On episode #10 of the Cine-Cast, associate editor Kathleen Sachs and contributor John Dickson discuss the Christian Petzold matinee series and the Harmony Korine retrospective at the Music Box Theatre; Sachs, Dickson, and contributors JB Mabe and Alexandra Ensign chat about the Onion City Film Festival, taking place March 21-24, and the Chicago European Union Film Festival, starting Friday, March 8 at the Gene Siskel Film Center and going through April 4; and, finally, all the participants discuss the 91st Academy Awards.
Listen here. Engineered by contributor Harrison Sherrod. Produced by Mabe and Sachs.
The introductory theme is by local film composer Ben Van Vlissingen. Find out more about his work here.
Orson Welles' MR. ARKADIN (aka CONFIDENTIAL REPORT) ["Corinth" Version] (European Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Tuesday, 6pm
No Welles feature has undergone such a sidelong critical re-evaluation as MR. ARKADIN. Breathlessly declared one of the dozen greatest films of all time by Cahiers du Cinema a scant three years after its completion, MR. ARKADIN rarely earns such plaudits nowadays. Thanks to the critical archaeologies of Tim Lucas and Jonathan Rosenbaum, it's now frequently treated as something more than—or, perhaps more accurately, other than—a simple movie. Existing in no less than seven versions across multiple media (a radio play, a novelization of Arkadian provenance, divergent film editions under different titles), MR. ARKADIN is a mysterious object without a fixed identity—a shape-shifting penny-ante conspiracy with no daylight between form and function. (The version being screened is the “Corinth” version, not the European-release version known as CONFIDENTIAL REPORT that reshuffles the chronology to something resembling a conventional narrative.) But it's reasonable to ask whether ARKADIN's pendulum has swung too far towards self-reflexive analysis. As J. Hoberman has productively pointed out, the film itself is a rich experience with several affinities with the contemporaneous American avant-garde. With its crummy sets, crude dubbing, improvised accents, and expansive editing, MR. ARKADIN is the Welles film that most aggressively challenges the expectations of a paying audience. (Could it conceivably have even had one upon its original release? OTHELLO is similarly bereft of means, but at least it has Shakespeare to fall back on.) Like the work of Jack Smith, Ron Rice, or Stan Brakhage, MR. ARKADIN goads its viewers to ask that incredulous question, "How is this even a movie?"—which is, of course, a suggestive provocation and a necessary return to first principles. Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum lectures. (1955, 105 min, 35mm) KAW
Dorothy Arzner’s CHRISTOPHER STRONG (American Revival)
Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) — Wednesday, 7:30pm
CHRISTOPHER STRONG is a film of parallel distinctions: What Colin Clive (Henry Frankenstein from James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN) and Katharine Hepburn (no parenthetical needed) lack in chemistry, Hepburn, in only her second film role, single-handedly makes up for with a performance that exemplifies her ineffable magnetism. And where the film itself is occasionally awkward and uneven, Dorothy Arzner, chosen by producer David O. Selznick to helm for RKO, rebounds with scenes so sublimely directed that those misfirings seem almost intentional, meant to illuminate these very moments and cement them in one’s memory. Hepburn stars as Lady Cynthia Darrington, a zealous aviatrix who attracts the attention of the title character (Clive). Introduced in the film as a man of antiquated virtues—the primary one being that he loves his wife and has never cheated on her—he and Cynthia, herself an anomaly for being over twenty years old and never having had a beau, soon fall in love, attracted to each other for the very reasons why the conventionally indecorous crowd consider them outsiders. Underpinning this story are those of Cynthia’s exhilarating career, including an around-the-world race and a shot at breaking the altitude record, and the relationship between Strong’s daughter, also Cynthia’s friend, and her own married paramour. Based on a novel by British novelist Gilbert Frankau, it was scripted by accomplished playwright and screenwriter Zoë Akins, with whom Arzner collaborated on several films. The novel originally had Cynthia as a racecar driver, but Arzner and Akins turned her into an aviatrix—based not on Amelia Earhart as was widely believed, but rather her British counterpart, Amy Johnson—if not for the sake of alliteration then possibly for the unique challenge of depicting Cynthia’s aerial ambitions, which can only be tempered by love. Hepburn as aviator is certainly appropriate considering her status as gender-bending icon, but just as fitting is Hepburn as moth—one scene involves her wearing a dazzling silver lamé moth costume, the actress and the director’s seemingly incompatible desires for both the ultra-masculine and the impossibly glamorous encapsulated in Cynthia’s fluidity between the two. Known for being something of a female star maker, having helped fortify the careers of such Hollywood heavyweights as Clara Bow, Rosalind Russell, Lucille Ball, and, of course, Hepburn, Arzner could be said to have prematurely immortalized what’s now Hepburn’s enduring image, that of a woman who marches to the beat of her own drum, be it in pants or a skintight moth ensemble. Ironically, it’s reported the two didn’t get along, but in her autobiography, Hepburn wrote about Arzner, “She wore pants. So did I. We had a good time working together.” Apropos of nothing, Arzner, among whose other pioneering factoids include being the only female director working in Hollywood between the 1920s and the 1940s, was a lesbian; apropos to the film, Billie Burke, who appears as Lady Strong and later starred as Glinda the Good Witch in THE WIZARD OF OZ, was her partner at the time, a fact that may contribute to the sensitivity with which her character, the discarded wife so feverishly committed to her heterosexual relationship, is depicted. One of the film’s most striking scenes involves Clive and Hepburn, but with only Hepburn’s arm, “shackled” in a heretofore-rejected piece of jewelry, the bracelet, in the frame. In becoming consumed in a man, Cynthia is reduced to mere appendage. The final, utterly sublime scenes, featuring just Hepburn, are a total realization of Cynthia as she is independent of the character from whom the film takes it name—together they are weak, but separate it’s she who is strong. Preceded by Ruth Etting in Joseph Henabery’s 1933 short ALONG CAME RUTH (20 min, 35mm). (1933, 78 min, 35mm archival print) KS
