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March 11, 2014 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-11

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5 - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.%

Giving up
ownership offine art

Turn up for Christ.
portrayal of Christ
fizzles away
DailyArts Writer
Jesus is back. And he's white.
Yes, Jesus Christ has once
again made his
way to the sil- F
ver screen with
"Son of God," Son of God
this time por-
trayed by Por- At Quality 16
tuguese actor and Rave
Diogo Morgado
- best known FOX
for playing the
same role on
History Channel's "The Bible."
Though there is a mix of ethnici-
ties throughout the film, almost
all of the important characters are
white. It's apparent that people
(specifically, Christians) still cling
to the idea of a white messiah,
when it seems pretty obvious that
the actual Jesuswas some shade of
John, one of Jesus's apostles,
tells the story through a flashback.
He gives a quick recap of history

(Adam and Eve, Noah, etc.), dis
cusses Jesus's birth, then (jus
like "The Bible") flashes forwari
to Jesus as a man, leaving out an
mention of his developmenta
years. Throughout the film, John'
voiceovers are few, but when pres
ent they serve as a crutch for th.
filmmakers, simplifying the story
telling of already straightforwarc
There is no originality. There i
no creativity. Nothing about "Sot
of God" offers any value except fo
someone seeking to mix and masl
Jesus's greatest hits. He heal
a cripple, feeds the masses an(
walks on water, but at the end o
the day, there is no exploration o
Jesus's character, and everythin
feels very surface-level. The trutl
isthatsomecharacters are tooper
fect to be interesting; that's wh
they introduced Kryptonite to th
Superman universe. While Marti;
Scorsese's "The Last Temptatio;
of Christ" may have been contro
versial, its refreshing portrayal o
Jesus as a man with doubts, con
cerns and fear, without questiot
makes it a better film.
There simply is no saving grac
for "Son of God." Even the aes
thetics aren't high quality in thi
adaptation. Every establishin
shot looks like bad CGI and th

- makeup department apparently
t did everything in their power to
d provide perfect teeth for all. Veri-
y similitude can'talwaysbethemea-
l suring stick for qualifying movies,
s but it's distracting and annoying
- that these characters, supposedly
e living in poverty over 2000 years
- ago, all have pearly whites.
d The heaviness of the music may
be appropriate, given that this is
s indeed a tale of biblical propor-
n tions. However, working along-
r side acting and directing like this,
h the score actually adds humor to
s a movie that doesn't justify how
d seriously it takes itself. Imagine a
f swooping camera, shooting Jesus
f and his disciples walking in slow
g motion, as if away from an explo-
h sion in an action movie, accom-
- panied by the most dramatic
y orchestral arrangement you can
e imagine. You've just visualized
n multiple scenes from "Son of God."
n Roma Downey ("Touched by an
- Angel") clearly has passion for her
f religion, as well as for monetizing
- that passion. As the Virgin Mary,
n she acts and serves as primary
producer for both this film and the
e aforementioned "Bible" minise-
- ries, from which comes most of the
s footage for "Son ofGod." Unfortu-
g nately, passion and religion do not
e an enjoyable film make.

When I was little and
didn't want the apple offered
to me as a snack, I'd sneak
into the kitchen and slide
across the floor to the pantry
where I'd
eat every
apple Chupa
Chups. IfI
was bored
of the
music CD
my grand- ANNA
mother was SAOVSKA3A
playing, I'd
flip to an
FM station
and dance around to Hoku.
We're taught to take things -
to make the world our oyster,
to find our niche, to hold on
to things that matter.
This intangible need to
continuously achieve maxi-
mum gratification prompted
everyone to go out into the
wild and bring back things
like music, TV, film, video
games, Monopoly and
And while musicals and
novels have cultivated an
immense following, the stiff
upper-browed sisters sym-
phony concerts, museum
exhibitions and theater per-
formances have been labelled
stand-offish - meant only
for the sophisticated social-
ites who attend the Whitney
Biennial, or something you go
to when you want to impress
someone with your knowl-
edge of culture.
You can't hold a paint-
ing the same way you can a
book. You can't sing along
to Chopin's piano concertos.
You can't dance with Diana

