On episode #3 of the Cine-Cast, Cine-File associate editors Ben Sachs and K.A. Westphal discuss recent releases and screenings they're looking forward to at the Chicago Film Critics Film Festival; Sachs and contributor John Dickson chat about the Philippe Garrel series at the Gene Siskel Film Center; contributor JB Mabe interviews the new Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Block Museum of Art at Northwest University, Michael Metzger—they talk about upcoming programming and the direction Mike is taking within the Chicago film community; and contributor Kyle Cubr interviews Chicago Film Society co-founder Julian Antos about their new season.
Listen here. As always, special thanks to our producer, Andy Miles, of Transistor Chicago.
Jon Moritsugu's MOD FUCK EXPLOSION (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Friday and Saturday, midnight
MOD FUCK EXPLOSION is among the great films about teenagers, an avant-garde masterpiece that breaks taboos and tests audience members' patience in equal measure. It's the story of disaffected teenager London (Amy Davis, Moritsugu's longtime muse and partner) mooning around listlessly, bemoaning her meaningless life, against a backdrop of pending war between a Japanese biker gang (led by Moritsugu) and a gang of Mods. She wants a leather jacket; she wants to lose her virginity; she wants to know what it all means. The closest she gets to any of that is with M16 (Desi del Valle), an androgynous Sal Mineo type who sometimes calls her to read horrific stories from the newspaper. The dominant mode is a sort of satire of corporate movies about earnestly moody teenage angst: WEST SIDE STORY is the easy choice, but it exists alongside aspects of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, THE WILD ONE, and any number of featureless 1950s and 60s (and 1990s and 2000s) angry-teenager movies. A lot of it is loud and obnoxious and amateurish, by design; the camera is too far away from the actors, the lighting is inadequate so the scenes are murky, it looks like the film was developed in a urinal, and the dialogue is a distracting mix of post-sync and location sound, often in the same scene. The actors stand around awkwardly, delivering their lines about youth and despair in loud, bored voices. But don't let any of this fool you: Moritsugu knows what to do with a camera, how to use limited lighting in evocative ways, how to work magic with his grainy 16mm stock. He throws in shots of delicate beauty that come and go so abruptly that it's almost like he's winking at the audience before going back to spitting in their faces. He's also a brilliant satirist; I know I haven't laughed so hard this year as I did during a scene where London flips through her record collection, cataloging records by invented bands like Dildo and Shit-Matrix according to their resale value like a hipster on Record Store Day. Other portions are sweetly disarming, like a scene when London and androgynous gang leader M16 are bragging about imagined sexual experiences. The soundtrack, apparently recorded for the film by punk bands Unrest and Karyo Tengoku, is an unheralded masterpiece that slyly comments on the film. I'm emphasizing these fleeting, beautiful things because it would be very tempting to miss them or discount them in the often nonsensical swirl of violence, bad acting, profanity, deliberate offense, and enervating pacing that sometimes surrounds them. I suspect that Moritsugu is an incredibly talented filmmaker who can do just about anything he wants, and this is what he wanted to do—all of it. (1994, 67 min, 16mm) MWP
The Saturday screening will be preceded by four short films by experimental filmmaker/animator Martha Colburn: EVIL OF DRACULA (1997), THERE’S A PERVERT IN OUR POOL! (1998), SPIDERS IN LOVE (2000), and CATS AMORE (2002). All 16mm.