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s MABOROSI (Japanese Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Monday, 7pm
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s first narrative feature is one of the Japanese director’s darkest films, meditating on grief and the allure of death. It opens as a sweet shomin-geki about a young married couple in Osaka, Yumiko (Makiko Esumi) and Ikuo (Tadanobu Asano), observing the two as they raise a newborn son and work at blue-collar jobs. Life seems to be going well until Yumiko receives word that Ikuo has died after throwing himself in front of a train. Several years pass. Yumiko agrees to an arranged marriage with a widower, Tamio (Takashi Naito), who lives in a northern coastal town, and the rest of the film considers her continued mourning and uneasy adjustment to her new life. MABOROSI moves slowly, but not lethargically; there’s something almost painfully wistful about Kore-eda’s detached long takes (which Jonathan Rosenbaum likened to Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s), as though the shots were trying to take in as much as possible of the characters’ lives before they slip away. The aesthetic is firmly in place in scenes before Ikuo’s death, introducing an air of longing that hints at the theme of grief that will soon overwhelm the film. But even when MABOROSI turns tragic, it retains the becalmed quality of its opening 15 minutes. The ruminative long takes grant at least as much space to static environments as to the characters, which is to say they value non-being as much as they do existence. It’s for this reason that MABOROSI is such a haunting, even creepy work. The mystery of Ikuo’s suicide infuses practically every scene, but not in an overtly dark way—it’s as if Kore-eda were inviting us to sympathize with the character’s decision to end his own life. The film underscores this reading in its final dialogue scene, which occurs after some ravishingly beautiful shots of a seaside funeral procession. Tamio delivers a speech to Yumiko in the hopes of putting her (and our) grief to rest, but his words have the effect of raising more questions than they answer. Kore-eda concludes the film before revealing how (or even if) Yumiko acts on the conversation, thereby leaving the story open-ended. The feelings linger on, to be resolved in the viewer’s thoughts. (1995, 109 min, 35mm) BS
Carlos Saura’s CRÍA CUERVOS (Spanish Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Sunday, 7pm
Ana (Ana Torrent), a small, darkly serious girl of about 10, stands at the top of the stairs of her home listening to man and a woman below in a sexual embrace. The passionate declarations of love cease abruptly; something has gone wrong. Ana descends the stairs and watches as an attractive woman, dressed save for an unbuttoned blouse, runs toward the front door and exits the house. Ana enters the room, finds her father laying dead on his bed, picks up an emptied glass from his dresser, takes it into the kitchen, and washes and hides it among the glasses sitting next to the sink. Clearly, Ana believes she has poisoned her own father, an act for which she shows no emotion. CRÍA CUERVOS, a masterpiece of Spanish cinema, is the work of director Carlos Saura, perhaps best known for his dance films, especially his flamenco trilogy comprising BLOOD WEDDING (1981), CARMEN (1983), and EL AMOR BRUJO (1986). As with those films, Saura’s passionate, brooding sensibility informs what in other hands might be a simple story of grief. Ana is a Spanish girl living in a spacious home in Madrid because her father (Hector Alterio) is an officer in Franco’s fascist army. The times and her father’s compulsive womanizing that cruelly tortured Ana’s beloved mother (Geraldine Chaplin) unto her untimely and painful death have marked Ana. She seeks a vengeance her mother was too weak to exact, thus marking her as every bit her father’s daughter. The genius of this film is in showing children as the sponges they are, observing and absorbing everything around them. There are three girls in this tale—teenaged Irene (Conchita Perez), middle child Ana, and young and innocent Maite (Mayte Sanchez)—but Saura privileges Ana’s story, perhaps judging Irene too old not to understand some of the complexities of adulthood and Maite too young. The girls play dress-up together, imitating adults in a way that reveals the truths of their lives. Ana’s hallucinations of her mother and, indeed, speaking in the guise of her mother as an adult remembering her past convey Ana’s horrible dislocation, longing, and grief in a way that helps audiences to experience it. Saura plays with our perceptions of fantasy and reality. In one very evocative scene, Ana stares at a rooftop across the street from her home. Saura’s camera takes us closer and closer to the tiny figure standing there, revealing that it is Ana herself. She leaps into the air, and Saura’s camera swoops above the busy street in an approximation of flight. Ana’s fantasy of freedom demonizes the adults who control her life, alternately arousing her wish to die or kill. The incongruity between Ana Torrent’s looks and actions nails this drama to the floor with unrelenting dread. With her big, round eyes and short, untamable hair, she has all the innocence of a Margaret Keane subject. It is often through the eyes of children that we are able to see our own corruption, and even more horribly, how that corruption is handed down through the generations. Ana overestimates her mother’s saintliness in believing everything her mother told her. In learning about her mother’s limitations, Ana’s sociopathy may eventually dissipate, or she may fulfill the proverb from which the film gets its title: Raise crows, and they will peck your eyes out. (1976, 105 min, 35mm) MF
EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday-April 4
The Siskel’s annual European Union Film Festival opens on Friday and continues through April 4, with more than 60 films from the EU countries. Some highlights are below, and we’ll have additional reviews each week of the festival.
