WELCOME TO THE NEW CINE-FILE!
Okay, it doesn’t look that different! Most of our changes are on the back-end, as we have moved to a new platform, and adopted a much easier method of updating the website each week. As we slowly work on migrating the old content to the new platform, we will have to maintain two sites, with slightly different URLs (once it’s all done, we’ll rename the new site as it has been previously). With this move, we have taken the opportunity to update the look a bit, and we have changed how we are handling our “Oppositional Viewing” screenings (look for blurbs tagged Oppositional Viewing and an OV section retained for events that are just listings). Additionally, we have designated three of our contributors (Kathleen Sachs, Ben Sachs, and K. A. Westphal) as Associate Editors, reflecting their increased involvement in administrative, logistical, and content aspects of the site.
SAVE THE DATE
In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Cine-File is presenting a 35mm screening of Vincente Minnelli’s great (really, really great) 1948 film THE PIRATE on Wednesday, April 5 at 7pm at the Music Box Theatre. Starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, and featuring a roster of songs by Cole Porter, this is one of Hollywood’s most inspired musicals—and a pure delight. You won’t want to miss it! Tickets are on sale at the MB website: http://bit.ly/CineFile10
Eduardo Williams’ THE HUMAN SURGE (New International Documentary)
Facets Cinémathèque – Check Venue website for showtimes
An exciting debut feature, THE HUMAN SURGE is full of bold formal decisions that reflect an avid curiosity about making movies. Eduardo Williams, the director, divides the movie into three parts, each one in a different format: the first part, shot in Buenos Aires, was shot on Super-16; the second, was shot on digital video and transferred to Super-16; and the third was shot on the RED. The shifts in format are combined with jarring shifts in content, and the surprising transitions (it would be a shame to give them away here) are some of the most impressive components of the whole film. “Williams is interested in how, as a filmmaker, you can pull off sudden shifts in format, tone, movement, and scale,” wrote Max Nelson in Film Comment, “how you can turn from a scene of inertia to one of shattering momentum, or move from the microscopically small to the majestic and wide, or pass from continent to continent in a matter of seconds.” The film is tangible and accessible from moment to moment, yet it’s elusive in terms of its core theme. Williams follows groups of young people in each location as they alternately work at unfulfilling jobs and idle away their free time. When his subjects are still, the director favors tableau-like shots that create a sense of their environments; when they’re active, Williams tends to follow them from about 15-to-20 paces away, inviting viewers to feel like voyeurs peering into strange lives. These approaches elicit some compelling observations about the day-to-day impact of globalization, but Williams is more interested in using cinema to forge connections between different people and places. The film is more poem than prose, which in documentary filmmaking is never a bad thing. (2016, 99 min, Digital Projection - Unconfirmed Format) BS
Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 7pm
Of all the films directed by Sam Peckinpah, for all their dated controversy, his 1971 STRAW DOGS remains a true mass of jewel shards representing a very real, and enduring, spark of debate, where the male gaze becomes the true arbiter of violence, as Dustin Hoffman finds himself in a thicket of contention amongst a local gang of aggressive males (echoing the gangs portrayed in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA). The film begins with a couple played by Hoffman and Susan George, who are relocating from America to George’s old hometown, a Cornish village not dissimilar from the isolated towns populating Peckinpah’s westerns. The couple sees their relocation as a solution to their fraying marriage, which has been reduced to arguments and the occasional lovemaking. A group of local men, one of whom who turns out to be George’s former lover, start to play a game of masculine-chicken with the couple, provoking Hoffman’s character who wants nothing more than to work on his mysterious mathematical calculations in private; what proceeds is an ambiguous explosion of carefully stacked violence, ambiguous only in the true origins that provoke the resulting viciousness. Like Peckinpah’s breakthrough film, THE WILD BUNCH, the film opens with the presence of children playing in the setting that will set up the origins of these violent acts, where intention becomes a mystery manifesting itself through the characters’ observations of one another. The real uncertainty of the film is the little to no background given about its characters. In a perfect example of an actor’s persona used to play against itself; Hoffman’s character, while being perceived as a man of little backbone, seems to be concealing the true nature of his mathematical work, as a local parson strikes a nerve when he brings up the proliferation of nuclear weapons; Hoffman’s character also sees no problem administering “small, playful violence” towards their ill-fated housecat. His wife, who we understand early on had a lover in the town three years prior, hides the extent of that affair from her husband, and therefore the entire audience, informing the heated conversation that surrounded the film’s most “controversial scene.” As the gang of local men close in on the couple’s house, signaling the start of the exploitative-fare soon to come, films like Wes Craven’s LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT are called to mind. The final third of the film, after the attack on Hoffman’s wife, becomes a splintered assault of razor-sharp edits physically representing the inner stripping of the film’s main characters’ pretensions and artifice, resulting in maybe the most complex and thought-provoking probes on the true nature of violence and it’s aftermath. STRAW DOGS is being shown in a rare IB-Technicolor print this week, adding to the necessity of catching such a screening. (1971, 118 min, 35mm IB Technicolor Print) JD
European Union Film Festival
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue website for showtimes
The EU festival enters its final week, with more than a dozen films, including Sergei Loznitsa’s German documentary AUSTERLITZ and Cesc Gay’s Spanish film TRUMAN, and our selections below.
