On episode #2 of Cine-Cast, Cine-File managing editor Patrick Friel and associate editors Ben Sachs and K.A. Westphal discuss upcoming screenings and the Music Box Theatre's recent Steven Spielberg mini-retrospective; contributor JB Mabe rounds upcoming experimental screenings in April, including the Nightingale Cinema's 10th anniversary celebration and two 3-D films by Toronto-based filmmaker Blake Williams screening at the Film Studies Center; Ben talks with contributor John Dickson about the Lucrecia Martel series at the Siskel Film Center in April, which includes the local premiere of her new film ZAMA and in-person appearances by the director; and contributor Tien-Tien Jong interviews current Doc Films programming chairs Antonia Glaser and Alexander Fee, as well as one of next year's chairs, Alex Kong, about this quarter's calendar, which includes Michael Haneke and Elia Kazan retrospectives.
As always, special thanks to our producer, Andy Miles, of Transistor Chicago.
Vincente Minnelli’s YOLANDA AND THE THIEF (American Revival)
Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) - Wednesday, 7:30pm
Doing away with all sense of grounded reality, Vincente Minnelli may have reached the pinnacle of his musicals with YOLANDA AND THE THIEF. Coming hot off his “Limehouse Blues” number for the MGM ensemble piece ZIEGFELD FOLLIES, Minnelli took his leading man, Fred Astaire, and his supporting would-be starlet from FOLLIES and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, Lucille Bremer, and crafted this extremely ahead-of-its-time musical. Bordering on strict surrealism, the plot centers around Astaire’s con-man (a character that would continue with Gene Kelly in THE PIRATE) arriving in a fictional South American town and wedging into the life of Bremer, the heiress to a mammoth sparkling water fortune. One night, in a garden right out of a story-book, she prays to the statue of an angel, confessing her trouble and confusion with her newfound wealth. As she calls to the heavens, Astaire, eavesdropping at a nearby tree, hatches a plan to impersonate the role of her guardian angel, in order to lift the burden of wealth from her. The plot line is secondary to the astounding visuals on display, which may be the best of Minnelli’s career. (The lush, dreamlike visuals are courtesy of Charles Rosher, who photographed F.W. Murnau’s SUNRISE.) While it might not be quite as cogent and emotionally stirring as his masterpiece MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, it is certainly one of his most unjustly neglected. When the film was previewed to audiences in 1945, it did well and the studio ordered zero changes made. When it was released, however, the film fared miserably, costing the studio around $1.7 million, pretty much ending Bremer’s acting career with MGM, and almost ending Astaire’s (the following year, he would announce his retirement, though he returned to replace Gene Kelly in EASTER PARADE in 1948). YOLANDA AND THE THIEF was well-suited towards Minnelli’s background as an avant-garde theater director, with an absolutely stunning 16-minute ballet sequence that’s more suited towards Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali than the typical Arthur Freed model. The strange fantasy elements may have been too much for war-beaten audiences of the mid-1940’s, but viewed today, it’s astonishing how unfairly this film has been treated, and how seriously its reputation needs to be resuscitated. (1945, 109 min, 35mm) JD
An Evening with Joan Jonas (American Experimental)
Conversations at the Edge at the Gene Siskel Film Center – Thursday, 6pm
This career-spanning program of Joan Jonas’ work constitutes a major event, as the artist will attend the screening and present an overview of her creative practice. Jonas trained as a sculptor but entered into the art world as a performance artist. Her first major work, Mirror Pieces (1968-1971), mixed live performance with filmed images; it also introduced themes that would be central to her work—representation, the body, and reality versus imagination. Jonas started making single-channel video works in 1972; two of the pieces she premiered that year, VERTICAL ROLL and ORGANIC HONEY’S VISUAL TELEPATHY, are considered classics of experimental video. With her video pieces of the 1980s, Jonas introduced fragmentary narratives into her work; UPSIDEDOWN AND BACKWARDS (1980) drew from fairy tales, while DOUBLE LUNAR DOGS (1984) incorporated elements of science fiction. From her biography at Electronic Arts Intermix: “Just as Jonas’ works of the 1970s exploited the rudimentary technological properties of video as conceptual devices, so these later works utilize sophisticated electronic techniques to achieve a multi-dimensional theater that explores the fragmentation and loss of memory and identity in postmodern culture.” Throughout her career, Jonas has explored the theme of how women’s bodies are perceived; mirrors play a critical role in her visual language, and role-play is a frequent subject. In a recent interview with the Guardian, Jonas credits her involvement in the women’s liberation movement as an inspiration on her work. “We had a lot of pent-up anger about the whole situation,” she said. “[We went in for] self-examination, and for revealing intimate aspects of one’s sensibilities. ORGANIC HONEY’S VISUAL TELEPATHY was all about asking the question: what is the feminine? I was concerned with the roles women play.” (1968-2017, TRT approx. 90 min, multiple formats) BS
Lucrecia Martel’s ZAMA (New Argentinian)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue for showtimes
“I know it seems like the inexplicable, but it’s just a boy in that box,” says a man to the film’s namesake character, Diego de Zama, as he watches a wooden crate move by itself on the floor outside his room. This supernatural facade haunts the stagnate title character, and us the viewer, who is explicitly implicated in the film’s first bit of opening dialogue. Zama (wonderfully portrayed by Daniel Giménez Cacho) conspicuously watches a group of indigenous women covering their naked bodies in mud; he is spotted by the women, who tease him by yelling, “Voyeur!" Lucrecia Martel places Zama in the lower-right corner of the frame, drawing a direct line between the accusatory women’s pointed glance and the viewer. As he runs away, one of them catches this leg, to which he turns around and slaps her, twice. Zama, a functionary of the King of Spain, is awaiting a transfer out of the land he helped colonize, in hopes to return to his wife and newborn son in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, he suffers one indignity after another, first by the innkeeper’s daughters who bathe and sleep with him in his temporary home, then by a blue-blooded seductress of nobility. He’s constantly humiliated by his superiors (the surrounding slaves silently mock him at every turn), his vapid manhood dissolving slowly all around him. As he nervously awaits the transfer papers, he is thrown out of his temporary furnishings by a new governor recently arrived on the scene. Zama then drags his belongings to a possibly haunted inn on the edge of town, as he waits for the very same governor to sign off on a letter to the King, imploring his long-gestating transfer to his family. The knotty corridors of bureaucracy delay the letter further, so he takes it upon himself to hunt down the phantom-like bandit that has been pestering local authorities for years, in hopes of speeding up his transfer process. It is this journey which makes up the second half of the film, in which Zama and a few men plunge into the heart of the surrounding savannah in search of this elusive figure. Martel took up ZAMA after five years of toiling away on a sci-fi feature that resulted in nothing, most likely