Claire Denis’ LET THE SUNSHINE IN (New French)
Music Box Theatre – Check venue website for showtimes
Claire Denis follows up her darkest and most disturbing feature, 2013’s BASTARDS—a gut-wrenching journey into the heart of a prostitution ring that was loosely inspired by William Faulkner—with LET THE SUNSHINE IN, undoubtedly her lightest and funniest work, which was loosely inspired by Roland Barthes. A delight from start to finish, Denis’ first collaboration with the iconic Juliette Binoche is probably the closest we’ll ever come to seeing the Gallic master’s take on the rom-com. Binoche, looking more radiant than ever at 53, plays Isabelle, a divorced mother living in Paris whose career as a painter is as successful as her love life is a mess. The neurotic Isabelle plunges headfirst into a series of affairs with dubious men, some of whom are married and one of whom is her ex-husband, all the while hoping to find “true love at last.” Isabelle’s best prospect seems to be the only man who wants to take things slow (Alex Descas) but a witty coda involving a fortune-teller played by Gerard Depardieu suggests that Isabelle is doomed to repeat the same mistakes even while remaining a hopelessly optimistic romantic. Bolstered by Agnes Godard’s tactile cinematography and Stuart Staples’ fine jazz score, LET THE SUNSHINE IN is funny, wise, sexy—and essential viewing. (2017, 94 min, DCP Digital) MGS
Pacific Street Film Collective's RED SQUAD (Documentary Revival) & William E. Jones’ TEAROOM (Experimental Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) – Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission)
A bitter survey of law enforcement surveillance methods from the muggy twilight of the Hoover era, RED SQUAD is an artifact of a specific moment in the history of American dissent, after the revelation of COINTELPRO but before the systematic excavations of the Church Committee. As such, RED SQUAD represents the civil liberties boomlet at its fringeiest—literally, long-haired college kids rapping about police surveillance in their parents' basement, annotating photos, transcribing covert recordings, replaying scraps of film footage, tying together a network of narcs and plants with all the alacrity of amateur sleuths cracking cold cases and fingering serial killers. The interviews they compile—left-wing lawyers, former Red Squad infiltrators, a hippie chick with a cat, their own parents—are uneven and exemplify a filmmaking ethos of using whoever and whatever is at hand. RED SQUAD feels exactly like what it is: the work of some NYU grads, known as the Pacific Street Film Collective, whose passions exceed their craft. (It's not uncommon to have collectively signed films in 1970s—see also CineManifest's NORTHERN LIGHTS and Mariposa Film Group's WORD IS OUT—but I can't recall any other film that credits its musical score to a coop, too: the WBAI Music Commune.) At its best, RED SQUAD recalls the powerful direct address and thorough argumentation of Howard Alk's THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON or the Winterfilm Collective's WINTER SOLDIER. Yet the contemporary work that RED SQUAD most closely resembles in its stoner self-regard is Jim McBride and L.M. Kit Carson's classic documentary put-on DAVID HOLTZMAN'S DIARY. The Pacific Street Film Collective's story begins in medias res, with the disgruntled film students bemoaning the NYPD's efforts to harsh their verité. Most documentary filmmakers would begin with a subject and gradually acknowledge that they've become part of the story; RED SQUAD dispenses with this narrative nicety and simply presents the filmmakers as our protagonists from the first. As RED SQUAD lurches forward, we begin to see another documentary tradition in embryo; the scenes of our heroes and on-screen surrogates arguing with cops, hectoring public officials, and button-holing random strangers lay the groundwork for Michael Moore's omni-confrontrational agit-docs. All of Moore's enlightenment and excess can be glimpsed in RED SQUAD, and more besides. (1972, 45 min, 16mm) KAW
More an appropriated document than an overtly crafted experimental film, William E. Jones’ TEAROOM is no less enthralling for its straightforwardness. Jones recontextualizes 16mm police surveillance footage, taken in 1962, of a public mensroom in Mansfield, Ohio. The footage captured men from all walks of life performing "deviant sex acts" leading to the conviction of dozens of people. Jones, who has frequently crafted works from found queer porn, describes his choice to leave the footage practically unedited in these terms: "I don't want to obscure the actions of the police by imposing my own decisions on the material. The footage was not the product of an automatic camera. It required people to operate it... The decisions regarding what and when to shoot were effectively judgments of which men–and indeed, which parts of men's bodies–were worth scrutinizing. TEAROOM is evidence of men engaging in criminal activities under the eye of the law, but it is also a record of men hiding unseen and photographing others masturbating and having sex." Part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial, TEAROOM lays the physical actuality of the film bare and in the process exposes the values at play in early sixties middle America. TEAROOM is a rich and disturbing document of queer life under the threat of suppression and fear. (1962/2007, 56 min, Digital Projection) CL