Gabriela Pichler's AMATEURS (Sweden)
Friday, 2pm and Tuesday, 8pm
Gabriela Pichler's AMATEURS is a stirring, thoughtful comedic drama. The story, co-written with novelist Jonas Hassen Khemir, takes place in Lafors, a fictional small town in western Sweden whose bread and butter was once the local tannery, and where the sewing factory is now weed-strewn. When there's a chance a German low-cost superstore might come to town, bringing lots of jobs, the town council hires a "professional" director to make what's essentially a clichéd commercial "selling" Lafors. Meanwhile, two teenage immigrant girlfriends, Aida and Dana (Zahraa Aldoujaili and Yara Aliadotter), use their phones to create an alternative film about the community: warts, everyday beauty, and all. The cast of AMATEURS is virtually entirely amateur themselves, which works quite well. Fredrik Dahl, an actual civil servant, is quite charming, and even moving, as a town councilman of Indian background who faces the heartbreak that it's no matter that Lafors is his beloved home: he'll always be viewed as an outsider. This is a wonderful film, really. It shows how the system affects people on the ground, yet its tone is unbowed. Pichler is deeply attentive to local faces and social tensions. The best reason to see this, though, is Zahraa Aldoujaili as Aida, the biking, boxing, budding director. She's vulnerable, she's angry; she's shy, she's fierce. She's a kid, a real one. AMATEURS feels personal, with Pichler celebrating the impulse one imagines got her into making films in the first place: the camera as democratic tool for expressing your personal vision. Make your own movies, with your own people. The results can be as magical, satisfying, and even boring, as can be. But who else can chronicle "the air, the wind, the sound of water" in Lafors, or how some comedian occasionally spikes the fountain with dish soap, and how beautifully the soapy bubbles fill the night sky. (2018, 102 min, DCP Digital) SP
Mads Brügger's THE SAINT BERNARD SYNDICATE (Denmark)
Friday, 2pm and Saturday, 2pm
Mads Brügger was once called "the most provocative filmmaker in the world" by HuffPost, on the strength of his satirical stunt documentaries THE RED CHAPEL and THE AMBASSADOR. I haven't seen those, but I gather they are gonzo, Borat-like comic exposes, in which he infiltrated North Korea and the Central Democratic Republic, respectively, adopting wild satirical personas in the services of projects he considered journalistic, indeed deeply humanistic. Meanwhile, his critics worried they were in certain ways irresponsible themselves. He seems to be getting up to a more conventional type of trouble with THE SAINT BERNARD SYNDICATE, a very funny and droll cringe-comedy about two Danish losers with nothing left to lose, knocking around in Chongqing looking for investors for their business idea: breeding Saint Bernards to sell to the emerging Chinese middle class. The film's concerns align with what seem to be Brügger's themes—namely, corruption, and clueless Europeans behaving badly, going for broke in a culture that baffles them. The film is well worth seeing for the amusing lead performances by Frederik Cilius as cynical, opportunistic Frederick, and Rasmus Bruun as trusting, lonely, awkward Rasmus, who's keeping it a secret that he's just been diagnosed with rapid-onset muscular dystrophy. Cilius gives great slow burns, and Bruun is endlessly game and eager, willfully cheery and optimistic. Something about the comedy of social awkwardness always resonates with me (go figure). Plus, as a dog fancier, I was tickled every time the St. Bernard's huge head filled the screen. Brügger has named his main influences as Herzog, Roy Andersson, Todd Solondz, and his own countrymen, Dreyer and Lars von Trier, and you may be able to spot a few of them. Filmed with a nice, jaundiced eye for the absurd, the movie is suffused with a sweet blue note. "We'll always have Chongqing." (2018, 101 min, DCP Digital) SP
Antony Cordier’s GASPARD AT THE WEDDING (France/Belgium)
Friday, 4pm and Tuesday, 6pm
The premise suggests a screwball farce: a 20-something slacker meets a free-spirited young woman who’s handcuffed herself to a train track for the hell of it, then convinces her to pose as his girlfriend so he can have a date to his father’s wedding. It turns out the father runs a zoo along with the young man’s brother and sister (the latter of whom has worn a bearskin everywhere since childhood), and the whole family likes to break into dance routines and hang out in the nude. Yet Antony Cordier (4 LOVERS) doesn’t direct the film like it’s a farce. The pace is laid-back, the acting naturalistic, and the melancholy undertone strongly pronounced. This tension between script and realization results makes the characters’ oddball behavior especially unpredictable, and it makes for a tonally complex light entertainment. Cordier doesn’t provide easy cues for when to laugh, and as such, you come to appreciate the characters for their quirks rather than regard them as cartoons. The film feels particularly French in its casual nudity and sexuality, though not always in an alluring way; the relationship between the title character and his sister is borderline incestuous, leading one to question whether openness with our bodies is always a good thing. (2017, 103 min, DCP Digital) BS
Karim Aïnouz’s CENTRAL AIRPORT THF (Germany/Documentary)
Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 8:30pm
One reason why the documentary CENTRAL AIRPORT THF is such an enthralling experience is the way director Karim Aïnouz depicts the title location, a shuttered Berlin airport that’s now used to house refugees from war-torn nations. Shooting in widescreen and frequently in wide shot, Aïnouz conveys a sense of curiosity about Templehof Airport in particular and architecture in general. Templehof was erected in the late 1920s, and its imposing modernist design was clearly intended to intimate progress, urbanity, and fortitude. These qualities don’t quite jive with the humanist mission of a refugee holding center, and one gathers from the interviews with people who live at Templehof that they feel somewhat disoriented trying to make a home in a place intended to make people want to travel. Still, Aïnouz shows attempts being made to instill a sense of comfort in the seemingly uncomfortable surroundings; the employees are open and sympathetic towards their charges, and the residents have fun exploring the grounds and playing soccer on the former runways. (Like the architecture, these efforts are testaments to human ingenuity.) The film was shot over the course of a year, during which time the principal subject, an 18-year-old Syrian refugee named Ibrahim, applied for and was ultimately granted an extended stay in Germany. His testimonies, which alternate between accounts of his present experience and memories of his life in Syria, tie together Aïnouz’s various impressions and remind one of the terror the refugees are fleeing. They also serve to individualize the overwhelming subject of the millions of people currently displaced on this planet due to war and other humanitarian crises. (2018, 97 min, DCP Digital) BS