due to financier dead-ends. This led her to Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1957 novel, which she read while recovering from exhaustion and illness. It then took three years to turn ZAMA into her latest cinematic gem, which deceptively breaks with her “Salta Trilogy” (her previous feature films, LA CIENAGA, THE HOLY GIRL, and THE HEADLESS WOMAN), in that the earlier films followed multiple women, while ZAMA follows just one man. Despite the reversal of gender roles, her latest wholly embodies, and even properly contextualizes, her three previous films. All four deal with the implications of a bourgeois, almost sleepwalking society whose actions and motives directly influence the indigenous populations they live amongst, resulting in simmering hotbeds of un-cknowledged racism that refuse to be uprooted, no matter how hard some may try. Like the main character of THE HEADLESS WOMAN, Zama is at the will of forces higher and above, both within the upper-echelons of society they hail from, while also from inside the cognitive anxieties and doubts that swim laps around his mind. Martel’s characters listen to voices, real and imagined, as they try to create meaning and narrative to their trancelike states of existence. As always with Martel, off-screen sounds, layered in hallucinatory power, achieve a hypnotizing spell of insects buzzing, birds crying, and animals screaming, that meld into the film’s visuals like distant figures blurring out of perception under a hot sun. Martel reportedly avoided the use of candles and torches to light the atmosphere, bucking the tradition of lighting schemes intended to induce one into a 17th-century world (a la BARRY LYNDON, with which ZAMA shares a kindred spirit). The result is one of unnerving possession and complete immersion into a nightmare brought on by Zama himself, who resists any attempt to go with the flow of his circumstances, thrashing against the powers of red-tape, lust, and sunstroke in his attempts to arrive at a sense of complacency with his current state of affairs. It’s impossible to avoid succumbing to the film’s atmosphere and somnambulistic gaze, especially when you realize suddenly you are in the presence of one of the absolute masterworks of the last ten years. Martel in person at Sunday and Monday screenings. (2017, 115 min, DCP Digital) JD
Todd Haynes' SAFE (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) – Friday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Director Todd Haynes has restless eyes and ears that never linger in one aesthetic or time-period for longer than a film. And despite his continual shifts, it's the aesthetic that tends to star in his films, but this is never a shallow engagement. If Haynes can be said to have a formula, it is to find a pristine surface and scratch until we can see the uneasy construction underneath. His first (banned) public experiment was SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, in which he used Barbie doll whittling as an inspired, literal representation of Karen Carpenter's struggle with her eating disorder. FAR FROM HEAVEN honored and interrogated the world of Douglas Sirk. In I'M NOT THERE, he chipped away at the impenetrable image of Bob Dylan, all the while pointing at the impossibility of his project with a graphic mix of sympathy and irony. SAFE takes a break from public images to get intimate with a housewife's health. Shot and lit with the peachy haloes of a douche commercial, SAFE's blurry suburban Los Angeles is an unlikely venue for horror. We follow Carol White on her errands, to her exercise classes, with her friendly acquaintances; no one seems to mean her any harm. But it's precisely this vagueness—of purpose, of symptoms, of identity—that begins to gnaw at Carol until she is reduced to her flintiest self-preservation impulse. She suffers from both the controversial Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and the middle-class affliction of Unlimited Healing Budget, and either condition could prove fatal. Haynes takes care not to fix any problems or to answer stupid questions; the ending lingers in one's mind like an unresolved chord. (1995, 119 min, 35mm) JF
Chicago Latino Film Festival
AMC River East 21 - 322 E. Illinois St.
The 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival continues through Thursday at AMC River East. Selected reviews follow and the full schedule is at https://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/.
Allan Fiterman's BERENICE (Brazil)
Friday, 9:15pm and Saturday, 7pm
Updating film noir language in present-day Rio with twisted plot devices, ultra-shallow focus, and classic mise-en-scene (replete with silhouettes framed in mirrors and doorways and everything seeming to occur somewhere between twilight and midnight), BERENICE tells the tragic tale of a transgender woman who has been murdered on the beach in Copacabana. Berenice is the 35-year-old protagonist in a loveless marriage to Domingos, a chauvinistic TV reporter. Berenice drives a cab and engages in passive-aggressive mothering with her closeted gay teenage son Thiago. The lurid noir plot drives the narrative with several queer twists: a beautiful trans woman (Isabelle Deluxe, not played by anyone resembling Barbara Stanwyck) is murdered on the night she wins a beauty pageant at the local drag club, run by a shady lesbian owner (who does remind me a little of Dan Duryea in CRISS CROSS) who seems to rule the queens with an iron fist and doubles as a loan shark. Because Thiago is revealed to have a relationship to Isabelle, Berenice feels compelled to investigate Isabelle's death, partially as a way to understand her son, and partially as an escape from her depressing life. The queering of the noir narrative tropes and techniques bring to the fore the painful, bitter reality of life for trans women in Brazil. The police refer to all of the women as transvestites instead of transgender, insinuate the victim "deserved it," and cannot fathom why Berenice or her son would even get mixed up with the "transvestites." They're the new "fallen women": no one cares about them, and no one is interested in solving their murders. The lack of sympathy for these queer outcasts of Rio is no great surprise, considering the homophobia rampant in gut reactions of all of the heterosexual male characters of the film. BERENICE strikes me as a sort of successor to MADAME SATA (though not as incendiary or as brilliant), a film from 2002 that depicted the true story of a transvestite and ex-felon using similar noir techniques. Unlike MADAME SATA, BERENICE does not ignite the audience in quite the same manner, but what it does accomplish, with brutal force and elegant queering of classic tropes, is the painful message that, though BERENICE takes place decades after Madame Sata lived and died, trans people are still the outcasts and rejects of society, fit for entertainment in a highly successful club, but not worth caring about if they're found dead on the beach. (2017, 90 min, Unknown Format) AE
María Novaro’s TESOROS (Mexico)
Saturday, 3:45pm and Monday, 5:45pm