Philippe Garrel's REGULAR LOVERS (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Saturday, 2pm and Monday, 6:30pm
Period films are, as the phrase suggests, films that get treated as "successful" when they don't include ellipses, question marks, or exclamation points. It's more important to get your facts right than to make a statement. So we have "epics" that are epic only in their attention to costuming details and movies that are "sweeping" in the sense that their loudmouthed self-importance sweeps better movies out of the public view. The kind of movies that have space reserved on the poster for the inevitable hack critic quote. You get to a point where you don't want to see any movie described as "stunning" or "heartbreaking." Which is cruel and tragic, because there are intelligent movies being made about the past, movies that'll stun you and break your heart. Take Philippe Garrel's three-hour REGULAR LOVERS: a minute film about epic ideas, the director's most articulate work, a defeated movie about self-styled idealists. Forty years ago, a group of young people throw Molotov cocktails at the cops and realize that they're capable of changing the world. They spend the next few years changing nothing, getting high, listening to music, dying. There's no pageantry here, just images of young people's oily, pimply faces, their sweat-stained shirts and tangled hair, the slow trickling of time that comes with indecisiveness and boredom. Preceded by Garrel’s 1968 short ACTUA 1 (6 min, Unconfirmed Format). (2005, 178 min, 35mm) IV
Valeska Grisebach’s WESTERN (New German/Bulgarian/Austrian)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Friday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Reading interviews with Valeska Grisebach about WESTERN, one might think it’s merely a formal and thematic exercise. In conversations with various publications, the German director evinces the influence of the eponymous genre (she regularly cites WINCHESTER ‘73 and THE GUNFIGHTER among her favorites) and its concomitant themes, as well her primary narrative idea—revolving around a finespun xenophobia—and an unconstrained shooting style that involved working with something of a treatment rather than a traditional script. It sounds almost like a film school project: consider your favorite genre (check), apply your own “spin” to it (check), then do your thing, make your mark, show us what makes you different than all those other hacks (check, check, and check). I often think about this with regards to films that boast some kind of gimmick, narrative (recently, A QUIET PLACE and THE RIDER) or technical (not as recently, BIRDMAN), how concept often overpowers purpose, thus emitting into the world a rather neat product that’s nonetheless just that—a product of conceit rather than imagination. WESTERN, more than the sum of its parts, rises above such limitations, merging all the best possible outcomes of the aforementioned confines, veering them away from film-school-neat territory. Griesbach’s story follows a group of German construction workers—all played by nonprofessional actors, another common gimmick oft mistaken for idiosyncrasy, or vice versa—who travel to Bulgaria to build a hydroelectric plant, where they’re met with trepidation and even outright hostility owing to a fraught relationship between the two countries—one a formidable Western power, the other a Balkan nation—during World War II. I won’t pretend to understand the political nuances, respective or intertwined, but thankfully Grisebach’s film is easy to follow without an in-depth knowledge of either. As with Maren Ade’s TONI ERDMANN, however, it’s safe to assume that Europe’s tenuous economic state plays its part. (Incidentally, Ade served as a producer on the film.) WESTERN focuses mainly on one of the men, Meinhard (played by non-actor Meinhard Neumann, whose got a certain something you don’t see every day) , and his relationships with both his crew—specifically one man, the de facto leader Vincent, whose motivations are as tenebrous as his Fassbinderian style—and the townspeople. Its evocation of the western genre is so subtle that it’s easy to forget at times, even when especially obvious, as in the case of the beautiful white horse that Meinhard adopts. That it’s at once a singular concept, an homage to an entire genre and yet another entry into a recent trend of European cinema that’s taking on the economic crisis is both its earnest allure and its ‘gimmick’—its originality in spite of confessed intentions otherwise is so impressive as to seem contrived, but alas, that’s not the case. Also notable is Bernhard Keller’s nighttime cinematography; much like the film itself, the effect is both natural and noticeable, a sure sign of its potency. (2017, 119 min, DCP Digital) KS