Eugène Green's THE SON OF JOSEPH (New French)
Friday and Wednesday, 6pm
I didn't see this coming: THE SON OF JOSEPH, writer/director Eugène Green's stylized, deadpan satire, turns out to be a non-ironic Christian allegory about love and resistance. While it's rather unclassifiable, I laughed much harder here than at many so-called comedies. Straightaway, it establishes a dialogue between present and past: cars whiz by in today's Paris against sacred Baroque music. As in Ozu, Dreyer, or Bresson, Green's people often face out like icons, speaking directly into the camera. In five chapters titled after Biblical events, it tells the story of Vincent (Victor Ezenfis), a typical teen (i.e., sullen, anti-social, self-pitying), but also the kind of boy who has a Caravaggio on his bedroom wall: the striking The Sacrifice of Isaac. He's angry with his loving, lonely single mom, Marie (Natacha Régnier), for insisting he has no father. Digging, he discovers his father to be a louche, wealthy publisher who'd wished him aborted. As played by rascally Mathieu Amalric, Oscar has a debauched glint in his eye and a delightfully sepulchral baritone. In exquisitely farcical scenes, Vincent crashes a literary soiree where he meets a splendidly dippy critic (Maria de Medeiros) who mistakes him for literature's next young turk, then hides under the chaise longue in Oscar's office, contemplating a throat slashing inspired by his favorite Caravaggio. That's until he meets Oscar's poor, estranged brother, Joseph, a good man of unostentatious faith (a poker-faced Fabrizio Rongione, a regular of co-producers the Dardenne Brothers). Bonding, they find they detest the same people, and share a love of Baroque art, together catching a gorgeous candlelit recital by noted old music ensemble Le Poeme Harmonique. The film's last chapter repeats the Flight into Egypt as farce, with Joseph, Marie, and Victor fleeing the wicked Oscar. While the film's unembarrassed embrace of Christian themes and symbols may irk cynics, the U.S.-born Green is just positing himself as a cheeky upholder of one of the most venerable European traditions: artists inspired by the Bible. (2016, 113 min, DCP Digital) SP
Jean-François Laguionie’s LOUISE BY THE SHORE (New French Animation)
Saturday, 2pm and Thursday, 6:15pm
The Gene Siskel finishes out this year’s European Union Film Festival with the mature and reflexive LOUISE BY THE SHORE. Louise is an elderly artist enjoying the final days of summer in a coastal resort town, but unfortunately, she misses the final train back to civilization, becoming the town’s sole remaining inhabitant. Only then does a massive storm hit and flood the entire city, turning Louise into a modern day Robinson Crusoe. Laguionie’s animation primarily draws inspiration from the Impressionist movement, with many frames looking like they’d belong happily alongside the Monets and Van Goghs of the Art Institute. Not only does this approach give the film a unique visual presentation but it also gives it a dreamlike quality that enriches Louise’s journey of self-reflection as she contemplates episodes from her past. Similar thematically and in tone to the recent THE RED TURTLE, LOUISE BY THE SHORE is a sophisticated animated delight geared towards adults that stresses the virtues of inner-strength and empathy for the world around us all. (2016, 75 min, DCP Digital) KC
Paul Schrader’s HARDCORE (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 9:30pm
Paul Schrader’s sophomore film as director, following his debut BLUE COLLAR, sets the tone for the director’s own personal output of films to follow. Made only two years after Schrader’s screenwriting credit for TAXI DRIVER, HARDCORE follows Jake Van Dorn (George C. Scott), a devoutly Calvinist father in search of his missing daughter, who happens to have found her way into the underground world of porn. Jake hires a private detective (Peter Boyle) to track his down his daughter, and finds himself completely un-ready for what information the detective might turn up. Much like the plot of TAXI DRIVER, Scott takes it upon himself to venture into this seedy world and reclaim his daughter on his own, to “save her” from a reality he feels she can’t understand or endure. His search takes him to Los Angeles, where Jake finds himself at odds with a changing world, far from his Grand Rapids hometown where the more communal, small-town ways of life still reside; the journey he takes to find his daughter becomes more of a black-comedic nightmare than anything, as Jake prowls the