***NOTE***: Due to Wednesday’s extreme weather forecast, many screenings have been either postponed or altogether canceled. Check below for updates with regards to the Chicago Film Society, Doc Films at the University of Chicago, South Side Projections, Filmfront, and the Block Cinema at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art.
Furthermore, the Music Box Theatre and the Gene Siskel Film Center will be closed on Wednesday. Check venue websites for rescheduled showtimes where applicable. Contact us with updates not yet listed.
Budd Boetticher’s SEMINOLE (American Revival) — ***RESCHEDULED***
Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) — RESCHEDULED — Tuesday, February 5 at 7:30pm
One of nine pictures Budd Boetticher churned out at Universal between 1951 and 1953, before cementing his legacy with his “Ranown cycle” later that decade, SEMINOLE (1953) is no masterpiece, but there’s a lot to recommend about this highly eccentric Technicolor quasi-western just the same. On its face, it’s a stiff retread of John Ford’s FORT APACHE (1948), with Richard Carlson in the Henry Fonda role as Maj. Degan, the hubristic, genocidal commander of a Florida fort, and Rock Hudson as an upstart subordinate whose knowledge of the region's peaceful Seminole people contradicts the wisdom of his superior. The film borrows from history as much as it does from Ford, retelling (with copious invention) the story of Osceola, the mixed-race indigenous leader who successfully resisted the army’s efforts to relocate the Seminoles during the 1830s. SEMINOLE recasts the shrewd and determined guerrilla—played, of course, by pan-ethnic wildcard Anthony Quinn—as an idealist and pacifist, martyred at the hands of the devious commander; similarly, the long and bloody Second Seminole War is reimagined not as a national project but as one nasty, careerist officer’s personal mania. While showing Native Americans with even this level of respect was rare for the time, and the film’s unabashed depiction of Osceola’s love affair with a white woman (Barbara Hale) practically unheard of, what makes SEMINOLE worthwhile aren’t its derivations or its deviations. Rather, its strength lies in the blunt authenticities of its environment, and of its violence. Shooting largely in the Florida Everglades, Russell Metty imbues the three-strip cinematography with an uncommon earthiness, particularly throughout the film’s centerpiece, the Major’s ill-advised raid into the swampy interior of the Seminole territory. For this astonishing sequence, which absorbs roughly a quarter of the film’s running time, Boetticher suspends the script’s side-plots and abandons its tepid romance, instead tracking with grim and vivid interest the grueling incursion of a 20-man detachment into the wetlands. As he skillfully ratchets up the fear, loathing, and exhaustion consuming the party, a quality that defines Boetticher’s later work—his elemental understanding of the integral relationship between the land and the blood shed upon it—comes sharply into focus. Indeed, it’s the Major’s inability to comprehend the territory he seeks to conquer, and the brutality of his desire to possess it, that make him so wretched. Our frustration with the Major becomes so acute that when the sequence explodes in a botched nighttime raid on the Seminole village, we watch him take an arrow to the chest with something like relief, even delight. “After having seen the Seminoles, and studied their history,” Boetticher told Bertrand Tavernier, “I’ve made a film about them and I’ve told the truth: they gave the West Point boys a good thrashing.” Only a director as effective as Boetticher could make a film so subversive: under the white flag of pacifism and the convenient disguise of B-picture formulae, SEMINOLE is structured to present this truth—about the brutal injustice of manifest destiny, about the necessity and the validity of native resistance—as if it were self-evident. Preceded by a selection of trailers of Rock Hudson films (approx 9 min, 35mm). (1953, 87 min, 35mm) MM
Jean-Luc Godard's EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF (Swiss Revival) — ***POSTPONED***
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — TBD
By positioning himself stubbornly, permanently, tragically at the terminal end of cinema—or whatever "cinema" may constitute at any given moment in his life, be it the playground of profound hokum and momentous moving pictures of the mid-20th century, or the melancholy world of conflicting images of the present—Jean-Luc Godard out-paces everyone; he lives at the ever-shifting finish line. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF (also known as SLOW MOTION) marked Godard's return to the film industry after a lengthy period working outside of (or directly against) it. It also marks the start of a period that would last until HELAS POUR MOI in 1993, a run that includes ten features, countless shorts and mid-length films, and the start of the mammoth HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA project. Though Godard's early-to-mid-1960s films are the most frequently revived—and therefore the best known—his 1980s films are just as vital and arguably even more radical. The young Godard was a man who used cinema, the most emotional of media, to explore ideas; the middle-aged Godard was a man who had come to realize that people often hold on to emotions for ideological reasons, and that they often adopt or follow ideas because of their emotional significance. In EVERY MAN, the filmmaker, having let go of all aesthetic hang-ups, returns to the territory of his 1960s features (beauty, prostitution, compromised filmmaking, relationships) and rebuilds cinema from the purest level; the film is bleak, vivid, complex, simple, and a lot of other things that only Godard is capable of perceiving as not being contradictory of one another. It's also unlike any film made before it, and like very few films made after it. (1980, 87 min, 35mm) IV
Marcelo Martinessi’s THE HEIRESSES (New Paraguayan)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Check venue website for showtimes