John Cameron Mitchell’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (American Revival)
The Logan Theatre – Friday - Monday, 11pm
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is a magnificent, glam rock, genderbending film adaptation of an off-Broadway musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. Mitchell and Trask co-wrote and produced the songs together, and the soundtrack is electric, emotive, cinematic, and unforgettable. Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred in HEDWIG as the titular transgender woman from East Berlin. Hedwig grew up daydreaming about David Bowie and Lou Reed in dreary communist housing with her single mother. A failed misfit at university, Hedwig (then Hansel) is swept off her feet by American Sgt. Luther Robinson, a smooth-talking man who convinces Hansel to leave a little...something...behind in order to get married and emigrate to the US, which had been Hansel's dream. One botched sex change operation and failed relationship later, Hedwig finds herself in a singlewide trailer in the midwestern prairie wondering just what to do with her life. The number "Angry Inch" describes her operation to the extreme discomfort of unsuspecting patrons at the seafood restaurant chain where Hedwig regularly performs with her band, followed by "Wig in a Box," a fantastic number about the iconic women who inform Hedwig's feminine persona as she picks herself back up again. Hedwig's life changes dramatically when she begins babysitting an angsty 17-year-old who becomes Tommy Gnosis under her careful tutelage. They fall in love, Tommy catapults to fame, and he leaves his co-writer and lover in the dust. Hedwig has to pick herself back up once again, re-examine her Platonic ideals (her obsession with Greek and German Idealist philosophy shines through the song "The Origin of Love" and her dissertation title: "You Kant Always Get What You Want"), and figure out what she really wants to do with her life and career. HEDWIG shifts from comedy to pathos with masterful ease, despite this being Mitchell's first movie. He workshopped the script at the Sundance Labs and went on to win a string of awards, including three at Sundance Film Festival. It's not difficult to see why, with the fabulous score, cinematography, acting (Miriam Shor is especially wonderful as Yitzshak, Hedwig's disgruntled, scruffy present-day husband who yearns to don drag himself), and a beautiful animation sequence by Emily Hubley. In the 17 years since I was in high school, when I drove two hours away to Madison, Wisconsin to see HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH and left the theatre feeling exuberant, understood, thrilled, and wonderfully alive, this movie has shaped my understanding and appreciation of the film musical. I am happy to say that it still holds up. After seeing many more musicals since HEDWIG, I am convinced that it is one of the most skillful, gorgeous, and effective film adaptations of a stage musical ever made. This may seem ambitious, but I would count this wacky cult classic alongside FUNNY GIRL and CABARET as successful adaptations that use elements specific to the medium of film to amplify powerful moments within the drama and intensify the intimate connection we as audience feel with the protagonist. Like Barbra Streisand's first semi-sarcastic look in the mirror ("Hello, gorgeous!"), Hedwig's semi-panicked-but-pleased look in the mirror after she dons her Farrah Fawcett wig speaks to something tentative and tenacious in us as we don tenuous personas to tackle our quotidian lives. Though Hedwig's experience is strange and unusual and a general audience may not relate to her particular gender odyssey, the intimacy created by the most cinematic and theatrical moments of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH makes her quest for self-realization magnetic and compelling. Much like Minnelli's musicals, HEDWIG even seems to veer into the protagonist's mind in the final sequence, bringing an actualized self to life through music. I dare you to watch the final number of this movie and not feel chills. (2001, 95 min, Digital Projection) AE
Don Siegel’s COOGAN’S BLUFF (American Revival)
Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) – Tuesday, 7:30pm