corridors of neon-lit porn stores and brothels, pointing towards the removed sexual-atmospheres of his surprise hit AMERICAN GIGOLO and the deeply-underrated LIGHT SLEEPER. The film was made at the end of the so-called New Hollywood-generation, with Schrader being late to the directing chair; it bears many of the bitter, raw attitudes that awaited a film-world about to be consumed by the likes of STAR WARS (which receives an ominous and hilarious jab at a strip club, an in-joke of the likes we’ll probably never be able to see again). Humor looms large in a film that, on the surface, appears bleak and unforgiving. HARDCORE retains a very curious position that tries to align with and pity Jake, but also can’t help giggle at his discomfort, as in the scene where he nervously paces around a sex shop, looking at dildos while Neil Young’s “Helpless” plays on the store’s hi-fi; or where, in an attempt to locate one of his daughter’s male “co-stars,” he holds a casting call in his hotel room, confronting a group of young men so eager to be a part of something, they casually revert to exposing themselves in an effort to be wanted. Its despite these satirical barbs that the film rests itself upon a bed of real, naked emotion, as in the scene where Jake is shown the porno his daughter has been found performing in. Scott’s father figure breaks painfully and earnestly, in a stellar series of cuts and camera positions, reinforcing the power of film to show us the disquieting howls of an unforgiving world, through the complicated mechanics of artifice. This is a film about discomfort and loneliness (something that would become trademark for Schrader) in which its characters just simply want to belong, to be a part of something, anything, resembling any notion of a comforting reality; what HARDCORE comes to depict, ultimately, is a reality where moral conviction itself is not enough to change a world at odds with certain notions of decency, it is instead a world where all one can do is stop the projector and look away. (1979, 109 min, DCP Digital) JD
Roy Andersson's YOU, THE LIVING (Scandinavian Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Tuesday, 6pm
This is comedy that is drier than a Churchill martini, so deadpan it makes Buñuel look like The Three Stooges. YOU, THE LIVING is a hilarious, frequently surreal series of tableaux that may or may not take place in the afterlife. It's even better than Andersson's previous film, SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR, utilizing many ingenious trompe-l'oeil effects. It's dreamlike and anything but ponderous. Picture Rene Magritte running amok in an IKEA showroom populated by (among others) a lovesick teenage girl who's infatuated with a goth guitarist, a tuba-playing psychiatrist, a melancholy carpet salesman, and an Arab barber. Each scene is captured in a single shot, and characters in one scene sometimes reappear in another. In the second half, people keep pausing from their actions to look up at something; when we finally discover what it is, the moment is both elegant and terrifying. Filmmaker and SAIC instructor Melika Bass lectures. (2007, 95 min, 35mm) RC
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (German Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Tuesday, 7pm
Rainer Werner Fassbinder remains an unsettling force in world cinema more than 25 years after his death--bringing an urgency to cinephilia by marrying it to radical politics and emotional candor--and ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL is an ideal starting point for those unfamiliar with his work. Using Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS as inspiration, Fassbinder updated the 50s melodrama to confront modern social ills such as racism and the enduring presence of fascism in German culture. Sirk's May-December romance is now set among Munich's working-class, with the players recast as a former Nazi bride and a Moroccan immigrant; the pair's punishment by society is far crueler than anything Sirk could have imagined. Yet in Fassbinder's eyes, even the most prejudiced individuals are above loathing: His diagrammatic approach to drama, influenced by Brecht and Jean-Marie Straub, lets us see all the characters as victims of the State's neglect. (One critic described Fassbinder's milieu as a "democracy of victims," which nicely summarizes his radical, if pessimistic worldview.) The style is breathtaking, as was often the case in the director's Hollywood-influenced middle period, evoking Sirk's tracking shots and controlled mise-en-scene while critiquing their underlying emotion. This paradox inspires not only social commentary but some brilliant dark humor, which helps the film from seeming truly merciless: The jokes are to prevent us from weeping. (1974, 94 min, 35mm) BS