The artful equivocality of such directors as Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi, and Cristian Mungiu has come to characterize world cinema of late, providing less skillful filmmakers with an overt gimmick on which to rely. Writer-director Marcelo Martinessi’s THE HEIRESSES, from Paraguay, is similarly ambiguous but refreshing in how it approaches this tactic vis-à-vis the story of an older affluent woman facing financial difficulties along with her decades-long same-sex partner—rather than show, hint, or even prefigure, Martinessi, proving himself skilled at such an approach, instead drops us into his protagonist’s story without any discernible exposition, the first-time feature director citing films like GREY GARDENS, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, and THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT as inspiration. Chela (Ava Brun) and her partner, Chiquita, live in Chela’s family house; the film opens with Chela timidly looking on while potential buyers peruse their valuables. What deductions can be made emerge organically, viewers learning that Chela and Chiquita are in a relationship, that both come from wealthy families, and that Chiquita must spend some time in prison on fraud charges somehow related to their financial situation. While she’s there, Chela, who hadn’t previously done so for herself, starts driving her neighbor and various other women around town, including the younger, attractive Angy. (The car as a symbol of both status and independence brings to mind a similar subplot from Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA.) There are many issues at play here—namely Chela’s sexuality and socioeconomic position, declining as it may be—but this isn’t an “issue” film, per se, and what you can glean about Paraguayan society, much like the films of the aforementioned masters in regards to their respective countries, is conveyed as subtly as any information surrounding the protagonists’ lives. But the reality behind these issues, specifically that Paraguay is still a very conservative country only a few decades removed from dictatorship, darkens the film in such a way that is complemented by Luis Armando Arteaga’s caliginous cinematography. As Chela, Brun, a relatively amateur performer, draws us into the character’s experiences and subsequent revelations. Though not shot subjectively, one still feels as if they’re seeing things from Chela’s perspective but with her in the frame—the effect is both engrossing and mystifying, putting us in the position, like Chela, of being unsure what will happen next, as is true in life. Here, evasiveness is used less as a plot device and more as a means of character development; that Martinessi, a man, employs it in a film about women, is a fitting homage to the dazzling mysteries of our sex. (2018, 98 min, DCP Digital) KS
Paweł Pawlikowski’s COLD WAR (New Polish)
Music Box Theatre — Check venue website for showtimes
Whether inspired by a clichéd romantic notion of doomed love or by an interest in examining historical epochs, storytellers have long fixated on relationships unfolding during times of sociopolitical tumult. The juxtaposition of the personal and the political allows for all manner of parallels and convergences to illuminate the human tolls of social upheaval; the intensity of romance, in particular, comes to seem like a particularly resonant analog of a world sometimes literally on fire. But whereas many films in this subgenre-of-sorts take a conventionally epic tack, charting the psychological and erotic development of a relationship across historical backdrops as vast as the films’ running times are long, Paweł Pawlikowski’s COLD WAR opts for a defiant austerity. Taking place across four countries in postwar Europe, it condenses 15 years of turbulent romance and geopolitical strife into a terse 80 minutes minus credits. Or, more appropriately, it suggests these things through omission. Indeed, as trite as it might be to say, Pawlikowski’s film is as much about what’s not shown as what is. Although we see the material effects of World War II and the subsequent Soviet dominion over Eastern Europe, it is in the elided swaths of time that transpire between the film’s starkly unsentimental cuts to black when we know the greatest tragedies have occurred. The absences are structuring, making the images and sounds we are privy to all the more bittersweet for their (fleeting) presences. And what images and sounds they are: Pawlikowski, reteaming with IDA cinematographer Łukasz Żal in the same 1.37:1, black and white aesthetic, creates visuals that gleam. One could be forgiven for mistaking the film for an actual postwar European opus from a Resnais or a Bresson, so remarkable is its sensuous evocation of this cinematic idiom, architectural rubble and chic modern surfaces finding equal purchase in fastidiously composed frames. The soundtrack, meanwhile, is filled with the Polish folk songs and midcentury jazz performed by the film’s protagonists Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot). The film is almost a musical in the way it uses song to illustrate both their (d)evolving relationship and the changing culture they navigate, acting as commentary on the ravages of national politics and self-failings alike, with escape from either becoming an impossibility. Call it a European art-house A STAR IS BORN and you wouldn’t be too far off, except here, the romance between Zula and Wiktor, too impeded by circumstance to ever reach consummation, is less a fully formed relationship than a metonymical tool to reflect a continent riven by political conflicts. This symbolic function, combined with Pawlikowski’s rigorously pared-down form, has the effect of denying their stormy romance much heat, or psychological realism. But this was a COLD WAR, after all, and catharsis wasn’t in the cards. By the end, the film’s abbreviated runtime seems to communicate less time racing by than time stolen. (2018, 85 min, DCP Digital) JL
Joseph Losey’s THE SERVANT (British Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Thursday, 9:30pm
THE SERVANT was the first theatrical film that Harold Pinter wrote, and if you didn’t know it was adapted from a novella by Robin Maugham, you might think it was his first original screenplay too. Not only is the terse, ambiguous dialogue unmistakably Pinteresque; the story, about a well-to-do layabout who’s gradually undermined by his mysterious manservant, feels like something straight out of the Nobel Laureate’s imagination. Much like Pinter’s stage plays The Dumb Waiter, The Birthday Party, and The Homecoming, the film circles around themes of role-playing, class dynamics, and interpersonal subterfuge, evading any definitive reading while somehow remaining emotionally direct at all times. Joseph Losey first brought Maugham’s book to Pinter’s attention, though it was Michael Anderson (originally slated to direct the movie) who commissioned Pinter to write the adaptation. Without maligning the film that Anderson might have made, the one Losey delivered is so elegant that it’s hard to imagine anyone topping it. Losey’s detached viewpoint heightens the ambiguities of Pinter’s script, while his sinuous camera movements provide a brilliant visual analogue to the crystalline dialogue. For these reasons, the