1968 was a busy year for both Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel. In addition to collaborating on COOGAN’S BLUFF, Eastwood starred in HANG ‘EM HIGH and WHERE EAGLES DARE, while Siegel directed the Henry Fonda vehicle MADIGAN. Given the makers’ active schedules, COOGAN’S BLUFF was shot relatively quickly, so that director and star could go on to other projects. Yet aside from a hurriedly delivered exposition and resolution, the film doesn’t feel rushed; rather, it benefits from a relaxed charm that’s characteristic of both Eastwood and Siegel. It’s essentially a fish-out-of-water action-comedy, with Eastwood’s small-town deputy sheriff going to New York City to catch an escaped convict who’s supposed to stand trial back in Arizona. Coogan thinks the trip will be quick and easy, but darned bureaucracy (ever the villain in Eastwood’s movies) prevents him from accessing the criminal. Having dropped acid and undergone a bad trip, the criminal now rests in a psychiatric ward and can’t be released without a judge’s order. What’s Coogan to do? After trying (and failing) to score with a liberal probation officer, the deputy sheriff decides to take the law into his own hands and bust the prisoner out of Bellevue. Coogan succeeds, but the prisoner escapes again, leading our hero into a nastily imagined hippie underworld (original music by the Pigeon-Toed Orange Peels!) to find his prey. Siegel’s modest direction and Eastwood’s charisma make up for some backwards sexual politics and a reactionary view of urban counterculture. The two would go on to make much better movies—TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, THE BEGUILED, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ—but COOGAN’S BLUFF shows the director and star first discovering how to use each other to mutual benefit, which makes the film of interest to auteurists and Eastwood fans alike. Preceded by Clint Eastwood’s 1971 production featurette THE BEGUILED: THE STORYTELLER (12 min, 35mm). (1968, 94 min, 35mm) BS
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea's MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT (Cuban Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Check venue website for showtimes
Director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is probably best known in the U.S. for his penultimate film, the innocuous gay love story STRAWBERRY AND CHOCOLATE (released here by Miramax in 1994) but his most acclaimed work is MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT, a masterpiece of Godardian self-reflexivity from 1968; anyone seeking to understand the state of the contemporary Cuban soul would do well to check out this masterpiece, the unforgettable chronicle of Sergio Corrieri (Sergio Carmona Mendoyo), a bourgeois intellectual who chooses to remain in his native Havana from the pre-Revolution era through the rise of Castro, the Cuban Missile Crisis (which prompts his family into exile), and beyond. Like a Latino version of the characters Marcello Mastroianni specialized in playing for Federico Fellini, Sergio lives an empty, decadent existence, pursuing hedonistic affairs with young women in a vain attempt to recapture his former happiness. Far from being the work of Communist propaganda that one might expect from a Cuban film of this era, however, MEMORIES is instead a deeply ambiguous character study and a brilliantly fragmented work of cinematic modernism. Beautifully shot in black and white, it looks and sounds like a kissing cousin of the contemporaneous French New Wave while also functioning as a vivid portrait of a specific time and place in Cuban history. (1968, 97 min, DCP Digital) MGS
Elia Kazan's WILD RIVER (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm
As J. Hoberman noted in a recent reconsideration, WILD RIVER may have been Kazan's most personal effort: The director saw the script go through nine separate drafts and he filmed it in the same region where he shot his first documentary, PEOPLE OF THE CUMBERLAND, in 1938. The great Montgomery Clift—likely the most sensitive and understated of first-generation Method actors—stars as an employee of FDR's Tennessee Valley Authority sent south to evict an old woman so the TVA can use her land for a dam-building project. But Clift is quickly sidetracked when he meets the woman's feisty granddaughter, played by the equally great Lee Remick (who, between ANATOMY OF A MURDER and Blake Edwards' DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, emerged as one of the most versatile actresses of her generation). Also from Hoberman's review: "Sympathetic to both sides, the movie pits tradition against progress, rugged individualism against the greater good (Jo Van Fleet's anti-gummint rhetoric has a contemporary ring.) Indeed, so Popular Front was the premise that critics were disturbed by the degree to which romance eclipsed social drama—and perhaps the strangeness of the romance. If WILD RIVER initially seems a fairy tale in which a New Deal prince rescues a backwoods Rapunzel from a reactionary old witch, the movie's casting effectively reverses the roles. Clift is the sleeping beauty whose diffidence is (perhaps) thawed by Remick's sexual warmth." This was Kazan's second film in 'Scope, and the film has been universally praised for the majesty of its photography. (1960, 110 min, 35mm) BS