Equal parts charming neo-realist homage and digestible educational supplement, María Novaro’s TESOROS is an absorbing film that labors under the most earnest of pretenses. Novaro, best known for her 1991 film DANZÓN [note to self: watch more of her films ASAP - Ed.], conceived TESOROS for her three grandchildren, who also star in it; her benevolent camera, likewise fond and detached, follows them as they search for Sir Francis Drake’s hidden treasure using maps and a tablet, from which whimsical animations sometimes emerge. Much of the film’s appeal comes from the children’s performances, which are delivered with an aplomb respective to the very young. In the film’s press release, Novaro wonders, “How could we guarantee the children their space and freedom to truly be their own selves in front of the camera and lead the way?” She answers thusly: “I made some decisions: I would not impose character names on them, or a screenplay, or dialogues. I would create situations where they could recognize themselves and each other, so they could own the storyline and make it real. They would also own the logic and dynamics of the game we were all playing: making a film and looking for a treasure at the same time. Sometimes I would whisper ideas to their ears. They could take them or not. I took notes constantly and I tried my best to make things happen for the story. We followed a few simple rules, such as 'whoever looks into the camera, looses [sic] this game.'" Another notable aspect of the film, which takes place in a fishing community on the Pacific coast of Mexico, is its lush cinematography—Novaro writes that this and the film's delightfully willy-nilly feel were achieved in part by shooting with two cameras simultaneously and only with available light. Furthermore, the cameras had to be held at the children's height, a tactic reminiscent of Ozu’s predilection for placing the camera one to two feet off the ground. (According to Senses of Cinema, “[i]t [was] the height Ozu had to position his camera when making a film about children, and it is said he liked it so much that he stuck with it.”) Through this approach, that of relenting wholly to the young protagonists, Novaro achieves something at once anomalous and universal, a singular viewing experience that encapsulates much of what it means to be a kid. (2017, 96 min, DCP Digital) KS
Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato's THE DESERT BRIDE (Argentina/Chile)
Sunday, 4:15pm and Tuesday, 8:30pm
The finest, most affecting moments in THE DESERT BRIDE are the private, wordless ones. They belong to Chilean actress Paulina Garcia, best known to me for her brief but memorable turn as the recalcitrant seamstress mother in Ira Sachs's LITTLE MEN. She gives a quietly moving performance in this first fiction feature by writer-directors Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato, playing Teresa, a 54-year-old live-in maid and caregiver to a family in an ivy-covered house in Buenos Aires. After 34 years with the family, during which she essentially mothered their son, Rodrigo, she finds herself facing a new life when the family has to sell the house. They find her a place with relatives in San Juan, but the bus breaks down in the desert near a pilgrimage town peppered with shrines to the miraculous Saint Correa. Wandering through the market, Teresa encounters a middle-aged, charismatic dress salesman called El Gringo (the wonderful Claudio Rissi). When she accidentally leaves her handbag in his RV (which doubles as the dressing room), she tracks him down and, though he claims no knowledge of her bag, he offers to drive her around looking for it. We feel the romance of the desert highway as they double-check his delivery spots, the taverns and wood-and-adobe homes, and she befriends some of the good people in his life. Playing over Teresa's expression, we see, over the unfolding day, her growing trust in and enjoyment of garrulous, itinerant Gringo, her secret amusement at his occasional flirting. He's a bit of a rascal, a paunchy life-lover. He makes her laugh. There's a kind of low-key suspense. Is he 100% honest? My favorite moment is when Teresa regards herself in the side view mirror, and tentatively lets her hair down. It's clear she hasn't thought of herself as desirable in a very long time. But there are many equally telling wordless moments: when, in flashback, we see her sitting in the empty house amidst the packed boxes, and she picks up a little toy horse from Rodrigo's childhood—and, for a moment, she's happy. Or when, scared about the future the night before her trip, she burrows her face into the blankets. Like good short story writers, Atán and Pivato say as much with what’s between the lines as with what they put in: we get just enough of Teresa's relationship with Rodrigo to see how much the young man loves her. It's a special thing, and a rare one, to have a film told from the point of view of a character like Teresa, brought to life by women auteurs who, I think, clearly love her. In their detailed, empathetic writing and directing, they are helped immeasurably by Garcia, with her little smile, her tired eyes full of a lifetime's joys and disappointments, and her sidelong glances—sometimes watchful and wary, sometimes open and hopeful—that say more than words about what's inside. Thanks to the two leads, this never registers as allegory nor fantasy, but a story about two real, flesh-and-blood, late middle-aged grownups. The passage of time is somehow both the saddest and the happiest part of life. The gentle breeze that blows through much of THE DESERT BRIDE is, somehow, a quiet, unspoken reminder of it. (2017, 78 min, Digital Projection) SP
Natalia Santa’s THE DRAGON DEFENSE (Colombia)
Tuesday, 6pm and Thursday, 8:45pm
With her debut feature THE DRAGON DEFENSE, Natalia Santa became the first-ever female director from Columbia to screen at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film held a spot in last year’s Director’s Fortnight sidebar. There’s often an expectation—which inevitably yields disappointment—that a female director’s films will tell the stories of her sisters, and that by continuing the timeworn tradition of placing men at the forefront of traditional narratives, they’re somehow in league with their oppressors. Santa’s film, which upon initial reflection conjures up such prejudices, has thus opened my eyes to the myriad of ways in which women tell mens’ stories, usually with a sense of commiseration lacking from the converse. The film follows three men in Bogotá, who are middle-aged or older, as they navigate their respective difficulties—the Lasker, a delightfully hoary chess club, serves as a narrative unifier. Samuel (Gonzalo de Sagarminaga, a John Hawkes doppelgänger), the youngest, is a math tutor and chess coach, also an experienced player himself, who struggles to relate to the women in his life, namely his ex-wife, their daughter, and the two women who express romantic interest in him. The other two, Marcos and Joaquin, are a gambling-addicted homeopath and a dealer of decidedly analog technology, respectively. Their struggles are interwoven more subtly: the former has an older son who’s gone missing and the latter is in debt due to his antiquated druthers. Some of the movie’s developments are disconcerting—namely a beautiful, young neighbor girl’s incogitable designs towards decades-older Samuel—but overall the amiable indolence of both its protagonists and filmic structure endear us to otherwise conventional male drudgery. Likewise noteworthy of the film is its aesthetic, which is similarly inspired by the idea of stasis, though in regards to place rather than people. Its look is affecting, the wan lighting and color palette complementing—inasmuch as they can be complemented—only marginally droller vignettes. “The visual proposal, the still camera, the composition and art design came from the pictures [by photographer Iván Herrera, also one of the film's executive producers] that inspired the movie,” Santa told Remezcla last year. “These are photos about emblematic spots in Bogotá that are like, stopped in time and haven’t changed in the last 40 years.” Thus the remnants of outdated patriarchism are placed within the context of an unchanging world and nullified by that very syllogism. Perhaps this viewpoint will engender in its male audience a sense of camaraderie between filmmaker and viewer—after all, in chess, it’s the queen who protects the king, just as its Santa who protects her characters, all kings of their own castles, crumbling though they may be, from themselves. (2017, 80 min, Digital Projection) KS