Robert Bresson's A MAN ESCAPED (French Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm
There's little dialogue in A MAN ESCAPED. The story is told largely through the voice-over narration of Fontaine (François Leterrier), the condemned man. What little there is is mostly shared with a fellow prisoner--a pastor arrested mid-sermon--and largely concerns matters of freedom and faith. "He'll save us if we give him the chance," Fontaine responds to the pastor's advice to pray, "It would be too easy if God saw to everything." That Bresson, here, is concerned with faith is clear (the longer title "The Wind Bloweth Where it Wants" refers to the bible passage the pastor passes Fontaine) but it's a very specific kind of faith- one which both inspires and rewards careful, considered action. Fontaine's escape is neither an act of desperation nor one of bravado. It is the result of calm deliberation and clearheaded execution, aided by either luck or grace. It is as meticulously carried out by Fontaine as it is captured by Bresson. The director has much in common with Fontaine, the man, escaped, and André Devigny, the prisoner of war upon whose memoir the film is based. There are the biographical similarities--fighters for the Resistance imprisoned by the Gestapo for their parts. There is also their focus on transcendence through action. Here, Bresson is at the peak of his mature, pared-down style. DIARY OF COUNTRY PRIEST is his first film to employ a cast of non-professionals--models, not actors--chosen for their blankness of expression, this his second. Bresson reveals little of Fontaine's thoughts and hopes. Nor is he given much background--we don't know where he comes from, the nature of his role, his family life, or the obstacles he'll face beyond the prison walls. We know him and we judge him only by his actions, and that is enough. What appears on camera is significant. What does not is not. Every detail is deliberate and revelatory. A MAN ESCAPED is Bresson at his best--the perfect marriage of form and content. (1956, 99 min, 35mm) EJC
Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (American/British Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Check Venue website for showtimes
Seen in any version (there are at least seven), BLADE RUNNER is a monstrous mess--a mélange of film noir, Philip K. Dick, action-heavy cineplex sadism, and horny chinoiserie. A critically-derided flop upon its initial release, BLADE RUNNER carries the uncanny suggestion that its story not only revolves around androids, but may actually have been conceived and shaped by non-human intelligence--a quality it shares with that other misunderstood Summer of '82 sci-fi spectacular, TRON. When viewed alongside director Ridley Scott's prior effort, the masterfully controlled and minutely calibrated terror show ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER feels programmatic and kludgy, as if all decisions about staging, atmospherics, and rhythm were simply fed into an overheated circuit board. (The original ending--an improbably sunny coda repurposed from second-unit outtakes from THE SHINING--plays like the product of an inelegant Surefire BoxOffice algorithm.) It's not so much that art direction, set design, cinematography, editing, music, and acting are working at cross-purposes--instead, they're merely zipping along semi-autonomously, without being shaped into a grammatical whole. So, it's odd and kind of touching that Ridley Scott has repeatedly re-asserted his authorship of this unruly, seemingly author-less masterwork--first in a hastily-produced 'Director's Cut' in 1992, subsequently in a 'Final Cut' released in 2007. (If Scott follows Oliver Stone's example with ALEXANDER, the 'Final Cut' need not really be final; there's always the promise of an 'Ultimate Cut' peeking out over the smoggy horizon.) It now takes on the impossible grandeur of a medieval saga, a lumbering epic embroidered and corrupted by countless textual variants. Most of the major changes were performed for the so-called Director's Cut: Harrison Ford's sleepy voice-over is gone, an origami unicorn rhymes with and undercuts a re-inserted dream sequence, and the freak ending is excised. The Final Cut, by contrast, services superfans, correcting gaffes imperceptible to the uninitiated: matte lines are cleaned up, lip sync is fixed with lines re-dubbed by Ford's son, Joanna Cassidy's face is digitally plastered over the body of a stunt double, Rutger Hauer treats his father more decorously. I still prefer the original 1982 theatrical cut above all others--it really heightens the contradictions, as the student Marxists used to say. But the Final Cut is still queer and ungainly enough to slosh around in. (1982/2007, 117 min, DCP Digital) KAW
