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November 25, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-25

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 25, 2413 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, November 25, 2013 - 7A

'Makawalu' to
bring Hawaii to A2

Let's talk about sex

renowned artists to
Daily Arts Writer
In a practice that seamlessly
intertwines the spiritual, eco-
logical and visually stunning,
not many cre-
ative outlets Makawalu:
are as complex The Concert
or beautiful as
native Hawai- Monday at
ian music and 7 p.M.
dance. After
an elongat- Mendelssohn
ed planning
process, the Free
University is
hosting a two-day event to bring
indigenous Hawaiian culture to
Ann Arbor free to the public.
Monday, the Lydia Men-
delssohn Theatre will host
"Makawalu: The Concert,"
featuring internationally
renowned native Hawaiian
artists Kekuhi Kealiikanaka-
oleohaililani and Kaumakaiwa
Kanaka'ole. The mother-child
duo will be making their Ann
Arbor debut after several shows

on the east coast.
The event is spearheaded by
Amy Stillman and Susan Naji-
ta, who are both Asian/Pacific
Islander Studies Program pro-
fessors at the University.
"There is, to this day, a core
of native Hawaiian knowledge
and cultural practices and ways
of being that have persisted,"
Stillman said. "These two art-
ists are two of the most con-
summate exemplars of a truly
indigenous way of being in the
21st century."
Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa's
music style is a showcase of
what native Hawaiian artists
are about. Featuring dramatic
melodies, passionate lyrics and
ancient 'oli chants, Stillman
and Najita are confident that
the concert will be worth see-
ing, even for those with little
knowledge of Hawaiian culture.
"You are transported into a
different reality (during their
concerts)," Najita said. "People
go to the movies for that."
Directly translated,
"makawalu" means "eight eyes"
and encourages people to devel-
op multiple perspectives.
The concert will be followed
by a lecture the next morning
at 10 in 3512 Haven Hall. The

lecture will focus on hula as
a global phenomenon and the
concurrent spiritual, social,
psychological and ecological
"In this part of the country,
there's still a lot of stereotypes
and misperceptions about who
native Hawaiians are as peo-
ple," Stillman said. "For us to
bring to campus two artists that
are renowned internationally as
21st century native Hawaiians
is extraordinary."
The events are sponsored by a
wide array of programs and indi-
viduals within the University.
"(Native Hawaiian culture)
speaks to many different potential
interlockers," Najita said. "There's
a literature side of things, an
American culture side of things,
there's performance and a gender
studies side of things."
Both Stillman and Najita hope
the events educate individuals
who may not have much knowl-
edge about Hawaiian culture.
"I'd like to think that there will
be a greater awareness and appre-
ciation for indigenous people and
indigenous heritages in the United
States and locally," Stillman said.
"And more attentiontothe value of
indigenous knowledge to 21st cen-
tury living."

"Umm ... it's really geomet-
That's the first response
featured in a Posture article
asking lesbians to reevaluate
sex scenes
in the much-
yet con-
new French
drama, "Blue
Is the Warm-
est Color." AKSHAY
The next SETH
bit of analy-
sis comes

from an equally unsure inter-
viewee, who pauses, looks
at her cat, before hesitantly
admitting, "I thought it was
hot at the beginning, and then
it got kind of ridiculous when
they started switching sex
positions every five seconds. It
made it look like an infomercial
for a kitchen product where
they're trying to showcase all
the things it can do."
It's an interesting analogy
that, in more direct terms,
harkens back to a classic cri-
tique of most sloppily executed
love-making scenes: They're a
cursory way of fast-forwarding
through intimacy. By mash-
ing together a weird potpourri
of shots, usually lacking any
guiding context, the scenes
become oddly detached from
the subject matter they look to
And there's the catch -
something as intensely inti-
mate as porking on the kitchen
counter shouldn't stick out
like gym-short boners in films
generally defined by their
strict adherence to structure.
Don't blow a gasket, love-story
aficionados. Every movie is
still a beautiful and unique
snowflake, and though I'm not
saying cinema designed to tug
at the heartstrings is all the
same, it's hard to deny the fact
that most real-world depiction
of doe-eyed love waltzes to a
similar tune: initial sparks ser-
enaded by lustful discussions
of the future, ultimately cul-
minating in reconsiderations
stemming from far-fetched
prospects of commitment.
Given "Blue" 's three-hour
runtime, it's an interesting
choice by director Abdellatif
Kechiche - who invests 10
minutes in his longest uninter-
rupted sex scene - to shoot his
schtiiping leading ladies in a
format completely at odds with
the rest of the movie. This
film, unlike so many recent
love stories, is about inter-
mittence. The boring, forced
moments in which Keniche
makes us stare into Adele's
expressionless face as it sucks
on spaghetti are meant to be
lead-ins - lead-ins toward raw
emotion that never seems to
surface in the film's sweaty
displays of bodies smacking
against each other.
Keniche builds close to
an hour of tedium around
his protagonist's first sexual
encounter with a woman.
Intermittently, he sprinkles
more time between each
following encounter. Inter-
mittently, he decreases the
length of those encounters.
And intermittently, he dilutes
the emotional weight of what
those encounters signify,
until finally, they're blan-
keted by irrelevance. There's
never any meaningful fore-
play, just uncomfortable talks
about the future and vague
attempts to hide the relation-
ship. Doing this throws the
relationship, in the eyes of the
audience, into limbo - the
protagonists are just holding
onto each other for the sake
of sex.
It's a simple yet effective