Takashi Miike’s ICHI THE KILLER (Japanese Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Friday and Saturday, midnight
ICHI THE KILLER isn’t the best of the seven movies Takshi Miike directed in 2001—that would be either the yakuza saga AGITATOR or the family comedy-cum-zombie-musical THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS. Nor is it the most tasteless—that would be VISITOR Q, a movie that opens with a discomfitingly comic depiction of incest and steadily ups the ante from there. ICHI’s distinction is that it’s the one that gained the most attention in the West, its popularity confirming Miike’s reputation here as a cult figure and shockmeister. The underground success of ICHI THE KILLER (which built on that of AUDITION and the first DEAD OR ALIVE, both made two years earlier) proved to be a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it generated enough interest in Miike to create a DVD market for his many other films, which range from children’s fare to serious crime dramas to art house movies; on the other hand, it overshadowed his less brazen work to the extent that relatively few U.S. critics acknowledged it until the mid-to-late 2000s. Like PINK FLAMINGOS or SALO, ICHI THE KILLER is an all-time shocker, a movie that presents such extreme content—and so much of it—that you’re likely to watch it with mouth agape. Miike indulges in graphic scenes of torture and self-mutilation, and the settings are so garish and sleazy that they make the violence seem more disgusting than it actually is. (It’s worth noting that the film’s most brutal acts take place offscreen.) At the same time, the film’s tone is so giddy as to seem practically innocent—Miike, adapting a manga by Hideo Yamamoto, maintains a sense of cartoonish escapism that emphasizes the imaginative quality of the gore. You watch the film much like you read the Marquis de Sade’s fiction—to find out just how far the perverse imagination reaches. Essential to the film’s comic/grotesque tone is Tadanobu Asano, who gives one of the great lead performances in a Miike movie. He plays Kakihara, a yakuza enforcer searching for his missing boss. The character aspires to the be ultimate sadomasochist, devising elaborate methods of torture to punish his enemies and taking delight in experiencing pain. (In what may the film’s most unforgettable set piece, Kakihara cuts out his own tongue to ask forgiveness of a rival crime boss.) Running parallel to Kakihara’s story is that of the title character, an assassin who kills his victims while under hypnosis. Ichi takes no delight from killing; in fact, when he realizes what he’s done he sobs like a baby. The most surprising thing about ICHI THE KILLER—apart from its surface naturalism, which Miike creates through a rigorous long-take style—is the sensitivity with which the filmmakers characterize the antihero. Ichi is always weirdly pathetic; his attacks of conscience offset the extreme violence, making the movie especially discomforting. The film culminates in one of the most brilliant sequences in Miike’s career, as the two narratives merge and the disparate themes (of pain and pleasure, self-definition versus self-negation) come together and reach fruition. Miike has always been a more sophisticated filmmaker than he lets on, as the symphonic structure of ICHI THE KILLER demonstrates. Though he would top this film many times over, it still stands as one of his most potent. (2001, 129 min, DCP Digital) BS
Brian De Palma's SISTERS (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 10pm
After a decade in training, making movies that are variously interesting (GREETINGS, THE RESPONSIVE EYE), fascinating (HI, MOM!, MURDER A LA MOD), or catastrophic (GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT), De Palma burst into artistic maturity with this astonishingly accomplished and subtle masterpiece. It marks the moment De Palma went from being the geekiest of the American New Wave brats to simply the greatest American filmmaker working, a title he's maintained with an almost unbroken string of subsequent wonders. Like many of De Palma's films, SISTERS is antagonistic towards its audience, barraging us with images of brutality, damaged bodies, damaged people, pushing us uncomfortably interrogating us at all times to defend our continual decision to keep watching. It is as though every segment were structured around a question, asked of the audience, as to whether the upcoming visual offense would finally prove to be too much for us to justify. Is it OK to watch this? would be film's ideal motto, with the emphasis on the question mark. At its heart are the Blanchion twins (in a disarming and mesmerizing performance by Margot Kidder), conjoined at birth but surgically cloven from one another as young women. A young model in New York, Danielle picks up a fellow game show contestant, only to find her erotic trajectory frustrated by her astonishingly creepy ex-husband, Emil. Eluding Emil, the amorous couple finds their way into bed together with the casual revelation that the next day will be Danielle's birthday. But that birthday brings with it not joy but murder as Dominique, the evil twin of sweet-natured Danielle takes control of the narrative. As always with De Palma, though, there's much more at play than there seems. Quick as a knife-strike, he introduces the real main character, Jennifer Salt's Grace Collier, a combative investigative journalist whose apartment overlooks the twins' abode. Desperate to discover who her strange neighbors really are, and what they really did with the body she saw killed there, Grace and a private detective pry into the history of the Blanchions, only to discover that peering to closely into their lives threatens indeed their own very existences. SISTERS moves rapidly through a succession of set-pieces, each extraordinary in stylization, exacting in execution, and monstrous in implication: invasions of privacy, hypnotism, madness, and horrifying errors of judgment. This is a film troubled by doubles, by two detectives, by two policemen, by twins, and also by duplication: the duplication of a person when death strikes, the duplication of an image by the television screen, the duplication of cells within a woman's womb, the duplication of space by the split screen. Many critics of De Palma see him as working in hermetic structures, narratives so precise and specifically and idiosyncratically realized that his films are comprehensible only when we understand them to be entries in grand artistic conversations with his inspirations (Hitchcock, Hawks, Lang, Welles). They miss so much: the nausea the film expresses towards the casual misogyny and power of the mysterious Emil; the fragility of the social world, as easily ripped to shreds as a Grace's thin shirt; the arbitrariness of the normal, broken and shattered by the slightest action. SISTERS is no insular work, pillaging all its best ideas from Hollywood's graying masters, but a living, beating, furious wasp's nest of a work, stable at a distance, but ready to explode with the slightest touch. (1973, 92 min, 35mm Archival Print) KB
HBD AB: Celebrating André Bazin's 100th Birthday & Federico Fellini's I VITELLONI (Italian Revival)
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) – Wednesday at 8pm (Free Admission)
Co-presented by Cine-File Associate Editor Kathleen Sachs, this program marks the 100th birthday of French film critic and theorist André Bazin. The evening begins with several local film critics (including several from Cine-File) reading excerpts from Bazin’s writings and is followed by a screening of Federico Fellini’s 1953 Italian film I VITELLONI.