Valie Export's INVISIBLE ADVERSARIES (Experimental Revival/Oppositional Viewing)
Facets Cinémathèque – Friday, 11pm
At once haunting, hilarious, and heady, Valie Export's kaleidoscopic tour de force INVISIBLE ADVERSARIES rivals Lizzie Borden's BORN IN FLAMES as the best feminist sci-fi movie in the history of the cosmos. The film centers on a Viennese photographer named Anna who descends deeper and deeper into a spiral of delirium and paranoia as she becomes increasingly convinced that an alien race called the Hyksos (Egyptian for "foreign rulers") are inhabiting people's bodies to wreck havoc and terror. Anna's fragmented sense of self is mirrored by Export's loose narrative structure and mélange of video, performance art, and surrealist influences (think Vera Chytilova's DAISES crossed with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS). As this film progresses, the viewer becomes equally disoriented—has the image also become possessed by a hostile, disruptive force that refuses us our traditional trance-like alignment with the screen? A highly theoretical meditation on the cinema's ability to copy, INVISIBLE ADVERSARIES also plays with the familiar theme of the shadow/doppelganger, underscoring the literal object(ification) of women on film. (1976, 108 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) HS
Showing as part of a three-film Valie Export series that also includes MENSCHENFRAUEN (1980, 132 min, Video Projection) on Saturday at 11pm and THE PRACTICE OF LOVE (1985, 86 min, Video Projection) on Sunday at 9pm.
Julia Ducournau’s RAW (New French Drama/Horror)
Music Box Theatre – Check Venue website for showtimes
In Julia Ducournau’s RAW, sixteen year old Justine (Garance Marillier) is the last of her vegetarian family of four to enroll in veterinarian school. This particular school has a rite of passage wherein the older students (including Justine’s sister, Alexia) haze the incoming students by dumping buckets of blood on them and forcing them to consume a raw rabbit kidney while taking a shot of liquor. This latter rite awakens a deep and primal hunger within Justine that not only acts as a catalyst in her coming of age but also triggers more predatory instincts. RAW is as visceral as they come. It takes bold chances with its script and subject matter that pay dividends to the viewer, but be warned this is not a film for those with a weak constitution. Much of the action centers on the sisterhood of Justine and Alexia. Their dynamic plays out as rebellious thanks to their implied strict upbringing, and the two share increasingly shocking moments as the film progresses. Ducournau draws influence from older body-focused horror films such as EYES WITHOUT A FACE as well as more modern stylized features including the works of Nicolas Winding Refn and Jeremy Saulnier. The driving, Europop score adds a frantic layer that attempts to simultaneously sharpen the horror and dull the viewer’s empathy. Haunting and unforgettable, RAW provokes strong reactions, mental, and for some, physical. Like a pack of lions on the prowl, it strikes at the most vulnerable of our senses. (2016, 99 min, DCP Digital) KC
William Wellman's A STAR IS BORN (American Revival)
Park Ridge Classic Film Series at the Park Ridge Public Library (20 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) – Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission)