James Erskine’s THE ICE KING (UK/Documentary)
Saturday, 3pm, and Monday, 6pm
Of all the sports in which athletes representing different nations compete, ice skating is the one that has proven to be the most controversial. Judges have shown an outrageous amount of national chauvinism and have found reasons ranging from costuming to music choices to mark competitors down or throw them out of contention altogether. So it was when British skater John Curry, the first openly gay figure skater and the greatest innovator ever to grace the sport, sought to win the 1976 World Figure Skating Championships. Contemptuous of the crude presentation of the Russian skaters who dominated the sport, he performed a flawless free-skate that combined intense athleticism with the grace of a dancer. The gamble paid off; a Czech judge overcame his loyalty to the Soviet team and put Curry onto the winner’s podium. It was an exciting moment for dance and skating fans like myself, and paved the way for Curry to win the 1976 Olympics and develop the ice dance theatre he’d long dreamed of since being denied dance lessons by his father and turning to a more manly activity in his father’s eyes—skating—when he was a child. THE ICE KING, a chronicle of the life of Curry, who died of AIDS in 1994, is the work of James Erskine, a frequent sports documentarian. Erskine focuses mainly on Curry’s creative life, packing the film with rare and wonderful footage of Curry in competition and performance, in TV interviews and home movies, and through narration of his personal letters by actor Freddie Fox. The film is frank about his homosexuality, but coy in detailing the dark side of his personality, which we are assured by Curry himself that he had. But only gossipmongers will care. Seeing the only extant footage of Curry performing the remarkable solo “Moonskate,” choreographed for him by modern dancer Eliot Feld, as well as the ensemble piece “Burn,” by choreographer Laura Dean, is more than worth the price of admission. (2018, 89 min, ProRes Digital) MF
Arantxa Echevarría’s CARMEN & LOLA (Spain)
Saturday, 5:30pm and Thursday, 8:15pm
Though not overly innovative in its depiction of the story of two Roma (i.e. gypsy) girls who fall in love in an impoverished, decayed suburb of Madrid, CARMEN & LOLA is a solid, confident first feature. Using nonprofessional actors and opting for documentary-style shooting allowed Echevarria to magnify tender moments of affection, quiet, closeness, oppression, and isolation in a manner that felt moving, not cloying, and sidestepped the overfamiliarity and weariness that audiences may feel towards this particular brand of gay love story. Lola is a 16-year-old rebellious but quiet graffiti artist who develops a crush on Carmen, an outgoing and affectionate 17-year-old about to become engaged to Lola's cousin, Rafael. Lola feels damned by her only prospect as a female in the Roman community: marriage, endless children, and "making beds all day." As Lola woos Carmen, Carmen too becomes disillusioned with their dismal future and the two recklessly fall in love. They almost daringly display their affection amidst a backdrop of crumbling concrete, deserted and emptied swimming pools, and lush graffiti, knowing that homosexuality is too sinful and repulsive for their families to even consider. Their tender love story is literally shadowed by decommissioned towers that surround the Roma's community, a reminder that the Roma used to be watched like prisoners by the Spanish government, and a sort of apologetic for why the oppressively tight-knit family structures and religious traditions persist that constrain the two young women who long for something more than to become wives and hairdressers. (2018, 103 min, DCP Digital) AE
Kiran Kolarov’s MY SISTER’S SILENCE (Bulgaria)
Saturday, 7:45pm and Monday, 6pm
Teenager Theo aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an erotic novelist. He lives with his mute older sister Andy and his mother. Their father abandoned them long ago leaving behind only a collection of framed moths as symbolic evidence of all the women he’s slept with and also abandoned. One day, Andy meets and falls for a beatnik named Dinko who soon decides to sell her to gypsy baron to make some money, but Dinko later regrets this decision when he realizes he loves Andy. Theo, his mother, and Dinko must stop at nothing to get Andy back. Kolarov’s film relies on magical realism and some overt sexuality to depict a modern take on Shakespearean notions of star-crossed lovers. MY SISTER’S SILENCE is a fable that tackles love, its fragile nature, and loss all while being embraced by the film’s warm stylizations. (2018, 99 min, Digital File) KC
Zdenek Viktora’s MISS HANOI (Czech Republic)
Sunday, 5:30pm and Wednesday, 6pm
In a small Czech town with a large Vietnamese population, a young beauty queen named Hien is murdered by two of her classmates who serve their time in juvenile detention. When they reach adulthood and are released from prison, one of them is found brutally murdered and hung by a lake, reawakening old wounds from Hien’s death. Enter Anh (Ha Thanh Spetlikova), a Czech Vietnamese police officer who is tasked with solving the case. Her own past as well as her mother’s complicates the matter as both are linked to Hien’s wealthy family. The situation is further muddled when the obstinate head of the criminal investigations department Kriz (David Novotny) joins the case. Viktora’s film is an exploration of the Czech Vietnamese community, xenophobia, and inside groups versus outside groups. The pairing of Anh and Kriz is the film’s central crux. The duo make for an atypical partnership with Anh serving as Kriz’s key to unlocking the secret’s of tight knit Vietnamese community. (2018, 86 min, DCP Digital) KC
Harmony Korine’s GUMMO (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Thursday, 7:30pm
Harmony Korine was just 22 years old when he made GUMMO, and the movie just spews youthful energy. The writer-director tries out all sorts of styles and techniques—Werner Herzog is clearly an influence, but so are vaudeville comedy and skateboarding videos—resulting in exciting shifts in tone that recall the 1960s films of Jean-Luc Godard. The film is alternately crass and tender, exploitive and loving; it revels in the sorts of contradictions that only cinema can engender. Certain images have stayed in my memory for decades: the stone-faced little boy eating spaghetti in a bathtub filled with green water; the black midget wearing a Hatikva t-shirt cheering on an impromptu fight club; a shirtless boy with cloth bunny ears loitering on an expressway overpass. These images are all weird and sad and distinctly middle-American; indeed the movie showcases a certain homegrown, regional decay one rarely sees outside of exploitation fare. Shot in derelict portions of Nashville, Tennessee (but set in post-tornado Xenia, Ohio), GUMMO evokes, to paraphrase Lisa Alspector’s rave review in the Chicago Reader, a climate in which there’s nothing to do except break social taboos. The preteen characters roam the streets, killing cats and sniffing glue; one man pimps out his developmentally disabled wife to two boys; a teenage girl dreams of becoming a stripper. Where the director’s sometime collaborator Larry Clark might adopt a sad, moralizing attitude toward such people, Korine throws a party with them—there’s a “let’s put on a show” quality to GUMMO that rivals the films of Busby Berkeley. Linda Manz, the indelible star of Malick’s DAYS OF HEAVEN and Hopper’s OUT OF THE BLUE, returned to movies for the first time in almost 20 years to play one of the boys’ loving, tap-dancing mom. She’s one of the few cast members with any professional experience—Korine found most of the players from his hometown and from daytime talk shows—yet everyone onscreen seems to jive with the director’s celebratory attitude. The inventive cinematography is by Jean-Yves Escoffier, best known for his work with Leos Carax. Preceded by a selection of short works by Korine. (1997, 89 min, 35mm) BS