way to look at the decom-
position of love, and indeed,
Keniche succeeds in convinc-
ingly picking apart the implied
interdependence of his two
protagonists by the time the
credits roll. Still, it's the sex
scenes that stick with you
when you walk out the door.
And they stick with you for
the wrong reasons.
In every illustration of inti-
macy, Keniche pulls us back
from the frame and presents
his subjects with a noticeable
objectivity reeking of a lack
of understanding. He follows


and be
tion in
of unn
and ga
ing org
close u
dor fro
is like
the Val
scene t
one to'
the fil
a fram
the "pa
that's 1
film, t]
in fem
male it
endo o

autifies every palpita- there will be inherent differ-
their writhing bodies, ences in how the sex scenes
each shot with thwaps are approached. Neverthe-
ecessary butt-spanking less, the brilliance of director
sps of breathy, moan- Derek Cianfrance is evident
asms. Keniche splices in how accurately he's able to
er multiple angles and showcase the skidding rela-
ps in an attempt to tionship using the bedroom as
some unearthly splen- a tool, not a consequence.
m what's unfolding on He does it by setting up
, but the effect, as that two scenes, both geared to
e interviewee describes, identical portrayals of cun-
watching an odd lesbian nilingus, almost immediately
documentary ("Beyond after one another. The first
g-hole with Morgan scene, fixed around the time
an"). the marriage is already beyond
urprisingly, the only sex repair, shows an uninterested,
hat doesn't feel per- sad Michelle Williams simply
ry is the heterosexual going through the motions,
ward the beginning of thinking about the first time
m that Keniche sets as she received oral sex from her
e of reference for all husband. Cianfrance uses that
assionate" love-making transition to jump back into
to follow. the past, where he's able to
her than inject a raw, give us a peek at a healthier
trollable lust into the stage in their relationship
he majority of the through their more passionate
do nothing more than love-making.
ify. The slow, panning It works because the sex
ups over Adele's arched scenes aren't detached from
are comically obvious the format the rest of the film
les of male gaze, an idea follows, letting the mirrored
inist film theory that framework create a feeling of
s directed by a straight authenticity.
nadvertently cater to a A lesbian film that presents
it male audience in their sex in a similarly sincere light
ent of sex, sexual innu- is "The Watermelon Woman,"
r female bodies. written and directed by les-
bian filmmaker Cheryl Dunye.
The movie highlights the
aspiring director's (Dunye,
gaze playing herself) attempt to
makes sex make a documentary about a
Black actress from the '30s and
nes in 'Blue' '40s who frequently portrayed
a "mammy" figure, only going
too blue. by the credit of Watermelon
An intriguing examination
of racism and sexism's habit
t of the love-making of reverberating down gen-
ie" is presented in a erations, the film reveals that
that's likely to keep the titular character, a les-
it men in the cinema bian woman struggling to tell
ued to their seats. Even her story in an environment
intention is tertiary, it's drowned out by the major-
t the moment Keniche ity voice, is an extension of
s to spend upwards of Dunye. The themes are heavy,
onds plastering the cam- serious examinations of race
Adele's breasts while and gender politics, but the
sturbates. These shots reason I'm talking about it in
hing more than put the this column has to do with
body on a pedestal how casually the film treats
ng high above normalcy, sex despite its weighty agenda.
vorshipped and valued Sex, more so than in any of
aesthetic appeal. In the the movies I've spoken about,
t of lesbian sex, the only just happens. Romances spring
'Blue" is able to accom- up around it, but the blas
s distance it from "nor- manner in which sex is simply
," hetero-relationships a natural consequence of life is
takeaway becomes "look reminiscent of films featuring
tense those orgasms solely heterosexual relation-
he film's warped view, There's a natural simplic-
n sex is something to be ity in letting that figurative
d toward, not something gap between hetero and homo
mal as everyday life, as close - a simplicity "Blue"
sexual schnooking. never manages to echo. It's
ugh it's not a perfect still a moving example of love's
rison, a film that treats boundlessness. If only I could
nestly enough to show say the same for sex.

