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April 15, 1991 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-15

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Monday, April 15, 1991

Page 5

The Field twists the conflict
jn Ireland over rented land

Vt...-v:
.4 't
tiI N 1i1: '4t T.

,e4

The Field
dir. Jim Sheridan
0,by Michael John Wilson
Here's another winning premise:
an old man defends his field in rural
aIreland from an evil American's in-
dustrial ambitions. Yet The Field
goes beyond such seemingly obvious
manipulation to become a intense
portrait of the violence behind pas-
toral life. The film centers on one
man, Thady "the Bull" McCabe
(Richard Harris), who embodies the
agony of Ireland's past. It's a big
role in a big movie, pulled off ex-
tremely well by Harris and
writer/director Jim Sheridan (My
Left Foot).
The film is adapted from the
1965 play by popular Irish play-
wright John B. Keane, which itself
is based on a true story. Set in the
west of Ireland in 1939, Keane's
peasant play focuses on a village's
reactions to an American outsider
who tries to buy the Bull's field
when it is put up for auction.
Sheridan heightens the drama to the
level of Shakespearean tragedy by
shifting the story's the focus to the
Bull, who becomes an obsessed,
tragic hero.
The film shares the play's prob-
lem of weak, caricatured minor

characters. The worst case is Tom
Berenger (Platoon), playing the
naive and seemingly inhuman
American outsider referred to only
as "the Yank." As the Bull's tooth-
less, cackling fool, John Hurt (the
guy with the creature in his stomach
in Alien) grows tiresome quickly.
Brenda Fricker, who won an Oscar
for My Left Foot, is surprisingly
wasted in her role as the Bull's
wife, whom he hasn't spoken to in
18 years.
Like My Left Foot, Sheridan does
get a powerful performance from a
dominant main character, but the
similarities end there. Unlike the
subtle, small moments of My Left
Foot, everything in The Field says
"epic", from the lush landscapes to
the Bull's big emotions. His
"father's father's father's father"
worked this field, and Bull is pas-
sionately determined to pass it on to
his son, Tadhg (pronounced
"Tyke"), so that his "son's son's
son's son" will work it. Everything
revolves around the field.
Not surprisingly, it's a bit too
much at times. Taken on its own
terms, however, The Field is affect-
ing and engrossing. Though set in
1939, the pastoral setting seems al-
most medieval - it's a shock when
we see a car. By urban American
standards, the Bull's deep, emo-
tional attachment to the land is ad-

mirable, but ultimately ridiculous
and overdone. Then again, by modern
standards, so is King Lear.
The Field is certainly no Lear,
but Harris' Oscar-nominated per-
formance as the Bull overwhelms
its comparatively minor shortcom-
ings. In his first role since Bo
Derek's Tarzan the Ape Man (!),
Harris keeps the drama rooted in au-
thentic human experience, raising it
above the level of mere melodrama.
The passion and the obsession be-
come quite believable when we un-
derstand what he has been through
on this field.
Starvations, rebellions and life-
long toil are visible in the Bull's
face. His tired yet intense blue eyes
embody Ireland's turbulent past,
and his name is wonderfully right,
evoking not only his mighty, pent-
up rage, but his animal-like connec-
tion to nature. With Harris' per-
formance, potentially overblown
situations smack of reality. The per-
formance becomes all the more fas-
cinating as the Bull sinks deeper
into obsessive, unsympathetic mad-
ness. Though not great storytelling,
Harris' powerful presence in the se-
ductively beautiful landscape are
enough to make The Field success-
ful. And how can you argue with a
guy named Bull?
THE FIELD is being shown at the
Ann Arbor 1 & 2.

