On episode #7 of the Cine-Cast, Cine-File associate editor Ben Sachs and content producer JB Mabe chat about Chicago movie-going in October, from the Johnnie To series at Doc Films to Conversations at the Edge at the Siskel Film Center; contributor Kyle Cubr interviews MINDING THE GAP director Bing Liu; Mabe talks with Julia Gibbs, assistant director of the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago, about their fall schedule; and Sachs, Cubr, and contributor Michael Smith talk about the 54th Chicago International Film Festival, which runs through October 21.
Listen here. As always, special thanks to our producer, Andy Miles, of Transistor Chicago.
FINALLY GOT THE NEWS + CONGO OYÉ (Documentary Revivals)
Cinema 53 (at the Harper Theater, 5238 S. Harper Ave.) — Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission)
The backstory of FINALLY GOT THE NEWS (1970, 55 min, Video Projection) is part of 1960s counterculture legend: white filmmakers at the radical Newsreel collective sent a team to Detroit to make a film about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers’ wildcat protests at Detroit’s automotive plants in 1968. This nascent Detroit Newsreel fell apart, and the League commandeered the filmmaking equipment, arguing that if Newsreel was unable to make a film that represented the League’s actions as they wanted them represented, they had lost the right to the equipment. Talk about seizing the means of production! The League invited former Newsreel members to stick around and help make the film, and Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman and Peter Gessner agreed. (They're usually credited as the directors of the film, but that seems a bit mendacious given what actually happened.) What we see is what the League wanted us to see, sometimes over the objections of the "professionals," assisted by Newsreel members who knew how to operate the cameras. It’s a unique film in that it’s the only radical film of the period that was made by revolutionary Black workers, but its historical value is far from the only reason to see it. It sets itself apart as something different from its opening scene, a wordless photo montage that connects the history of slavery in the United States to the then-current lack of Black workers in the UAW. From there, the film loosely follows the lead-up to and aftermath of a union election at a Dodge plant, interspersed with interviews with League members who address the camera directly, explaining what emerges as a concrete strategy for revolutionary action. It also touches on efforts to build interracial alliances among workers, police brutality, and community organizing, but the real strength of the film is in those first-person interviews, the most literal outcome of the League’s decision to seize the cameras and make the film they felt needed to be made. The League never made another film, and is long gone itself, but this unique film allows its message to live on. Also screening: Bill Stephen’s unfinished and fragmentary 1971 documentary CONGO OYÉ (45 min, Digital Projection; made in collaboration with Chris Marker, Paul and Carole Roussopoulas, and Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver). Post-screening conversation with film series curators Cauleen Smith and Robert Bird, author Jonathan Flatley, and filmmaker/activist Matt Peterson. (1970/1971, 100 min total, Digital Projection) MWP
Glauber Rocha’s BARRAVENTO (Brazilian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Monday, 7pm [Rescheduled from October 8]
Decades after his premature death, Glauber Rocha remains one of Brazil’s most important filmmakers, a trailblazing artist who married a bold, experimental style to radical political messages. Rocha’s first feature, BARRAVENTO, lays out the formal and thematic concerns that he would develop across the remainder of his career. Begun when the director was just 20 years old (and already an established film critic and political activist), the movie takes place in an impoverished fishing community of Bahia where the laborers—many of them descendants of African slaves—still organize their lives around ancient mystical beliefs. (An introductory text explicitly links the fishermen’s faith in mysticism to their political subjugation.) The story centers on the return of Firmino, a former fisherman who became radicalized after moving to the city of Salvador. He attempts to rid the community of its superstitions and help the laborers modernize their fishing practices; some of the fishermen take inspiration from his call for change, while others vehemently reject them. Exacerbating tensions in the community—and heightening the film’s dramatic momentum—Firmino becomes romantically involved with some of the local women. Rocha shot the film entirely on location, giving BARRAVENTO the feel of an ethnographic documentary; at the same time, his striking, even Wellesian visual compositions grant the film a distinctly modernist air. (Watching the film, I was reminded of the section on fishermen in Welles’ uncompleted South American documentary, IT’S ALL TRUE.) It’s difficult to imagine how Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement would have evolved without the influence of this groundbreaking debut. (1962, 78 min, 16mm) BS
Designers in Film: Films by the Goldsholls and Company (Experimental/Animation/Advertising)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) — Friday, 7pm (Free Admission)
This program is the first of five presented in conjunction with the Block Museum’s current exhibition Up Is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio. The exhibition is focused on Morton and Millie Goldsholl’s mid-century design studio, where they produced advertising and other commissioned films in a modernist style, frequently with striking animation. This screening is something of an overview, collecting some examples of the Goldsholl studio’s commissioned work, joint and solo artistic films by the Goldsholls themselves, and films made by some of the many outstanding experimental and independent Chicago filmmakers who worked at the studio. Four items represent the studio work: NEA TITLES (c. 1975, 1 min, 35mm) is a lively credit bumper for films featured in the NEA’s Short Films Showcasing Program; KLEENEX-X-PERIMENTS: GLOVE LOVE AND SCRATCH (1960, 6 min, 16mm) is a reel of commercials made to advertise the tissues brand, showcasing a variety of animation styles; FACES AND FORTUNES (1959, 12 min, 16mm) is a sponsored film made for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation about the importance of developing and maintaining a strong and memorable corporate identity—the straight-forward narration is enlivened by some lighthearted filmmaking that combines animation, still images, and live action; and A LINE ON FANFARES (1979, 1 min, 16mm) is a neon/funk commercial for shoes. Three other films showcase the Goldsholl’s own artistic interests. Made by both Millie and Morton Goldsholl, NIGHT DRIVING (1957, 4 min, Digital Projection) is a hypnotic, energetic film of extreme soft-focus shots of nighttime car headlights and other light sources rendered as abstracted circles and blurs of color. Millie Goldsholl’s solo films UP IS DOWN (1969, 6 min, Digital Projection) and REBELLION OF THE FLOWERS (1992, 8 min, 35mm) are both animated narrative parables about the importance of difference and the dangers of power respectively. The works on the program by employees of the Goldsholls fall into two rough groupings. The first are films that reflect 1960’s and early ‘70’s political and social concerns. Paul Jessel and Bill Langdon’s DOG LICENSE (c. 1972, 2 min, 16mm) is a humorous commentary on American society that literalizes “dog eat dog.” Byron Grush’s HEXAGRAMS (1966, 5 min, 16mm) also has a political edge in it’s rapid, superimposed montage of consumerism and media images. Wayne Boyer’s DROP CITY (1968, 5 min, Digital Projection) is an experimental documentary about a community of social dropouts living in homemade geodesic domes. The second group explores abstraction and form. Robert Frerck’s NEBULA 2 (1969, 6 min, Digital Projection) is a vibrant abstract film of circular, mandala-like shapes, similar to ones by the Whitney brothers and Jordan Belson, but with a sensibility more attuned to 1960’s light shows and op art than to spiritual quest. Robert Stiegler’s LICHT SPIEL NUR 1 (1966, 6 min, Digital Projection) and Larry Janiak’s DL #2 (DISINTEGRATION LINE 2) (1970, 11 min, 16mm) abstract films are, to my mind, among the best experimental films produced in Chicago. Quite different from each other—Stiegler’s silent film blurs and smears light through time-lapse into waving and tangled patterns of lines, with a retrained use of color; and Janiak’s is a visually dense animated patterning of boldly colored shapes (that almost feel like structures with a cell) set to a jangly Gamelan soundtrack—what they share is a sense of energy and a visual tension that hovers between chaos and containment. The diversity of the works in the program highlights the richness of Chicago filmmaking, a still too well-kept secret that the Block exhibition, this and other screenings over the last several years, and the on-going collecting and preservation work of the Chicago Film Archives (who hold many of the films showing) are increasingly shedding light on. Exhibition curator Amy Beste and filmmakers Wayne Boyer, Byron Grush, Paul Jessel, and Marie Cenkner in person. (1957-92, approx. 73 min total, 35mm, 16mm, and Digital Projection) PF
Penny Lane’s THE PAIN OF OTHERS (New Experimental Documentary)
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago — Friday, 7pm
Penny Lane’s latest feature is a found-footage documentary about people with Morgellans, a disease whose very existence remains in dispute. Morgellans refers to a condition in which tiny parasites take root underneath a person’s skin; the sufferers experience (or claim to experience) lesions on their faces and bodies and flax-like fibers growing out of their pores. Lane structures the film around clips from YouTube videos made by three women with Morgellans. Their testimonies are vividly detailed (often disgustingly so) with regards to biological functions, unnatural growths, and homeopathic treatments. Lane, refusing to editorialize on the footage, raises the possibility that these women are crazy and that they’re only imagining their conditions. In one sequence, one woman describes all the ways she’s consumed her own urine over a period of three years; in a climactic sequence, another YouTuber shaves off her hair for reasons that aren’t exactly clear. One constantly questions what to believe—in a characteristic strategy, Lane includes two separate TV news reports on Morgellans, one that suggests that the disease is real and another that suggests it’s just a psychosomatic hoax. In its ambiguous stance towards its own content, the film is as much about Internet culture as it is about illness. Not only does the footage raise questions about the veracity of the testimonies; it makes one wonder whether the speakers are broadcasting themselves just to achieve a small-scale sense of celebrity. That Lane can achieve such thematic complexity with other people’s material speaks to her talent as both an editor and a provocateur. Lane in person. (2018, 72 min, Digital Projection) BS