in "Blu
hall gh
if that
10 sec
era to)
she ma
do not]
to be w
for its
plish i
- the t
how in
In ti
as norr
sex ho
it fall:
is abou

The male gaze.
'Human' delivers on story
despite lack of innovation

Daily Arts Writer
Amid the surplus of failing
programs currently airing on
FOX, from "The Mindy Project"
to "Dads" to
"The X Factor,"
the network's
Monday night Almost
has become a Human
steady threat
to behemoth Pilot
Monday com-
panion "The atndaysM
Voice" and the
more modestly FOX
rated CBS sit-
coms. Its lat-
est offering, "Almost Human,"
hopes to continue FOX's good
fortune on the night and become
a much-needed hit for the
network. From J.J. Abrams's
appropriately titled Bad Robot
Productions, the series is a
futuristic procedural, pairing
human cops with robot part-
ners. Though far from ground-
breaking television, "Almost
Human" is a strong sci-fi entry
that should pair well with fresh-
man success, "Sleepy Hollow."
In the year 2048, when the
crime rate skyrockets by 400
percent, all law enforcement
agents must be paired with an
android - extremely life-like,
highly efficient robot officers,
devoid of any human emotions.
This proves to be a struggle for
Detective John Kennex (Karl
Urban, "Dredd"), a rough and
tough officer who is less than
cooperative with his futuris-

tic con
a lineo
that w
the ne'
if you
day Ni
A se
the ba
tion, r
on the
the las
ers anc
ing te
ing the
look fo
a fl
It g
the ma

workers. For this reason, "Almost Human" is equal parts
n Sandra Maldonado (Lili "Total Recall," "A.I. Artificial
"The Conjuring") pairs Intelligence" and "I, Robot." For
x with Dorian (Michael a minute, the series also goes
Californication"), part of full "Saw" during the search
if recalled android models and rescue of a fellow agent. As
ere "made to feel." Unlike Kennex looks up at the surveil-
w models, Dorian is full of lance camera in the corner of
n - he's almost human, the room, you can almost hear
will. Minka Kelly ("Fri- Tobin Bell eerily deliver Jig-
ght Lights") also stars as saw's catchphrase, "I want to
Valerie Stahl. play a game."
ries 35 years in the future, Originality issues aside,
for some reason set in "Almost Human" is a fun show,
ickdrop of Joel Schum- striking the right balance
campy, 1990s Gotham, between good action, good act-
st Human" features Brad ing and snarky humor. Urban
son's heavy-handed direc- and Kelly make great leads, but
epeatedly over-delivering it's Ealy who steals the show as
futuristic imagery. With the re-commissioned android
er guns, hovering motor- partner. He plays the part with
LED-infused toilet flush- great nuance, delivering a stand-
d introductory narrative out performance that can only
ation, it's all a bit too be described as almost human.
And despite all this amaz- The episode also ends shortly
chnology, in the future, after a thrilling climax, teasing
ntly we will still be driv- the audience to come back for
e fully loaded 2014 Ford more.
So that's something to The bottom line: The pilot
rward to. episode of "Almost Human" is a
good hour of television, perfect-
ly on-brand for the network that
SFOX lot' brought viewers the short-lived
FW X pl s "Terra Nova," the underappreci-
in but easily ated "Alcatraz" and, of course,
"24." However, in the year 2048,
gotten sCi-fi. will people remember anything
about "Almost Human?" For a
series lacking much original-
ity or substance, it's hard to
oes without saying that believe the answer is yes. But as
st Human" is a story that for 2013, it's definitely an enjoy-
does not exist without able ride - one that should get a
ny sci-fi films that came passing grade from most fans of
, both good and bad. sci-fi television.

apart organically is
Valentine." Don't get me
- I get that this movie
it a hetero marriage, so

Seth is smashing the
male gaze. To assist, e-mail


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