SCRKIINnSaccharin SobsnPlaces in the Heart; Written andnDirected by Robert Benton; Tri-StarnPictures.nby Stephen MacaulaynRobert Benton is the man behind Stillnof the Night and Kramer vs. Kramer.nPlaces in the Heart, his latest film, is setnin a small Texas town during the Depression.nThe subject—like Kramer vs.nKramer—^is separation, but this time it isna wife left alone with the kids, after hernhusband catches a bullet in his chest innthe opening scenes.nAt one point, a blind man whom thenwidow must take in as a boarder in herneflbrts to stave off foreclosure (naturally)nsays, “I don’t need your help, and I don’tnneed you to feel sorry for me.” YetP&icesnin the Heart seems designed to make usnfeel sorry for virtually every character innWelcomv liack. Palmndrvoundrrck I’riiiiL’ .Miiii.slL-r l’:ip:inclri'(>ii.nwild oiifi- joini’il llii- rest of the world innpraising .Vilkl.trity. Ii:is IIIIVN OJIIIC lo hisnsi-iisi’s. .Spcakiiis; lo rfpurlcrs in lateni)ct()lHr. ihc I’onniT rai.lii’al .AmericanncolU-jje prolcssor i-oniplainetl tiiat ihen ..S. was.seekin};ti)ilcMahili/vthe liisternnhloe hy siipporlinj; the outlawed IradenMioenient. .Solidarity had a promisin;’nbes{iiininji.l>iil:nr LiBI-RAl. ClTJIlRf: 1nI'(lr^’.ls<>l1^llut Itaiinol jiKlf;i'(irkii<)\.nilie pai’i.’ oi’ilie eiiiilroiiljiion proeeeileilnMI rapiilh as lo i ivale the (•realn^hl )\ down. Movenienls il ijl are re i iliilioiiarx.nthat aim lor ehaiij’i’ ol’^reainseope. sliDiild know when to do wli:il. IInllie proftressiie. iiidiea! iiunemenls areniicii in a position to operale N jlliiii ihenexisiin); Iramework ol liisionealn|i>jssil)iliiii-.s. ilieiiiheylx-eomei«-}Â¥ilivenanil d.ini;eroiis I iiroriiinaiely. ilui isniii> opinion ol’Solidarit) Jani/elski isna patriot who wiihiii llie liisloriialn28inChronicles of CulturenBy His Otvn LightsnFew moviegoers pay much attentionnto the cinematography—thensubject of ^ Man With a Camera bynNestor Almendros (Farrar, Straus &nGiroux; New York). Almendros hasnworked with leading European directorsnincluding Rohmer and Truflfeiut;nhis work with Jack Nicholson (Goin’nSouth), Terrence Malick {Days ofnHeaven), and Alan Pakula (Sophie’snChoice) is probably more familiarnto—but unnoticed by—^most Americans.nAlmendros has worked withnRobert Benton on three films:nKramer vs. Kramer, Still of the Night,nand P/flces in the Heart.nit. It does not succeed. Partly, thenproblem lies in the blatant symbolism.nThe film’s language is binary. SomethingnIramework al liis and al Poland’sndisposal is pr(>[iioiin}<… a i han}ia)>cd I’rom an> qiiarier.n-Arter a hriel piTiod (it’eoiirnsioii in whiehnProfessor Papaiidreou considered .Soliilaritynthe bij^jicsi tliin};siiKe the ()elohernKeMiliition. he has lately eome round lonreali/inj; that I’oland is aetiially heingnrepres.sed h>- ihi-1 .S. .state Depannieninaiid not ihe Keel Ariii-. Dddly enough.nI’olisli govemmenl ollieiiilsare lakinglhensame line on the murder of I’athernI’opielus/ko (the most prominent in anseries of disappearingdissiilenis); It is nolnthe fault of the governmeni. which hiretlnthe security police and whieh benelitednniosl: il was the CIA. The people ofndreece should he inleresled in theirnPrime Miiii.ster’.’> ct>ncepl of “promotingn… change.'” and it ought (o make hisnformer colleagues rejoice at (he return ofnthe prodigal pvolessor. i ^nnnThe lighting and the texture thatnAlmendros produces on the screennare more evocative of days past thannthe costumes, hairstyles, antiquenautos, and architecture.nAlthough Almendros got his professionalnstart with the French NewnWave (at its trailing edge), he is lessnavant-garde than he is classical.nConsider: “Since I lack imagination, Inseek inspiration in nature, whichnoffers me an infinite variety of forms”;nand “the main qualities a director ofnphotography needs are plastic sensitivitynand a solid cultural background”;nand “the world around usntoday is trivial at best, antiaesthetic atnworst.” nnis good (plus) or bad (minus). Bentonnmerely manipulates the signs: the minusnof the husband’s death is canceled by thenplus of the wife’s tenacity. The cottonnpicking in the hot sun, which is based onncommercials for headache remedies andnsunburn ointments, is balanced by thenmortgage-paying crop. By the end of thenfilm, the positives and the negatives havencanceled each other out, leaving thendirector only one possible escape: anpointless happy ending. So he brings thendead back to life and destroys whatevernrealism the film had. DnTrufl&utnWe are aggrieved by Francois Truffaut’snpassing at a mercilessly prematurenage. With him goes to the grave one ofnthe most precious literary and artisticnschools, French to the core, of viewingnman and woman in the light of theirnfrailties, their sweet, shameftil secrets,ntheir fleeting sins and minor virtues. It isna tradition of warm skepticism, humanenmaliciousness, sentimental irony. Itnassesses human perfectability with ansorrowful but mocking din d’oeil. Itsnsuperb practitioners in culture rangen