Martin Scorsese’s THE COLOR OF MONEY (American Revival)
The Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) – Wednesday, 7:30pm
Martin Scorsese’s stunning late career run and concomitant status as a grandmaster of American film can make it hard to remember that his career once hung by the thinnest of threads after a series of personal hardships and box office failures. He promised to be one of many victims of the changeover from the director-dominant American cinema of the Long Seventies to the 1980’s corporate reclaiming of creative power by high-concept-obsessed studios, as well as the ascension of agencies and their obsession with “packaging” talent. It mostly made for garbage pictures; THE COLOR OF MONEY is decidedly not one of those. The super-agent Michael Ovitz paved the way for Scorsese’s studio comeback after the indie retrenchment of AFTER HOURS, and the film is obsessed with matters of, yes, money, as well as self-satisfaction that covers deep dissatisfaction, of scratching back some measure of pride after hitting a psychological bottom. Richard Price’s script picks up the life of Paul Newman’s “Fast” Eddie Felson some 25 years after the events of THE HUSTLER; Eddie is now a liquor salesman with a penchant for peddling Wild Turkey labels to cover up the sale of inferior hooch, but keeps his toe in the 9-ball life by bankrolling young hustlers. (Price’s script is marvelous, tough, slangy, and very funny. For someone who came to describe the craft of screenwriting as “haiku for morons,” he was awfully good at it.) He finds the ultimate side-hustle in the person of Tom Cruise’s Vincent, a pool savant, all flash and cockiness, the kind of guy who takes all the air out of the room—in short, Tom Cruise. Felson may have mellowed, but as he says, “I never kid about money,” and he sweet-talks Vincent and his girlfriend, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (who takes money pretty seriously herself), into letting him bankroll a road trip to learn the hustle, to play the rube, then flip the switch, leading up to a high stakes Atlantic City tournament. Vincent’s preternatural will to win—it’s a superior early examination of Cruise’s star persona—and seeming inability to throw a game confounds Eddie, and when Eddie is hoist on his own petard and hustled himself, he breaks free from the kids and searches for his lost game, his very self. It’s a redemption narrative, but Scorsese and crew don’t get all wet about it. Newman is terrific, as good as he ever was, tossing out Price’s street koans with the ultimate agility and directness, and Scorsese’s camera loves him up; the swoops and swirls appraising that perfect face are smile-inducing. Scorsese’s also looking for redemption here, feeling his way between delivering the box-office goods and finding his way into the material; it was unclear at the time of THE COLOR OF MONEY’s making if there was indeed a place for him in the big show, in a way that he could make money but still comport himself as an artist, to bring something personal to an assignment. There’s little of the stink of the package in this film, but there is plenty of craft and commitment. It’s a hinge that opened the door to a flourishing mid- and late career for Scorsese, but without a whiff of being tamed. As Eddie’s girlfriend Janelle says to him late in the movie, “I’m a real big fan of character in people”; this movie—and its maker—has character to burn. Also starring John Turturro and a luminous Helen Slater, with a sly cameo by Forest Whitaker. Preceded by Edwin Middleton’s 1915 silent W.C. Fields film POOL SHARKS (10 min, 35mm). (1986, 120 min, 35mm) JG
54th CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The 54th Chicago International Film Festival continues this week and runs through October 21, with most screenings taking place at the River East 21. More information and full schedule at www.chicagofilmfestival.com. Check our list next week for additional coverage, and keep an eye on our blog for possible bonus items.
Nebojša Slijepčević's SRBENKA (Croatia)
Friday 10/12, 5:45pm and Thursday 10/18, 4pm
I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that Nebojša Slijepčević's SRBENKA assumes its viewers possess a certain level of knowledge about the Croatian War of Independence, which took place in the early 90s. On one hand, it's refreshing, if not outright humbling, to watch a documentary about a foreign conflict that doesn't spoon-feed non-native viewers; on the other, it makes for a confusing film, albeit one that solicits further exploration into its compelling subject matter. SRBENKA follows the development of a Croatian theater production helmed by one Oliver Frljić, who, per a cursory Google search and his own vainglorious attitude, seems to be of some importance. The play in question is about the 1992 murder of a 12-year-old Serbian girl by a Croatian militia; both it and the film examine the country’s complicated relationship with neighboring Serbia, one too detailed to go into here. Some of it—specifically tense, tearful rehearsals and overly composed shots of the actors warming up—feels contrived, while other parts—revealing confessionals from the performers both during rehearsals and in dedicated monologues—achieve a singular level of insight into otherwise condemnable thoughts, feelings, and actions. You’ll come away feeling simultaneously confused and enlightened. (2018, 72 min) KS
Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown's UNITED SKATES (US)
Friday 10/12, 6:15pm and Saturday 10/13, 1:30pm
The stakes are high in Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown's UNITED SKATES, a valuable, exuberant, and unexpectedly moving documentary, which celebrates the endangered African-American subculture of roller skate dancing, from the segregated rinks of the '50s, through the hip-hop heyday of the '80s/'90s, until today, when big-box stores push family-owned rinks out of business. It shows skating as a mode of vibrant black personal expression, as well as just a pure blast, while also broaching racial profiling, gang violence, and other issues facing this tight-knit, multigenerational community. It introduces us to individual skaters and their regional styles (you'll learn about Chicago's "JB skaters," who move to James Brown), before everyone converges on Chicago's Rich City for a climactic national party. The breathtaking footage of acrobatic splits and slides, filmed on skates, puts you right out on the floor. As a survey it can be a bit glancing, but what it loses in concentration it more than gains in ambition and historical scope. This opened up a window for me on a culture I knew little about, and left me pulling for everyone trying to help it survive. (2018, 88 min) SP
Chad Terpstra’s FATHER THE FLAME (US)
Friday 10/12, 6:30pm and Sunday 10/14, 11:30am
Chad Terpstra’s loving tribute to Michigan master pipe maker Lee Erck and the peculiar niche of smoking pipe obsessives is an utter joy even for those (like myself) who have no interest whatever in the subject. It is a story that touches on Native American, European, and Asian traditions and involves much rumination on craft, spirituality, and community. The quest for the perfect briar wood suitable to make a pipe which will outlive its maker and be passed on and cherished by future generations of smokers seems quixotic, a little bizarre, and often touching, all at the same time. Terpstra can even be forgiven some of the over-the-top graphics which liken the embers and smoke emanating from a pipe to the formation of the universe—he has obviously fallen hook, line, and sinker in love with this weird little subculture and it’s all I could do to keep from falling for it as well. Terpstra and Erck are scheduled to appear at both screenings. (2018, 78 min) DS
Camille Vidal-Naquet's SAUVAGE (France)
Friday, 10/12, 8:45pm Saturday 10/13, 8:45pm
A provocative character study of a troubled hustler named Leo, SAUVAGE operates in dialogue with centuries of cultural discourse that has framed homosexuality in terms of alterity, criminality, and disease. The film does some tricky negotiating between the historically, institutionally persecutory nature of these associations and their postmodern subversions and reclamations, and comes up empowered if muddled: an allegory of anti-assimilation that also replays a familiar narrative of tragic disenfranchised queerness. SAUVAGE comes closest to breaking free of these constraints when its sexual candidness and sensitivity to the socioeconomic and emotional circumstances of its protagonist are foregrounded, and certainly in its frequent movements toward the sanguinely symbolic, which briefly release it from its realist concerns to point to a reality beyond the film's mostly squalid milieu. At other times, the film is somewhat hampered by its tendency to sketch Leo broadly as an archetypal self-destructive drifter, stuck in a stereotypically dead-end gay subculture characterized by violence, drugs, quick sexual gratification, and always desperation. But it’s in the way Vidal-Naquet refuses to glorify or condemn Leo’s ragged existence, how he empathetically reveals his longing for intimacy and love even as he charts his dissolution, that the film maintains a thorny ambivalence mitigating its more facile moments. Instead of becoming just another oppressed member of the subaltern, Leo finally emerges as a restless young man grasping at, and maybe even attaining, his own agency. (2018, 99 min) JL
Malgorzata Szumowska’s MUG (Poland)
Saturday 10/13, 1pm, Monday 10/15, 6pm, and Thursday 10/18, 1:15pm