William Wellman was a personal, consistently engaging filmmaker and perhaps a great one. His quickly-produced films of the 1930s anticipate Samuel Fuller in their grittiness, cynicism, and front-page relevance; the closest equivalent among his contemporaries, Raoul Walsh, may have shared his feistiness but not his odd, quasi-art-movie flourishes. Wellman's formalism reached its peak with TRACK OF THE CAT (1954), a Technicolor Western designed in black-and-white, and there are similarly fascinating ideas throughout his prolific 30s work. Like NOTHING SACRED (also 1937), A STAR IS BORN is an early experiment in Technicolor played out in genre, as opposed to epic, storytelling. The film is a remake of George Cukor's WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD?, a behind-the-scenes story about a rising actress' affair with an older actor whose star is fading. Aside from the two-strip color photography, STAR is a curious item for the pairing of this brusque director with such melodramatic material. Wellman excelled in proletarian dramas: His tough-love approach to characterization, which made him an ideal storyteller for the Depression, typically denied the sympathy expected in love stories. The results, if not quite extraordinary, are certainly fascinating--the sort of great, instructive experiment that regularly emerged from studio assignations in this era. (1937, 111 min, Digital Projection) BS
Barry Jenkins' MOONLIGHT (New American/Oppositional Viewing)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) - Wednesday, 1 and 7:30pm (Free Admission)
The leitmotif of Barry Jenkins' lyrical, sensual drama MOONLIGHT is black masculinity as an imitated pose. Three chapters trace the identity formation of a shy, gay male at ages 9, 16, and 26. Growing up bullied amidst Miami's deadly drug economy, the boy endures abuse and neglect from his addicted mother. Male tenderness is a casualty of the burden of the front, though a few men drop the hard mask to allow for vulnerability and love—a neighborhood drug dealer with heart, a childhood friend whose cool, exaggeratedly sexist pose is just that. This is the story of a self being buried beneath layers of hurt. It could have been schematic, were the acting and writing not so natural and alive. Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the movie's color palette is as evocative of the beauty of bodies and nature as that title. (2016, 110 min, DCP Digital) SP
Ceyda Torun’s KEDI (New Turkish Documentary)
Music Box Theatre - Check Venue website for showtimes
In Istanbul, Turkey, feral cats can be found everywhere; however, unlike the rats of our fair Chicago, these animals experience a peaceful co-habitation with the populace that, for some, borders on the reverential. KEDI packages Istanbul’s admiration for its felines in several vignettes and is meant for cat lovers and non-cat lovers alike. The stories told are uplifting. For some of the interviewees, these cats represent a tangential relationship between themselves and their beliefs in religious omnipotence. The cinematography found in KEDI is superb and beautiful. At times providing a cat’s eye view of the city, the camerawork bounces from rooftop to rooftop, scurries up trees, and dives down pathways that only the nimble footed could traverse. Combined with the staccato score, KEDI has succinct and upbeat tempo. The film follows seven cats’ lives and the nuances of their individual personalities are allowed to flourish on screen. Ceyda Torun explores the circumstances of how these animals came to become so prevalent in Istanbul and to paint a portrait of why their existence is a joyous thing for everyone. KEDI is the kind of film that gives essence to mankind’s love for cats and showcases all of the natural and urban beauty that can be found in Istanbul. (2016, 80 min, DCP Digital) KC
MORE OPPOSITIONAL VIEWING
Film Rescue presents The Politics of Montage at the UIC Screening Room (400 S Peoria Street, Room 3226) on Monday at 7pm. The program features Kaye Miller and Gerald Swatez’s 1970 film CONVENTIONS: THE LAND AROUND US (68 min, 16mm), which “presents the viewer with a carefully edited collection of visual and aural fragments from the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a variety of other contemporaneous events, and loose narration grounded in the social and behavioral sciences.” Also showing is the “Odessa Steps” sequence from Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 film THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (16mm). Free admission.
The Conversations at the Edge series at the Gene Siskel Film Center presents the 2017 multiplatform work NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (approx. 60 min) by Hyphen-Labs, an “international collective of women artists, designers, engineers, game-builders, and writers known for works that merge art, technology, and science.” This new work “uses video, virtual reality, and medical imaging to explore Black women’s contributions to science while raising issues of identity and perception.” Hyphen-Labs members Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Ashley Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal, and Nitzan Bartov in person.
Black Cinema House at the Currency Exchange Café (305 E. Garfield Blvd.) presents Black Films for Trying Times on Friday at 8pm. The event welcomes more than a dozen academics and authors on Black cinema and media, who will be signing copies of their books and sharing excerpts from some of their favorite Black films. Followed by a DJ set/dancing. Free admission.
The Chicago Cultural Center presents Francisco Alarcón’s 2016 documentary THE DEPORTATION OF INNOCENCE (48 min, Video Projection), about “four children and their immigrant families as they struggle to come to terms with deportation and the long lasting effects this has had on their lives” is on Thursday at 6pm. Followed by a panel discussion.
Black World Cinema (at the Studio Movie Grill Chatham, 210 W. 87th St.) presents a week-long run of Jamal Joseph’s 2016 film CHAPTER AND VERSE (97 min, Digital Projection), about a former gang leader working as a meal delivery driver and his life-changing relationship with one of the seniors on his route. http://blackworldcinema.net/blog/
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.) presents Xhanfize Keko’s 1977 Albanian film TOMKA AND HIS FRIENDS (78 min, Digital Projection; New Restoration) on Friday at 8pm. Regina Longo from the Albanian Cinema Project in person. Free admission.
The Film Studies Center (at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., University of Chicago) screens video artist Omer Fast’s 2015 UK feature REMAINDER (97 min, DCP Digital) on Thursday at 7pm. Free admission.
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents A Roll for Peter (2016, approx 60 min total, 16mm and 2x16mm) on Saturday at 7pm. The event is a collection of short films by more than 30 filmmakers made in homage to experimental filmmaker Peter Hutton, who died in late 2016. Participating filmmakers include: Dominic Angerame, Roddy Bogawa, Cassandra Bull, Jacob Burckhardt, Jesse Cain, David Gatten, Richard Max Gavrich, George Griffin, Eve Heller, Mott Hupfel, Nikolas Jaeger, Amanda Katz & Josh Lewis, Theodore Rex King, Robbie Land, rebecca (marks) leopold, Paul Marcus, Daryl Meador, Mary Beth Reed, Jennifer Reeves, Dave Rodriguez, Peter Rose, Lynne Sachs, Josephine Shokrian, Fern Silva & students, Jordan Stone, Mark Street, G. Anthony Svatek & Zachary Nichols, Eric Theise, Audrey Turner, Michael Wawzenek, Max Weinman & Jake Carl Magee, and Timoleon Wilkins; and on Wednesday at 7pm, it’s UIC MFA 2017: Works for the Screen, a program of film and video works by graduating MFA students from UIC. Included are works by Caleb Foss, Chris Hoag, Lorenzo Gattorna, Nellie Kluz, Zachary Hutchinson, and Jose Luis Benavides.
The DOC10 festival opens on Thursday, with competing films: James Virga’s 2017 documentary SWEET DILLARD (57 min, DCP Digital) is on Thursday at 7:30pm at the Music Box Theatre; and Amanda Lipitz’s 2017 documentary STEP (83 min, Digital Projection) is on Thursday at 8pm at the Davis Theater (4614 N. Lincoln Ave.). The festival continues through April 2. Complete schedule at www.doc10.org.
The University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies presents North Carolina State University professor Marsha Gordon, who will give a talk titled “Patriotic Pathos, Communist Puppetry, and Other Tales from the Trenches: Sam Fuller’s 1950s Battleground” on Monday at 4pm in Wieboldt 408 (U of C). Free admission.
Shiva Shack (1942 N. Leavitt St.) presents the one-night exhibition Hindi Films on Canvas and Cassette: Ghanaian Movie Posters Meet Ghanaian Popular Music on Saturday starting at 7pm. The event will include a lecture and a short film on the subject and Ghanaian film posters will be on display.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the part 3D film, part live dance performance work TESSERACT, by video artist Charles Atlas and choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, continues on Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm nightly.
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents Drama Class: Video! Video! Zine's April Issue on Wednesday at 8pm. Free admission.