Frank Perry's MOMMIE DEAREST (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Sunday, 2pm
DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE, THE SWIMMER, LADYBUG LADYBUG—any of these three would cement Frank Perry's legacy as a great American filmmaker. But among the general public the rest of his oeuvre pales mightily in comparison to MOMMIE DEAREST, his notorious adaptation of Christina Crawford's memoir. The film's portrait of Joan Crawford, thanks to a no-holds-barred performance/recreation by Faye Dunaway, decades of cable TV repeats and hearsay drag queen re-enactment, has cemented MOMMIE DEAREST's status as a true cult classic. But experiencing it solely as an over-the-top melodrama sells the movie short. Viewed differently, it's actually a vivid and disturbing examination of child abuse, the perils of being a movie star, and of being the child of a star. And Perry uses the same cool, clean style as in DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE. His objective camera, usually at some distance from the action, makes Joan's outbursts of aggression and violence that much more unsettling. This apparent detachment confounds any easy emotional release on the part of the audience, most notably during the infamous "wire hanger" sequence (which, by the way, unfolds without music). So it's no wonder that the movie has long been experienced as camp; without using humor as a shield, the events onscreen would be much too disturbing to take at face value. Here is a film that cries out for a re-evaluation. But that will have to wait. This Mother's Day screening will be a celebration of the film as camp, including pre-show entertainment featuring Dick O'Day and the Hell in a Handbag players, a mother/daughter matching outfit contest, and audience participation during the film. (1981, 129 min, DCP Digital) RC
Douglas Sirk's ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (American Revival)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) – Wednesday, 1 and 7pm (Free Admission)
Though originally intended by Universal to be a Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman vehicle—building upon their popularity in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION rather than Sirk's popularity as a director—ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS is every bit as personal, even if only because of Sirk's hefty allowance (both artistically and economically). Wyman plays the pussyfooting Cary Scott, a recent widow in a tight knit, high strung, upper class American town. She falls in love with her gardener, Rock Hudson, and her children object and buy her a television to replace him. It's a film about people making things difficult for themselves and others because they have nothing more pressing to attend to. They impose tragedy on themselves as a matter of course, but Sirk is sympathetic. In all the stunning grandeur of his heavily saturated colors and Superscope composition, Sirk never lets his characters become washed out, or treats them as secondary elements to his visual style. His sympathies save films like ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS from their own absurdities, and the more ridiculous his storylines and intricate visual compositions become (take note of the way he frames characters within things like window frames and television sets), the more beautiful his films seem. (1955, 89 min, DCP Digital) JA
Abraham Polonsky's FORCE OF EVIL (American Revival)
Transistor (5224 N. Clark St.) – Sunday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Too often today's affection for film noir comes off like a fashionable shortcut to cynicism or an alibi for spouting sexist cant. Although noir is often credited with bringing a downbeat post-war skepticism to Production Code-constrained Hollywood, very few noirs nurtured their musky weariness into a genuine critique of American society. FORCE OF EVIL is the real deal—the left-wing "business noir" that envisions the numbers racket as a representative species of predatory American capitalism. For a film that flopped upon its improbable Christmas 1948 release, FORCE OF EVIL became shockingly influential—suggesting the mafia-as-big-business synecdoche of MURDER BY CONTRACT and THE GODFATHER, laying out the first draft for the fraternal schism