Jamie Babbit's BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Tuesday, 7pm
Instead of rewatching BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER, a hilarious, if occasionally inexpert, sendup to John Waters in a hard, vinyl bubble gum palette that skewers gay conversion therapy, gay culture, and binary gender roles, among other things, instead I decided to read contemporary reviews of the movie (spoiler: most critics hated it). Having loved the movie so much that I've seen it a good half dozen times, I wondered what I was missing, or what those critics were missing, and then I realized no one seemed to be mentioning just how camp this movie is, and why it could not be enjoyed as anything else and still enjoyed. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post called it "dumb, heavy-handed satire." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly declared, "Any self-respecting lesbian should rear up in horror at [this movie]." (Spoiler: I didn't.) Gemma Files at film.com disparaged the film's "Ungainly sentiment and unnecessary stylization." (Emanuel Levy's moustache also hated the movie.) Did these critics watch the same movie as me? Or do they just not love camp? In lieu of tracking them down and asking why they hated the movie so much, I re-read Susan Sontag's popular essay from 1964, "Notes on 'Camp.'" Sontag admitted in her notes, "I am strongly drawn to Camp, and almost as strongly offended by it." How presciently that hints at the enduring magnetism of PINK FLAMINGOES and the rest of Waters' glorious spectacles! Sontag also notes, "Many examples of Camp are things which, from a "serious" point of view, are either bad art or kitsch." ...much like BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER. The subject matter of Jamie Babbit's first feature film is, in many ways, so horrifying and traumatic in reality that the only way to properly tease out the absurdity, the trauma, and the brutally oppressive systems at play that sculpted these actual camps where fragile LGBT youth were sent to "pray the gay away" or learn how to properly conform to gender roles is through camp, in Sontag's definition of the term. The only way to process and analyze just what was at stake (and still is, by the way...this pseudoscientific "therapy" is only banned in 15 states today, and that only for minors), was through extreme stylization and aestheticization, devotion to overblown artifice, and "failed seriousness" that define camp. Sontag goes on to say, "The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious." "Camp is a solvent of morality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness." Babbit's direction of BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER is crystal clear in this sense. She skewers each subject she tackles with "heavy-handed satire," or, as Sontag would put it, that feeling of "it's too much!" through fabulous actors like RuPaul as an "ex-gay" counselor who constantly displays his (failed) masculinity in a sort of reverse-drag performance, Clea DuVall as the brooding fellow inmate at camp who lures Natasha Lyonne's innocent cheerleader to the dark side of homosexuality, Dante Bosco (whom you may remember as Rufio from HOOK, an accidental, as opposed to deliberate, camp film), and of course, Cathy Moriarty as the seethingly angry director of "True Directions." Perhaps, now that I think about it, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER isn't a good movie. Is it so bad that it's good? Or is it that gay conversion therapy is so morally repugnant you just have to laugh, have to make it playful? Perhaps it's just so camp that it doesn't have to be good. Camp is a sensibility that doesn't lend itself to traditional criticism. All I can say is that the first time I walked out of this movie I chuckled at remembered jokes, but I also felt seen and understood in a unique way that only queer, camp movies can do, and that it reached something beyond the comedy and made me feel quite tenderly about the earnest first love the teens experience in one of the few lesbian films from the 1990's with a happy ending. Because, as Sontag put it so well, "Camp is a tender feeling." (1999, 92 min, 35mm) AE
Christian Petzold's PHOENIX (Contemporary German)
Music Box Theatre — Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am
Hitchcock's VERTIGO is masterful but decidedly farfetched, whereas Christian Petzold's PHOENIX is farfetched but still realistic, a contradiction that aptly defines this brilliant allegory of postwar guilt and reclamation. It's about a woman—Nelly, played by Petzold's longtime collaborator, Nina Hoss—who undergoes facial reconstruction surgery after she's liberated from a concentration camp, presumably having been shot in the face while there. She learns that all of her family and most of her friends are dead, and that her husband may have been the one who betrayed her to the Schutzstaffel. She pursues him anyway and finds that he's working in a club called the Phoenix, from which the film takes its name. (The mythical bird that rises from its own ashes is also owed some credit.) Though the surgery significantly altered her appearance, he notices her "resemblance" to his thought-to-be-deceased wife and recruits her to help him acquire her inheritance. Co-written with the late Harun Farocki, "it's a metaphorical movie and it's also not a metaphorical movie," to put it in his words, with the husband's guilt (or lack thereof) representing that of a nation and her regeneration representing that of its oppressed people. On paper it seems absurd, like many of the American genre films that inspired both Petzold and Farocki, but on screen it's executed with surprising verisimilitude. (2014, 98 min, DCP Digital) KS
Mia Hansen-Løve’s THINGS TO COME (Contemporary French/German)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm
Mia Hansen-Løve, the best French director of her generation, teams up with Isabelle Huppert—one of the best French actors, period—for a subdued drama about a philosophy professor whose life undergoes great changes over the course of a year. The results may not be instantly flooring like Hansen-Løve’s previous movies were, but that seems to be deliberate. The power of THINGS TO COME exists below its placid surface, much like the heroine’s rock-like resolve is belied by an oh-so-French politesse. (That’s not to say the movie feels dry or boring. Hansen-Løve’s mother was a professor, and you can sense the filmmaker's very personal connection to the material at every turn.) The sense of time slipping inexorably away from you, which has been central to Hansen-Løve’s art, is woven into the staging of individual moments and the overall rhythm of the film. The professor’s interactions with her husband (who divorces her relatively early in the story), her mother (a former fashion model who’s as histrionic as her daughter is becalmed), and a dashing former student (who seems like a potential love interest until it becomes clear that Hansen-Løve isn’t interested in any simple dramatic payoffs) all point to years of compromise, regret, and hard-won life lessons; the unexpected shifts forward in time make it feel as though the film is withholding important information. What exists between those gaps, behind Huppert’s carefully modulated performance? The mystery of human nature, perhaps. (2016, 102 min, DCP Digital) BS
Casey Puccini's I DON'T CARE (New American)
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) — Sunday, 7pm
Casey Puccini is pretty damn good as Casey Puccini in Chicago filmmaker Casey Puccini’s new feature, I DON’T CARE, a film in which self-indulgence becomes a vehicle for self-interrogation. Though he shares a biography (and filmography) with the actual Puccini, Casey is clearly a fully-realized comic creation—a hapless would-be filmmaker whose charming platitudes and vague pretensions ensnare local actors Sasha Gioppo, Bryn Packard, and Kevin Stangler in a rudderless microbudget indie production. The film unfolds over a series of increasingly uncomfortable shoots, staged in small apartments with less-than-enthusiastic skeleton crews; as the director grows increasingly inarticulate and hostile, the crews dwindle, and a sense of antagonism and paranoia begins to mount. An immediate point of comparison would be William Greaves’ SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM TAKE 1 (1968), another meta-movie mise en abyme in which the director casts himself as a buffoon, brazenly collapsing distinctions between truth and fiction, performance and authenticity. Similarly, one of the pleasures of I DON’T CARE comes in trying to establish where Puccini’s slovenly, uninspired onscreen avatar converges with the sharp-witted creative mind at work behind the camera: can a line be drawn between them? More inventive in his methods for consuming pot than in making films, Puccini’s fictional persona is preoccupied with garish, played-out stylistic exercises. (In one of several finely drawn caricatures of tastelessness, the director squanders an afternoon trying to replicate a trick shot from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM by aggressively flashing a lamp in his leading lady’s face). But as a director, Puccini’s overriding interest is clearly in performance—again, as in SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM, reflexivity affords actors a freedom to play between naturalism and explicit artifice. The rewards of this approach are best measured in Sasha Gioppo's exceptional turn as Puccini’s beleaguered muse. The audience’s growing exasperation with Casey is directly tied to Sasha’s: without her keen ability to balance disillusionment, scorn, humor, and genuine creative investment in the project, the film’s explosive payoff would undoubtedly fall flat. Similarly, in crafting a character who grows more obnoxious from scene to scene, the narrative cohesion of I DON’T CARE depends on Puccini’s own strength as a performer, testing his ability to preserve a goofy charisma even as he reveals himself to be a petty tyrant. I found that challenge compounded by our present moment; it’s hard to be charitable towards characters who so thoroughly embody the grotesque mixture of white male entitlement, incompetence, indifference, and malevolence that dominates American landscapes of politics and entertainment alike. We’ve seen more extreme versions of this figure in recent years—Rick Alversen’s THE COMEDY (2012) and the Safdie Brothers’ GOOD TIME (2017) come to mind—but none so conflicted as Casey in I DON’T CARE. In its (often hilarious) man-in-the-mirror confrontations and its escalating sense of subjective distress, it’s clear that Puccini sees much of himself in this character—but, perhaps even more strongly, he also wants to see the shit kicked out of him. In the recent Cine-File podcast, Puccini calls the film “a cautionary tale to myself,” but, like most fictions, it’s also a form of wish fulfillment. If that sounds self-indulgent, well, maybe it is—but just because Casey is high on his own supply, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a contact buzz. Puccini in person. (2018, 103 min, Digital Projection) MM
Michelle Memran’s THE REST I MAKE UP (New Documentary)
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) — Saturday, 8pm (7pm social hour)
Some writers live like the rest of us—that is, in a state of normalcy far removed from the epical nuances of the written word. Others live as they write, the things they do and say never far from that which they commit to the page. Acclaimed avant-garde playwright María Irene Fornés, who passed away in October of last year, embodies the latter sort, as evidenced by Michelle Memran’s THE REST I MAKE UP, a heartbreaking and idiosyncratic documentary that spans Fornés' extraordinary life and career while focusing on her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Memran, a reporter based in New York City, is something of an accidental filmmaker, having met Fornés when she interviewed her in 1999; in 2003, using a Hi8 camcorder, she began filming Fornés while on an excursion to Brighton Beach. Interspersed between this footage, which covers the writer’s day-to-day life in New York and a trip back to Cuba (where Fornés lived until she was 15), are clips from performances of her plays and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues (among them playwrights Edward Albee and Paula Vogel, and La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club founder Ellen Stewart). The film touches on Fornés’ sexual orientation, specifically her affair with Susan Sontag, whom she describes as the love of her life. Its real distinction, however, and the source of its intense emotional effect, is how it captures Fornés’ advancing dementia; though the film is never exploitative, it’s nonetheless unsettling to see her forget things that appeared onscreen just moments before. In this way, Memran uses the medium as a sort of warped memory play, documenting events that its subject is soon to forget. These moments are not exploitative precisely because of the relationship between the filmmaker and her subject. As a portrait of a great artist, it’s incredibly stirring; as a portrait of a friendship—namely one between two women, one young, the other gone too soon—it’s an astounding work. (2018, 79 min, Digital Projection) KS
Showing as part of Chicago Filmmakers' monthly "Dyke Delicious" series.