that pa
sided e
fine ar
lack of
the poi
you ca
ing ou
ing at
more t
or wat
on rep
each li

not only the lack of stand and admire each paint
ction. Though it's true ing the same.
aintings don't say sassy My grandma doesn't agree
is la Harry Potter, and She asserts her passion with
tras don't encourage vigor, attending every exhi-
pits, it's not the one- bition opening and gallery
xperience that ruins show with enthusiasm, so as
ts for some. It's the to show everyone just how
ownership - what's much she loves the fine arts.
int of appreciating "This is so my genre of
hing you can't touch, art," said my grandma every
nt own. day of her life.
is is my song," said But that's not ownership.
girl at every party. It's a following, a need to
ething about scream- keep up with the ever-chang-
t "I LOVE THIS ing world, digesting every bit
RLUDE" isn't as appeal- of art possible.
a symphony concert - It's obsessive, and yet it
something stagnant in doesn't hold the same value
ing your passion for a as reading and re-reading the
r. You can love Picasso first book that made you real-
han Dali, but you can't ize that nothing in the world
faster or sing louder matters.
ch the same painting And yet, this lack of own-
eat until you know ership grants a momentary
ne by heart. There's an reprieve from the day-to-day
bound - a ceiling you world. Standing in front of
with your appreciation. Van Gogh's Starry Night and
desire for owner- realizing you'll never see
anything else like it is hum-
bling. It's clarity that's hard
to achieve elsewhere. Anyone
don't owe can own a copy of "Harry
Potter"; the same's not true
anyone an for Van Gogh's work.
I go to museums so I don't
planation for have to vie for attention - I
mytaste. don't have to feel like I need
to prove my love for a certain
painting over the other or
how well I know an artist.
I don't own anything at a
hard to suppress - symphony concert except my
bserve when you can ticket - I don't owe anyone
The inherent style an explanation of why each
ticipating in the fine piece is exactly like my life.

ship is
why of
of par

arts is removed, requiring
a passive participation that
doesn't allow you to make it
your own. There's no way to
express youtr favoritism; you

Sadovskaya is eating apple
Chupa Chups. To join her,
email asado@umich.edu.

Do films cause cancer?

For the Daily
The "sexiness" of cigarettes
confuses me. On the one hand,
cigarettes aren't cool anymore.
Teachers spanked their positive
we accepted it: "Smoking causes
cancer." On the other hand, many
more (myself included) find ciga-
rette smoking strangely attractive.
science-based stigma induced by
grade-school propaganda, some-
thing somewhere in my upbring-
ing must still be pressing me to
smoke cigarettes. There is no more
Joe Camel or Marlboro Man (does
anyone even know these names
anymore?). There are no more cig-
arette TV commercials. But there
are still many films, old and new,
that depict, celebrate and/or sexu-
alize smoking. Cinema seems to be
I want to look at one scene from
one film in particular: Woody
Allen's "Manhattan."
"Manhattan" depicts the psy-
chological conflict between our
understanding that smoking
causes cancer and the self-reflec-
tive aesthetic pleasure of smoking
a cigarette; in short, it depicts the
absurdity of the modern American
attitude toward smoking. In this
scene, earlyon inthe film, Woody's
character, Isaac, pulls out a ciga-
rette and lights it.
icallypuffing. "Thatis so great."
"You don't smoke," Tracy (Mari-

el Hem
says wi
comic S1
But I lo
with ac
mon A
but stra
to smol
This so
ing - a:
he's no;
a self-re
the acts
ly desir

