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Th Daily Tor Heel
Iwcvlay. March ?). !?i7t
In about len years it will probably be
of some interest to understand why "Fire
Easy Pieces" was so highly acclaimed
when it first came out. like "Easy
Rider", here is a movie with all the
graininess . and reticence, and all the
depth, too, of a still photograph. This is
not to knock the film, but merely to
observe that its aims are extraordinarily
low. I suspect that this is intentional and
that the makers of "Five Easy Pieces"
were counting on audience identification
to add a further dimension to the film or
if not outright identification, then at least
the audience's subconscious assent that
"Pieces" is in some way a suitable
metaphor for a part of their life.
Different people react differently to this
kind of direct manipulation, and my own
response to the film is divided. On the
Today is the second day of try-outs
for the Carolina Playmakers production
of William Hanley's "Slow Dance on the
Killing Ground" at 7:30 p.nu in the
Director Patricia Barnett is looking for
performers for the following roles: Mr.
Rose, middle-aged, a non-Jewish refugee
from Nazi Germany, close-mouthed,
suspicious, anxious to avoid
self-involvement; Clarence Williams 3rd, a
lithe young Black, a hunted man who
speaks in a mixture of jive talk and fancy
literary allusions; and Rosie, an
1 8-year-old girl from Riverdale, who has
wandered into Mr. Rose's shop after
losing her way in the deserted streets
while looking for the address of an
The try-outs are open to the public.
Production dates for "Slow Dance on the
Killing Ground" are April 27-May 2.
The UNC Sailing Club will meet this
Wednesday in 304 Woollen Gym.
Informal discussions for neophytes and
sophophytes will constitute the main part
of the meeting. Regular members (i.e.
those who have attended a previous
meeting) are asked to. bring $1 in dues;
other interested persons are urged to
Draft Counseling: Monday through
Thursday, 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. Suite C,
There will be a get-together of all
.Phillips Exeter alumni at 8:30 this
.morning in the Carolina Coffee Shop. All
for Student Body
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whole, I thought that "Pieces" was
intelligent and consistently interesting.
But I wasn't terribly moved by it, and
one reason was probably the realization
that I had to bring feeling to the film
rahter than vice versa that as soon as
"Five Easy Pieces" ceases to be "au
courant," it ceases to be intelligible.
The hero and subject of "Pieces" is the
disillusioned man, who has "no love for
himself, no respect for himself," who
maves around a lot not because he's going
any place, but "to get away from things
that are getting bad." As one character
puts it, he has "no inner feeling"
(whatever that means; actually he has
plenty of feeling but no center of values
in or out of himself). Most of us today
probably have a specially acute
understanding of cultural disorientation,
Exeter alumni, both undergraduates and
graduates, are invited for coffee and
breakfast with David Thomas, Director of
Studies at Exeter.
Tickets for the Smokey Robinson &
the Miracles concert are on sale at the
Union for $2.25. Ticket sales are limited
to students (two tickets to an I.D.) this
week. The concert is scheduled for
Friday, March 19.
Beta Theta Pi presents the second
speaker in its Spring series, Dr. Takey
Crist. Dr. Crist will discuss population
problems and will answer questions from
the floor. The program will be held in the
Beta House and will commence at 7 p.m.
today. All interested persons are invited.
: $4.00 A Day, $.04 A Mile
(BUT You Must Bring Thb Ad)
j CROWELL LITTLE MOTOR CO.
Durham 544-3711 .'Dir.. No. 011625- :'. Chips! Hill 423143 ;
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and the chief glory of "pieces" is Jack
Nicholson's performance as the hero: he
captures the aimlessness of such a life, the
exasperation of constantly getting hit by
feelings he does not know how to handle
and the loneliness of having to associate
mainly with people who can't or won't
understand him. Nicholson's performance
is deeply sensitive, and it heightens my
regret that the rest of "pieces" (acting
excepted) is so flabby.
Where "Five Easy Pieces" falls short is
its structure, or, loosely, plot. A movie
like this needs a fairly coherent line of
action (or a richness of imagery) to
vindicate good performances. Otherwise,
lacking any of these, the audience loses
the sense of direct communication-the
film merely throws out hints and
reverberations and we hear echoes
without ever understanding what caused
them. In Nicholson, we are confronted
with a character who is literally living a
life of quiet desperation; but the question
we are almost required to ask is, Why? We
know that Nicholson was once a concert
pianist; that he has given it up,
presumably because the music was no
longer meaningful to him; that he comes
from a rich and musical family; that he
never got on very well with his father
(though apparently he did study his
music diligently and we can hardly guess
what else father and son might have had
to disagree about; Nicholson's brother
and sister are both reasonably
well-adjusted people); and that when the
film opens, he has been living for some
time with a proverbially dumb blonde
whose obtuseness is a source of unending
irritation to him. But this information is
so scanty that it merely leads us to more
unanswered questions: Why, for instance,
does he live with Ray? Granted, it's an
arrangement calculated to bring out the
worst in him, but it might do that to
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anyone. What did Nicholson and his
father disagree about? What was his
father like? Why did Nicholson give up
music? This last is important. Wras music
at the center of Nicholson's
disillusionment, or merely at the
periphery? The film provides no answers,
and because it doesn't our insight into
Nicholson is entirely blocked. Once we
understand that, we can also understand
that Nicholson's particular situation is by
no means "fated" or directed by any
unified aesthetic conception. "Five Easy
Pieces" could have been about a bowery
derilect who once was a plastic surgeon,
or an over-the-hill athlete, or a "largely
sobered" political reformer or anything.
If this particular thinness lets everyone
identify with, or react to, the film as he
will, it also dried up the film's greatest
sources of emotional power by
obliterating the main character's
emotional connection to his environment.
Perhaps symbolic of "Five Easy
Piece ses' " preoccupation with almost
everything except its major character and
theme is the amount of time given to
scenes which do not materially increase
our understanding of either: a long bit of
broad comedy involving a female
hitch-hiker who is going to Alaska (it
looks very white" in the pictures) to get
away form "crap," "stink," and human
filth in general; or a stint of what a friend
of mine has called "adolescent bullshit
sophistication," in which a wierd, wierd
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lady discourses quite aresively on
man's natural propensity for aggression.
In all fairness I have to ad nit that these
scenes are well done and an argument can
be made against their being totally
irrelevant. But "Pieces" is not a long
movie and they take up an undue amount
After all this has been said, however,
there is enough substance in Five Easy
Pieces" to make it an effective and
interesting film. All of the acting is good.
I've mentioned Nicholson; but Karen
Black, who plays his girl Ray, does a
marvellous job of catching all the nuances
WCAR, campus radio station, initiated
a series of programs devoted to an
emerging genre, the rock opera last night.
Last night's presentation was 'Tommy",
the Who's story of an abused boy who
becomes a pop culture hero.
Each of the rock operas on successive
nights (tonight through Friday) will begin
at nine. The Moth Confesses" by the
Neon Philharmonic will be aired tonight.
The first attempt, at least overtly, at rock
opera, the work expresses a deep sense of
Wednesday night "Arthur" by the
Kinks, who have displayed considerable
staying power in the uncertain world of
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of a sightly stu?ic, sl Uy shrewd,
slihily everything woman. And Lois
Smith's performance as Nicholson's
(older?) sister is warm and convincing.
The direction is competent, thou-h some
of the cuttir h unnecessarily flashy. On
the whole, however, it communicates the
film's gray mood. When I consider the
various parts of "Five Easy Pieces," it
seems unfortunate that its makers were
not able to pull it together into a stronger
movie than it is. Nevertheless, it is one of
the better films we have had this year it
is current-and it is more than likely to
interest today's moviegoer.
c opera series
rock, is scheduled. "RoHing Stone" ca'kd
"Arthur" the best British album of 1969.
"Arthur" is subtitled "The Decline and
Fall of the British Empire." it is that and
Thursday night will be given to the
most recent rock opera, "Tombstone
Valentine," by Wigwam.
The most ambitious and boldest rock
opera yet attempted will conclude the
series Friday. The record, "Jesus
Christ Superstar," tackles its subject in a
controversial yet reverent manner. It has
been hailed by rock critics and clergymen
alike alihguh ..the two aren't mutually
exclusive. c "
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