Metalhead Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) works in construction and seems to have everything going for him. Work is good, he’s engaged, has a dog, and is beloved in his small-town community. While working on an enormous statue of Jesus Christ in the countryside, an accident occurs and he is horribly injured. In order to save his life, he must undergo facial reconstruction surgery, which leaves him disfigured and brings out his small-town neighbors’ true colors. Szumowska’s film serves up plenty of irony to go along with the drama. Its humor lies in the absurdity of its characters and the stereotypes they embody. The Poland depicted here, not that far removed from the effects of Communism, is shown to have some of those former beliefs reawakened by the fear of change and of that which is different. The hazy, dreamlike aesthetic of MUG asks where the line is drawn in terms of what makes a person unique and celebrated and what makes a person ugly, both physically and behaviorally. (2018, 91 min) KC
Olivier Assayas’ NON-FICTION (France)
Saturday 10/13, 3:30pm
Olivier Assayas’ witty, deceptively simple NON-FICTION begins with a comically tense scene in which Alain, (Guillaume Canet), a suave book publisher, and Leonard (Vincent Macaigne), a Luddite author whose controversial novels are thinly disguised autobiography, argue about the virtues of Twitter. The seemingly meandering narrative that follows belies a clever structure that resolves itself 90-odd minutes later with Shakespearean symmetry when both men vacation together with their wives: Alain’s partner, Selena (Juliette Binoche), is a television actress ambivalent about her recent success on a cop show, and Valerie (Nora Hamzawi), Leonard’s wife, is a high-profile attorney and the breadwinner in their relationship. This quartet represents a spectrum of diverse attitudes towards globalization and humanity's slavish dependence on technology in an increasingly digital world yet it is to Assayas’ credit as a writer that they also always come across as fully fleshed-out characters, never mere mouthpieces for differing points-of-view. It’s the talkiest film Assayas has yet made though the dense dialogue scenes are cleverly edited in a brisk, Fincher-esque manner, and he often generates humor through the surprising way he ends scenes abruptly. It’s a substantial new chapter in an important body of work, one that illustrates the director’s philosophy that the role of the artist is to invent new tools to comment on a modern world that’s always changing. (2018, 106 min) MGS
Arturo Infante’s THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF CELESTE GARCIA (Cuba/Germany)
Saturday 10/13, 3:45pm, Sunday 10/14, 1:30pm, and Thursday 10/18, 3:15pm
Celeste Garcia (María Isabel Díaz), a docent at the Havana Planetarium, is awakened one night by flashing lights. Through her window, she glimpses some bluish-haired people chatting conspiratorially before the lights go out. The next day, the Cuban government announces that a race of aliens has been living on Earth and has decided to offer some people a chance to travel to their world. Celeste receives a personal invitation to the distant planet from her neighbor, an alien who masqueraded as a Russian. Celeste joins other chosen “astronauts” at a glorified summer camp run by a petty martinet who calls lights out on her adult charges like a communist PTA leader as they all await the aliens’ transport spaceship to whisk them to their new life. First-time feature director Arturo Infante animates his original screenplay with wit and whimsy, making the revelation of alien residents in Cuba seem completely ordinary and the lines of people eager to leave the country the “you understood” of Cuban life. Veteran actor Díaz has our hearts from the very first, and the supporting cast hits all their comic beats to perfection in this charmingly understated film. Director Arturo Infante will attend the Saturday and Sunday screenings. (2018, 92 min) MF
Stéphane Brizé’s AT WAR (France)
Saturday 10/13, 4:15pm and Friday 10/19, 5pm
The overt politics of this absorbing, infuriating labor-dispute drama are refreshingly unambiguous: in following tenacious union leader Laurent (Vincent Lindon) as he attempts to forestall a factory closure imposed by an international consortium, AT WAR never tempers its hardline populism. It’s largely a film of words, with Laurent answering management’s noxious corporate doublespeak with impassioned volleys of worker advocacy at the negotiating table, and attempting to keep the fractious rank-and-file in line behind the scenes. Working with Lindon for the fourth time, director Stéphane Brizé surrounds the accomplished performer with real workers, who certainly hold their own through lengthy scenes of spitfire debate. These sequences bring vividly to life the strategic deliberations that can make or break a strike, but formally, the real negotiation here is between an aspiration to documentary-esque realism and to a rabble-rousing star showcase. Although his widescreen, handheld frames are clogged with extras, Brizé’s focus rarely strays from the magnetic Lindon, whose righteous tirades succeed more in ensuring Laurent’s martyrdom than in breaking through to his corporate adversaries. The result is a film about blue-collar solidarity that ultimately lionizes the kind of personal sacrifice that is the bread-and-butter of Great Actors, and thus of international arthouse audiences: to borrow the original French title of Brizé’s last vehicle for Lindon’s prizewinning proletarianism, we might say that’s just la loi du marché– “the law of the market.” (2018, 115 min) MM
Martín Benchimol and Pablo Aparo’s THE DREAD (Argentina)
Saturday 10/13, 5:30pm and Monday 10/15, 1:30pm
An award-winner at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam, THE DREAD comes on at first like an unassuming portrait of small-town Argentinean eccentricity. We enter the dusty hamlet of El Dorado at the heels of an ambulance—a rare sight in a village where many inhabitants moonlight as folk doctors, using frogs and strings to cure common ailments. One such malady, however, requires a more specialized form of alternative medicine: “el Espanto,” the Dread, a mysterious women’s affliction. Directors Martín Benchimol and Pablo Aparo probe further into the vague nature of the sickness—and the one shadowy outsider who claims to cure it—through a roundelay of interviews with amiable local healers, scenes which unfold with a deliberate, perhaps overly metrical pace. The more we learn, the more we sense that the film isn’t so much about the disease or its cure as about the way this community structures what can and can’t be said, particularly regarding questions of sexuality. The carousel of gossip winds up with a mysterious accident at the outsider’s doorstep, and quickly winds down when it becomes clear that the filmmakers have far overstepped their bounds. It’s a memorable, enjoyable film, but one that is hindered by the repetitiveness of hearsay, a deficit of cinematic imagination, and the lingering sense that the filmmakers have either said too much, or not enough. (2017, 67 min) MM
Mostafa Sayari’s AS I LAY DYING (Iran)
Saturday 10/13, 6:45pm, Sunday 10/14, 3pm, and Tuesday 10/16, 1pm
William Faulkner’s 1930 novel set in the rural American South is effectively transposed to the contemporary moonscape of rural Iran. In Mostafa Sayari’s version, the steadily decomposing corpse is that of a father rather than a mother, it is transported via truck rather than wagon, and the story’s told from the points of view of three brothers and a sister rather than dozens of relatives, but the central trope of a dead parent’s body forcing decades-long, festering family conflicts to the surface holds true. The stark desert setting accentuates the existential struggle of siblings to come to some sort of peace with the dead man and, more importantly, with each other. My only minor quibble is with the English subtitles, which were obviously done by a translator unfamiliar with English syntax and vernacular. I don’t know Farsi but doubt that the characters in this film were speaking in the ungrammatical aphorisms rolling along the bottom of my screen. (2018, 73 min) DS
Ferzan Ozpetek's NAPLES IN VEILS (Italy)
Sunday 10/14, 11:45am, Friday 10/19, 3pm, and Sunday 10/21, 8:15pm
Dedicated to its titular city, Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek's NAPLES IN VEILS is an explicit, enigmatic, highly entertaining erotic thriller about a lovelorn, middle-aged autopsy doctor (a moving Giovanna Mezzogiorno) whose one-night stand gets her mixed up with murder. This preposterous slice of sfogliatella is great fun, unashamedly giving you just about everything you could want from an Italian film: sex, food, wine, art, and grand, crumbling, sumptuously appointed palazzos. Apart from the psychological mystery, it also works as a Neapolitan travelogue, from the gritty to the glitzy, featuring doubles that may be ghosts, implied conspiracies, strange oracles, and the general sense that nothing is quite as it appears. It doesn't really belabor its obvious Antonioni-isms, but it left me with a similarly tantalizing metaphysical tickle to BLOW UP, as well as a desire to go back and look for clues. (2017, 112 min) SP
Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo’s BOYS CRY (Italy)
Sunday 10/14, 2:15pm, Monday 10/15, 6:30pm, and Wednesday 10/17, 12:30pm
After accidentally killing a pedestrian during a hit-and-run, two teens, Monolo and Mirko, find themselves involved with the mafia when they discover the person they hit was soon to be executed by their local outfit on the outskirts of Rome. As they fall in deeper with their newfound life of crime, they find themselves unprepared for the mental exhaustion that comes with the trade and are left to ponder the consequences of their dark actions. The D’Innoceno Brothers film recalls GOMORRAH in bringing mob movies to the contemporary era. They eschew more traditional gratuitous depictions of violence found in the genre in favor of long shots and cutting at the action and showing the aftermath to contextualize the boys’ emotional distance in committing these acts. This is further juxtaposed by the directors’ decision to often frame Monolo and Mirko in close-ups, letting the audience into the characters’ mental headspace as they undergo their transformations. BOYS CRY is an effective take on the classic rise-and-fall aspect seen in gangster films but excels at its depictions of the mental anguish that surely exists when going down such a dark life path. (2018, 96 min) KC
Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke’s DREAMAWAY (Germany/Egypt/Qatar)
Sunday 10/14, 5:15pm and Monday 10/15, 3:30pm
Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke’s DREAMAWAY is best described as “Real World: Sharm El Sheikh” meets Harmony Korine. Artful MTV, one might say, engaging as a character study into the real lives of random people, but still shallow in its insight into the world at large. DREAMAWAY takes place in a resort town located in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and follows a group of young people working at an all-inclusive hotel a few years after the Arab Spring. Once a desirable travel location, tourism is down due to conflict in the region, and the hotel employees find themselves in a veritable ghost town of luxury accommodations. In order to probe further into its subjects, the film features a giant, inflatable monkey, attached to the back of a truck, that facilitates conversations with the men and women featured, all dressed to the nines in bizarre party wear. The effect of this device and another involving all the subjects walking through the desert in the aforementioned party clothes feels superfluous, as if their stories about being young people in one of the most politically complex places in the world aren’t interesting enough to stand on their own. Still, I'm glad that it shows young Egyptians as being like most other young people, consumed with living life to the fullest—regardless of its failings, the film does reflect a new generation who yearn for something more, something better, something freer. (2018, 86 min) KS
Natalia Meshchaninova's CORE OF THE WORLD (Russia/Lithuania)
Sunday 10/14, 7:15pm and Monday 10/15, 8:45pm
If you like the suspenseful, contemporary working-class realism practiced by the Dardenne brothers, you will likely enjoy CORE OF THE WORLD, a solid, naturally-acted character study. It has the shape and between-the-lines resonance of a well-turned short story. Muddy, cold countryside imbues Natalia Meshchaninova's tale of a goodhearted but troubled veterinarian (Stepan Devonin) at a rural kennel for fox-hunting dogs. Living in a shack a few steps (and a world) away from the boss's family, he's hiding out from unspeakable childhood trauma. Though a kind and gentle healer with dogs and children, he's prone to savage eruptions with others, escalating confrontations with young greens after a sexual encounter confuses his place in his adopted family. I never knew quite what I felt about the guy, which is probably a net plus, in the end. One late scene even recalls the final shot of AU HAZARD BALTHAZAR. (2018, 125 min) SP
Olivier Masset-Depasse’s DUELLES (Belgium/France)
Monday 10/15, 1pm, Wednesday 10/17, 6pm, and Saturday 10/20, Noon
Alfred Hitchcock references abound in this late-1950’s/early-1960’s throwback thriller. Two best friends, Alice and Céline, live in the suburbs of Brussels and lead nearly identical lives. Their houses are twins of one another and their children, Theo and Maxime, are best friends too. One day, an accident befalls Maxime and Céline’s domestic bliss is shattered. Paranoia and mistrust set in as Alice starts to believe Céline might be plotting something against Theo. Masset-Depasse’s film relies on narrative misdirections to keep tensions high and, in particular, this works fascinatingly well during the opening scene. However, upon a deeper dive, the film leans too heavily into its almost Mad Men-esque aesthetic at the cost of narrative that feels familiar yet plodding and arms-length. Character motivations are subject too, but the film does succeed at maintaining a confined atmosphere. An uneven film, DUELLES relies on the archetypes from the era whose aesthetic it seeks to emulate. (2018, 97 min) KC
Dominga Sotomayor’s TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/The Netherlands/Qatar)
Monday 10/15, 5:45pm, Tuesday 10/16, 8:45pm, and Wednesday 10/17, 12:45pm
Set in an “ecological community” on the outskirts of Santiago during the early days of post-Pinochet Chile, the stunningly well-realized TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG tracks personal, familial, and societal transformations through that most venerable of genres, the coming-of-age tale. The film undergoes something of a transformation itself: as she introduces over a dozen characters in the first hour, director Dominga Sotomayor captures the loose-knit vibe of a seemingly idyllic community so effectively that one might not realize how dense with information and uneasy portent these exchanges really are. As lovelorn teenagers Sofía (Demian Hernández) and Lucas (Antar Machado) gradually emerge from the ensemble as our primary protagonists, things snap into focus, and the leisurely pace shifts into higher gear. The film’s bravura second half, an extended New Years Eve party sequence and morning-after crisis, amply demonstrates Sotomayor’s formidable skills as a writer, director, and world-builder—ironically, just as the community she’s built goes up in smoke. Like Lucrecia Martel’s THE HOLY GIRL, the film situates unruly adolescent emotions within a complex and sharply-drawn topography of class, gender, political, and generational conflicts. Sotomayor distributes her sympathies more communally, however; she lets us in to the romantic illusions of each of her characters, if only to capture the pain of dismantling them more precisely. (2018, 110 min) MM
Marcus Lindeen’s THE RAFT (Sweden/Denmark/US/Germany)
Monday 10/15, 8:15pm and Tuesday 10/16, 3:30pm
I’ll confess to being skeptical about THE RAFT, which, much like the cuckoo 1973 social experiment it details, at first seems like something centered on sex and violence. Marcus Lindeen’s documentary, however, reveals itself to be a more nuanced expedition—pun intended—into the mystifying terrain that is human nature. The experiment in question was devised by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genoves, who was inspired after having been a passenger on a hijacked plane. With that in mind, he designed an experiment where 11 people from different backgrounds would sail across the Atlantic on a relatively primitive raft, called the Acali but sometimes referred to as the "sex raft," with the intention of fostering an intimate—and dangerous—environment in which violence and sexual tension would thrive. The film is an interesting mix of archival footage from the voyage, with Genoves’ observations read in voiceover, and stylized interviews with those of the group who are still alive (seven remain—six women and one man) on a replica of the raft. Perhaps most revelatory about the Acali Experiment are the women, who continue to prove themselves as the true leaders of the expedition. (In all fairness to Genoves, he intentionally put women in positions of power but betrayed his own intentions by later undermining them.) Sure, there was sex and even some violence on board, but both the experiment and the film stand as a testament to the female-identifying spirit. The film's pacing lends itself to a more subtextual reading but also betrays its entertainment value at times—to be frank, a subject this expansive, one rife with both high drama and meaningful insight, may have worked better as a television series. (2018, 97 min) KS
Shorts Program 8: Meditations (Experimental)
Monday 10/15, 8:30pm
Writing about the depictions of bodies and objects in her film CREATURE COMPANION, Chicago filmmaker Melika Bass asks, “what do these images and surfaces contain inside, what remains unknown, concealed underneath?” Experimental cinema exists to pose precisely these kinds of questions of a medium that can just as easily be a veil—or a blindfold—as a window. With “Meditations,” its first experimental program in several years, CIFF opens up a space for four substantial works to pose such questions. Apichatpong Weerasethakul confirms his preternatural gift for forging the most elegant and ineffable containers for such inquiries with his rapturous new short, BLUE (2018, 12 min), which follows 2015‘s CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR further into the dreamlands of form. How to describe a film whose radical simplicity—while a woman tries to fall asleep in an outdoor bed, a flame burns within her, the sounds of the night surround her, and pasteboard illusions of paradise tempt her—achieve such complex ends? As an abstracted treatise on illusion and the mechanics of vision, it’s as sharp as a Farocki essay; as a richly chromatic distillation of wonder, it’s as transportive as Méliès or THE WIZARD OF OZ. If BLUE sees a wizard tearing down his own curtain (behind which lies...another curtain), then Melika Bass is a different kind of occultist, conjuring the uncanny from the banal. With CREATURE COMPANION (2018, 31 min), she invites performers Selma Banich and Penelope Hearne to invent a series of domestic rituals—odd convulsions and exaggerated gestures that unsettle the placid suburban bubbles around them. Recalling Chick Strand’s MUJER DE MILFUEGOS and the early videos of Cecilia Condit (whose BENEATH THE SKIN might have provided a good alternate title), CREATURE COMPANION doesn’t so much tell a story as channel a restless, carnal energy, which Bass and her collaborators can contain for only so long before unleashing in delightfully unpredictable outbursts. Deborah Stratman also reveals a playful side with OPTIMISM (2018, 15 min), a spontaneous Super-8mm travelogue to the Yukon Territory. Sifting through her glimmering impressions of Northern grandeur, Stratman binds disparate sounds and images with the effortless ingenuity of a master. But the film also invokes the extractive histories of the Klondike, not so much as a metaphor for her own method, but as a note of caution: OPTIMISM wisely leaves more beneath the surface than it brings to light. Rounded out by Belgian filmmaker Isabelle Tollenaere’s THE REMEMBERED FILM (2018, 18 min), in which uniform-clad British youths offer hazy recollections of their favorite war films, the “Meditations” program invites festivalgoers not only to confront that which remains unknown, but also perhaps to forget what we do know about cinema entirely. Bass and Stratman will appear for an extended conversation after the program. (2018, 74 min total) MM
Martina Melilli’s MY HOME, IN LIBYA (Italy)
Tuesday 10/16, 6:15pm and Wednesday 10/17, 3:45pm
Austere yet sentimental, MY HOME, IN LIBYA is going to work best for viewers with open minds about how documentaries are supposed to look, but with fairly conventional expectations about the emotions they’re supposed to make us feel. Young artist Martina Melilli adopts a tone of essayistic distance to reconstruct her grandparents’ life in Tripoli and their flight from Libya to Italy in 1970 after Gaddafi took power, deploying archival footage, voice-over reminiscences, family photo archives, and observational documentary sequences. She also commissions Mahmoud, a young Libyan man she meets online, to film the present-day spaces her family once left behind; through onscreen text-message exchanges (visually realized with a literalness that can sometimes grind the film to a halt), the two grow closer by sharing their anxieties about their professions, love lives, and hopes for the future. As the political situation in Libya grows more dire, these exchanges gather in intimacy and intensity, but the film only gains traction intermittently, stalling especially when Melilli’s too-frequent appearances in front of the camera lead us back to her creative process and away from the lives she’s purporting to depict. Even for a film about disconnection, MY HOME, IN LIBYA doesn’t totally come together—but, like the film’s last shot, it is promising. (2018, 66 min) MM