film is as much Losey’s as it is Pinter’s; indeed, the director requested that Pinter make significant rewrites before shooting, confirming the collaborative nature of the project from start to finish. (However contentious the rewriting process may have been, the men stayed friends until Losey’s death, going on to collaborate on two more features, ACCIDENT and THE GO-BETWEEN.) And then there’s the cast. Dirk Bogarde gives one of his best performances as the title character—his brittle charm makes him an ideal conduit for Pinter’s themes—and James Fox, in his first screen role, is a superb foil as the beguiled employer. Playing Bogarde’s “sister,” Sarah Miles is appropriately enticing and suspicious; her character is responsible for some of the story’s biggest turns, but she fills out the role so well that she carries the developments and then some. Creepy, tantalizing, and sometimes darkly funny, THE SERVANT stands as one of the key British films of the 1960s—one of the few movies from the country to hold its own with the work Michelangelo Antonioni was making in Italy around the same time. (1963, 116 min, DCP Digital) BS
Chris Marker's THE OWL'S LEGACY: Program Four (French/Greek Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Sunday, 5pm and Monday, 6pm
Pour out the wine—the symposium, the banquet, is back in session. As I said last week, THE OWL'S LEGACY, which could be subtitled "The Golden Age Is in Us," is a fast-moving and cerebrally exciting 13-part TV series by Chris Marker (A.K., JUNKOPIA). Its subject is the present-day heritage of Athenian wisdom, as symbolized by the owl. Consulting professors and artists, the program basically asks, how's the health of the owl today, after 2,000 years? The Siskel wraps up its presentation with this program, which presents Part 10: Mythology—or Lies Like Truth; Part 11: Misogyny—or the Snares of Desire; Part 12: Tragedy—or the Illusion of Death, and Part 13: Philosophy—or the Triumph of the Owl. It's mostly more passionate than didactic, in tone. Part 10 looks at the inseparability of myth and language—both go back to the dawn of time, and both grew up together. ("To survive on this cruel planet, we started to build the opposites of reality...All myths dream against death.") It broaches the notion of collective memory and collective archetypes. It muses on how there are no new ideas under the sun. ("When Freud wanted to define the concepts of psychoanalysis, it was Oedipus"; Faust is a spin on Prometheus; Hamlet a variation on Orestes.) We journey to the temples of Delphi—where the ancients famously consulted the oracle; where the gods spoke to the people. ("For the Greeks, the world of the gods is not unconnected with ours.") Part 11 investigates the Greeks' homoerotic fascination with the "ideal beauty" of male athletes, and briefly considers that society's Sapphism. Male homosexuality was a "rite of passage" from adolescence to manhood, an initiation into philosophy. Meanwhile, "silence" was seen as proper female conduct. (This might be the time to address one rather ironic, and unfortunate, aspect of the series, which is that it does contain a fair bit of women looking on, while men hold forth. It was filmed in '87-'88; presumably, we'd be more sensitive to this issue today. Actually, Marker seems to comment slyly on this very problem when he has scholar George Steiner lecture as scholar Giula Sissa's head sits in the corner in a box (a TV monitor), nodding. Still, what these learned folks, including a clutch of erudite women, have to say is mostly so fascinating that I just wanted to listen, myself.) Women were not citizens, so they were left out of democracy, even as the Greeks invented democracy. Yet Greece was an "undercover matriarchy": that is, a matriarchy in the home. What's more, her dramatists "left us the strongest characters of women ever conceived." This brings us to Part 12, which looks at Ancient Greek tragedy, "crafted for eternity." For all the Greeks' famous rationality, the origins of theater lie in Dionysus, God of delirium: theater was a "chance to break away from everyday life...to escape into a fantasy world." ("Tragedy plays a fundamental role in a democracy, as a constant reminder of hubris." Elia Kazan: "When one side is right and the other's wrong, that's melodrama, it's not drama. When both sides are right, it's tragedy.") We journey to the ancient theater at Epidavros, where plays performed circa 350 B.C. are still running, under the open sky. We discover similar rhythms and music between classical tragedy and Japanese Noh and Kabuki drama. Finally, Part 13 asks, whither the owl today? Fittingly, this episode is edited as a dialogue, an argument. (Per Hegel, "The owl, being a night bird, caught her prey in the darkness. So philosophy which delves into the obscure and the profound can be compared to the faculty of the owl." "To say that philosophy is over is to say that freedom is over. That's what philosophy is. Ancient Greek philosophy means that I am free to think, free to ask myself questions." "All these pleas to be more free make no sense unless we learn not to fear death, as Socrates did. For Plato, philosophy was purely the art of preparing yourself for death.") Considering that one of these banquets takes place in Tbilisi in '88, these arguments are, for some of the participants, far more than, well, philosophical. I found this series exhilarating: it's fascinating to think about the way the past feeds the present (or, to put it another way, the future). The show is an anti-soporific, a tonic to the banality of our times, when, surveying the landscape, we may fear the owl is dead. We have to believe she's still out there somewhere, singing to us from not too far away. (1989, 104 min, DCP Digital) SP
The Bradbury Chronicles: Three 16mm Shorts (Narrative Shorts Revival) — ***POSTPONED***