of ON THE WATERFRONT, and sparking the Lower East Side morality play showboating of so much early Scorsese. Allegedly fashioned from a blank verse script that Polonsky won the privilege of directing himself in the wake of the enormous box office success of BODY AND SOUL, FORCE OF EVIL applies an unexpectedly fierce Group Theatre intensity to its fastidiously melodramatic material. Strangely, its pretensions burnish its sui generis realism, which in turn supports its instinctively argumentative (and deeply Jewish) moral investigation. Even more than BODY AND SOUL and HE RAN ALL THE WAY, FORCE OF EVIL exploits the guilt-ridden magnetism of John Garfield, too long shoehorned in earlier pictures as a generic romantic lead. But even he pales next to Thomas Gomez, whose turn as Garfield's sweaty, fatally righteous older brother is simply the greatest supporting performance in American movies. Gomez's Leo Morse lurches forward with his whole anxious body, a highly technical performance that channels a consensual futility, a man unworthy of his own ideals. Marie Windsor's b-girl is largely decorative, but the penetrating plainness of Beatrice Pearson enlarges a thankless and underwritten role. The sharp, solid photography of George Barnes serves mainly to emphasize Polonsky's text; the fact that Polonsky subsequently complained that David Raksin's magnificent musical score crudely undermined his text demonstrates anew the fallibility of a great artist. Unfortunately, the blacklist soon silenced that artist, fallibility and all, and inadvertently elevated FORCE OF EVIL to a miracle production. We would not see its like again for a very long time. Introduced by Cine-File contributor Kyle Cubr (1948, 78 min, Video Projection) KAW
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
The Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago presents All the World’s Montage: From Cine-Eye to Cinemetrics - A Conference in Honor of Yuri Tsivian on Friday and Saturday at the Logan Center for the Arts. Friday’s activities begin at 4pm (panel, keynote lecture, reception) and conclude with a screening of Olga Preobrazhenskaya and Ivan Pravov’s 1927 silent Soviet film PEASANT WOMEN OF RIAZAN (67 min, 35mm) at 8pm, with live accompaniment by David Drazin. The conference continues on Saturday, with a full day of panels and talks beginning at 9:30am. Free admission. Full schedule at https://cms.uchicago.edu/content/all-worlds-montage-cine-eye-cinemetrics
Black Cinema House (at the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, 1456 E 70th St.) presents Spotlight: A.J. McClenon on Friday at 7:30pm. Free admission. McClenon will present two multimedia performance works: “Black Water: Polarity” and “Sharks, Adolescence and Being the Darkest Girl in the Pool.” McClenon in person. Free admission.
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) presents May Shorts v. 2018 on Saturday at 8pm (7pm reception) as part of its monthly “Dyke Delicious” series. Screening are films by Sophie Mannaerts, Victoria Marie Aquende, Jaime Small, Coraima Torres, Kelly McGowan and others; and Matt Kugelman’s 2018 film HURRICANE BIANCA: FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE (85 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 6:30 and 9pm.
The Chicago Cultural Center screens the 1994 Kartemquin Films documentary CHICAGO CROSSINGS: BRIDGES AND BOUNDARIES (25 min, Video Projection) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Followed by a discussion with Kartemquin filmmaker Gordon Quinn and several of the artists documented in the film. Free admission.
Comfort Film and Homeroom present Oscar Micheaux’s 1920 silent film WITHIN OUR GATES (79 min, Video Projection), with live original music by Paul Giallorenzo and Ben Lamar Gay, and Clarence Brown’s 1922 silent film LIGHT OF FAITH (33 min, Video Projection), with live original music by VAD, on Saturday at 8pm at Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey Ave.).
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) screens a program of shorts on Wednesday at 8pm, selected by Zak Piper for Comfort Film’s Guest Curator series. Screening are: Chicago Newsreel’s APRIL 27 (1968, 10 min), with Newsreel filmmaker Peter Kuttner in person, Scott Jacobs and Lilly Ollinger’s ROYKO AT THE GOAT (1982, 10 min) and Kartemquin Films’ INQUIRING NUNS (1968, 66 min). All Digital Projection. Free admission.
The Lucid Film Festival takes place on Saturday from 2-6pm at Porkchop (1516 E. Harper Court), a Hyde Park restaurant. The festival features a selection of short films in various styles.
Asian Pop-Up Cinema screens Chan Tai-lee’s 2017 Hong Kong film TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (91 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 7p at AMC River East 21, with Chan Tai-lee and actor Ling Man-lung in person.