According to history Federico Fellini's second feature, I VITELLONI, should never have existed. After the commercial failure of THE WHITE SHEIK Fellini and co-writer Tullio Pinelli approached producer Luigi Rovere with an early draft of LA STRADA. Intimidated by the liminal nature of its genre, Rovere quickly handed it off to fellow professor/producer Lorenzo Pegoraro. Also bothered by its lack of commercial appeal Pegoraro encouraged the young screenwriters to pen a comedy. And thus Fellini, Pinelli, and longtime collaborator Ennio Flaiano pooled their childhood experiences and birthed I VITELLONI. Met with immediate acclaim, the film follows a group of idle youths in provincial Italy through a series loosely stitched together episodes and adventures. These vitellonis (a cross between the Italian for beef and veal meaning roughly an immature loafer) spend their days plotting hijacks and chasing skirts. Shenanigans include an extravagant masquerade ball, an interrupted beauty pageant, and actor Albert Sordi's drag tango. No doubt influenced by its neorealist predecessors (who found interest in seemingly innocuous small events), I VITELLONI's profound originality lies in its negation of the norms of storytelling, an attribute often derided as immature and naive. But these disparate stories reveal the characters not through dramatic evolution but gestures and attitude--a wry joke, particular gait, or hairstyle. What's crafted is an image behind traditional "psychological cinema"; what Andre Bazin has aptly called a "mode of being". For a film that never should have been I VITELLONI is astonishing in its daring and a must-see for any Fellini fan. As André Bazin has noted, "everything was already contained in I VITELLONI and set out there with magisterial genius." (1953, 104 min, Digital Projection) CGB
Guy Maddin's MY WINNIPEG (Canadian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Monday, 7pm
Like Todd Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, Guy Maddin's essay on his hometown attempts to capture the essence of its subject by honoring its mythology, as wells as inventing a few choice legends of its own. But where Haynes is schematic, Maddin is, as always, intensely personal, staging reenactments of traumatic childhood incidents (starring DETOUR's Ann Savage as his mother!) and mourning the corporate-sponsored destruction of his favorite haunts with righteous anger. Perversely, this densely layered dreamscape is being billed as a documentary, but considering the prevalence of fog machines, somnambulists, and tongue-in-cheek sexual hangups, it is more likely a conclusion to the autobiographical trilogy Maddin began with the COWARDS BEND THE KNEE and BRAND UPON THE BRAIN!. Like those, this follows the esoteric, free-floating whims of Maddin's particular brand of MOS cinema—ever since HEART OF THE WORLD, his visuals have had an impulsive spontaneity that Maddin has been straining to replicate to in his audio tracks, recently assembling a formidable rotating cast of narrators for BRAND UPON THE BRAIN!, and here reputedly improvising the rambling, evocative voiceover in a sort of aural equivalent of automatic writing. If Maddin's pipes lack the theatrical gravitas of, say, Crispin Glover or Isabella Rossellini, the intimacy, humor, and imagination afforded by this gambit more than makes up for it, uncovering the ecstatic truth Werner Herzog has been scouring the globe for in recent years on his first try, and right in his own backyard. (2007, 80 min, 35mm) MK
Aki Kaurismäki’s THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (New Finnish)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue website for showtimes
Building on the themes of immigration and refugees explored in 2011’s LE HAVRE, THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE finds Finnish director, Aki Kaurismäki, tackling the refugee and humanitarian crisis caused by the Syrian Civil War. After stowing-away aboard a Polish coal frigate that lands in Helsinki, Khaled (Sherwan Haji) seeks asylum in Finland with the hopes of finding his sister, whom he lost as they fled Syria. Similarly, traveling shirt salesman Waldemar (Sakari Kuosmanen) flees his old way of life and wife after it is implied he can no longer tolerate the monotony of his current existence. After Khaled’s request for asylum is denied, he flees the immigration center in order to avoid being sent back to Syria and soon crosses paths with Waldemar who now owns a middling restaurant that employs a trio of colorful characters. THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE has a very distinct aesthetic. Its unique set design has an understated blandness that intentionally juxtaposes the bleakness shown in Aleppo after a series of bombings that make Helsinki seem like a paradise by comparison. Kaurismäki combines this aspect with masterful uses of space, especially his overabundance of physical separation of set pieces as an analogy for Finland’s remoteness in relation to the humanitarian crisis occurring in Africa and the Middle East. Kaurismäki’s film has a deadpan, dry wit to it that draws humor from the awkwardness of everyday situations. During one sequence in which Khaled is having identity papers forged for him, he exclaims, “I don’t understand humor” which serves as a reminder that sometimes its difficult to find the laughter in life when a person is too close to a situation. THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE’s unique panache and grounded story make for a delicate and delightful showcase for one of the modern world’s most pressing issues. (2017, 100 min, 35mm) KC
Elia Kazan's ON THE WATERFRONT (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm
ON THE WATERFRONT is a piece of working-class-inflected social drama that was a major influence on Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. Though cherished for Marlon Brando's performance, the film gains much of its power from the understated efforts of Boris Kaufman—the Polish-born cinematographer who began his career with Jean Vigo and later brought a greater naturalism to Hollywood. Between Kaufman's photography and the real-life union locations, this is one of the only American films comparable to the near-contemporaneous work of the Italian Neorealists. (1954, 108 min, 35mm) BS
Richard Linklater's BEFORE MIDNIGHT (American)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Friday, 7 and 9:30pm and Saturday, 1:30pm
Told in a few, spare movements, BEFORE MIDNIGHT reacquaints the audience with Celine and Jesse—whom have been together for some years now—rather than each other, as in the chance or bittersweet meetings of the previous films. Gone is the giddy romance and impressing-by-way-of-theorizing of their youthful first encounter. Instead, almost twenty years and one movie later, Celine and Jesse are now in their 40s and have grown into themselves, their lives, and their choices. On extended holiday in Greece with their children, Celine and Jesse's conversations feel so natural, so mired in the details of their life, that the exuberance of ideas about love and the fullness of life are far more weighted here. Though together as a result of their genuine loving bond, BEFORE MIDNIGHT openly and boldly questions why they remain connected. A lengthy scene during dinner with friends young and old allows for an egalitarian discussion of just this idea, expressing in a different way what Linklater's films are: interim reports on the shifting definition of love as we age. The scene also sets up one of the most remarkable quarrels on film, elegantly shot and staged. The abundance of interpersonal connection is followed by a gradual understanding of the inherent separateness of their lives, yet they maintain an ongoing union out of something much more than convenience or habit. Is this love? It's close enough. (2013, 109 min, 35mm) BW