As society more and more resembles the plot of a Ray Bradbury text—with our streaming and our smart phones and now even smart speakers, intended to work like many of the devices that appear in the lauded author’s stories—it’s increasingly hard to see films like the ones presented in this program. With the aggressive streamlining of production and distribution comes the loss of a certain kind of discovery best embodied by the educational film, an uncanny genre appreciable by both children and adults. Take, for example, the program of short educational films by Barbara Loden and John Mackenzie presented by the Chicago Film Society last fall. Meant to be educational, the films also provided lessons, perhaps unintentionally, on both a high standard of filmmaking and the sublime dereliction of human existence, the former greatly influencing the efficacy of the latter. Though Bradbury’s work generally toes the line between optimism and futility, it’s nevertheless edifying and thus a natural fit for instruction; but, like much other made-for-the-classroom material, the films in this program are utterly bizarre and delightfully economical, the constraints of the medium—like B movies and two-bit genre flicks—almost an asset to their artistic integrity. The first, Bernard Selling’s THE FLYING MACHINE (1979, 16 min, 16mm), based on a 1953 short story and play, both with the same name (all of the films in the program share their titles with the work on which they’re based), takes us back to China in 1200 A.D., where the emperor confronts not just a man who’s built a flying machine, but also the desire to create and the potentially disastrous implications of progress. The film stars James Hong (CHINATOWN, BLADE RUNNER, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA) as the emperor; less notable but still impressive, considering its likely small production budget, is its commitment to time and place. Bradbury’s prose is terse, his descriptions of fantastical entities based, somewhat ironically, in a fictive sort of factuality rather than writerly floridness; his imagination provides the skeleton for these scenarios, but he expects us, the readers, to supply the muscle and flesh, bringing them to life in our mind’s eye. Thus, the film versions of his work serve to help fill in those gaps from the perspectives of their adaptors; in this case, it’s lushly literal, having been filmed in a Japanese garden with the actors wearing period costumes, elements that further contextualize the laconic dialogue that defines Bradbury’s parable-esque stories. The more contemporary of the three, Dianne Haak’s THE VELDT (1979, 23 min, 16mm), based on the 1951 story, is eerily relevant as it considers the ramifications of technology that supplants the need for human effort and affection. In it, a couple becomes paranoid after their children's nursery, designed, via screens, to realize the kids’ imaginations as realistically as possible, stays fixed on an African veldt in which lions are seen eating something recently killed. A more stereotypical conceptualization of Bradbury’s vaguely futuristic environment—lots of gray, efficiency over aesthetic, etc.—juxtaposes the emotional instability of the couple, prompting discomfort in those viewing it. A very young Jason Bateman stars as one of the children, and while this may seem merely an interesting piece of trivia, it’s their creepy performances that heighten this from cautionary sci-fi to almost modish horror, like Black Mirror or any number of contemporary genre films about the digital age. If this program could be said to follow a trajectory, THE FLYING MACHINE would represent confusion and anger (to borrow the emperor’s words) over phenomenal onset, and THE VELDT paranoia and fear over its consummation. The final film, Ed Kaplan’s ALL SUMMER IN A DAY (1982, 25 min, 16mm), based on the 1954 story but set even further into the future, would then represent the resulting sadness of its inevitable fallout. Shot by award-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit (GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK; THERE WILL BE BLOOD) early in his career, it follows a group of schoolchildren over a day in their lives on Venus, Earth having become overpopulated some years before. But this day isn’t like any other—it’s the day the sun is supposed to come out after several years of torrential downpours, with one little girl particularly excited to see what she had to leave behind on earth. Neither the story nor the film gets into the science of the matter, a point lovingly illustrated in a scene where the kids’ teacher asks for new information about the sun, and chides one student for repeating a fact while praising another for having written a poem. This film more than the others deviates from its source material, providing a somewhat optimistic slant; still, their collective bleakness is conspicuous and ever-prescient. Bradbury’s writing, prodigious and recognized as it was and still is, is always relevant. Then, however, his stories were mostly speculative—now, they’re almost total reality. (1979-82, 64 min total, 16mm) KS
Gordon Quinn’s ’63 BOYCOTT and Jason Polevoi’s F*** YOUR HAIR (New Documentaries)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday, 8:15pm, Saturday, 5pm, and Wednesday, 6pm
’63 BOYCOTT is a timely look backward as the U.S. public education system stands vulnerably in the crosshairs of public officials who seem determined to destroy it. Archival footage and current interviews with some of the organizers of and participants in the boycott tell the story of a separate and unequal Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system they maintain was created and perpetuated by then Mayor Richard J. Daley. Schools in black neighborhoods were overcrowded and underresourced. Black students used outdated textbooks, and adding insult to injury, they had to share them. Modern scientific equipment and teaching aids found in white schools stood in stark contrast to the lack of any equipment available to black students. The final outrage was the appointment of Ben Willis as Superintendent of Schools. Accused of being a segregationist and a racist, Willis proposed to “relieve” overcrowding not by moving black students to nearby white schools, but rather by turning mobile homes into classrooms situated in school parking lots. Under pressure to resign over this “Willis wagon” plan, his probably insincere offer to step down was rejected by the school board. The time to boycott—and cost CPS hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid—had arrived. ’63 BOYCOTT offers footage and still photos of various activists and activities, including the sit-in at the Board of Education and alternative Freedom Schools set up to teach black history. These images are intercut with footage of protests that broke out in 2013 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered the closing of 54 schools, the bulk of which served students of color. The images are remarkably similar, sadly emphasizing that battles fought years ago have never really been won. Still, it is worth taking heart. Sandra Murray, a bright African-American student in 1963 who was told to forget her ambition to be a research scientist went on to earn a doctorate in biology, win National Science Foundation grants for research into cell biology and endocrinology, and taught in various universities in the United States and in Ethiopia. (2016, 30 min, DCP Digital)