Wolfgang Fischer’s STYX (Germany/Austria)
Wednesday 10/17, 3pm, Saturday 10/20, 6:45pm, and Sunday 10/21, 1:45pm
This refugee-crisis parable shares a lot with its protagonist, Rieke (Susanne Wolff), a doctor whose solo sailing voyage is interrupted when she encounters a boat full of stranded West African migrants on the open sea. Like her, Styx is well equipped: Rieke’s got physical fortitude, medical training and a boat stocked with emergency supplies, while Styx boasts a robust central performance, keen cinematography, and pacing. Both also offer beacons of concern for human life in today’s ocean of cynicism and apathy towards the ongoing tragedy of forced migration. Unfortunately, they also share a deeper, more troubling quality. Frustrated by the indifferent voices on the other end of her mayday calls and by the entreaties of the one young castaway (Gedion Oduor Wekesa) she’s taken aboard, Rieke grapples with the fact that despite her training, her resources, and her care, a direct intervention will be woefully inadequate at best. Similarly, no matter how effectively told, the film’s central act of framing the refugee crisis through the dramatic lens of individual morality is seriously misguided. Confounded by the scope of the very horror it attempts to address, STYX ultimately becomes an allegory of its own powerlessness, another vessel adrift in our Western fog of humanist handwringing and collective complacency. (2018, 94 min) MM
Alejandra Márquez Abella’s THE GOOD GIRLS (Mexico)
Wednesday 10/17, 6pm and Thursday 10/18, 8:15pm
Sofía (Ilse Salas) and Fernando Hernandez (Flavio Medina) are the fabulously wealthy “monarchs” of their elite social set in Mexico City. The time is 1982, and we meet them just before Sofía’s annual birthday party, a luxurious soiree in which no detail—from substituting calla lilies with tulips and having the octopus beaten exactly 60 times to tenderize it—is overlooked. Our last encounter with them is at a restaurant with crass nouveau riche Ana Paula (Paulina Gaitan) and Beto Haddad (Daniel Haddad). Shocking her husband, Sofía joins Ana Paula and Beto in barking at the president of Mexico, who has entered the restaurant, for failing to protect the peso, in his words, “like a dog” and causing the economic meltdown in which the Hernandezes and others in their circle have lost their fortunes. In between is a caustic dissection of Sofía and her female friends, and their belief that money determines worth. Director Alejandra Márquez Abella was inspired by the works of Mexican writer María Guadalupe Loaeza Tovar (especially Compro y Luego Existo [I Buy, Therefore I Am, 1993]) who, like Edith Wharton, was of the social class she critiqued. The mostly female creative team of THE GOOD GIRLS captures every calculation the “good girls” in this film make. An interesting score by composer Tomás Barreiro denies us the opportunity to luxuriate in their beautiful, but cold world. Director Alejandra Márquez Abella will attend both screenings. (2018, 93 min) MF
Meritxell Colell Aparicio’s FACING THE WIND (Spain/Argentina/France)
Wednesday 10/17, 8pm and Thursday 10/18, 6pm
A prominent dancer/choreographer based in Buenos Aires receives word that her father is near death and returns to the remote farm in Spain where she grew up to reconnect with the family from whom she has been estranged and care for her aged mother. Director Meritxell Colell Aparicio was inspired to write and film FACING THE WIND to document her own grandmother and a dying way of life, and all her wonder at the harsh, beautiful landscape and traditional practices, from making chorizo with a hand-cranked meat grinder to playing briscas, a traditional card game, are alive in this atmospheric film. Major missteps were to cast Mónica García, a real dancer with underdeveloped acting abilities, as the central protagonist and then, perversely, to shoot what little dancing the film has in low light with a jerking, handheld camera. It is first-time actor Concha Canal as the elderly widow who forms the heart of this film and who should have been the central focus of the screenplay. Bonus points for including an excerpt of German dancer/choreographer Pina Bausch performing in her masterpiece, Café Müller. (2018, 108 min) MF
Assia Boundaoui’s THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (US)
Thursday 10/18, 5:30pm and Friday 10/19, 3:30pm
Algerian-American director Assia Boundaoui investigates the FBI’s scrutiny of the Muslim community in Bridgeview, Illinois, where she grew up. Dubbed “Vulgar Betrayal,” the operation went back over 20 years and made Boundaoui and her neighbors suspicious of workmen and any other strangers they’d see on the street. Coupled with the fact that it yielded no substantive terrorism-related convictions, it led the director to conclude that her community was being targeted mostly on the basis of race and religion. The film works best when Boundaoui focuses on her family’s and her own experiences rather than theorizing on the broad aims of the US government. Boundaoui is scheduled to be present for the screenings. (2018, 86 min) DS
Music Box of Horrors (24-Hour Horror Event)
Music Box Theatre – Saturday, Noon – Sunday, Noon
The 2018 edition of the Music Box of Horrors arrives this weekend in, frankly, somewhat weaker form than might be hoped. Nevertheless, the line-up includes several gems and under-seen rarities that more than make up for the more lackluster offerings here and there throughout the event. The 24 straight hours of horror begins with the excellent GOKE, BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL (Hajime Satô, 1968, 84 min, 35mm), a melancholy variation on the alien invasion theme in which the survivors of a plane crash are hunted and terrorized by a malevolent, invasive, extraterrestrial force capable of entering people’s bodies and controlling them. Filled with visceral and repulsive special effects—in the best possible way, of course!—GOKE delivers more oozing vampiric slime than perhaps any other motion picture and at times seems like a Hammer Studios version of an early Cronenberg film. That’s followed by the bold misfire, THE MAFU CAGE (Karen Arthur, 1978, 102 min, 35mm), which is simultaneously a deeply unsettling look at incest and madness and also a hackneyed trip down Africa-Is-Exotic lane. It’s a film that uncomfortably holds a performance of shocking power and accomplishment by Carol Kane, perhaps the best of her career, and turns her into a serial killer of primates, driven insane by the ‘primitive power’ of Africa. LORD OF ILLUSIONS (Clive Barker, 1995, 101 min, 35mm) is next, the third and least-seen of Barker’s feature films. In contrast to the corporeal pleasures of HELLRAISER and the weaponized queerness of NIGHTBREED, this is a tamer, safer film, but then almost anything would be tamer and safer than Barker’s other two features, and LORD OF ILLUSIONS has plenty in it to unsettle and disrupt the natural order. In a sort of hard-boiled detective meets M. R. James mode, Scott Bakula gives a deeply atypical performance as Harry D’Amour, a private detective who specializes in the paranormal who is hired to investigate the murder of an occultist named Quaid. But the stage magician who hired him has his own secret agenda, and a secret cabal of cultists might be trying to destroy the world. Subtle and twisting and painful, LORD OF ILLUSIONS isn’t Barker’s best film, but it is his most insidious. Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film THE LODGER (1927, 91 min, DCP Digital) is accompanied by a score by the False Gods Trio. A highly accomplished thriller, Hitchcock’s film has often been hailed as his first major accomplishment, the film in which he rose to artistic maturity. For my money, it’s still deeply indebted to Fritz Lang and often reads like a more romantic iteration of DR MABUSE THE GAMBLER, but that’s not to say anything against the subtle power of THE LODGER’s imagery, which remains haunting to this day, or against the understated brilliance of Ivor Novello’s performance in the title role as a man who just might be a serial killer. Unfortunately, the remainder of the evening is significantly less exciting, but there are some late night pearls that are unmissable in my opinion. Dario Argento’s OPERA (1987, 107 min, 35mm) shows at 1:15am. Probably Argento’s last great film, OPERA is the director at his most baroque, his most artificial, his most experimental. While a mysterious murderer stalks the set of an avant-garde production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Argento indulges in his favorite themes to abandon: traumas of vision and visibility, the animal kingdom at war with humanity, the incoherence of memory, the mutability of bodies. For all its intensity and lushness of cinematography, OPERA’s real focus is obfuscation, occlusion, and lack. It is a film of anguished absence, obsessed with what it cannot show us, with what it refuses to show us. OPERA delights in off-screen kills, out-of-focus reveals, and shots that distract us from their content rather than revealing it. It is an uncompromising work of great beauty and curious wonder. Finally, BODY MELT (Philip Brophy, 1993, 81 min, 35mm) is scheduled for 6:45am. While GOKE had vampiric slime, BODY MELT has every kind of slime. And throat tentacles. And melting skin. And exploding penises. The episodic narrative is a kind of loose, gross-out satire on health supplements that, frankly, makes very little sense, but it is drenched in innovative effects and overflowing with wit. Sadly, it was a film out of its time. Had it been released five years earlier, I suspect it would have comfortably found an audience, much as BAD TASTE and THE EVIL DEAD did, but coming out when it did may have doomed it to undeserved obscurity. Also in the program are: BLAME IT ON TOBY (Richard Knight, 2018, 52 min., DCP), THE CHILDREN (Tom Shankland, 2008, 84 min, DCP), CHILD’S PLAY (1988, 87 min, 35mm), FREDDY VS. JASON (Ronny Yu, 2003, 97 min, 35mm), SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS (Michael A. Simpson, 1988, 80 min, 35mm), WICKED, WICKED (Richard L. Bare, 1973, 95 min, 35mm), and FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2 (Tommy Lee Wallace, 1988, 104 min, 35mm). KB
