10 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 11, 1995
'Q lt' unravels the patterns of life
By Kristin Long
For the Daily
Here we are in the '90s, and what do
we have but yet another feminine movie
so frivolous that some may wonderwhy
we would even bother spending the
time watching it?
Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact.
True, we are in the midst of an enlight-
ened age, but the joys of seeing the
special bond offriendship will never be
outdated. "How To Make An American
Quilt," thus explores various relation-
ships of love and cameraderie from
This film centers around recently
engaged Finn (Winona Ryder), agradu-
ate student at Berkeley. Finn has de-
cided to live with her grandmother, Hy
(Ellen Burstyn), and her great aunt,
Glady Joe (Anne Bancroft), for a sum-
mer. Finn plans to pass the time finish-
ing her thesis about women's handi-
work in tribal cultures.
As it turns out, their home is the
gathering place for a group of remark-
able women (Burstyn, Bancroft, Maya
Angelou, Kate Nelligan, Jean Simmons,
Lois Smith and Alfre Woodard). This
summer, they congregate to develop a
quilt for the Grasse Quilting Bee, a
ow To Make an
Directed by Jocelyn
Moorhouse; with Jinona
Ryder and Anne Bancrft
long- time tradition in Grasse, Calif.
Their plan is to make a wedding
quilt for Finn entitled: "Where love
resides." It requires each woman to
explore her experiences with love,
creating a symbol to represent it on
the quilt. As the summer passes, Finn
learns of each woman's struggle to
find true happiness, while she also
uncovers all the trials and tribulations
that such an intense emotion can bring.
As she finds out, none of the womens'
tales of love are, in fact, flawless.
Hence, Finn begins to question her
own relationship, finding herself in
her own dilemma.
One day, Finn takes a break from
her thesis and travels to the commu-
nity swimming pool with her grand-
mother and great aunt. She encoun-
ters Leon (Jonathon Scheach), an at-
tractive and charming man whom Finn
can hardly resist. Meanwhile, she and
her fiance, Sam (Dermot Mulroney),
struggle to understand each other's
plans and visions for the future. Thus,
while her relationship with Sam
slowly disappears, her bond with Leon
The tales of woe which Finn learns
from the women help her to realize
the importance of true love. She finds
that no relationship is without its
flaws, for no individual is perfect.
As the quilt is assembled, the movie
flashes back to when the women were
young; it relives each moment when
the women have found love. One can-
not help but relate to all the distress
and curiosity of these individuals.
Each story is told with great compas-
sion and a wonder for what might
In the end, "How To Make An
American Quilt" lives up to all expec-
tations. A variety of award-winning
actresses enrich this film with their
unique respective styles. Winona
Ryder does an exquisite job of play-
ing the confused student trapped in
Maya Angelou, Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft are very happy they aren't In a sappy chick flick like Steel Magnollas.'
the craziness of love, while the other
women relate the histories of their
Based on the novel by Whitney Otto,
director Jocelyn Moorhouse ("Proof")
is successful in creating a film where
all the characters are believable and
all viewers may enjoy. Many may
have assumed that this film is just
another "chick flick" that tends not to
appeal to a more masculine audience.
But this is not the case. After all,
everyone, regarless of gender under-
stands the confusions of love and
struggles to understand its meaning.
And what a relief it is to find a movie
in the '90s that deals with compassion
from a realistic standpoint.
Artful Dream' finds peace in childhood memoriesj
By Stephanie Glickman
Daily Arts Writer
They march. Harder and harder,
faster without advancing, each
trapped in their personal spaces.
They move in time, but each one
struggles to break out of the rhythm.
"Home is where one starts from,"
Neta Pulvermacher enunciates, as
she and her five dancers' move-
ments begin to echo the sounds of
this sentence in "Five Beds/Chil-
dren of the Dream." But what if that
home is a children's house on a
kibbutz in northern Israel near the
Golan Heights, where all the young
residents live identical lives?
Against a stage of five identical
metal beds with five pajama-clad
figures, Pulvermacher cleverly pan-
tomimes the very unique personali-
ties of the 16 characters she shared
her childhood with, from the
crybaby, Efrat, and the nos- picker,
Elan, to Dorit, the pelvis-thrusting
young seductress. They are indi-
viduals trapped within a system
which attaches the same beds, food,
teachers, the same everything, to
each child member of the kibbutz.
She includes herself in her descrip-
tions. Yet as an adult storyteller,
reminiscing, Pul vermacher removes
herself from her past and nearly
becomes an objective observer of a
-1 A -
As in real life, the collections of
memories flow spontaneously and
out of chronological order. After a
tender duet between two females
throwing and catching flowers, the
company recongregates to fiercely
chant, "When chickens get a runny
nose it is very dangerous. Chickens
also get chicken pox."
Pulvermacher skillfully montages
single moments like these to evoke
an overall vision of her kibbutz
childhood. She intersperses them
with her words and stories, some
recorded, others spoken live. She
says she remembers the fishbones,
the cows, the cotton fields, the
graveyard and the dump. She ex-
plains how there was no mom, dad
or God in the children's house, and
relates the memory of hearing about
the suicide of a peer's brother and
the jealousy over the special atten-
tion the girl received because of it.