In the highly competitive craft beer industry, it takes more than a good-tasting brew to stand out from the crowd; sometimes it takes a good story. Andrés Araya and Mila Ramirez are the husband-and-wife team from Mexico who founded 5 Rabbit Cerveceria in south suburban Bedford Park, Illinois, in 2010 to brew beer inspired by the flavors of their native country. Their small business got a nice shot in the arm when they landed the contract to produce house beer for the restaurants at Trump Tower Chicago. Then, in 2015, the candidate made his infamous statement about Mexicans “bringing … problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.” That’s when 5 Rabbit got its story. F*** YOUR HAIR chronicles the company and its protest reaction—breaking its contract with the Trump organization and selling the beer it had already brewed for the Tower as Chinga Tu Pelo (Fuck Your Hair, in reference to the famously ugly presidential coif we’ve all come to know and laugh at) to local purveyors like Hopleaf and Roots Handmade Pizza in only two days. The 5 Rabbit story was widely reported, including by WBEZ-FM reporter Monica Eng, and it’s possible that Chicago filmmaker and videographer Jason Polevoi was inspired by what he heard to make F*** YOUR HAIR. The result is a delightful, interesting film that explores the brewery’s journey by interviewing many of the people who took part in it, including the graphic designer of the Chinga Tu Pelo logo, the company’s attorney, some fans of the beer, and filmmaker and artist Lilly Wachowski, who created a can design for the follow-up brew, La Protesta. None of the people at 5 Rabbit think that what they did is going to change the world, but the experience certainly changed them. As Araya explains, “Suddenly, all the friends I had out there felt like family.” (2019, 37 min, DCP Digital) MF
Director Gordon Quinn is scheduled to appear for audience discussions at the Friday and Wednesday screenings of ’63 BOYCOTT, and director Jason Polevoi is scheduled to appear at all screenings of F*** YOUR HAIR.
Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE (American Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday, 2 and 6pm, and Tuesday, 6pm
What's left to say about CITIZEN KANE? These days, it's difficult to imagine anyone sitting down to watch it without first being warned that they are about to view The Greatest Film of All Time, an accolade so frequently affixed that it should by now count as a subtitle. Yet it remains a master class in aesthetic design in which all the production elements (bustling staging, overlapping dialogue, choose-your-own-adventure plotting, lighting so chiaroscuro that most of the shadows fall on the ceiling, editing so fluid it is better described as rhythm) work together so seamlessly as to seem impossible without one another. Famously the first and last studio project the boy wonder had final cut on, this boasts an unusually tidy rise-and-fall narrative for Welles; if his later, compromised studio films (THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, LADY FROM SHANGHAI, TOUCH OF EVIL) ultimately prove more rewarding, it is perhaps because their Rosebuds are obscured and their mysteries preserved. Jonathan Rosenbaum lectures at the Tuesday screening. (1941, 119 min, 35mm) MK
Jacques Becker's CASQUE D'OR (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm
It is not uncommon to read a piece of film criticism that compares the work in question to another type of art. When realistic, a film might be compared to a photograph. When long, an epic novel. When short, a novella or short story. When lyrical, a song, and when languid, a ballet. Such analogies are rarely literal, typically intended to provide a familiar standard against which a reader might better relate to a film's technical or narrative idiosyncrasies. So to say that Jacques Becker's CASQUE D'OR is like an impressionist painting might be to suggest that it merely resembles a style of art which originated in 19th-century France while remaining at its core a film with only suggestions as to another medium's influence, rather than a painting itself come to life and on its own borrowed journey. The latter, however, is true of CASQUE D'OR, a painting-as-film that takes the visible brushstrokes of the Belle Époque off the canvas and transfers them onto the big screen. Made in 1952 but set fifty years before, CASQUE D'OR is about the gloriously understated love between a beautiful gangster's moll and a reformed prisoner, and the inherent self-determination that brings them together and tears them apart. Initially disparaged as a humdrum period piece, the film has gone on to be lauded as Becker's magnum opus and credited as inspiration for generations of young filmmakers. Its deceptive banality is the impetus for its staggering genius, further framing the series of paradoxes that linger below the surface of seemingly commonplace genre tropes. A painting could be viewed in much the same way as Becker's film was originally received, with its rigid two-dimensional limitations leaving only the smallest room for artistic nuance and viewer interpretation. Working with a story that was based on real events, it's no surprise that Becker would choose to utilize characteristics from one of the period's defining artistic movements, but the extent to which he does so beyond the obligatory aesthetic adherence is a testament to Becker as a sort of painter in addition to filmmaker. As critic Philip Kemp noted in his essay for the Criterion Collection release of the film, "It's a world seen whole, neither romanticized nor sensationalized, but presented as a complex, living community in its own right." Inspired by the advent of photography, impressionist artists aimed to capture the capricious nature of reality while maintaining the distinct aesthetic that would set them apart from their more literal-minded peers. In Becker's film, it’s a similar paradox that would both confuse and inspire young filmmakers; though cloaked in classicism, its devastating earnestness remains distinct from the self-consciousness of the New Wave, which it helped to inspire. Even the black and white photography serves to illuminate the rich narrative duality—some of the scenes that take place within nature are so beautiful that it's almost a favor to the viewer for them to be shown in black and white, so as not to distract from the wonderfully doomed romance taking place within the thick. But even without the impressionist color palette, the absence of which is the film's greatest irony, Becker uses his skills as a filmmaker to paint an impressionistic picture rather than just to project it. Every aspect of the film, from the necessity of the actors for their specific roles to the subtext hidden behind the characters' dress, is a perfectly applied brushstroke on the canvas that is Becker's great artistic vision. (1952, 94 min, 35mm) KS
