
Avid, one of the sponsors of the festival, will
three renowned individuals in the film'community
to be on the jury that ultimately decides which
filmmakers take home the various awards. Jury
members for the 41st annual event are Nancy
Andrews, Philip Hoffman and Elida Schogt.
Andrews is a filmmaker and performance artist
who has had her work on display at the Museum of
Modern Art. Hoffman is an experimental filmmak-
er who is also a faculty member of the University
of York in Toronto. Schogt, another Toronto-based
filmmaker, received international acclaim for her
trilogy on the Holocaust.
This year's festivities will be the first under the
direction of Hamilton, who has served as managing
assistant director of the festival since 1999. Hamil-
ton takes over for Vicki Honeyman, who resigned
last year after 15 successful years as festival director.
Tickets to the individual screenings of the festival
are $5 for students and $7 for general admission.
For those who plan on attending several of the
events, a weeklong pass is offered for $50.
By Archana Ravi
Daily Arts Writer
Queen Elizabeth I may very well
have fallen off her seat with laughter
during "The Merry Wives of Wind-
sor," a production specially commis-
sioned by her Highness in order to
see Sir John Falstaff in love. How
remarkable that over 400 years later,
audiences all over would be falling
off their seats as well during the
same production, delighted by fat
bellies, cross-dressers and an
absurdly funny French doctor.
The Royal Shakespeare Compa-
ny's "Merry Wives of Windsor" is
set in the backdrop
of the postwar
1940s, a rather aus-
tere setting for such *
a jovial play. Written
towards the end of THE
the queen's reign, WIV
presumably around WIN
1600, the social
issues of "Wives" At the Po
directly parallel The Roxal
those of postwar Cot
Britain, namely frus-
trations with the class system,
sexual exploitation and coloniza-
tion. Director Rachel Kavanagh
does a wonderful job of making
the setting work without sacrific-
ing any of the play's merriment.
The comedy revolves around Fal-
staff's attempts to seduce the wives
of England's most wealthy citizens
and their clever efforts to ridicule
him and teach him a lesson. The
subplot provides added amusement,
as silly suitors are considered for
Anne Page's hand in marriage.
Alison Fiske gives Mistress
Quickly, a friend of Anne Page's, a
high-pitched tone and an outspoken
manner, perfect for her role as a go-
between for Mistresses Page and
Ford's trickery. Tom Mannion is
engaging in his role as the would-be
cuckold Frank Ford, the jealous and
mistrusting husband of Alice Ford.
The real fits of laughter came
when Dr. Caius emerges on stage, a
French doctor played by Greg Hicks
(who also plays Coriolanus in the
RSC's "Coriolanus"). Hicks dances
across the stage on the tips of his
toes every time he speaks, stopping
only to deliver his famous trademark
gan Theater and are free of charge.
This year the festival will be awarding
$18,000 in prizes to over 30 films in various cat-
egories. The top prize, the Ken Burns Best of
Festival award, will give $3,000 to the filmmak-
er. Other prestigious awards include the Michael
Moore Best Documentary Film award, the
Lawrence Kasdan Best Narrative Film award
and the Gus Van Sant Best Experimental Film
award. The winners in those competitive genres
will receive $1,000 in prize money.
Every year the Ann Arbor Film Festival selects
y God!" in an inflated
The bulk of the
play resides, however,
(both l iterally and-
performance of Sir
John Falstaff. He
takes the stage with
hyperboles and, at
one point, a hilarious
a large, hairy woman in
D-t2 doesn't hold back in Eminem's absence
By Joseph Utman
Daily Arts Writer
a purple dress.v
Aside from its comic absurdity,
"Merry Wives" stands out among
Shakespeare's plays for its recogni-
tion of women as being as clever, if
not more clever than men. For the
first time, Falstaff is fooled by two
middle class women instead of the
haughty Prince Hal from "Henry
IV" and "Henry V"
"The Merry Wives of Windsor"
is an ensemble performance made
both charming and hilarious by
cast and director.