The spoken and recorded texts,
including a youth movement song,
peaceful sounds of a blowing sho-
far, the dancers playing recorders
(as Pulvermacher did in her youth),
the sometimes tender, sometimes
harsh choreography, the duets, the
solos and the group dancing together
successfully delineate the opposing
forces of the children's house. "Five
Beds/Children of the Dream" dis-
turbs with its concentrationcamp set
of metal beds, a couple of tin cans,
identically dressed figures and dark
lighting. At the same time, though,
it presents the emotionally touch-
ing side of communal living as the
characters gently explore each
other's bodies and faces and engage
in organic, inventive partnering.
The desire to break out of such a
regiment, the need to revolt, and
the intense urge to escape comes
out in choreographic moments of
furious thrusting, shaking and fall-
ing. The dancers continually col-
lapse on and under the beds and
around the stage, but end up per-
petually contained within their per-
sonal prisons. Technically excel-
lent, the six dancers exhibit their
own unique strengths within the
physically demanding movement
phrases and lifting sequences.
A recurring formation of the
group in a single file vertical line
up the center of the stage climaxed
in a sequence of the dancers falling
Elan, to Detc, th
to the sides and immediately pop
ping back up on different count
repeatedly. It is chaos within a
ordered system, further intensifie
by a mad throwing of beds and fran
tic running. It is a revolt, in so muc
as 16 children who fear the unknow
life outside of their kibbutz com
munity can revolt.
"Five Beds/Children of th
Dream" artfully combines the multi
sensory world of childhood vision
within the context of an aestheti
piece. Even for the audience clueles
about kibbutz life, Pulvermache
and her talented company conve
ideas and feelings that anyone wit
a past can appreciate.
New revue reveals Noel Coward blithe spirit
The University's performing arts season opens this weekend with the Musical
Theater Program's production of "Oh Coward," a musical revue featuring the
songs and dialogue of renowned playwright Sir Noel Coward. While better known
for his dramatic comedies such as "Blithe Spirit," "Design for Living,"
"Cavalcade" and "Private Lives," Coward was also responsible for a flurry of
musical revues and operettas. Just a few of the gems featured in "Oh Coward":
"We Were Dancing," "A Room With a View," "The Stately Homes of Engind," "I've
Been to a Marvelous Party," "Mad About the Boy" and "If Love Were All." Join the
cast of 18 as they tackie themes of love, relationships, "the wild '20s" and
"foibles of society." Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater. Tickets are $16, $12 and $6
for students with ID. Call 764-0450 for Information.
Introducing a new way to help bridge
the gap between what youve saved and
what you'll need during retirement.
Teachers Personal Annuity now offers more
flexibilitty with the new Stock Index Account...
a variable account specifically developed for
the long-term investor who is looking for
more growth opportunities and is willing to
accept more risk.
When you're planning for the future,
every dollar counts. Now you have more
choices to help you make the most of your
after-tax retirement dollars. With Teachers
Personal Annuity, you can select either our
Fixed Account or our new Stock Index
Account. Or, you may choose to allocate
your money to both accounts. That way you
can take advantage of the highly-competi-
tive effective annual interest rate of the
Fixed Account and the growth potential
offered by the Stock Index Account. With
both accounts, taxes on any earnings will be
deferred until you withdraw them - which
gives you a big edge over taxable accounts.
However, if you withdraw money before age
59%, you may have to pay a federal tax
penalty in addition to regular income tax.
And remember - as a variable annuity, the
Stock Index Account doesn't guarantee
returns, which will fluctuate over time.
With a low initial investment, no front-
end sales charges or transfer fees, and no
surrender charge at this time, Teachers
Personal Annuity can help bridge the gap
between what you've saved and what you'll
Win a date
Well, sort of. What you can actually
win is a complementary pair of tickets
to see John Travolta's latest movie,
the highly-anticipated "Get Shorty."
After having made up for lost time
(and those "Look Who's Talking"
movies) with last year's smash-hit
"Pulp Fiction," Travolta has firmly re-
established himself as an actor to be
reckoned with. Now you have an un-
usual opportunity to catch him in his
first post-Pulp role before the film has
even been released.
Most mortals have to wait until Fri-
day to see this sharp, funny, noir-esque
movie that co-stars the luscious Rene
Russo and well, Danny Devito. How-
ever, the first 80 people who can name
two John Travolta movies THAT
HAVE NOT ALREADY BEEN MEN-
TIONED IN THIS ARTICLE can win
a pair of free tickets to "Get Shorty."
There will be one screening on
Wednesday and one tomorrow. They
are both at 7 p.m. at the theater at
Briarwood mall and they are only for
people who have won passes.
Two movies. Two free tickets. If
you think you know, come stop by the
Daily at 420 Maynard street today or
Thursday. Come to the ARTS office
on the second floor. John Travolta
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