Terence Davies' DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES (British Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Check venue website for showtimes
Terence Davies' first feature is one of the most original and accomplished debuts of the 1980s, and a masterpiece of personal filmmaking. Fixated on memory, Davies makes films whose unorthodox structures create a sense of present-moment immediacy while reinforcing the idea that the viewer is watching a past event; for this overtly autobiographical diptych (the film actually consists of two 40-minute narratives: DISTANT VOICES and STILL LIVES), he mines his childhood in postwar Liverpool to create an impressionistic, chronologically-jumbled portrait of working-class British life. By inventing a style that reflects his own memories, Davies touches upon a universal theme: our relationship to the past. A visionary work. (1988, 80 min, DCP Digital) IV
Jerzy Skolimowski's HANDS UP! (Polish Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Sunday, 7pm
Where am I? What am I watching? Jerzy Skolimowski's HANDS UP! begins seemingly from the future, circa 1981. HANDS UP! is Skolimowski's chaotic re-envisioning of an earlier (1967) film of his: a satire of the draconian Communist party that was summarily banned. This 1981 "version" is purposefully disorienting but ultimately engaging. Skolimowski adds a new dystopian prologue that contextualizes the original footage. He uses personal essay and allegorical documentary to bitterly reflect on the implications of the 1967 film's banning, and the state of Poland fourteen years later. The film's title implies both a surrender to and a mocking celebration of communism. This is explored in the structural dichotomy between the new prologue and the 1967 footage. HANDS UP! begins cloaked in science-fiction horror (images of decrepit Brutalist architecture and war-torn Beirut) before the original sections take on a wild, absurdist tone that mocks the ruling class. Green- and auburn-tinged, the latter half of HANDS UP! moves frantically, sometimes placing characters flailing on what looks like a stage, sometimes before a four-eyed image of Stalin. Skolimowski searches through the artificiality of didactic, party-line communism, trying to find a solid identity. A constantly restless camera scrutinizes a painting from all angles. A man lies dead in the street with pedestrians filing by; it's unclear whether the action real or staged. Skolimowski masterfully uses every means possible to parallel his own uncertain situation as an artist with the uncertain state of Poland's political identity at the time—the fate of his 1967 film constantly hovering over all as a reminder of the fragility of both personal and political realities. (1981, 76 min, DCP Digital) BW
Lee Chang-dong's BURNING (New Korean)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Saturday, 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday, 4pm
“It’s a metaphor.” Spoken by the inexplicably wealthy, smugly superior Ben (Steven Yeun) after he equates cooking at home to making offerings to the Gods, this line, like so much of the teasingly elusive BURNING, hints that we’re in delicately self-reflexive territory in Lee Chang-dong’s latest. It’s one of a tantalizing series of moments, mostly generated by Yeun’s perpetually smirking and vaguely otherworldly character, that draws us ever deeper into the film’s porous reality, where our unreliable narrator Jongsu’s (Yoo Ah-in) confounded perspective makes us question the veracity of what we’re seeing. The mysteries start accruing early, when Jongsu, a barely employed, young aspiring writer, happens upon Haemi (Jeon Jong-seo), a girl from his childhood neighborhood whom he can’t remember. Haemi is off to Africa, and she’ll need Jongsu to feed her cat while she’s away, but like the phantom tangerine she pantomimes over dinner, there is no trace of the cat. For a while, anyway, Haemi seems to offer the romantic companionship Jongsu has been missing, but when she returns from Africa with Ben in tow, the rich, possibly sinister interloper unleashes in Jongsu a cascade of latent anxieties, desires, and resentments that are as socioeconomically based as they are libidinal. In the thorny, unmistakably homoerotic relationship between the sullen working-class Jongsu and the suave new-moneyed Ben, Lee articulates a dynamic underpinned equally by class antagonism and envy, by a disdain for a callous power elite as well as by the aspirations of a young generation, evident especially in eastern Asian countries such as South Korea, to assimilate the goals of global capitalism. Like Haemi, who oscillates (perhaps uneasily) between economically desperate millennial and male sexual fantasy projection, Ben is a slippery subject, a recognizable brand of entitled affluent hotshot who nevertheless appears like a kind of taunting phantasm. It is a mark of Steven Yeun’s sneaky performative prowess that he can make Ben feel like both a plausibly malicious person and a free-floating metaphor for modernity and toxic masculinity, every ingratiating grin and forced yawn an invitation to confront the banally seductive face of evil. BURNING refers, most denotatively, to Ben’s avowed habit of burning down abandoned greenhouses, but what it really describes is the psychological unease that smolders in places both rural and urban, sparked by the conditions of a society pervaded by inequality and disaffection. We can’t be sure if everything Jongsu thinks happens literally does. Then again: it’s a metaphor. (2018, 148 min, DCP Digital) JL
Lee Chang-dong's SECRET SUNSHINE (South Korean Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) — Monday, 7pm
SECRET SUNSHINE begins with a shot of the sky and ends with a shot of the ground, and could therefore be described as a nearly-2 1/2 hour downward pan: from milieu to character, from ambitions to realities, from action to aftermath, and from a higher calling to its failure to its fitful application. This drawn-out movement isn't readily obvious, and a first impression of the film tends to be dominated by its unpredictability: where the story is going (and, considering Lee Chang-dong's elliptical matter-of-factness, how quickly it'll get there), and, by the second hour, what Jeon Do-yeon's character will do at any given moment. That the movie manages to be simultaneously sprawling (in terms of plot and characterization) and compact (in terms of pacing and setting) owes a lot to the strength of Lee's style, which seems off-the-cuff at first, but slowly reveals its rigor; it's a carefully-designed middle-ground that allows SECRET SUNSHINE to pass through numerous genre shifts (drama, comedy, thriller, tragedy) without ever seeming to over-extend itself. (2007, 142 min, DCP Digital) IV