Johnnie To’s A HERO NEVER DIES (Hong Kong Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Tuesday, 7pm
Neither of the two protagonists of this early Milkyway Image production are particularly heroic—they’re both callow hit men for organized crime syndicates—and, without giving too much away, let’s just say that none of the film’s characters is invincible. If I had to guess why it’s called “A Hero Never Dies,” I’d say it’s because that’s one hell of a title—one of those snatches of pulp poetry that’s so perfectly suited to overheated genre cinema. Who knows what “History Is Made at Night” or “Blood on the Moon” really means? They mean nothing and everything, encapsulating the intoxicating rush of style and emotion that are these films. A HERO NEVER DIES provides style and emotion aplenty—it’s the sort of movie where even a silly territorial war in a bar provides the foundation for a richly designed set piece. In said sequence, the dueling hit men Martin and Jack take turns breaking each other’s wine glasses, demonstrating their deadeye aim and panache with regards to one-upmanship, and Johnnie To, the irrepressible stylist, stages it like a dance-off in a musical. (His fanciful manipulation of color and of actors within the frame, both here and throughout the film, underscores the connection to the musical genre.) The premise of rivalry between professional killers begs comparison to the films of John Woo, but To’s approach is much, much lighter than Woo’s—there’s no pathos here, no heavy-handed visual metaphors, no bogus appeals to religiosity. (There isn’t any inadvertent homoeroticism either, for better or for worse.) And yet A HERO NEVER DIES manages to say as much, if not more, about rivalry and professional respect as something like THE KILLER, in large part because To never abandons his sense of exuberance. Like the filmmaker, To’s antiheroes live for their work, and it’s these shared feelings of passion and responsibility that ultimately bring them together. (1998, 98 min, 35mm) BS
Arthur D. Ripley’s THE CHASE (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Thursday, 9:30pm
Cinephiles have engaged in many heated debates about what makes a “true” film noir. While fans of the form can be pretty obstinate about their preferred definition, the makers of these crime-related, mid-century films weren’t too concerned about conforming to a rigid formula, and the genre proved quite elastic in accommodating numerous offbeat variations on the standard-issue evocative shadows, femmes fatale, underworld toughs, and hard-luck Joes and Janes who get mixed up with the wrong people. THE CHASE is a particularly inventive variation on a theme. Its source material, the 1944 novel The Black Path of Fear, came from the perverse mind of genuinely weird pulp master (and, ironically, failed screenwriter) Cornell Woolrich, whose works have formed the basis for such well-regarded films as PHANTOM LADY (1944), NO MAN OF HER OWN (1950) and REAR WINDOW (1954), the latter’s wheelchair-bound protagonist inspired by Woolrich’s own experience of losing a leg to his own neglect of a foot infection. THE CHASE involves the misadventures of unemployed World War II veteran Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings), whose act of honesty in returning a wallet to its owner, the gangster Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran), lands him an official job as Roman’s chauffeur and a sideline as a sounding board for Roman’s unhappy wife, Lorna (Michèle Morgan). The film toggles between Roman’s “money, no taste” Italianate mansion in Miami and Havana, where Lorna escapes with a smitten Chuck. A careful review of some of the scenes reveals that all is not what it seems, and it is this attention to detail by director Arthur Ripley that really helps set THE CHASE apart from other films of its kind. [Notice the shadow of a man in a fedora in the background as Chuck is calling Lorna from a phone booth—the black path Chuck is starting to walk rendered subliminally and sublimely.] The screenplay written by sought-after script doctor and first-rate screenwriter Philip Yordan crackles with wit, especially when it’s performed by Peter Lorre in a wildly entertaining role as Roman’s gunsel, Gino. THE CHASE is eccentric, comical, and thrilling—and most definitely noir. (1946, 86 min, Restored Archival 35mm Print) MF
Chantal Akerman’s JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES (Belgian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7pm
I used to think that Chantal Akerman’s films had more in common with Yasujirō Ozu’s than even those of his most devout disciples. Her use of still, waist-level medium shots (similar to Ozu’s signature “tatami shots,” said to mimic the perspective of someone kneeling on a tatami mat), stylized settings hyper-respective to her cultural background, and a seemingly detached tone that cloaks rich subtext all recall Ozu’s invariant oeuvre. After rewatching her seminal 1975 film JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES, which she made when she was just 25 years old, I still believe that her work exhibits these aspects but to antithetical effect. Where Ozu reveals the calm within life's chaos, Akerman inveigles chaos out of the calm, and there’s perhaps no better example of this than her 201-minute tour de force depicting three days in the life of its title character, a middle-aged mother played to perfection by the solemn, red-haired Delphine Seyrig. Most of the film is comprised of superlative long takes in which Jeanne does her daily chores, intercut by brief expositional conversations with her 16-year-old son and oblique references to her “job” as a rather apathetic prostitute. Though it evokes experimental cinema in how it ingeniously uses a simple concept to confront the illusion of that simplicity, it’s also a brilliant depiction of real life as narrative; in a 2009 interview with the New York Times, Akerman observed that “[i]n most movies you have crashes or accidents or things out of the ordinary, so the viewer is distracted from his own life…[t]his film is about his own life.” A friend once remarked to me that their standard response when asked by a filmmaker to provide feedback about a film they didn’t like was to say that it gave them space to think about things. Ironically, the same is true about the masterwork that is JEANNE DIELMAN. The long takes are simultaneously hypnotic and freeing, producing a sensation that’s almost as mindless as the tasks themselves. Akerman’s depiction of these chores, which are certainly banal even if rendered extraordinary by Babette Mangolte’s lens, is often regarded as a feminist tract, a label that Akerman rejects. Indeed, she’s said in several interviews that the seemingly monotonous routines were lovingly inspired by childhood memories of her mother, as well as Jewish ritual; in the aforementioned interview, she also said that “Jeanne has to organize her life, to not have any space, any time, so she won’t be depressed or anxious…[s]he didn’t want to have one free hour because she didn’t know how to fill that hour,” which speaks less to the mundanity of the tasks at hand and more to Jeanne’s general discontent. At the risk of spoiling the film for anyone still unfamiliar with its abrupt ending, the duration doesn’t so much emphasize the monotony as it provides context around the downturn of both character and tone. It doesn’t show three days in a life, but rather the day before the day that cracks start to appear in the foundation, and then the day that it finally crumbles to the ground, out of which something altogether new and different arises. (On a tangential note, the ending reminds me of these lines from Sylvia Plath’s Holocaust-adjacent poem, “Lady Lazarus”: “Out of the ash/I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air.” In 1986, Akerman directed an adaptation of Rose Leiman Goldemberg’s off-Broadway play Letters Home, based on Plath’s letters to her mother. So much to unpack there.) Only the late filmmaker’s second feature, JEANNE DIELMAN is almost daunting in its command of the medium—perhaps the only label that can rightfully be attached to it is “masterpiece.” (1975, 201 min, 35mm) KS
Hayao Miyazaki's NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND [Subtitled Version] (Japanese/Animation Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) – Wednesday, 7pm (Free Admission)
NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND by the beloved animation factory Studio Ghibli is the film that made their whole operation possible, and—if we're setting aside all modesty—ushered in a veritable golden age of animation. It is in so many ways the prototypical Hayao Miyazaki film: a sprawling environmentalist parable with a headstrong female protagonist, a girl with blinding, childlike optimism who faces down a world thrown into chaos. Recurring Miyazaki themes, including his fascination with flight and his abiding love of nature, are front-and-center here, all wrapped up in a cavalcade of cartoon adventure for all ages. A princess with more agency, not to mention spunk, than Disney had yet to devise, Nausicaä is the favorite daughter of the Valley of the Wind, one of the world's last refuges against the ever-encroaching Toxic Jungle, the inhospitable fallout of a global war occupied by giant insects known as the Ohmu. Gradually, a larger picture of the world is painted, as neighboring military powers Tolmekia and Pejite threaten the safety of the planet in their misguided quests to push back against the Jungle. The film packs in an alarming amount of back-story, thanks largely to Nausicaä's knack for interior monologue, a habit forgivable not just because this is still ostensibly a children's film, but also for the gasp-inducing visuals that often accompany her chronic narration. Joe Hisaishi's score is a marvel too; an oscillating mix of nostalgia-inducing synthesizers and his typical swelling orchestral compositions. NAUSICAÄ remains one of Miyazaki's most arresting and under-appreciated masterpieces. (1984, 116 min, 35mm) TJ
Robert Altman’s 3 WOMEN (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 7pm
