The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, July 17, 1985 - Page 9
'Emerald Forest'too dense for travel
pride and satisfaction about how soon father from the hands of a tribe of
By Byron L. Bull the whole horizon will be cleared and cannibals known as the "Fierce
paved, Boorman lingers on slow- .People."
JOmotion closeups of machinery tearing Tomme recognizes his father as his
OHN BOORMAN is a filmmaker trees from the ground. The young boy, "dream father," and when he in-
whose work shows a rigid pre- Tommy, (played by Boorman's son troduces him to his tribe, they
ccupation with the same thematic Charley), strays from the family, likewise recognize him from Tom- x
aterial, worked and reworked from following an army of ants carting me's previous descriptions.
ilm to film with only superficial twigs and leaves many times their Mysticism plays an important part
anges in the formula. - size off to the nest. Boorman makes a in Boorman's vision, with the bulk of
His theme is modern man's en- firm visual simile between the ants the film devoted to documenting the
croachment on primitive man - not and the oversized exotic construction tribe's various rituals - like a coming-
just on his territory, but into spiritual equipment, but there is no real sense of-age ceremony in which Tomme the
realms as well. of irony or poetry to make it work. boy "dies" to be "reborn" as a man -
Boorman's career started off Tommy runs into a band of forest and a wedding - where Tomme ac-
modestly enough with Deliverance, Indians who, in one of the film's few tually clubs his wife over the head and
with a battle between vacationing city genuinely subtle and inspired momen- drags her away. These scenes come
men and their backwoods counterpar- ts, seem to blend almost impercep- off as too obviously staged and
ts. It then spilled over into the all-but- tibly into the foilage. Charmed by the choreographed. In fact Emerald
forgotten Zardoz, a fantasy about boy, they spirit him away - in the Forest throughout has a very stiff,
post-holocaust scientists trying to real story the Indians outright at- overly glossed artificiality, and is ac-
ubjugate the remaining survivors, tacked the family and took the boy - tually not all that different from all
d was taken to elaborate extremes as the father follows futilely, unable to those African-based melodramas of
n Excalibur, wherein Boorman tur- hack his way through the seemingly the early '60s.
ned the Authurian legends inside out. impenetrable wall of vine and trees As in Excalibur, Boorman indulges
In Boorman's latest work, The the Indians effortlessly slipped in his fixation with Jungian concepts
Emerald Forest, the setting is the through. that not only muddy most of the film's
Amazonian rainforest, and the con- The tribe, a gentle, whimsical clan, narrative, but are blown out of
flict between industrial man and a known as the "Invisible People" - manageable proportion. Just as the
small tribe of forest aboriginals. because they believe they can render advent of Christianity and civilization
The film is loosely inspired by a Los themselves so and have the prowess eclipsed the pagan and supernatural
Angeles Times story about a Peruvian to slip through the forest quietly world of Excalibur, Boorman conten-
family whose son was kidnapped by enough to carry the illusion off - cart ds here that Western civilization has
Amazonian tribe. The father spent Tommy, hence called Tomme, back lost precious knowledge and a sense of
e subsequent ten years combing the to their communal camp. There the cosmic consciousness that only these Charley Boorman, director John Boorman's son, portrays Tomme, a
'ungle until he found his son, who had chief shaman adopts Tomme as his quasi-primevals still possess. youth kidnapped by Amazonian Indians.
y that time become a young man and own son. Transcendental hallucinations play
a leader of the tribe. Boorman takes The father meanwhile, has spent all a pivotal role in the film. Tomme con- Similarly, Boorman shows little up in old westerns.
great liberties with the news story. of his free time researching the tribes sumes an herbal mixture that tran- restraint in underplaying the At the end, Boorman's extravagan-
Some, - like making the family of the rain forest and making periodic sforms him into a bird-spirit and then allegorical moralist angle of the film. za burgeons beyond even the accep-
American - are merely cosmetic,, expeditions to search for his son. flies to the ancestral grounds where his Cold-blooded entrepreneurs give "the table limits of fanciful allegory, as
while others - like making the father Boorman doesn't elaborate on the people collect green stones which they Fierce People" guns and ammo so Tomme and tribe invoke supernatural
the chief architect and engineer of a details, even though the film's adver- use to make camouflage paint. Later that they can raid Tomme's village forces to hurl a storm of apocalyptic
massive dam project that is tising plugs this as a film about a he uses the same potion to take his and bring back women to serve as proportions against the dam, causing
threatening the entire Amazon forest father's 10-year search for his son. spirit back to the city to discover bound prostitutes in their outpost bor- the film to dissolve into hysteric camp
- are pure splashy strokes on Boor- Boorman dispenses with this storyline where his father lives. dello. Tomme returns to the city, and pretentiousness.
an's broad, mythic canvas. with a handy title card curtly ex-- Racial memory is a key belief of the scales the outside of his father's apar- Emerald Forest's climax serves as
The father (played by Powers nlaining the facts. He presents only tribe. The remains of their dead are tment highrise to ask for his help - the apotheosis of Boorman's elaborate
Boothe) takes his family picnicking at the expedition where father and son cremated and the skulls ground into a characters run back and forth bet- myth-making. It is no more sloppily
the edge of the construction site, next come face to face deep in the forest powder that is mixed into an urn con- ween the city and an Amazon forest concocted or preposterous than past
to the forest wall. As he's talking with heartland, where Tomme saves his tamining the ashy remains of all the that seems about as extensive as the efforts, and at least is carried off with
tribe's ancestors. The men eat a por- Arb. more cinematic bravado than he's
tion of this morbid concoction so that The father, along with the help of a summoned in the past.