Alexandria Bombach’s ON HER SHOULDERS (New Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday, 4pm, Saturday, 7:45pm, Monday, 6pm, and Thursday, 8pm
In the weeks following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 people and wounded, either physically or emotionally, many others, reporters of an especially cinephilic ilk likened survivor and resultant activist Emma González to Renée Jeanne Falconetti, the French actress whose face, with all its masterfully variegated expressions in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, launched a thousand appreciations for her extraordinary anterior performance. The New Yorker legitimized what Film Twitter had canonized in meme form, photo comparisons of Falconetti and González, solemnly tearful at the March for Our Lives in D.C., artfully situated under the headline “Joan of Arc and the Passion of Emma González.” A similar comparison entered my mind as I watched Alexandria Bombach’s ON HER SHOULDERS, a documentary about another remarkable survivor-activist, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a young Yazidi woman whose village was overtaken by ISIS forces, after which most of her family was killed and she was forced into sexual slavery. Though comparing the two would be pointless, if not petty—both are undoubtedly extraordinary young women—it’s Murad who for me recalls Dreyer and Falconetti’s Maid of Orléans, the simple grace of suffering apparent as they endure pain and humiliation—and, in their own way, conquer those very obstacles—in the face of religious persecution. Over the course of the film, Bombach follows Murad as she shares her story around the world and, finally, at the United Nations Security Council (which made her the First Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking), with her steadfast companions and even Amal Clooney, accomplished human rights lawyer and wife of George, by her side and eager to raise awareness about the Yazidi genocide in Iraq. Bombach intercuts this rote—albeit compelling—documentary footage with cinematographically striking talking-head sequences of Murad that elucidate a poignant inner-pain. Much like Dreyer, Bombach transforms face into landscape, humbling the film’s more sensational moments with a solemn reminder that its subject is a person and her people, rather than a far-off manifestation of All That’s Wrong With the World. The filmmaker holds back the more sordid details of Murad’s experience, instead focusing on her activism and understandable frustration with the media’s lurid preoccupations. Near the beginning, Bombach leaves in footage of Murad performing a sound-check clap, reminding us that what we’re watching is, in fact, a film, prudently constructed, like most films, to reflect a tendentious viewpoint. But rather than impress upon us a meretricious view of the medium’s impact, she reinforces cinema’s role as adamantine spectator, itself a face that stares back at us, inquisitive of our gaze. (2018, 94 min, DCP Digital) KS
Nadine Labaki’s CAPERNAUM (New Lebanese)
Music Box Theatre — Check venue website for showtimes
Capernaum is a city found in the New Testament where Jesus was said to have lived and performed more miracles than in any other place. Today, the land where Capernaum used to stand is Lebanon, and after seeing Beirut-born director Nadine Labaki’s searing drama CAPERNAUM, a viewer might wonder whether she chose that title to call forth a new redeemer to help the suffering poor whose stories she tells. A host of first-time actors is ably led by young Zain Al Fareea. He plays Zain, a 12-year-old boy who looks much younger, no doubt due to malnutrition, and whose parents are abusive and despairing. They marry off Zain’s beloved younger sister, Sahar, to a man three times her age, prompting Zain to run away and setting the stage for the climactic tragedy that will send Zain to jail and, in a strange twist, prompt him to sue his parents for giving him no chance to be the good person he knows he was meant to be. The film has a quality to it that reminded me of the Oscar-winning documentary BORN INTO BROTHELS: CALCUTTA’S RED-LIGHT KIDS (2004). The sheer struggle for survival in the slums of Beirut is heartbreaking, and watching Zain try his best to care for his siblings and then the one-year-old son of an undocumented Ethiopian woman who takes him in shows his heart and will are strong, but no match for the uncaring world of the adults around him. CAPERNAUM is an angry cry for people to do something about the misery of others. Labaki’s greatest achievement may be that she made a beautifully crafted film with such deep understanding for her untrained actors that it’s nearly impossible to tear our eyes from the screen or forget what we’ve witnessed. (2018, 119 min, DCP Digital) MF
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s SHOPLIFTERS (New Japanese)
Music Box Theatre — Check venue website for showtimes
Coming home after a day spent shoplifting, a man and a boy see a young girl playing by herself outside an apartment and decide to take her home with them. Their household is presided over by an elderly woman, along with two younger women, one of whom has a relationship with the man. Their home is a ramshackle corrugated lean-to, perpetually in danger of being demolished by a local property flipper. They get by on various grifts and scams to supplement the meager salaries of the grownups’ menial jobs and the old lady’s pension. Each member of this makeshift family does their best to play the part they wish they had in their previous lives. I kept thinking of Dickens’ Oliver Twist while watching this movie. There’s a lot of Fagin in the man and of the Artful Dodger in the boy; the grubby neediness of their lives is out of Dickens as well. In his careful and unassuming way, Kore-eda has made a devastating indictment of capitalist society, as well as the sacrosanct place the nuclear family holds within its structures. He continues plumbing the depth and breadth of what connects one human being to another through this group of strangers—unwanted or rejected by their relations and by the larger world—who throw in their lots together to form a bond made by choice rather than blood. This one left me gutted. (2018, 121 min, DCP Digital) DS
Mark Waters' MEAN GIRLS (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre — Friday and Saturday, Midnight