Michael Glover Smith's RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO (New American)
Beverly Arts Center — Wednesday, 7:30pm
At a time when our leaders prey on, and feed off, the worst parts of ourselves, it couldn't be a more necessary time for an homage to Éric Rohmer. That's just what my friend, Cine-File's own Mike Smith, has given us with his third feature, the sweet, delightful, humanistic rom-com RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO. It celebrates love and intelligence—that is to say, the best in us. Smith has taken the basic form of Rohmer's RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS—three sketches united by their setting in one of the world's great cities—and added his own original agenda, which encompasses feminism and a pro-gay vision. He's even shot the movie in Rohmer's favored boxy Academy aspect ratio. Smith's script, based on stories he dreamed up with Jill McKeown (his wife and also a friend), shows his knack for the simple yet elegant structure: the three chapters correspond to the beginning, middle, and end of love, respectively, with the end cycling back into the beginning. Coming out of acting retirement after 37 years, Haydée Politoff, from Rohmer's touchstone LA COLLECTIONNEUSE (1967), performs a place-setting Hyde Park prologue. She's the faculty adviser to U of C doctoral candidate Delaney, wittily played by Clare Cooney. The first vignette, The Brothers Karamazov, takes place in a little candlelit wine bar. If I say it's a bit of a Kubrickian/Lynchian antechamber, that belies how cozy it actually is. It's a lonely Sunday night and whip-smart Delaney is working on her thesis. Suddenly, she finds herself being hit on, not entirely unwelcomed, by the only other patron: none other than Paul, the likably pretentious aspiring writer from COOL APOCALYPSE, Smith's debut. (Amusingly, when we get a glimpse of what Paul's writing, it's the end of MERCURY IN RETROGRADE, Smith's second feature.) Once again, Paul is played by the funny Kevin Wehby, who's emerging as Smith's Jean-Pierre Léaud, or Kyle MacLachlan. Delaney proposes a naughty little game, which quickly hoists Paul with his own male petard. The second sketch, Cats and Dogs, is my favorite. Achieving an effortless Linklater-ian tone, it follows a gay couple, Andy and Rob, as they walk from their Rogers Park home to the shores of Lake Michigan. Smith sets the scene with glimpses of the Essanay and Selig Polyscope buildings, nods to Chicago's rich film history, a subject on which he literally wrote the book. We know, but Andy doesn't, that Rob has a question to pop, but look out—as they meet the neighborhood's dogs, it emerges that Andy's more of a cat person, whereas Rob's a dog guy! As Andy and Rob, respectively, Rashaad Hall and Matthew Sherbach are so natural, charming, and funny that I not only wanted them to be a real couple, I wanted to be their friend. They run into Tess from COOL APOCALYPSE (Chelsea David), who's out walking Sophie the Shih Tzu, playing herself in a flawless method performance. When the gents get to the beach, there's a moving homage to the immortal "Lake Shore Drive" by the late Skip Haynes, to whom the film is dedicated. The third sketch, The End Is the Beginning, is the most minimalist. It features Nina Ganet, back as Julie from COOL APOCALYPSE. After a sudden, tumultuous rom-com breakup with Wyatt from MERCURY IN RETROGRADE (Shane Simmons), Julie finds herself alone again, but for us. Warming to us, she begins to fall in love with the camera itself: that is to say, with you and me. Since she's played by the sunny, freckle-faced Ganet, how can we resist falling in love back, at least a little? It's a remarkably benign, even celebratory, view of "the gaze." As Julie takes us in her arms to dance, we spin round and round, dizzy on the cusp of new love. As an Ohio boy who's lived in Chicago for 25 years now, I love the idea of doing for my adopted city what Rohmer did for Paris. My personal feeling is that the magic is always there in Chicago: you just need to know how to look. Perhaps the most valuable thing RENDEZVOUS IN CHICAGO did for me is to renew that feeling, after all these years. It's a vision to treasure: heaven might just be a beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, lolling away the afternoon with someone you love, in Chicago, Illinois. Smith in person. (2018, 69 min, Digital Projection) SP
Alfred Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS (British Revival)
Park Ridge Classic Film Series (at the Park Ridge Public Library, 20 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) — Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Even as every plot device from this thriller has been worn smooth by decades of reuse, THE 39 STEPS stands out in Hitchcock's body of work for its uncommonly playful lightness. Billed as a tale of international espionage, this is actually a paean to the bachelor. Richard Hanney (Robert Donat), looking every inch the rake with an Errol Flynn swagger and an Ed Wood mustache, begins and ends his adventure in the music hall, where unmarried women drink and workingmen brawl. Visiting London from Canada for a few months, the already carefree Hanney thinks nothing of bringing a strange woman back to his furnished apartment, and when she dies abruptly, he steps into her adventure seamlessly, certain that the next right step will appear before him as he strides ahead. Villains, passersby, and policemen fall in behind him as he makes his way to a circled town on a map of Scotland, though the purpose of the mission is mysterious even to him. The speed of the editing leads us through uncluttered sets and spotlit scenes so surely that we need to do nothing but react strongly. Hanney seems to operate the same way; men chase, he runs. If he sees a woman he romances her. If he has an audience he gives them a rousing speech. The adventure serves to showcase his polyvalence rather than the other way around. His bravado is irresistible to the audience, to the dames, and to us, the viewers. (1935, 86 min, Digital Projection) JF
Laura Scruggs’ UNCLE FUN: YOU'RE THE ONE (New Documentary)
Space Oddities (1007 N. California Ave.) — Saturday, 8pm
First-time filmmaker Laura Scruggs pays tribute to Chicago’s late, lamented toy and novelty shop Uncle Fun and its owner, Ted Frankel. An unabashed fan, Scruggs doesn’t even feign critical distance, but none is necessary when making a love letter to one’s favorite place on earth. A mecca for gag gifts and doodads of every kind, the store was a reflection of its proprietor, who appears often in the film, wearing a loud shirt or a goofy hat every single time. A parade of customers and employees sing the store’s praises and there’s no reason to doubt their sincerity and impossible not to empathize with their sense of loss at the store’s looming closure. Uncle Fun was a sanctuary for artists, musicians, and oddballs of all stripes and this is a celebration of their Valhalla. There are out-of-focus shots, cheesy graphics, and amateurish editing throughout but it doesn’t matter one bit. This is a heartfelt appreciation for a place dedicated to making people happy, made by people who adored it, and I’m not going to be the one to rain on their parade. Scruggs in person. (2018, 60 min, Digital Projection) DS
Limited seating: contact Space Oddities at 773-697-4439 or firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
Paweł Pawlikowski’s COLD WAR (New Polish)
Music Box Theatre — Check venue website for showtimes