The Park Ridge Classic Film Series at the Pickwick Theatre (5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) screens Franklin J. Schaffner's 1968 film PLANET OF THE APES (112 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 2 and 7:30pm.
The Instituto Cervantes (31 W. Ohio St.) screens Nicolás Muñoz's 2011 Spanish documentary THE SAHARAN TEACHER (76 min, DVD Projection) on Wednesday at 6pm. Free admission.
Also at the Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) this week: Paul McGuigan 2017 film FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL (115 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 10:30am (open caption screening), 2pm, and 7pm; and Rachel Pikelny’s 2017 documentary short GRACE (16 min) is on Monday at 7pm, with Pikelny, the film’s subject Grace Lombardo, and others in person. Free admission. www.northbrook.info
The Goethe-Institut Chicago and the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry (929 E. 60th St., Ste. 112, University of Chicago) present experimental filmmaker Phil Collins’ 2010 films MARXISM TODAY (PROLOGUE) (35 min) and USE! VALUE! EXCHANGE! (21 min) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Masaaki Yuasa’s 2017 animated Japanese film LU OVER THE WALL (112 min, DCP Digital; showing in both subtitled Japanese and English-dubbed versions) and Rüdiger Suchsland’s 2017 German documentary HITLER’S HOLLYWOOD (105 min, DCP Digital) both play for a week; Tamer El Said’s 2016 Egyptian/German film IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY (118 min, DCP Digital) screens on Sunday at 4:45pm, Tuesday at 8pm, and Wednesday at 6pm; and the SAIC Film, Video, New Media, Animation Show 2018 continues on Friday at 4:15, 6 and 8pm and Saturday at 4:15, 6 and 8:30pm. Each showtime is a different program of work by students at SAIC, and all are free admission.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 animated Japanese film AKIRA (124 min, 35mm; English-dubbed version) is on Friday at 9:30pm and Sunday at 1:30pm; Michael Haneke's 2017 French film HAPPY END (107 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 4pm; Kim Jee-woon’s 2008 South Korean film THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD (130 min, 35mm) is on Sunday at 7pm; Clement Virgo’s 1995 Canadian film RUDE (89 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 7pm; Albert C. Gannaway’s 1964 country music concert film TENNESSEE JAMBOREE (75 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 9:30pm; Michael Haneke’s 2005 French film CACHÉ (117 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; Alfonso Cuarón’s 2001 Mexican film Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN (106 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm; and Roman Polanski’s 1976 film THE TENTANT (126 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9:15pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s 2017 film GHOST STORIES (97 min, DCP Digital) opens; Chloë Zhao’s 2017 film THE RIDER (104 min, DCP Digital) continues; Robert Luketic’s 2001 film LEGALLY BLONDE (96 min, 35mm) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; and David Leland’s 2003 concert film CONCERT FOR GEORGE (100 min, DCP Digital) is on Wednesday at 7:20pm.
Facets Cinémathèque plays Jim Loach’s 2018 film MEASURE OF A MAN (100 min, Video Projection) for a week-long run.
ArcLight (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.) screens Walter Hill's 1978 film THE DRIVER (131 min, DCP Digital) on Tuesday at 7:30pm.
Sinema Obscura hosts the “Room to Believe” Trailer Release Party on Monday at 7pm at the Logan Bar (2230 N. California Ave.). The event will include the trailer for the upcoming local film ROOM TO BELIEVE as well as previous short works by the cast and crew.
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.
Currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago: Cauleen Smith's single-channel video SPACE IS THE PLACE (A MARCH FOR SUN RA) (2001) is in the Stone Gallery; Gretchen Bender's eight-channel video installation TOTAL RECALL (1987) is in Gallery 289; Joan Jonas’ MIRROR PIECES INSTALLATION II (1969/2014) is in Gallery 293B; 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: May 11 - May 17, 2018
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Julian Antos, Rob Christopher, Alexandra Ensign, Christy LeMaster, Michael W. Phillips Jr., Michael G. Smith, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky