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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England • Page 10
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England • Page 10

The Guardiani
London, Greater London, England
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FEATURES GUARDIAN Saturday Stay 20 1972 story Saflvage Spomm Cfflnnimec Cina Lollobrigida presented, the Cannes Film Festival prizes. Some were deserved, some were not. Many of the best- films- were shown out of competition. RICHARD ROUD reports Left, a still from Savages and above, a scene from Miklos Jancso's Red Psalm (best Right; Jean Yanne (best actor) and Marlene Jobert in Breakup to the Russian science, fiction film Solaris." It was supposed to be the Soviet answer to Kubrick's "2001," but I am afraid that I found it unbearably draggy and boring. To be fair, not all my colleagues agreed with me one of them said, "well, yes, it starts by boring you, but it ends up by boring into you." For me it wasn't a patch on Tarkovskys previous "Andrei Roublev." Finally, the plain ordinary Jury Prize went George Roy Hill's radio reviewed by Gillian Reynolds LAST MONDAY evening on a slightly disrupted train between Crewe and Derby I found myself in active defence of Radio 2's daily serial "Waggoners'.

Wa'fc." In the course of conversation with a bricklayer on his way to Burton on Trent, level in hand and the prospects of a fruitful few months, on the Lump lighting his eye, the subject of daytime radio came up. He been out of work the past few weeks and had been listening to "Waggoners-Walk," but it seemed, not making much of it. Why was it, be wanted to know, that the main material of all serials should be problems. He couldn't understand why housewives would want to hsteu to serials about other housewives. Because they are different housewives, 1 suggested.

And because the problems of the housewives on "Waggoners Walk and on ''The Archers too. for that matter, seemed to have a finite end. No, they don't, he said. One problem always leads, just as its solved, to another. And all the sets of characters have these interconnecting problems.

Well, I said, isn't that just like life Not at all, he said. They're always worried about other peoples feelings, not about real things in life, like making a Jiving and keeping out of trouble. I was about to point out that Mike Nash in "Waggoners' Walk," was seriously troubled im -me past few months about making a living out of freelance journalism until his executive's job on the local weekly paper came up, when a look through the window at the moon landscape of the Potteries outside and a quick reflect tion on the bricklayer's rather more casually employed way of life stopped the words in time. Did he think, I went on instead, that the daily serials were like fairy tales No, he said, they weren't happy or sad or even dangerous enough for fairy tales. Just then I noticed a red mark under his chin and asked him if he'd had an accident.

Got stabbed in the throat, didn't he said, and then told me the tale of Liverpudlian violence and vengeance, (happiness and sadness, which by its enthralling nature (though I dare say a part of it was fiction) precluded ai further philosophical chat on the state of radio serials. I have been wondering over the past few (months, though, why it is that the plot lines of the daily serials on Radios 2 and 4, the one produced in ILondon, the other in Birmingham, should run so paralleL A focus in each is the pub, "The Waggoners" of Radio 2, and "Bhe Bull" on Radio 4. 'The current manager of "The "Waggoners'? a Mr Corbett R. Smedley, Soefcrad his back to the rest of Ms staff. The Bull" has lately had -troubles' with a rascally manager, oddly enough a Mr Corby.

Alice Hickey on Radio 2's serial is having problems with fteing a arecent-widow and the difficulties this presents in her relationship with her employer, Mr Turner. Peggy Archer is also having troubles about being recent widow and similar heart searcbings about her relationship with her new employer, Jack Woolley. Lilian Archer on Radio 4 got married about the same time as Tracy on Radio 2. Sid and Polly's baby on Radio 4 was born not long after Peter and Lynn's on Radio 2. Sid and Polly are always having troubles, with their small business.

So is Mr Turner on "Waggoners'- Walk." Is it odd that the sum of life's ties should turn up in fictional Hampstead and the fictionaa rural Midlands in such similar forms? Is it even odder that the mind of the regular listener to both should turn without question to each daily episode, intent on bringing its o-wn solutions to the chessboard problems of both. Move Sid and Polly to Radio 4's "The Bull I say. Get Norah in to manage the village shop. Give Radio 2's "The Waggoners to Jack and Kay. Or Jack and Kay could move to Ambridge and take on "The Bull." Let Tony Archer marry the gone-broody Barbara Watling off "Waggoners Walk" and solve her problem of latent maternity, then Shula Archer could get a crush on Hie Nash's son, also called Tony.Let miscegenation between the network serials thrive.

Walter Gabriel could solve Alice Rickey's marital problems. And Dorothy from "Waggoners' Walk" could breeze into Ambridge and sort out Jack Woolley's problems with the bars at Grey Gables. Mike Nash could get a job editing "The Borchester Echo." I see meanwhile that the retiring editor of "The Archers," Godfrey Baseley, is complaining that the serial is about to be turned into a new "Peyton full of sex and innuendo. I wish therefore that the new editor, Malcolm Lynch, and Walk" team of writers would bear in mind the objections of my bricklaying acouaintance -to their products. Sex may be a handy spice but danger and intrigue, sadness and happiness, and a bit of a realistic social relationship to the world outside are what makes serials go on for ever.

Too much gentility isthe killer and if you doubt me. thltk on. "Has "Coronation Street" ever been its. old vigorous since Elsie Tanner to wearing white gloves Slaughterhouse This adspeuually damaging effect, comes slightly They retrace its trajectory, and come upon a deserted house completely furnished in thirties style. They wander about, mystified, trying on the clothes, playing with the object Cut.

After a brief montage scene, we are in the midst of the preparations for a dinner party, again in high thirties style. All the participants, We. gradually realise, are the self-same savages, who have now achieved the height of civilisation or rather, the decadence of its last days. The dinner party and. what follows makes up the bulk of the film, and it is here that Ivory' triumphs.

The dialogue is sublimely biirt -Tie gets his "actors to say it with that mysterious kind of conviction that makes it all make sense. At once both a parody of Civilisation and a condemnation of it. He achieves kind of sophisticated apocalypse that is both witty and terrifying. Of course.heis helped by his scriptwriters (George Trow and Michael O'Donoghue) as well as his splendid cast which includes Salome Jens. Margaret Brewster, Ultra Violet, and Kathleen Widdoes.

The whole fabric begins to crumble, and the film ends with the collapse of civilisations. It's not the barbarians at the gates this time, but the barbarians within. THIS HAS BEEN, by general consensus, the worst Cannes Festival since 1961 and one quite" sympathised with the International Catholic Film Office jury who just said they couldn't find any film to give their prize to. The main jury, however, was obliged to hand out its awards, and their choices reflect the prevalent gloom. To start with, they split the Grand Prix between two Italian films, Elio Petri's "The Working Class will go to Heaven and Francesco Rosi's The Mattei Affair." As further evidence of their less than total enthusiasm, the jury felt the need to add the following citation: "The jury wants it to be known that they are rewarding both directors for the body of their work, to underline the exceptional quality of the acting of Gian Maria Volonte" (who conveniently stars in both films).

And one can only agree the Petri film, which deals with labour problems, did indeed have its moments, but it kept the changing viewpoints so fast that it ended up looking opportunistic content was too often sacrificed to the showy effect The Rosi film was a IT'S A KNOCK-OUT on by Nancy Banks-Smith IT IS of course, a fertility rite. Its A Knock-Out (BBC-1) is evidently a form spring orgy in a direct line of descent from such rustic festivals as the Turning of th Wurzle and the Hurling of the MapgoL Obviously pre-Christian in origin as the commentator's savage cries of They're sacrificing everything" made clear. The strong sexual overtones are obvious enough. One need only point to the way in which buckets of cold water are constantly thrown over the young men and women taking part The references to "Arthur and his whistle" are more arcane. "Are you standing by your trifles on Arthur's whistle On your whistle, Arthur and Arthur, it will be your MICK JACGER on record by Geoffrey Cannon RELAXED and sunny, Mick Jagger went through the tracks on Exile On Main Street with me the other day.

The double album Is about to be released (Rolling Stones records, COC 2-900). You know that the Sweet Black Angel (also the side of the Stones new single) is Angela Davis? he asked. In what said. We were set to play at pome in France, he said There was poster of Angela on the wall, looking, at US. So I wrote the song to her.

(Or her image.) She ain't no singer, she tint no star," Jagger slots, as the music zips and chimes behind him, celebrating the Stones companion song to Dylan's The crux of the Crucible Advantages" and James Ivory's Savages." Maison is English, and in this, his first feature Christmas Rose" and "Duncan Grant are his two best-known shorts) he has. shown once more his really fantastic command of the medium. -Perhaps because he used to be a painter, his sense of textures and camera movements is both precise and 'Sensual. This story of a 15-year-old smothered in love by his grandmother and deprived of it by his mother, with unstuck in" its denouement But surely in an industry where cinematic sensibility is a rare commodity, a place must he found for him. James Ivory is best known for his "Shakespeare Wallah." Since then, I have been disappointed fey his Guru and Bombay Talkie." But Savages shows him setting off on a new and much more ambitious road.

Somewhere, in a primeval forest there lives a band of mud-people, their primitive rites are disturbed by the sudden arrival of a croquet ball, the perfect roundness of which astonishes them all. LONDON EXHIBITIONS by Caroline Tisdall BREAKING out all over is a mild summer rash of of everv imaginable kind. Among those you could catch this week are feverish student activity at the ICA, a mild touch of kinetics and a gentle matching of poetry and accompanying images. At Lucy Milton's Gallery at Notting Hill Gate is a show of work done over a number of years by the vintage kinetic artist Francois Morellet. He was one of the members of the Paris-based Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel, whose main aim in the early sixties was to bridge the gap between the public and the art object To some extent Morellet is still working along these lines, using a vocabulary of optical effects and phenomena, appreciation of which is not dependent on art historical knowledge.

Among the more recent work is a light piece that takes up a range of positions at the push of a button. That of course, is spectator participation at its most elementary. Of more lasting interest are the fine grids of black lines over a white surface that set up patterns and tensions as the eye moves across them. Here it is the eye itself that activates the work. Activation comes out to fait you at the ICA, or to squirt you in the eye with water, as was the case on the day I went Students from the Fine Art satisfy this middle-class audience and makes a nod to, the community at large by 'attracting students and schoolchildren as part of their This is a policy, adhered to by Lord 'Olivier at the National Theatre, Trevor fNunn at the BSC, Val May at Bristol, Stuart Burge at Nottingham, Uncle Tom Cobley, and all To depart from thla-policy would raise an outcry from every' subsidising body supporting 'them, All this Mr Armstrong must': know, which Is why I call him However, the situation Is nbtsas" static as I have painted it' anywhere, and certainly not in Sheffield.

Mr Armstrong says did not see or hear tsteelworioars or shop asistatrt at Wed-. neadays'sCrucible performance, Rub-. Sbishtlmyself sawtfieformanof alocal steelworks making hts way with his 'wife, 'to their car, after the -perfor a is solid, sober inquiry into the life and death of Enrico Mattei, the man who made a minor Italian government agency into a serious rival of the "seven sisters" of the oil and gas world. On the one hand, it told us rather more than we cared to know about him while at the same time also telling us rather less than we needed the details were fine, but they tended to submerge the whole. The best actor award went to Jean Yanne for his splendid performance as the jilted lover in the French film I wrote about last week "We Won't Grow Old Together," or Breakup as I believe the English release title to be.

Britain's one triumph was Susannah York's award for her performance in Robert Altaian's "Irish" film Images." She was indeed very good, but this rather fey examination of schizophrenia amidst luxurious surroundings struck me as both pretentious and silly. The prize for the best direction went deservedly to Miklos Jancsos "Red Psalm," about which I have already written in glowing terms. But the Grand Special Jury Price (sic) went television whistle." Arthur is evidently the once-and-future king. Various explanations of his whistle occur to me. And, no doubt, to you.

The cunning of the BBC- is that they have taken this wild rite of spring and presented it as something akin to spring cleaning. So prodigal is the use of water that it might have been personally devised by the Clean-up TV campaign. Not since Gunga Din has so much water been slopped around in unsuitable containers under impossible conditions. It was carried in glasses, on roller skates, in buckets, on Contestants fell with dismal regularity into swimming pools full of it Some of the players spent the whole', show leaping George Jackson." What do you think about Angela Davis herself listening to the song? I asked. Mick ducked.

Stones' songs are never more bizarre than what goes on in the world. There's Plenty of rough-and-tumble, hurdy-gurdy rock on the album. "Tip This Joint" as confident a blast, with horns, as the band has ever played. This is fettowed by "Hip Shaken faithfully rendering SJIin Qarpo. who Mick says he's been listening to a lot, lately, "Do the hip shake thang," he sings, with reverb.

"Just wanna see His face Is the Gospel number, with Clydie King making a joyful noise. These numbers sound like a band AS YOUR critic Robert Armstrong, straightforwardly ask me to Justify my policy as the Crucible Theatre's artistic director, may I do so through your columns? VJ Three companies operate from" Che Crucible. Theatre Vanguard works In schools and youth clubs, and also presents plays In the Studio. Last week it gave the first performance of a sew play, by a fomerSneftteid school-teacher based oil the life of an emi-neat Victorian Swaalist who lived in Sheffield Edward Carpenter. It was glowingly reviewed in your newspaper, and stimulated fierce comment in the correspondence columns of the local press.