B ridegroom o the memories of the dead will live on number of city-dwelling Indians who Emerald Forest isn't a challenging
'R obberwithin them. Boorman never plays decide to return to the wild, load up on movie, and is a little too self-righteous
the obvious symbolism down for a ammo, and stage a counter-raid on than it has the thoughtfulness to
dosecond; he blows it to epic-scaled the outpost, which is carried off with warrant. On the other hand, for all its
proportions, which is entertaining if little resistence because by this, sloppiness - the tension between
taken with a pinch of good humor, but time the "Fierce People" have also father and son is never resolved, lost
formances were complete sell-outs, here it borders on parody, and even- been introduced to alcohol, and have in the panorama - it is fairly enter-
By Susanne Baum a record for the AACT. So, AACT tually loses all credibility even as a become wretched basketcases - the taining if taken tongue-in-cheek.
OWING YOUR partner decided to revise the show and run fantasy. way American Indians always ended
hnrvcn i~ii~ thiCVaI
hround and round and promenade Smeresival."s
your gal on down. All 17 members of the cast are
Nothing beats good of' American always on stage; the cast portrays
square dancing to rev up your hear- the eight main characters and the
theat and put a mile-long smile on set as well. In the second set, for
your face. Here is your chance to example, Rosamond and Jamie are
take part in a foot-stomping, knee- in the woods and the remaining 15
slapping, rip-roaring good time at cast members act as the wood's
the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's trees. In the course of the show, the
production of The Robber cast portrays chairs, tables, lamps,
Bridegroom, book and lyrics by and other stationary objects. Very
Alfred Uhry and music by Robert little non-human set material is
The show, adapted from a folktale "I guarantee the music will have
by Eudora Welty, tells the story of a the whole audience tapping their
planter's daughter, Rosamund, who toes to the beat," said Posante. The
falls in love with a "gentleman" band, consisting of fiddles, guitars,
robber, Jamie Lockhart, of the Nat- and banjos, playing good ol'
chez Trace in the 1790's. American hoe-down is sure to put a
AACT previously performed The smile on everyone's face.
Robber Bridegroom in 1982 at their
Main Street Theatre "and it was our The Robber Bridegroom will be
iggest box-office hit," said direc- performed at the Power Center on
tor/choreographer Jim Posante. July 17, 18, and 19. Shows begin at 8
"Eleven out of the 12 scheduled per- p.m.
Tetes Noires are classy and comedic
(ContinuedfromPage8) "Boys" and "Can't Even Dance" was a psychedelic doo-wap number
is gastrointestinal system proved that the band can thrash with called "Grazin' in the Grass."
'arranged, and "Family Ties." Both the best, I had thought the guitar was So, as usual, the question is what do
ere well done, but like "Plato's," mixed a little low on some songs, you do for an encore?
ere too subtle to start a show with. rightfully so to play up the vocals, but
The needed punch came from it came up right where it belonged. MOTORHEAD!!! came the an-
Bingo,"a dixieland romp from the The band has no full-time drummer, swer. Yep, Motorhead. Where last
oint of view of a rabid bingo fan. so you'd think it would be kind of hard summer "White Wedding" filled the
a similar vein were "Blame It On to get a full sound, but it's no sweat for Fabulous Encore of Famously Sexist
he Bossanova" (punctuated by the Tetes. Songs Which Become Famously Fun-
seudo-Spanish yelps like "Moonie" - about the cult - had ny When Sung By Women, this year
chihuahua!" "chiquita banana! !" great bass from Cynthia Bartell and Motorhead's "Road Crew," complete
om singer/violinist Jennifer Holt) featured the always-swell harmonies with rock-fer-Satan choreography,
nd the poppish "Donut Diet" sung by of Camille Gage, Renee Kayon, and filled the bill. In the second encore,
uitarist Polly Alexander, demon- Jennifer Holt, who handle the bulk of the Tetes did a great a capellaverson
rating the Tetes' inclination towards the lead singing (or in "Moonie's" of the Cookies' "Chains/Don't Say
enre-hopping. Next was the Tetes' case, yodeling) collectively or Nothing Bad About My Baby," as
otorious Andrews Sisters-ish a separately. recorded on American Dream.
cpella cover of "White Wedding" The second set was characterized "Next time we'll come on a
punctuated by the band's unofficial by powerful new material, covering weekend," said Camille Gage after
omedian, Renee Kayon, sneering a topics ranging from wet T-shirt con- the show. I hope they will, knowing
t), which brought down the house. tests to nuclear holocaust. Notable the chaos it'll probably produce.