Rock you like
a familiar
hurricane
There are a number of heavy
metal/hard rock show clich6s: a
"interesting" light show; some
moving stage parts; the band suited
in leather; guitarists waving their
hard-stringed schlongs around; the
mellow power ballad set up, egging
the crowd into a call and response
and begging for more applause; and,
basically, a total reproduction of
the album, with some longer solos
added. The crowd is full of metal
queens in pink leather miniskirts
waving lighters during the afore-
mentioned power ballads while
their male escorts, clad in white
(with white shoes) or in acid-
washed denim, smoke it up. Said
crowd willingly participates in the
call and response, yelling on cue and
eating up any stage antics. This de-
scription perfectly fits the
Scorpions' portion of last
Thursday's show at the Palace of
Auburn Hills.
Trixter, the latest in the long
line of pretty young pop-metal
bands, did not take these norms as
seriously. In the band's 40 or so
minute set, they competently played
songs from their album. Actually,

their metal-lite sounds much better
live than on records - it has more
energy and harshness, eyen though
they are totally baby-faced and all
under 20 years of age. They cavorted
around the stage and all the girls
screamed, good enough for any quick
music fix.
The Scorpions, since they have
been around forever (or at least
since 1976), have the pose down pat.
Even though they put on an excel-
lent show, playing a good selection
of familiar tunes mostly from their
'80s and '90s albums for 90 plus
minutes, including one encore, it
typified every clich6 defined above.
They just didn't take the clich6s and
make them into their own style.
How many lead vocalists besides.
Klaus Mein can stand on the drum
sets and wiggle their midriff while
singing and not modify it to any de-
gree to reflect his own personality
(save, of course, his ever-present hat,
to hide the balding)? How many
guitarists besides Rudolf Schenker
run around the stage, posing in-
tensely, playing their guts out
while looking totally self-satis-
fied? While their show was just
amazingly perfect, they could have
taken it one step further, beyond the
stereotype.
- Annette Petruso
'Gleeful'
performance
When I walked into the Spring
Women's Glee Club concert and
watched its members march down
the aisles of Rackham's Auditorium
clad in blue dresses with gold
banners, I wasn't sure what to
expect. It wasn't until they took
their places on stage and began to
sing that I got my first impression
of the remarkable evening.
It took a short while to fall into
the rhythm of the concert's initial
somber tone. Glee Club director and
Music School Professor Earl
Coleman prefaced "Johnny has Gone
for a Soldier" with a short speech
about the relevant timing of the

piece. Violinist Jeremy Williams'
accompaniment for "Soldier" was
also moving.
The concert's serious tone
reached a high point during a section
dedicated to those who suffered and
died during the Holocaust. The
group sang a folk song, "Dance
With Me," in memory of the six
million "who dance only in our
memories," according to the pro-
gram. A second song, "I Never Saw
Another Butterfly," was composed
of poems written by children during
their imprisonment in concentration
camps.
This piece, although long and
disjointed, was extremely pow-
erful. It was unusual because it
combined the reading of poetry with
music and song. The effect was mag-
nificent - I could actually envision
the isolation and terror of those
children. At the end of the piece, one
performer walked to the edge of the
stage and exclaimed, "I never saw
another butterfly. That butterfly
was the last one. Butterflies don't
lie in here, in the ghetto." The bal-
ance of the spoken word against the
haunting melody provided the audi-
ence with a sense of the hopelessness
and misery that the Holocaust Vic-
tims faced. Then the auditorium
went completely black.
After the memorial portion, the
flavor of the concert changed
dramatically. The club launched
into "The Women of Michigan,"
some favorite University fight
songs and selections from The Wiz.
The a capella octet of the Glee
Club, the Harmonettes gave the
most outstanding performances of
the evening. During their portion of
the concert, the Harmonettes
dazzled the stage with black, shim-
mering '50s style dresses, singing
upbeat pieces about love and rela-
tionships. The choreography came
alive during "Teenager in Love."
With only a few simple gestures,
such as acting weak in the knees,
they managed to capture parts of
adolescence perfectly.
-Joanna Broder