So far so good, Mr Armstrong? tion of the Kurt Votinegut novel- will be opening soom in London, so there is little point in commenting on it here. The same is true of the film shown out of competition to close the festival last night, Hitchcock's Frenzy," but I can't resist blowing a few premature trumpets. What a relief it was to see someone who knows what he is doing doing it supremely well. Get ready for a treat As usual, the directors' fortnight provided some of the best films to be seen at Cannes two of the most exciting were Christopher Maison's. "All the on to rotating roundabouts carrying water in holey buckets.

(This reminded me strangely of sums at school.) Some player? showed initiative by trying to hungup their buckets, but this practice was spotted and stamped on. I was rather cast down by the few fouls around. Its A Knockout is normally enlivened by much blatant and unabashed fouling: putting the plim-sol in, or wetting Arthur's whistle so that it won't However, the contestants came from cathedral cities, which may make difference, and it was the first match of the. season. The game will, I hope, recover its normal brio in clogging and cheating as th season proceeds.

ready for the road. True I asked. Oh, yeah, said Mick. Other, slower tracks on the new album show off a depth and care in the Stones' music. But there's no loss of bite and drive.

"Let I. Loose" and "Sweet Virginia" are played as laments, and use silence. But Mick will never lose the sneer in his voice or his obsession with mocking sentiment Reck suffers from half-measures, from prettiness, slack good-will. Net so the Stones. Exile On Main Street will go down as their classic album, made at the height of their musical powers and self-confidence.

The second, Studio, company has in the first four weeks of its operation presented two premieres by David Selbourne and Olwen Wymark, played host among outer activities to two packed folk concerts mounted in conjunction with Radio Sheffield, and on the night your critic saw "The Birthday Party the Brighton Combination were their comment on the Sheffield and Rotherham constabulary Frying Tonight" Mr Armstrong stm us, I hope TWaetfvity in the main auditorium is dictated by factors your critic's admirable Idealism unfairly Ignores. The theatre (not the varlely theatre, now the province of television) has for generations been the preserve of the middle class. A subsidised theatre inevitably relies "well tried classics" (Mr Armstrong's phrase) to Department of Leeds Polytechnic have taken the place ever until May 21 as the handout will remind you, was described in these pages by Patrick Heron as the most influential college in Europe since the Bauhaus." One of its most notable features has certainly been the degree of student participation encouraged at every level in the school. This participation was extended to the organisation of the ICA exhibition, which was selected, on changing basis, by the students themselves. The effect was just about as confused and confusing as a random walk through any art school studio.

Diversity of styles, approach attitudes, fighting or coexisting or non-committal as the case may be. The dominant tone seems to be intensely genital, fetishes and fads galore, with heavy tones of the English distillation of Kienholz via NuttalL Altogether a disappointing performance. More genitalia at the Upper Street Gallery, 285 Upper Street 1. but this time in a less ponderous form. A number of poems by Edward Greenfield, the Guardian music critic, have been illustrated by the young Spanish artist.

Jyia Canizares. Greenfield's tope urban and melancholy, the, themes centring round isolation and lonely sexual fantasy. The line drawings pick up and echo the tone or a phrase that interested the artist, rather than directly illustrating. After Greenfield's poems the thin rococo line moves on to conjure up seme of the more Rabelaisian episodes of the Old Testament believe in Sheffield we have had tnT woo the regular theatre-going enjee to tiie new building, A season "well tried-classics" has done as toe figures prove. The next season will see-an injection of mora adven-' turohs work, -never -forgetting-' that" Vanguard and the Studio conttaueTb create a taste anImftreat Inline theatre, relating ffleir work more directly to.

those sections of theeom munity that Mr Armstrong feels ''are neglected. "This, in my opinion, ft' the right and responsible way to run a theatre like ie Crucible. It is, llkell evolution, a alow process and' I am sorry at ttie moment, supply; critics with more spectacular copy. -Yours sincerely. a COLIN GEORGE.

The Crucible Theatre; Sheffield; mance. He was not wearing a steel helmet, dark glasses, or an asbestos coat, which is perhaps why iMfcArafw strong missed him. I also "remember commenting that night to awaiting' Journalist from London on the remarkable cross section of the audlence shop assistants: and alL However without wishing to.mdulge In a theatrical volte-face, may .1 now say sh8 Mr Armstrong's; trus-tration. Mine is selfish and much mote acute thmtfbls is I4m a director oTthe' most imaginatively conceived theatre tnV the wTth a "stage that is crying out forvthe masterpieces of Aeschylus and Shakespeare, the extra-vartnof "Cyiano ue the -Poetry Of Samuel; Beckett and, important of alL the new work written' -wifafthe'twtaitiat of the open stage But I am far from despair. I.

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