David Fincher’s THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 7pm
When THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON opened on Christmas Day nearly ten years ago, it was treated like the sweet, ostentatious, and essentially irrelevant gift that nobody wanted. Your uncle Paramount and his cousin Warner Bros. just don't understand that you're a big girl now, with no interest in toy boats and ballet slippers and other remnants of childhood. BUTTON was the kind of big, romantic Hollywood epic that already seemed fossilized by the time it hit screens: a painfully contrived Oscar bid that consciously evoked the production design of the least interesting Vincente Minnelli musicals (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, GIGI) and the naive historical sweep of FORREST GUMP. The Academy did reward BUTTON with a near-record 13 nominations, a defiant endorsement of the old-fashioned values and craftsmanship that audiences had tepidly rejected in favor of MARLEY AND ME and BEDTIME STORIES. Yet BUTTON wasn't entirely, or even primarily, a retro movie; an epic undertaking that became viable when the studios cannily seized upon the massive tax credits available to productions that set up shop in post-Katrina New Orleans, BUTTON was emblematic of a new paradigm in big-budget filmmaking. Like ZODIAC, BUTTON enjoyed an almost wholly digital workflow but wound up being distributed largely in 35mm. (The mass digital conversion of the multiplex wouldn't really get underway in earnest until AVATAR the next year.) More conflicts: for a director who made his reputation on the abrasive FIGHT CLUB and the intoxicatingly grim SE7EN, BUTTON seemed like a major gear-shift, dripping in the kind of sentiment missing, but not exactly missed, from previous Fincher projects. BUTTON actually highlights an important facet of Fincher's method—his ruthless, steamrolling indifference to his scripts. BUTTON might be full of wistful coincidences and improbable tall tales (cribbed guiltlessly from MAGNOLIA), but Fincher's attention lies elsewhere, riveted to the antique light of a revival meeting or the bounty of a garden. (GUMP screenwriter Eric Roth was a new Fincher collaborator, but cinematographer Claudio Miranda was already a long-time associate, promoted from gaffer on SE7EN, THE GAME, and FIGHT CLUB.) These collected contradictions would be trivia if they didn't speak to the Janus-faced nature of BUTTON itself—a film literally and figuratively out of time. Very loosely inspired by a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, BUTTON uses its central metaphor with all the bludgeoning subtlety of a stalking horse, but the conceit works: this is a singularly melancholy film about aging and the crushing improbability of sustained human connection. (2008, 168 min, DCP Digital) KAW
Agnès Varda and JR's FACES PLACES (New Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Friday, 2 and 6:15pm; Saturday, 5:15pm; Sunday, 2:15pm; and Wednesday, 6:15pm
I love this sportive, altogether magical film—it's light and simple and funny, and all the more profound for it. FACES PLACES is a buddy/road trip comedy about a deepening cross-generational friendship; it's also an insightful documentary, a mutual portrait of two unique artists whose visions harmonize. Agnès Varda, who was 88 at the time of shooting, is of course the legendary French New Wave pioneer (before even Chabrol's LE BEAU SERGE, there was Varda's LA POINTE COURTE, in 1955). JR, 33, is a street artist known for making giant, collaborative outdoor image installations. Together, they drive around the French countryside in JR's photo-booth van, which spits out large-format pictures of the people they meet at beaches, ports, factories, and villages, blowing the locals up into massive figures which they paste onto community landmarks. These "framing" structures, whether homes or stacks of cargo containers, nod to personal stories and struggles, and honor unsung people as heroes—dockworkers' wives, a postman, a woman from a mining family who refuses to let her home be demolished. The subjects get to talk back, and to see them interact with their magnified selves, the happiness on their faces, the wonder, or even the bemused ambivalence, is a beautiful thing. Mounting the portraits is a collective, social event in which the subjects themselves participate, creating spectacles as rich and full of humanity as Hollywood's are empty and dehumanized. They paste an image of Varda's late friend, the photographer Guy Bourdin, to the side of a German WWII bunker that's fallen onto a beach. In the image he's very young, almost a boy, and the bunker seems to cradle him. When they come back the next day, the image has been washed away by the tide. How fleeting is memory, how fleeting are the years. How fragile, finally, is life. That's why there's a certain urgency to their work: as JR says, we must get as many images as we can, before it's too late. Varda is happy, even as she finds her vision growing dim and her memory fading. She feels herself winding down, but her curiosity about other people remains undimmed. The two laugh a lot, teasing each other. He is irreverent with her in a somehow deeply respectful manner—which is to say, he's never patronizing. (You are good to old people, she tells him at one point, as they visit his grandmother, who's pushing 100). Their friendship is a real dialogue, and as it deepens, we sense he'd do anything for her. Well, almost anything: he lives behind dark glasses, and a running joke in the film has Varda trying to coax him out of them, just as she was once able to do with the young Jean-Luc Godard. Speaking of Godard, I mustn't reveal too much of a final surprise involving their pilgrimage to reconnect with him. (As a factory worker, admiring the group portrait of his co-workers, points out, art is meant to surprise us.) I'll only say the scene finds just the right strain of wistfulness on which to end, evoking, cryptically but movingly, happy days with Varda's late husband, the great Jacques Demy. FACES PLACES is about history and memory and the power of imagination. It is about art and life—the ways they mirror each other, and what's important in both: love and creativity and travel and leaping at chances, and seeing things that make you dream. It is about the life force—as, at its best, was the French New Wave. At one point Varda and JR recreate Godard's famous race through the Louvre, and I actually bounced in my seat and clapped. In the end, they photograph faces because faces are beautiful, and every face tells a story. It is as simple—and as profound—as that. (2017, 89 min, DCP Digital) SP
The Saturday screening is a “Movie Club” event, with a discussion facilitated by Cine-File Associate Editor Kathleen Sachs.
Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE (New American)
Music Box Theater (in 70mm) and multiple other venues (in DCP) – Check Venue showtimes for details
Anyone would be right to suggest that READY PLAYER ONE predictably follows the standard “blockbuster model,” a typified structure of storytelling that is set-piece driven, lively, fast-paced with plenty of action and humor, concluding with fairly predictable results; but since Spielberg mostly wrote the rules for this model of cinematic storytelling, the formulaic design becomes emboldened by his signature and still-pioneering direction. Just as JURASSIC PARK’s storyline—the artificial creation of fantastic beings that would eventually run loose and wreck everything—paralleled the film’s actual production/creation of real-world CGI-spectacle that would increasingly run ferociously and blindly amok, so does the creator of the virtual world in READY PLAYER ONE resemble its filmmaker, with both utilizing nearly every element that has come to define what a “blockbuster” is. Nearly all of the pop culture references in the movie found their genesis in the 1980s, with Spielberg harvesting them and coalescing them into a single nostalgia-laded green-screened universe, fostering a joyous (if fairly simplistic) reminiscence of the halcyon days of one’s early years (for those who came of age in the ‘80s). READY PLAYER ONE also conjures another aspect of this decade—the no-limit financial opportunities for business execs and CEOs who knew how to leverage the system. A different kind of ‘80’s nostalgia. (Could this be Spielberg taking aim at contemporary Hollywood’s go-to mode of recycling revered and vibrant films of the past into hollow, plastic “remakes” and “reboots”?) As much a Spielberg appropriates characters from other films and franchises (his own and others) for sheer spectacle and culture-riffing, he is also in a sense liberating them from the commercial exploitation they’ve experiences in the intervening decades. Seeing Mario, Chucky, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other characters together in a film certainly can elicit some initial jeering and laughter, but the larger point comes through, maybe only afterwards, and understanding of Spielberg’s game and one begins to commiserate for how these now devalued iconic figures have just become commodities of capital. Here, the creator of the film’s virtual world, Oasis, and Spielberg, are aligned. Both are battling against the cynicism of their times, looking to re-connect people with the joys of creation and creativity. The greed of the 1980’s business world and the greed of the corporatists in READY PLAYER ONE are both harbinger of and reflection of the greed of contemporary Hollywood. These themes transpire in a film that is on its own a visually dense world of eye-popping movement, color, and texture. It’s situated somewhere between Spielberg’s CGI-only works (THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, THE BFG) and the more real-world world-building of a few of his other films (MINORITY REPORT, EMPIRE OF THE SUN). He steals from his own films, as director and as producer, as freely as he steals from others: the T-Rex from JURASSIC PARK makes an appearance, and several of his fellow genre-subvertor buddy, Robert Zemeckis’ films get nods. Spielberg’s own AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, and the criticism it received from the pro-Kubrick camp, is addressed directly and humorously in one standout scene. READY PLAYER ONE is Spielberg reckoning with his own pop-culture legacy, his complicity as the “progenitor” of the modern blockbuster, and the soulless product they’ve become. Gone is the fantasy, the wonder, and the joy of creativity. One wonders whether audiences can get past the cynicism of internet-driven hot-takes to look at Spielberg’s visionary creation with even the smallest sense of awe. (2018, 139 min, 70mm at the Music Box and DCP Digital elsewhere) JD
Paul Thomas Anderson’s PHANTOM THREAD (New American)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Saturday, 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday, 4pm
More often than not, modern movies are endlessly clogged with flimsy and cardboard cutouts of the “classic love story,” a trend hopefully being seared away entirely, given that they seem more offensive in a cavernous last year of cynicism and bitterness. The genre has been in desperate need of a refurbishing to allow for a better understanding of what’s embedded inside its own fragile construction. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest and possibly greatest achievement isn’t without a mind of its own; it is a wonderfully conceived cinematic dream, wrapped in the lush, evergreen imagination of an artist working closely within the inner representation of his creations, much like Daniel Day-Lewis’ dress-making main character, Reynolds Woodcock. Anderson achieves something much closer to the actual emotions and feelings that echo throughout a relationship between two people, avoiding many of the stale and dry trends found in the modern romance movie. These lifeless morality lessons, usually soaked in a pale blue sadness, seem too bitter and lazy to have much real purpose and functionality, allowing Anderson to spin a delightedly deceptive chamber piece instead. Given the film’s advertising, championing PHANTOM THREAD as a brooding sure-fire contender in the race for awards-season gold, you might be surprised to discover a strange rom-com hiding in the lining of its framework. The plot involves a dressmaker (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his closely-curated daily home and work life, right as another of his romantic relationships is beginning to dim out. As another unfulfilled and lifeless relationship goes, Woodcock decides to retreat to one of his favorite restaurants (it is here I’d like to heavily underline the film’s ideas about taste and hunger, given new literal and metaphorical life in a way that is shockingly unpretentious). It is at this place of dining that he meets Alma, played by newcomer Vicky Krieps, that leads to an intimate portrayal of love’s inherent mystery, built inside an almost hermetic world of imagination that conjures up visions of the classical Hollywood era, while simultaneously managing to subvert the work of “tradition.” straddling the lines of the modern and classical film structure/form with the skill of a master operating at the height of their creative abilities. Despite taking place in Great Britain, this is far from the British-ness on display in BBC dramas and endless droves of Oscar bait. Beginning with its suggestive point-of-view, then unwinding between not two points of view, but a shared point of view, the personal nature of this film for Anderson is evident, with Anderson not only writing the script, but also shooting nearly every frame of film himself (though he appears uncredited in that role). The everyday gestures, glances, embraces, arguments, and alluring atmosphere between two people seeps through every frame, delivering unexpected surprises carefully yet unabashedly. This is one of the few films in recent years that is really essential to witness in 70mm. The projection’s colors and light are captured in spellbinding luminosity, the sounds and images pushing forth the relationship of one woman and one fragile male ego, across a tapestry of sensual pleasures with hardly a hint of on-screen sex in sight. The results trace the lines around eroticism, rather than circling it directly, letting them blossom into a rare achievement in recent American cinema, a precious gift inside the fabric of it’s own design; one to keep close through the next several years. (2018, 130 min, DCP Digital) JD
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
The Film Studies Center (at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., University of Chicago) and Channels: A Quarterly Film Series present Blake Williams’ 2017 Canadian experimental 3D film PROTOTYPE (63 min, DCP Digital) on Friday at 7pm. Preceded by Williams’ 2014 3D short RED CAPRICCIO (7 min, Digital Projection). Free admission.