Inspired by a dream, Robert Altman made a film that can only be explained using dream logic. Pinky (Sissy Spacek) starts out as a young, naive girl new to a bleak desert California outpost. She starts a job at a spa for seniors where she meets Millie (Shelly Duvall) and quickly attaches herself to her in an unhealthy way. They become roommates at a rundown apartment complex run by a sleazy former movie cowboy and his wife, Willie (Janice Rule), who’s pregnant and wanders around somnambulantly, painting mythological murals around the property. Each of the women is visually associated with a color at the beginning—Pinky’s red, Millie’s yellow, Willie’s blue. But colors, moods, even entire identities shift and switch as things go on. I’ve seen this film three or four times and fall under its trance/spell every time. Unencumbered by the constraints of somebody else’s screenplay, as he often was in much of his other work, Altman can free-associate dialogue and not worry at all about making narrative sense. There are resonances with films like Bunuel’s THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977) and Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) in the ways that male directors reckoned with the changing roles of women in contemporary society, but Altman’s take is more abstract and poetic. Still, it’s very much a man’s point of view that informs this almost entirely female-centric film. There’s an added interest to watching it now during another time of societal change in terms of gender roles. Or, you can just let its slippery vibe carry you off into the desert where these women may still be mutating into and out of one another to this day. (1977, 124 min, DCP Digital) DS
Luís Buñuel’s THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (French Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Sunday, 7pm
Along with UN CHIEN ANDALOU and LOS OLVIDADOS, THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE is one of Luís Buñuel’s indisputably canonical works. Just saying the title is to evoke a distinct sensibility—playful, anti-authoritarian, free-associative, erotic—that might be described as the essence of Buñuel’s entire creative project. The film plays like an extended game of that old Surrealist favorite, exquisite corpse, with increasingly absurd variations on a simple (but oh so promising) theme. Six upper-class individuals try to have a meal together, but some unforeseen event prevents them from doing so. In the first episode, the group goes to a restaurant, only to find that the owner has died, his corpse laid out in the kitchen lie a grotesque parody of a buffet. A few days later, the three women of the group go to another restaurant and discover the place is out of all food and beverages; an army lieutenant helps them pass the time by relating a dream about visiting the underworld. Later still, a military platoon breaks up a dinner party at one couple’s home, announcing that they’re plotting maneuvers for an unspecified war that’s taking place just beyond the hosts’ estate. The narrative itself proceeds through false starts and interruptions—some scenes are revealed to be dreams (or dreams within dreams); at other times, Buñuel cuts inexplicably to an eerie shot of the main characters walking down a country road to nowhere. The film’s style is refined, even stately, recalling the button-down surrealism of Rene Magritte (the anti-clerical satire, however, is broad and silly, as per Buñuel’s preference). The allusions to corrupt Latin American regimes and leftist terrorist cells suggest a certain political anger, but that anger is tempered by Buñuel’s unaccountably genial depiction of the filthy rich characters. (The charm of the bourgeoisie may be discreet, but the charm of these characters—as inhabited by Fernando Rey, Paul Frankeur, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Nouvelle Vague regulars Delphine Seyrig, Bulle Ogier, and Stéphane Audran—is perfectly easy to see.) Buñuel seems to love them because they’re so fun to tease, and he seems to feel similarly about us. (1972, 102 min, DCP Digital) BS
Daniel Ribeiro's THE WAY HE LOOKS (Contemporary Brazilian)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Monday, 9:30pm
THE WAY HE LOOKS is a winning debut feature from Brazilian writer/director Daniel Ribeiro adapted from his own short film of the same title. In the opening scene of this Sao Paolo-set romance, the 15-year-old protagonist, Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo), and his best friend, Giovana (Tess Amorim), commiserate poolside over the fact that neither of them has ever been kissed. Think you know where this is going? Think again: Ribeiro puts an original spin on the tried-and-true coming-of-age genre by having Leonardo be both a literally blind and closeted gay kid who is only gradually brought out of his shell after the arrival at his high school of another gay kid, the more confident Gabriel (Fabio Audi). Ribeiro wisely refuses to portray either Leonardo's disability or his insecurity over his sexuality as heavy drama—as would have unquestionably been the case in a Hollywood production. He adopts instead an assured tone that is at once low-key, whimsical and realistic. (2014, 96 min, DCP Digital) MGS
Heather Lenz’s KUSAMA: INFINITY (New Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Check Venue website for showtimes
At 89, Yayoi Kusama has had a life rivaling any artist’s in terms of creative output, cultural import, and sheer eventfulness. Although it took decades before she was properly recognized by the art world establishment, a reality sadly familiar to many a female artist, Kusama is now a veritable fixture of the contemporary museum scene, responsible for sold-out exhibitions around the world and work that sells for millions. Heather Lenz’s documentary serves as a succinct, perhaps to a fault, encapsulation of the maestro’s prolific career and the sundry psychological, economic, and social forces animating it. Tracing her formative years in pre- and post-war Matsumoto to her creative flowering and onset depression in New York and back again to Japan, the film depicts Kusama’s trajectory as a sort of circuitous journey toward popular approval, albeit one taken by an artist who displayed little interest in the status quo. Indeed, rejected by both her home nation and the patriarchal Western art world, Kusama paved her own polka-dot-limned path, creating large-scale works that often literally broke spatial barriers by inviting viewers inside their enveloping forms, and upsetting notions of high-art decorum by arranging naked "happenings" outside the Museum of Modern Art. Special attention is paid to the aforementioned polka dots, Kusama’s primary visual signature, and their emergence from dreams the artist had of being “obliterated” by flowers, dots, and orbs. This sense of overwhelming immersion to the point of absorption colors Kusama’s famed infinity rooms as well, mirror-paneled spaces that diffuse the spectator’s bodily autonomy in virtually infinite planes of fragmentation. Kusama, bewigged in a hot pink bob, anchors this biography with a placidity that belies a life full of personal hardship and feverish invention. (2018, 76 min, DCP Digital) JL
Joel and Ethan Coen's THE BIG LEBOWSKI (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Wednesday, 7pm
Dude, people love this movie—and with good reason. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is what so few modern comedies are: legitimately good. Between all the "dudes" and "fucks," it's easy to miss some of the underlying themes of the film; but beyond its oft-quoted dialogue and obsessive fan base, THE BIG LEBOWSKI is an LA noir for the modern age. It's also a gigantic metaphor for the Gulf War, a true testament to the time in which it is set, and eerily prophetic to watch today. A Bush is in office, we're in a recession, and we're fighting a fatuous war in the Middle East, so boy is this film still relevant. Don't forget, though, that it's also hilarious. Fix yourself a White Russian, folks. Let's see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. With Adam Nayman, author of the new book The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together, in person. (1998, 117 min, 35mm) CS
Andrei Tarkovsky's THE SACRIFICE (Swedish Revival)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) — Tuesday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Critic Wesley Morris observed of our collective cultural habits, "I think everybody might have a handful of books or movies that they happily return to because they honestly don't remember the plot—they just remember the mood or the experience." Similarly, I think everyone has movies they return to solely for a particular moment or scene. These moments can be so singular that everything around them fades slightly into the background. This isn't to make a virtue of flawed memory, but rather to highlight those directors with the rare gift to sculpt a mood or moment that hovers above a film. Andrei Tarkovsky's cinema is rife with these exalted moments: Capt. Kholin's acrobatic embrace of Masha over a trench and her limp surrender in IVAN'S CHILDHOOD; a floating candelabrum and a chandelier's subtle jangle in SOLARIS. Tilda Swinton encapsulated this phenomenon in a speech referencing STALKER: "I saw an image of a dream that I have been visited by all my life made real ... A bird flying towards the camera dips its wing into the sand that fills a room. Did I imagine this? I haven't seen the film for years. Can somebody tell me?" Released in 1986 and garnering Tarkovsky his second Grand Prix at Cannes (Roland Joffé's THE MISSION took home the Palme d'Or—a banner year for Christendom) THE SACRIFICE is considered by some to be a challenging, ancillary work by the Russian master. With time though the debates over 'slow cinema' and the film's relationship to Tarkovsky's legacy have faded, and what remain are some of the most haunting moments of the director's career: The sudden and uncanny desaturation of the film's image—courtesy of master cinematographer Sven Nykvist—as Erland Josephson roams his estate in a nuclear daze; the flickering TV test pattern reflected on the family in tableau; the film's breathtaking denouement, which never ceases to terrify me. These are the images I return to again and again, echoing Swinton's disbelief: Did I imagine this? (1986, 142 min, Unconfirmed Format) JS
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Bazin@100, a conference marking the centennial of French film critic and theorist André Bazin, takes place at the University of Chicago (Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.) continues on Friday and Saturday. The full schedule is at http://bazinat100.wordpress.com, and includes panels, a roundtable, and a screening of Pierre Hébert’s 2017 Canadian film BAZIN ROMAN (70 min; Friday at 7pm), based on an unrealized screenplay by Bazin. Free admission.
The (In)Justice for All Film Festival continues Friday and Saturday at various locations. More information and full schedule at www.injusticeforallff.com.