ingway), Isaac's girlfriend, did Isaac and the rest of us 'learn'
th a laugh, amused by his that smoking/holding a cigarette
moking display. makes us look handsome?
I don't smoke. I don't Look at the nature of the con-
because it gives you cancer. flict. It's a conflict between our
ok so incredibly handsome rational mind (our understand-
igarette that I can't nothold ing that smoking causes cancer)
and the irrational mind (smok-
ing cigarettes looks cool). Ask-
ing why Isaac thinks he looks "so
incredibly handsome" smoking
Sm oking a cigarette becomes a question
of how his irrational, emotional
in m ovies mind acquired that belief and the
associated desire. And I believe
)Jam orizeS the answer is in the power of film.
Film and other media manage to
gerous habit. subvert our rationality and appeal
to something much deeper - a
desire to stand out, to be the hero.
The most important irony in
this scene isn't that Isaac is smok-
scene illustrates the com- ing a cigarette despite saying he
merican attitude toward doesn't smoke. It's that, on a meta
:e smoking - a kind of level, the fact of this scene being in
hink. We recognize that a film ironically answers the ques-
e smoking causes cancer, tion of how Isaac and the rest of us
ngely, many of us still want "learned" that smoking/holding a
ke, at least on some level. cigarette makes us look cool: We
ene shows how our desire mimicked the actors and actresses
on the image of cigarette we saw smokinginmovies.
g; specifically, the actual- For me at least, the foundational
of the self-image. Isaac says, level of absurdity depicted in this
im ... that's so great," but he scene might be undermined, or
seem to actually be inhal- complicated, because Isaac is right:
t least he says he isn't - i.e., he looks cool smoking a cigarette.
t getting pleasure from the All the vanity, gild and glamor of
e's nicotine. His pleasure is cigarette smoking held critically
eflective, narcissistic one - under comic lens in this scene
ualization of the egotistical- mightlbe failing forthis simple rea-
able self-image of cigarette son: Woodylooks too cool smoking
g that makes him appear his cigarette while he's trying to
oine." The question is: how make fun of it.

'Remember when I was Denise?
Tense, gripping Road

DailyArts Writer
In Native American cul-
ture, the "red road" is the path
one follows to achieve an ele-
vated level of
It's the ideal
life path, Red Road
achieved Thursdays
through at 9 p.m.
ment, dis- Sundance
cipline and
sacrifice. It
also conjures up images of a
road stained red with blood.
Media is saturated with
images of the Native Ameri-
can past, and with some of
those images being Johnny
Depp as Tonto in "The Lone
Ranger," I think it's fair to
say that we have a long way
to go in terms of accurate
"The Red Road" is the sec-
ond scripted drama from Sun-
dance- and if the pilot is any
indication, AMC and FX now
have some stiff competition.
The series takes place in the
New Jersey town of Walpole.
A college student has gone

missing in the nearby woods, find out very early on what
causing a massive manhunt. happened ... well almost. Like
Meanwhile, tensions between all good small town myster-
the citizens of Walpole and ies, everyone has a secret and
the mountain-dwelling peo- as the end of the pilot sug-
ple of the Ramapo are reach- gests, the fagade is about to
ing a fever pitch. At the be lifted.
center are two men: ex-con The performances are
and Ramapo enforcer Phillip great all around, with Momoa
Kopus (Jason Momoa, "Game stealing every scene he's in.
of Thrones") and local cop Kopus is charismatic, badass
Harold Jensen (Martin Hen- and potentially frightening.
derson, "The Ring"). In fact, if there's one glar-
ing complaint I have about
the show it's that the Native
American characters are
New Sundance so interesting that some of
the town characters pale in
series driven comparison. Notably there's
Martin Henderson as Sher-
by strong iff Harold Jensen, the yin to
Kopus's yang. Henderson does
performances. a fine job but when compared
to the towering Momoa, he's
simply not as interesting. His
prejudice against the Ramapo
has yet to be explored, howev-
"The Red Road" is some- er, and I'm much more willing
thing of a small town noir in to give the series the benefit
the same vein as "The Kill- of the doubt this early on.
ing," "Twin Peaks" and, most Overall, "The Red Road"
recently, "True Detective." promises to be a tense, grip-
Yet the show doesn't focus on ping addition to an already
the mystery surrounding the impressive line-up of great
missing person. In fact, we TV currently out there.


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