Also, the Film Studies Center (at the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., University of Chicago) hosts the Sensing Media: Department of Cinema and Media Studies Graduate Student Conference on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21. The schedule is at sensingmedia.wordpress.com.
Also at Block Cinema (Northwestern University) this week: Wendell B. Harris, Jr.’s 1990 film CHAMELEON STREET (94 min, DCP Digital) is on Thursday at 7pm. Free admission.
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and Windy City Horrorama screen Cody Meirick’s 2018 documentary SCARY STORIES (82 min, Digital Projection) on Tuesday at 8pm. Free admission.
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) presents An Evening with Filmmaker Catherine Crouch on Saturday at 8pm (reception at 7pm) as part of its monthly “Dyke Delicious” screening series. Crouch will present a selection of her short films and excerpts of longer works.
Cinema 53 presents Julie Bertucelli’s 2013 French documentary SCHOOL OF BABEL (89 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 7pm at the Harper Theater (5238 S. Harper Ave.). Followed by a discussion. Free admission.
Black Cinema House (at the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E 70th St.) screens Lawrence Lee Wallace’s 2017 film PIECES OF DAVID (117 min, Digital Projection) on Friday at 7pm. Free admission.
South Side Projections (at Yollocalli Arts Reach, 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave.) screens Mikaela Shwer’s 2015 documentary DON’T TELL ANYONE (75 min, Video Projection) on Friday at 5:30pm. Followed by a discussion. Free admission.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema also presents Zhou Yu-Pan’s 2014 Chinese film A VILLAGE DOCTOR’S CHOICE (85 min, Video Projection) on Saturday at 2pm at the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (238 W. 23rd St,). This screening is free, but requires an RSVP (visit www.asianpopupcinema.org/tickets); and Rima Das’ 2017 Indian film VILLAGE ROCKSTARS (87 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 7pm at AMC River East 21, with Das in person.
The Davis Theater hosts the Sound of Silent Film Festival on Saturday at 7 and 9:30pm (two different programs). The programs feature newly-composed live scores to modern silent films. Presented by Access Contemporary Music.
Italian Film Festival USA presents five screenings from April 7-19 at various locations. Full schedule at www.italianfilmfests.org/chicago.html.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: John Pirozzi's 2014 documentary DON'T THINK I'VE FORGOTTEN: CAMBODIA'S LOST ROCK & ROLL is on Saturday at 5:30pm and Tuesday at 6pm, with a lecture at the Tuesday show by SAIC professor Nora Annesley Taylor; Wim Wenders' 2017 film SUBMERGENCE (112 min, DCP Digital Projection) has a week-long run; and in the Asian American Showcase this week: STAND UP MAN, PROOF OF LOYALTY: KAZUO YAMANE AND THE NISEI SOLDIERS OF HAWAII, and MINDING THE GAP all screen.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Lee Chang-dong's 1999 film PEPPERMINT CANDY (129 min, 35mm) is on Sunday at 7pm and Michael Haneke's 1997 film FUNNY GAMES (108 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Cédric Klapisch's 2017 French film BACK TO BURGUNDY opens; Ferenc Török’s 2017 Hungarian film 1945 (91 min, DCP Digital) continues; and Frank Henenlotter’s 1982 horror-comedy BASKET CASE (91 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight.
At Facets Cinémathèque this week: Brad Silberling's 2017 film AN ORDINARY MAN (90 min, Video Projection) and Leena Pendharkar's 2017 film 20 WEEKS (89 min, Video Projection) play for week-long runs.
At the Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) this week: Alexander Payne’s 2017 film DOWNSIZING (135 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 10:30am (open caption screening), 2pm, and 7pm; Michael Moore’s 1989 documentary ROGER & ME (91 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Tuesday at 2pm; and Sydney Pollack’s 1973 film THE WAY WE WERE (118 min, DCP Digital) is on Wednesday at 1 and 7pm. Free admission.
The Park Ridge Classic Film Series at the Pickwick Theatre (5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) screens Robert Wise’s 1965 film THE SOUND OF MUSIC (172 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 2 and 7pm.
Instituto Cervantes (31 W. Ohio St.) screens Luis García Berlanga’s 1963 Spanish film THE EXECUTIONER (92 min, DVD Projection) on Tuesday at 7pm. Free admission.
Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Ave.) screens Pierfrancesco Diliberto’s 2016 Italian film AT WAR WITH LOVE (99 min, Video Projection) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.
Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent’s 2015 French documentary TOMORROW (118 min, Video Projection) on Tuesday at 6:30pm. Preceded by Nathan Truesdell’s 2016 short film BALLOONFEST (6 min).
Sinema Obscura presents The First Fifteen, a program of the first fifteen minutes of selected films, on Monday at 7pm at the Logan Bar (2230 N. California Ave.); and TV Party, a program of trailers, shorts, and music videos, on Wednesday at 7pm in the lounge at the Logan Theater (2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.).
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has artist Paul Pfeiffer’s two-channel video installation Three Figures in a Room (2016, 48 min looped) on view through May 20.
The Art Institute of Chicago (Stone Gallery) has on view a show of two large-scale installation works by French artist Philippe Parreno. One of these, With a Rhythmic Instinction to Be Able to Travel beyond Existing Forces of Life (2014) includes a moving-image component.
Also currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago: Frances Stark’s 2010 video installation NOTHING IS ENOUGH (14 min loop) in Gallery 295C; and Nam June Paik’s 1986 video sculpture FAMILY OF ROBOT: BABY in Gallery 288.
CINE-LIST: April 13 - April 19, 2018
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, K.A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Camden G. Bauchner, Kian Bergstrom, Kyle Cubr, John Dickson, Alexandra Ensign, Josephine Ferorelli, Mike King, Scott Pfeiffer, Brian Welesko