Eminem didn't show up this time,
but that didn't matter. Nothing was
going to dampen the spirits of a lively
crowd at the Blind Pig on Saturday
night, many of whose members attend-
ed the D12 benefit concert partially
motivated by a hope that rap music's
most renowned star would appear, as
he did for proteg6 Obie Trice's per-
formance at Touchdown Cafe last
month. Despite Em's absence, D12
delivered a rolicking, 30-minute per-
formance that incited near-hysteria
within the sold-out venue.
"The energy we got from (the crowd)
made us want to keep going, it was
great," said Proof, one of the five D12
MCs in attendance. "We were supposed
to stop (our set) after 'Rap Game,' but
we were like,'Fuck it, let's do 'Purple
Pills" because everyone made us want
to keep going. It was a great show."
A mixed crowd -locals and visi-
tors, students and adults, men and
women, black and white - noticeably
emitted that energy by rhyming along
to almost every word that the Detroit
natives spit and continuously breaking
out into unpromtped, lauditory chants.
That the area's adoring D12 fans had
the opportunity to so publicly display
their affection for the group resulted
from Proof's involvement with the
Neutral Zone, an Ann Arbor center for
teenagers. Working with Shamyle Nes-
field, the Zone's program director,
Proof visited the center and enjoyed
spending time with the teens so much
that he and D12 handler Mike Eckstein
set up a benefit concert.
The proceeds from Saturday's show,
estimated between $4,000 and $6,000,
will be generally appropriated at the
Neutral Zone, partially financing pro-
grams, like hip-hop Friday's, and
WRITE FOR ARTS.
salaries for the staff. "Over the last cou-
ple of months, we've done a lot of
things in terms of extending our pro-
grams, so (this money) will help us
maintain those," said Nesfield, who
was very pleased with the D12 show.
Less exciting were D12's opening
acts. DJ Chill Will and performers J.
Hill acquitted themselves nicely, the
former spinning mainstream favorites
and the latter putting on an adequate
set. The evening's penultimate act,
Sindy Syringe, was a loud and irritating
blend of hip-hop and heavy metal.
In the spring and summer, D12 will
be touring with Eminem and finishing
various projects. Proof and Bizarre
have album's slated for release later in
the year, and there will be a sophomore
effort from the group en mass in
August, their first since 2001's Devil's
Night. Saturday's crowd proved that,
with or without Mr. Mathers, those
projects seem destined for success.
A film about the way the world is.
The first feature length film about the global AIDS pandemic.
First showing in Ann Arbor!
DATE: Tuesday, March 11, 2003
TIME: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
LOCATION: Lorch Hall Auditorium
* Sentimental features found on 'Mile' DVD
By Ryan Lewis
Daily Film Editor
would-be wedding to Joe.
Out of such turbulent times, the
In a year rife with powerhouse
blockbusters and independent won-
ders, few films had the heartfelt
reality check to match director Brad
Silberling's "Moonlight Mile."
Inspired by Silberling's own life,
"Mile" takes place in an early
1970's New England town and dis-
cusses the transitions that accompa-
ny life after a tragic death.
Dustin Hoffman and Susan Saran-
don play the grieving parents Ben
and JoJo Floss. The couple, together
with Joe Nast (Jake Gyllenhall), is
forced to deal with the murder of
their daughter only weeks before her
trio lean on each other;
Newcomer Ellen Pom-
peo fits into the mold
as Joe's bridge love
interest that helps him
move beyond his trou-
bles. Such a combina-
tion of unmatched
talent, along with Sil-
berling's knack for
awkward drama, make
Complete with the requisite director's
commentary, the package also
includes deleted scenes and a fea-
turette of the film's
journey to the screen.
While it would be
LIGHT nice to have seen more
DVD features, or at least
some behind the scenes
: **** glimpses, these few
k pieces add to the emo-
tional power of the
film. Hearing the actors
tone and Silberling discuss
the process and the
experience is quite interesting, and
the featurette adds an extra sentimen-
tality that does a great service to the
enter film experience.
No tickets necessary. Admission is free. For more information, please contact
the film a pleasant life-lesson and a
joy to endure.
Similarly interesting and touching
extras are provided on the DVD.
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