The Chicago Film Society and the Music Box Theatre (at the Music Box) screen Dimitri Buchowetzki’s 1921 German silent film SAPPHO (81 min, 35mm Preserved Archival Print) on Sunday at 5pm. Preceded by Otto Messmer’s 1928 Felix the Cat cartoon COMICALAMITIES (8 min, 16mm). Live accompaniment by Dennis Scott.
The Conversations at the Edge series (at the Gene Siskel Film Center) screens Hélène Crouzillat and Laetitia Tura’s 2014 French documentary LES MESSAGERS (70 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 6pm, with Crouzillat and Tura in person.
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents Bail or No? – A Skate Media Inspired Shorts Program on Sunday at 8pm. Included are works by Brandon Alvendia, Liz Cambron, Chris Johanson, Joe Castrucci with Future Islands, Molly Colleen O’Connell, Rick Silva and Jordan Tate, Jennifer Chan, John Auer, Dina Kelberman, Caitlin Ryan, Jacob Riddle, Rick Charnoski, Philippe Blanchard, Thad Kellstadt, KC Milliken with Eric Fleischauer, and more; and Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny’s The Native and the Refugee is on Tuesday at 7pm, with Peterson and Rasamny in person. This multi-media presentation (PowerPoint, short films, lecture) on the importance of place and land to Native Americans and Palestinians has been shifting and changing over the last few years, existing is different iterations, as the filmmakers worked towards a documentary feature film.
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) presents Afro-Futurism Films II: Zombies, Apocalypse and Dystopias on Saturday at 7:30pm. The program includes Vagabond Beaumont’s 2018 film AFTERMATH: THE SEEDS OF ARMAGEDDON (10 min), Luchina Fisher’s 2013 film DANGER WORD (19 min), and Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s 2016 South African/Cameroonian film NAKED REALITY (62 min). All Digital Projection; and local journalist Dave Hoekstra’s 2018 music documentary THE CENTER OF NOWHERE, THE SPIRIT AND SOUNDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MO. (90 min, Digital Projection) on Sunday at 6:30pm, with Hoekstra and musician Robbie Fulks in person. Fulks will also perform a short live set.
Black Cinema House (at Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave.) screens Howard B. Dratch and Eugene Roscow’s 1984 three-part television documentary ROOTS OF RHYTHM (approx. 164 min total, Video Projection) on Friday at 7:30pm. Free admission.
Media Burn Archive and Logan Square Preservation present Logan Square Lost & Found on Monday at 7pm at The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.). The event includes a selection of excerpts from short films and videos that document the Logan Square neighborhood (including from a newly preserved film by the late Northwestern University professor Chuck Kleinhans), along with a “virtual reenactment of the dedication of the Logan Square Centennial Monument,” a presentation of historic photos, and a panel/discussion. Free admission.
The Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Michel Brault’s 1967 French Canadian film BETWEEN SWEET AND SALT WATER [ENTRE LA MER ET L’EAU DOUCE] (85 min, Video Projection) on Wednesday at 6:30pm.
Also at the Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) this week: Silas Howard’s 2018 film A KID LIKE JAKE (92 min, DCP Digital; listed as not confirmed on the library website as of our deadline) is on Saturday at 2 and 7pm; Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer’s 2009 Canadian documentary GENIUS WITHIN: THE INNER LIFE OF GLENN GOULD (106 min, Digital Projection; listed as not confirmed on the library website as of our deadline) is on Sunday at 3pm; and Irving Cummings’ 1940 film DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (89 min, DCP Digital) is on Wednesday at 1 and 7pm. Free admission for all shows.
THE Park Ridge Classic Film Series (at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) screens James Whale’s 1935 film THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (75 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 2 and 7:30pm. Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara Karloff in person. Due to limited capacity, there will be no ticket sales at the door; purchase tickets in advance.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Cristina Constantini and Darren Foster’s 2018 documentary SCIENCE FAIR (90 min, DCP Digital) continues a two-week run; Scott Smith’s 2017 film CHASING THE BLUES (77 min, DCP Digital; Smith in person at the 8pm Friday, Sunday and Wednesday shows) and Lance Daly’s 2018 Irish/Luxembourgian film BLACK ‘47 (96 min, DCP Digital) both play for a week; Andreas Prochaska’s 2014 Austrian/German film THE DARK VALLEY (114 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 3:45pm and Tuesday at 6pm; and David Weathersby’s 2018 documentary THE COLOR OF ART (60 min, Digital Projection) is on Saturday at 8:15pm, with Weathersby in person. And in the silent women director’s series, Marion E. Wong’s 1916 film THE CURSE OF QUON GWON (incomplete surviving 36 min copy, DCP Digital) screens on Saturday at 3pm, with the short films (all DCP Digital) WHEN LITTLE LINDY SANG (Lule Warrenton, 1916, 11 min), “Zora Neale Hurston Ethnographic Films” (1928, 12 min), and Alice Guy-Blaché’s A FOOL AND HIS MONEY (1912, 11 min) and ALGIE, THE MINER (1912, 10 min); and on Saturday at 4:45 it’s Lita Lawrence’s 1925 film MOTHERHOOD: LIFE’S GREATEST MIRACLE (59 min, DCP Digital) along with Grace Cunard’s 1921 short film A DAUGHTER OF “THE LAW” (22 min, DCP Digital).
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Miloš Forman’s 1965 Czech film LOVES OF A BLONDE (88 min, 35mm) is on Friday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 1:30pm; Gus Van Sant’s 2018 film DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT (135 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 4pm; and Peter Weir’s 1998 film THE TRUMAN SHOW (103 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 9:30pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Tommy Avallone’s 2018 documentary THE BILL MURRAY STORIES: LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM A MYTHICAL MAN (70 min, DCP Digital) opens; Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s 2018 documentary PICK OF THE LITTER (81 min, DCP Digital) and Panos Cosmatos’ 2018 film MANDY (121 min, DCP Digital) both continue; Isamu Imakake’s 2018 Japanese animated film THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE – PART 1 (120 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 12:30pm; Cédric Klapisch’s 2017 French film BACK TO BURGUNDY (113 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 7pm (preceded by a wine reception at 6pm), with Clara Orban, certified sommelier at DePaul, in person; Sean Patrick O’Reilly’s 2018 animated kids’ film LEGEND OF HALLOWAIIAN (82 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 4:30pm; James Whale’s 1931 film FRANKENSTEIN (70 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm, followed by a panel discussion featuring members of the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company about the depictions of the Frankenstein monster over the last 200 years; and Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s 2018 documentary FREE SOLO (100 min, DCP Digital) is on Thursday at 7 (sold out) and 9:45pm (and additional screenings on Friday, October 19), with co-director Jimmy Chin in person.
Facets Cinémathèque plays Hannah Marks and Joey Power’s 2018 film AFTER EVERYTHING (95 min, Video Projection) for a week-long run.
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) screens Tim Ritter’s 1986 film TRUTH OR DARE? A CRITICAL MADNESS (90 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 8pm. Free admission.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Screen Share Video Gallery (Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, outside Room 201) presents “Hannah Maitland” = Animation: A collection of animations, GIFs, video works and flicker films by Hannah Maitland Frank through November 7. The show consists of a 40-minute long looping program, in honor of the late UofC grad Hannah Frank’s life and work.
The Block Museum (Northwestern University) presents Up Is Down: Mid-century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio though December 9.
Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey Ave., 2nd Floor) presents Intellectual Property: A solo exhibition of work by Julia Dratel though November 17 (open most evenings during public events, or by appointment through the artist—contact via her website: http://juliadratel.com/intellectualproperty. The exhibition includes photographs (digital and film), poetry, and two single-channel video/sound works: rehearsal 1.29 (2017-18, 2 min loop) and battery park city (excerpts: "a loyalty to the objects you know") (2009/2018, 6 min loop).
The Graham Foundation (Madlener House, 4 W. Burton Place) continues Martine Syms: Incense Sweaters & Ice through January 12.
The Renaissance Society (University of Chicago) presents Shadi Habib Allah: Put to Rights through November 4. In addition to video installation works, the show includes photographic and sculptural works.
Stan VanDerBeek is on view at Document Gallery (1709 W. Chicago Ave.) through October 27. The show features a 16mm installation of VanDerBeek’s 1967-68 film POEMFIELD NO. 7, a digital projection of his 1972 film SYMMETRICKS, and a selection of works on paper.
Currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago: Martine Syms' SHE MAD: LAUGHING GAS (2018, 7 min, four-channel digital video installation with sound, wall painting, laser-cut acrylic, artist’s clothes); Rosalind Nashashibi's VIVIAN’S GARDEN (2017, 30 min, 16mm on HD Video) is in the Donna and Howard Stone Gallery, through December 2; Dara Birnbaum’s KISS THE GIRLS: MAKE THEM CRY (1979, 6 min loop, two-channel video) is in the second floor corridor.
CINE-LIST: October 12 - October 18, 2018
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Kian Bergstrom, Kyle Cubr, Marilyn Ferdinand, Jim Gabriel, Adam Hart, Michael Metzger, Dmitry Samarov, Michael G. Smith, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky