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November 15, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-15

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 15, 1995

Love and ambiguity in war-tom Frane
Award-winning film documents universal, human struggles
By Jessica Chaffin culture for which it is an integral,
Daily Arts Writer omnipresence. She harbors the adcr
"Les Roseaux Sauvages," or Thl1 f lIFUUib iM ,descent desire to be 10 years older,
"Wild Reeds," is a beautifully mov- to elude the inevitable pains which:
ing film set in France in 1962 at the resolution of accompany the transition into adult-
time of the Algerian War. It tells the hood. Eventually she finds love .
the story of four young people who in both a physical and emotional:
inhabit the uncomfortable space be- sense - with Henri, a logical on-
tween adolescence and adulthood. seFUUU.n of love emy.
Each ascribe to certain extremist lust are Loss and mourning are also im-
views in order to resolve themselves foportant themes in this film. The toss
and the world around them of ambi- orte e of loved ones, the loss of Algeria,:
guity. the loss of an idealized love. Once:
Francois, Serge, Maite and Henri these characters have reconciled_
idealize and romanticize life in a into positions of extremity. Politics their feelings to their respective-
desperate effort to simplify it. How- and love are the main tenants of this losses, they are able to mourn them.
ever, throughout the progression of struggle between vitality and de- From there, they may continue the:
featism. most difficult task of all - living:
vEW The often-troubling resolution of The "Wild Reeds" of the title re-
sexuality and the separation of love fer to a fable within the narrative. It
Wild Reeds (Les from lust are major themes in this tells of the misleading fragilitylof
film. Francois searches for his the Oak in the face of strong wind;
Roseaux Sauvages) sexual identity in a society where as compared to the flexibility and
Directed by Andre Techine same sex encounters seem preva- perseverance of the Reed. At the
lent; they are often meaningless in- film's end these characters have
At the Michigan Theater dicators of sexual preference. Ini- learned not to be uprooted like the
tially, he struggles with his polar- Oak, but to sway and bend and sir-
the film, experience teaches them ized emotions of shame and ideal- vive.
to gently reexamine, even renounce, ized love, only to achieve balance "Les Roseaux Sauvages" was the
their idealism in favor of a more and peace through his acceptance recipient of four 1995 French Cesar
complex and realistic vision of the of his homosexuality. Awards, the equivalent of te
world. Each character wrestles with In contrast to the lustful feelings American Academy Awards, includ-
the fundamental human dilemma of of Francois is the alternate passion ing Best Picture, Best Screenplay,
the purpose of existence, only to and repression of Maite. She is an as well as Best Director for Andre
realize that to a certain extent one uncompromising supporter of the Techine. Each was richly deserved
must embrace life's ambiguities, French Communist Party who re- for this poignant and subtle cih-
rather than sequestering one's self jects the need for physical love in a ematic achievement.

Accialmed period-instrument performers make a rare appearance
7hls evening at Rackham Auditorium, the University Musical Society hosts Tafelmusik, one of the world's most acclaimed
group of period-Instrument performers. Specializing in Baroque music, the chamber ensemble became the first North
nterican period-instrument orchestra to tour Europe. Tafelmusik was founded in Toronto in 1979, and Jeanne Lamon has
Ifrected the group since 1981. She teaches at the University of Toronto and the Toronto Conservatory of Music, and has
mgdicated herself to the performance of Baroque and Classical music on period instruments since 1972. Lamon contributes a
-reputation as both a strong leader and an accomplished violinist.
!afelmuslk will present a concert featuring several compositions by Henry Purcell. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are
526, $24, $18, and $14. For more information call UMS at (313) 764-2538.
- Matthew Steinhauser