Whether inspired by a clichéd romantic notion of doomed love or by an interest in examining historical epochs, storytellers have long fixated on relationships unfolding during times of sociopolitical tumult. The juxtaposition of the personal and the political allows for all manner of parallels and convergences to illuminate the human tolls of social upheaval; the intensity of romance, in particular, comes to seem like a particularly resonant analog of a world sometimes literally on fire. But whereas many films in this subgenre-of-sorts take a conventionally epic tack, charting the psychological and erotic development of a relationship across historical backdrops as vast as the films’ running times are long, Paweł Pawlikowski’s COLD WAR opts for a defiant austerity. Taking place across four countries in postwar Europe, it condenses 15 years of turbulent romance and geopolitical strife into a terse 80 minutes minus credits. Or, more appropriately, it suggests these things through omission. Indeed, as trite as it might be to say, Pawlikowski’s film is as much about what’s not shown as what is. Although we see the material effects of World War II and the subsequent Soviet dominion over Eastern Europe, it is in the elided swaths of time that transpire between the film’s starkly unsentimental cuts to black when we know the greatest tragedies have occurred. The absences are structuring, making the images and sounds we are privy to all the more bittersweet for their (fleeting) presences. And what images and sounds they are: Pawlikowski, reteaming with IDA cinematographer Łukasz Żal in the same 1.37:1, black and white aesthetic, creates visuals that gleam. One could be forgiven for mistaking the film for an actual postwar European opus from a Resnais or a Bresson, so remarkable is its sensuous evocation of this cinematic idiom, architectural rubble and chic modern surfaces finding equal purchase in fastidiously composed frames. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is filled with the Polish folk songs and midcentury jazz performed by the film’s protagonists Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot). The film is almost a musical in the way it uses song to illustrate both their (d)evolving relationship and the changing culture they navigate, acting as commentary on the ravages of national politics and self-failings alike, with escape from either becoming an impossibility. Call it a European art-house A STAR IS BORN and you wouldn’t be too far off, except here, the romance between Zula and Wiktor, too impeded by circumstance to ever reach consummation, is less a fully formed relationship than a metonymical tool to reflect a continent riven by political conflicts. This symbolic function, combined with Pawlikowski’s rigorously pared-down form, has the effect of denying their stormy romance much heat, or psychological realism. But this was a COLD WAR, after all, and catharsis wasn’t in the cards. By the end, the film’s abbreviated runtime seems to communicate less time racing by than time stolen. (2018, 85 min, DCP Digital) JL
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
At Block Cinema (Northwestern University) this week: Civia Tamarkin’s 2017 documentary BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY (105 min, Digital Projection), is on Friday at 6:30pm, with Tamarkin in person; Anthony Chen’s 2013 Singaporean film ILO ILO (99 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 1pm; and Maki Berchache and Nathalie Nambot’s 2014 French documentary BRULE LA MER [BURN THE SEA] (75 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm. All free admission.
Iceberg Projects (7714 N. Sheridan Rd.) presents Wild You on Friday at 6:30pm. The program of experimental shorts includes: PICKENS (Jared Buckhiester, 2011, 5 min), ART AND THEFT (Sara Magenheimer, 2017, 7 min), FAINTING SPELLS (Sky Hopinka, 2018, 11 min), THE HOUSE WITH NO CORNERS (Caitlin Ryan, 2019, 8 min), EAT YOUR SECRETS (Jessie Mott and Steve Reinke, 2017, 4 min), PENDULUM (Danny Carroll, 2019, 15 min), and AMERICAN HUNGER (Ephraim Asili, 2013, 19 min).
Asian Pop-Up Cinema screens Hideki Takeuchi's 2019 Japanese film FLY ME TO THE SAITAMA (107 min, Digital Projection) on Tuesday at 7pm at AMC River East 21, with Hideki Takeuchi in person; and the 2018 Japanese omnibus film TEN YEARS JAPAN (98 min, Digital Projection; directed by Akiyo Fujimura, Chie Hayakawa, Kei Ishikawa, Yusuke Kinoshita, and Megumi Tsuno) on Wednesday at 7pm at AMC River East 21, with co-director Akiyo Fujimura in person.
The Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Guetty Felin’s 2017 Haitian film AYITI MON AMOUR (98 min, Video Projection) on Monday at 6:30pm, with author and cast member James Noel in person. Free admission.
The Instituto Cervantes (31 W. Ohio St.) screens Adolfo Aristarain’s 1997 Argentinean film MARTIN (123 min, DVD Projection) on Tuesday at 7pm. Free admission.
Also presented by the Park Ridge Classic Film Series this week: John Ford’s 1952 film THE QUIET MAN (129 min, Digital Projection) is at the Pickwick Theatre (5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) on Wednesday at 1 and 7:30pm.
The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens Peter Farrelly’s 2018 film THE GREEN BOOK (130 min, Digital Projection) on Saturday at 10:30am, and 2 and 7pm; and Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2018 film THE FAVOURITE (119 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 1 and 7pm. Free admission.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Alfred L. Werker’s 1947 film REPEAT PERFORMANCE (92 min, 35mm) is on Friday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 1:30pm; Barry Jenkins’ 2018 film IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (119 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 4pm; Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 Australian film STRICTLY BALLROOM (94 min, Blu-Ray Projection) is on Thursday at 7pm; and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1943 film SHADOW OF A DOUBT (108 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9:30pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Milorad Krstic’s 2018 Hungarian animated film RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR (94 min, DCP Digital) opens; Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s 2018 Columbian film BIRDS OF PASSAGE (125 min, DCP Digital) and Jonas Åkerlund’s 2018 UK/Swedish film LORDS OF CHAOS (118 min, DCP Digital) both continue; Larry Clark's 1995 film KIDS (91 min, 35mm) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight, preceded by Gus Van Sant's 2000 film EASTER (31 min, 35mm archival print); Ofir Trainin's 2018 Israeli documentary FAMILY IN TRANSITION (70 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 7:30pm, part of the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival; and Wayne Price's 2019 concert documentary 311: ENLARGED TO SHOW DETAIL 3 (115 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 7pm.
Facets Cinémathèque plays Michelle Schumacher’s 2017 film I’M NOT HERE (81 min, Video Projection) for a week-long run.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
Isaac Julien’s 2007 video installation THE LEOPARD (WESTERN UNION: SMALL BOATS) is on view at the Block Museum (Northwestern University) through April 14.
Currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago: Naeem Mohaiemen’s 2017 three-channel video installation TWO MEETINGS AND A FUNERAL (88 min) is on view through March 31 in the Stone Gallery; Martine Syms' SHE MAD: LAUGHING GAS (2018, 7 min, four-channel digital video installation with sound, wall painting, laser-cut acrylic, artist’s clothes); and Dara Birnbaum’s KISS THE GIRLS: MAKE THEM CRY (1979, 6 min loop, two-channel video) is in the second floor corridor.
CINE-LIST: March 8 - March 14, 2019
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Kyle Cubr, Alexandra Ensign, Marilyn Ferdinand, Josephine Forelli, Jonathan Leithold-Patt, Michael Metzger, Scott Pfeiffer, Dmitry Samarov