Bloc
in the Free Zone
A&M
Despite the "drum machine,"
Bloc consists of a talented group of
musicians. Perhaps that's why their
latest release, in the Free Zone,
would have been better as an in-
strumental LP.
Nels Cline (guitars and backing
vocals), Nicholas Kirgo (guitars,
harmony and backing vocals),
Steuart Liebig (bass and backing vo-
cals) and Christopher Mancinelli
(drums and backing vocals) are vet-
eran musicians, and their sound,
which has been coined a "rock/funk
hybrid," is most certainly unique.
However, this sound just doesn't
mesh with the all-too-lovely sound-

ing voice of lead singer Camille
Henry. The band comes close on
"Dying Fires," on which the guys
ease up into a more generic sound,
but the track still doesn't hit home.
- The inventive guitar melody on
"You Could Run Away" is exhila-
rating, but Henry's embellished vo-
cals detract from the experience -
one could imagine taking a razor
blade to her voice to give it some
more guts.
Similarly, "Take It Up" is a
popish version of blues, but Henry
just can't attain that sensual, spine-
tingling growl that's the insignia of
a true blues singer.
The emptiness in the lyrics
doesn't help either. Trite rhymes
such as this example from

"Follow" abound: "So I jump back
to my left/ Move it to my right/
Find another reason for another
drunken night."
Henry's voice isn't bad; it's just
too precious. These songs would
lend themselves great to a live per-
formance with a ballsy edge, but I'd
speculate that they don't have it in
them. However, I look forward to
their next endeavor because, even if
they don't have the thrash in them,
they definitely have something.
--Kim Yaged

Gipsy Kings
Allegria
Elektra Musician
The 1988 deb
Gipsy Kings, wh

but of Europe's
hich surprisingly

broke into the upper reaches of the
U.S. albums chart, now appears to
have been the first commercial
breakthrough in the recent domestic
popularity of so-called "world mu-
sic." But perhaps its success - and
that of 1989's Mosaique - wasn't
really so strange after all; despite
the flamenco guitar tandem of the
Baliardo and Reyes brothers, who
perform in an obscure Spanish
dialect, Gipsy Kings' version of the
schlock standard "My Way"
highlighted the easy-listening
accessibility of the Kings' authentic
charms. With their lusty-throated
chants and vigorous rhythms,
though, the Kings never fail to pack
their distinctive sound full of real
fire and passion.
Allegria, their newest release, is
actually a 17-song set of tracks
culled from sessions performed in
1982 and '83. Because the songs all
tend toward a similar pattern - the
allegro is a quick, snappy movement
-- Allegria is not nearly as listener-
friendly as the previous outings.
And even though "La Dona" and
"Un Amor" are as pretty as any-
thing they've recorded, Allegria
once again fails to answer the ulti-
mate Kings question: why is it that
these guys need seven guitar players
to play the same part?
- Michael Paul Fischer
ANSIAR lbOR
5TH AVE AT LIBERTY 761-9700
$+ DAILY SHOWS BEORE6 PMIAAll DAY TUESDAY'
STUDENT WITH I.D. $3.80
G THAES.IC

r

"THE NASTY GIRL" PG-13'
"THE FIELD" PG-13
PRESENT THIS COUPON WITH Aril ' i
D KTICKET THRU
1319

Bloc (from left to right, Steuart Liebig, Camille Henry, Christopher Mancinelli, Nicholas Kirgo and Nels Cline),
who've been called a "rock/funk hybrid," would probably also name Parlia-delic as one of their influences. How
original.
IRONWORKER, CHICAGO

IJs lixhigan ailg

CO)G9T(JL 4TIO
9kxive done I or 5 years of crosswords drank 3 or 900 beers,
survived one too many caffene trpped all-niqhters and hopped
over the M on the ODig ebr the Mhdfnth time.

A~nd now t ts time to send a fiI m$.essage.

t'o PhM a MCS.4eoe

_.._1 _,.....,i.,.1

i X AO, e ti , ~

&e-w- mac~tCdheoro

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