Emmylou Harris
Wrecking Ball
Elektra/Asylum Records
In a recent interview Emmylou Har-
ris called this, her 25th album, "my
weird record." Weird, because "Wreck-
ing Ball" pairs the country siren -
once a staunch Nashville traditionalist
- with producer Daniel Lanois, best
known for his work on U2's "The Joshua
Tree" and Bob Dylan's "Oh Mercy."
Weird, because Harris places her ver-
sions of songs by Bob Dylan and Jimi
Hendrix within 10 minutes ofeach other.
Weird, because in choosing songs from
different musical genres, Harris has
produced an album as authentically
country as any she's ever made.
"Wrecking Ball" takes its title from
Neil Young's bittersweet barroom song
from the "Freedom" sessions. Young
adds his unmistakable harmony to Har-
ris' recording, and it's a perfect vocal
marriage. Through Lanois' production,

Young's high-pitched, wavering voice
haunts the song's chorus, shimmering
and ghostly as Harris sings "Meet me at
the Wrecking Ball/I'll wear something
pretty and white/and we'll go dancing
tonight." It's ethereal and achingly
lovely -- Harris sounds angelic, and
the Wrecking Ball sounds like heaven.
The album's centerpiece, though, is
"Deeper Well," a song Harris co-wrote
with Lanois and Dave Olney. Lanois
surrounds Harris' wonderfully direct,
twanging vocals with rumbling electric
and harmonic bass, Larry Mullen Jr.'s
echoing drums, engineer Malcom
Burns' ringing keyboards and his own
corrosive blasts of guitar noise. Lanois
builds "Deeper Well" into a masterful,
truly gothic track without drowning Har-
ris' voice or cosmic American vision.
Harris also presents a gorgeous ver-
sion of Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand"
(Harris sang with Dylan on his record
"Desire") and a heartbreakingly lovely
interpretation of Lucinda Williams'


"Sweet Old World." Gillian Welch's
"Orphan Girl" reveals Harris' voice at
its most plaintive and pure.
Despite Lanois' high-tech produc-
tion values, Harris'voiceemerges stro-
ger and more distinctive than ever oi
"Wrecking Ball"'s 12 tracks. Its
marvelous instrument - pure, warm,
earthy, rich and sweet, with an angelic
throatiness. Harris is a fine songwriter,
but herreal genius lies in interpretation,
in her ability to take the songs of others
and make them her own. She succeeds
on most of this album's 10 covers. Only
her version of Hendrix's "May This Be
Love" fails to measure up to the origi-
nal; Lanois simply overdoes it, and the
result is a breathy harmony engulfed by
squalling guitars and ringing keyboards.
"Wrecking Ball," though, is an incred-
ible and important album, reaffirming
Harris' relevance to both mainstream and
country audiences. It's essential country
and essential rock - a masterpiece.
- Jennifer Buckley
Zofia Kilanowicz
with the K.
Szymanowski State
Orchestra, Cracow .
Henryk Gorecki's SymphQny
No. 3
EMI Classics
With his Symphony No.3, Henryk
G6recki unites the pleas of toliu-
sands of oppressed peoples, direcj-
ing them towards heaven Te
Cracow Philharmonic Orchesa ,
under the direction of Jacik
Kasprzyk and featuring sopraio
Zofia Kilanowicz, echoes t ege
pleas beautifully on their rejeas of
G6recki's 'Symphony of Sorrow1
Songs,' recorded live at the 9,3
Wratislavia Cantans Festival ifPf-
The Cracow Philharmonic wi'ois
a controlled, yet powerful touch in
the three somber Lento movements.
They patiently control the tempo
and the tone, especially in the 30
minute first Lento, sostenuto
tranquillo ma cantabile movement.
They achieve an eerie, growling
effect in the opening phrases with
the double basses. Each additional
entrance adds a distinct, new cry, as
the piece blossoms into a rich, mel-
ancholic chorus of sorrowful voices.
Near the middle of the movement,
Kilanowicz enters for the first time
with a slow, scalic plea that soars
effortlessly with the violins above
the ominous tones of the rest of the
orchestra. Kilanowicz powerfully
sings the words that G6recki adapted
from the 15th century Holy Cross
Lament, in which the Virgin Mary
begs her dying son to share his pain
with her. As the soprano approaches
the climax of her appeal, the or-
chestra deftly withdraws, leaving
only the double basses to repeat
their opening lines.
In both of the shorter second and
third movements, the orchestra
nicely supports Kilanowicz's poi-

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