Also at the Chicago Cultural Center this week: Asian Pop-Up Cinema presents the two-day series “Goddesses in Taiwan Cinema” on Saturday and Sunday. Screening on Saturday are: CHANG Ying’s 1964 film THE BEST SECRET AGENT (SECRET AGENT HEAVEN NO. 1) (102 min) at 10:30am; LI Hsing’s 1973 film THE YOUNG ONES (110 min) at 12:30pm; CHAN Hung-Lit’s 1976 film CLOUD OF ROMANCE (97 min) at 2:30pm; Screening on Sunday are: HOU Hsiao-Hsien’s 1981 film CHEERFUL WIND (91 min) at 10:30am; KO I-Chen’s 1997 film BLUE MOON (97 min) at 12:30pm; and YEE Chih-Yen’s 2002 film BLUE GATE CROSSING (83 min) at 2:30pm. All Video Projection. Free admission.
ArcLight Chicago (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.) screens Stefan Avalos’ 2017 documentary STRAD STYLE (105 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 8pm, with documentary subject Daniel Houck in person. Moderated by Bryan Wendorf of the Chicago Underground Film Festival; and the Slamdance Cinema Club presents Josh Helman’s 2017 film KATE CAN'T SWIM (90 min) on Thursday at 8pm.
Also at the Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) this week: Travis Knight’s 2016 animated film KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (101 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 2 and 7:30pm; and Steven Spielberg’s 2016 film THE BFG (117 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 1pm. Free admission.
Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens a triple feature of films on Saturday: Martin Talbot’s 2014 Canadian film HENRI HENRI (100 min) is at 11am; Arnaud Robert’s 2014 Swiss/Beninese film GANGBÉ! (58 min) is at 1pm; and Kaveh Bakhtiari’s 2013 Swiss/French film STOP OVER (90 min) is at 3pm; Laurent Cantet’s 2015 French film VERS LE SUD (108 min) is on Tuesday at 6:30; and Yan England’s 2016 French film 1:54 (126 min) is on Wednesday at 6:30pm. All Digital Projection.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Emir Kusturica’s 1993 film ARIZONA DREAM (142 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 film NEAR DARK (94 min, 35mm) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight; Terence Young’s 1967 film WAIT UNTIL DARK (108 min, 35mm) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; and Claude Barras’ 2016 French animated film MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI (70 min, DCP Digital; English-dubbed version only) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:45am.
Also at Facets Cinémathèque this week: Hope Dickson Leach’s 2016 UK film THE LEVELLING (84 min, Digital Projection) plays for a week-long run.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Chicago Cultural Center (in the Dance Studio) presents Patrick Clancy’s 1979 film PELICULAS as a looped installation. It is on view March 22-26. The exhibition will include the film as “a 16mm film scroll” as well.
The Art Institute of Chicago exhibition Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is on view through May 7. The large exhibition of work by the acclaimed Brazilian artist includes several films by him, and some related films. Included are Oiticica’s films BRASIL JORGE (1971), FILMORE EAST (1971), and AGRIPPINA IS ROME-MANHATTAN (1972); two slide-show works: NEYRÓTIKA (1973) and CC6 COKE HEAD’S SOUP (1973, made with Thomas Valentin); and Raimundo Amado’s APOCALIPOPÓTESE (1968) and Andreas Valentin’s ONE NIGHT ON GAY STREET (1975, 16mm).
Olympia Centre (737 N. Michigan Ave. - entrance at 151 E. Chicago Ave.) presents Virginio Ferrari & Marco G. Ferrari: Spirit Level through April 6. The show features sculpture, 16mm film, video and installations by artists Virginio Ferrari and Marco G. Ferrari, including Marco Ferrari’s SPIRIT LEVEL (2015-16, 30 min) and CONTRAILS WITH BODY (2011-16, 3 min)
The Art Institute of Chicago (Modern Wing Galleries) has Dara Birnbaum’s 1979 two-channel video KISS THE GIRLS: MAKE THEM CRY (6 min) currently on view.
CINE-LIST: March 24 - March 30, 2017
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Elspeth J. Carroll, Rob Christopher, Kyle Cubr, John Dickson, Scott Pfeiffer, Harrison Sherrod