Set just a short drive away in nearby Evanston, the highly quotable MEAN GIRLS is a highly satirical look at the awkward, cliquish, hormone-crazed minefield that is high school. Sixteen year-old, fish out of water Cady Heron (Lindsey Lohan) moves to Illinois after spending the previous twelve years in Africa with her parents who were on a zoological research study. Upon her arrival, she enrolls at North Shore High School and quickly learns that making new friends is nothing like it was halfway across the world. During her first math class taught by the affable but down on her luck Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), Cady makes friends with social outcasts Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese) who teach her about navigating the school's social hierarchy. At lunch, Cady is approached by The Plastics to join their group. Consisting of queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), The Plastics are North Shore's equivalent of teen royalty and have very strict rules on how to dress and act. As Cady becomes friendlier with them, Janis and Damien fear she will become one of them. They decide to have her pretend to join the group as a joke and destroy them from within as revenge for all the victimizing they have caused. As time progresses, Cady slowly goes from pretending to be Plastic to actually becoming Plastic and risks losing her only true friends. As the backstabbing intensifies and secrets are revealed, the whole school is turned upside down. This film is a perfect look at teenage cliques and the damaging effects they can have on everyone, school staff included. A cult classic with a lasting legacy largely thanks to Tina Fey's well-written script, MEAN GIRLS is a painfully accurate representation of how fun and cruel high school can truly be. (2004, 97 mins, DCP Digital) KC
Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s FREE SOLO (New Documentary) — ***POSTPONED***
Music Box Theatre — TBD
In 2017, professional rock climber Alex Honnold became the first person to scale the 3,200-foot-tall monolith in Yosemite National Park called El Capitan without any safety equipment. This method, called free soloing, is the ultimate challenge for those who climb. The climber’s only equipment is his or her body—how strong it is and what it can do—and the preparation and concentration built up by experience. One wrong move is literally a matter of life and death. FREE SOLO, another beautifully shot outdoors film produced in part by National Geographic, is a documentary record of Honnold’s historic achievement. It is also a disturbing look at the ethos of extreme sports and the debasement of the natural world. As revealed in FREE SOLO, Honnold has spent his adulthood as a climbing vagabond, living for years inside a van and regarding girls as temporary hook-ups. Considered something of a highly intelligent oddball by his classmates when they all were growing up, he seems to have missed out on parental nurturing. He has internalized the notion that he needs to be perfect to overcome his mother’s disdain for him—and if ever there was a sport that requires perfection, it’s free soloing—and he seems to have a literal screw loose, that is, an unresponsive amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for fear conditioning. It appears that the only time he really feels in the zone is when he’s scaling a big rock face, and his girlfriend and climbing friends, many of whom are part of the documentary’s camera crew, know that trying to dissuade him from his dreams for El Cap is hopeless. Director Chin is a master at portraying the unique language and bonds of professional climbers and getting the shots during the climb without distracting Honnold. Vasarhelyi, Chin’s partner and wife, bores into the personal story, revealing Honnold to be a blunt and singular person, willing to wound his girlfriend by saying he will always put climbing before extending his life expectancy; he does not share her sympathy for the wife of a climber they learn has died on the Nuptse Wall of Mt. Everest during Honnold’s preparations (“What did she expect?”). This is where the film becomes really troubling. Like the 2008 documentary MAN ON WIRE, which deals with Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center, FREE SOLO shows the emotional toll exacted on the people who care about Honnold. Petit’s friends, none of them wire walkers, dropped him after the walk, a fate mitigated for Honnold by the fact that other climbers are helping him. In 2014, Honnold and other free soloists did lose Clif Bar’s sponsorship, which said “that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go.” Nonetheless, extreme sports comprise a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow. Another 2018 documentary, MOUNTAIN, shows long lines of people queuing to climb Everest and despoil it with their detritus. Watching Honnold’s terrifying climb up El Cap, I couldn’t help noticing all the chalk whitening the handholds, defacing a once-forbidding edifice. While people have long been fascinated with and challenged to perform feats of daring-do, the commodification of adventure is turning mountains into molehills. (2018, 100 min, DCP Digital) MF
Sara Driver’s BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (New Documentary)
Sara Driver’s ode to New York’s Lower East Side in the ‘70s begins with the voice of President Gerald Ford enunciating in his benign manner that there would be no bailout of the city, over a montage of burned out, crumbling blocks. While the nominal subject is the early years of an artist who overdosed at twenty-seven and whose work now goes for hundreds of millions, Driver is really making a portrait of a vital scene of painters, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who made a home of an area the rest of NYC (and the country) left for dead. Interviews with graffiti pioneer Lee Quinones, writer Luc Sante, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and others pay tribute to Basquiat and mourn his passing as well as that of the city they loved. This is at least the third feature-length documentary devoted to an artist whose career lasted less than ten years. Tamra Davis’s JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD (2010) benefits from a wealth of interviews shot with the painter while he was still alive and David Shulman’s BASQUIAT: RAGE TO RICHES (2017) features insight from Basquiat’s sisters. But none of the three have gotten to the root of why Basquiat’s work became such a sensation. What Driver’s film does far better than the others is paint a picture of the time and place from which this artist emerged and without which his success would’ve been impossible. Driver wisely ends her film before Basquiat’s ascent up the Olympus of the art world and his premature, self-inflicted death as these will be familiar to anyone who’s ever seen an episode of VH1’s Behind The Music. The young genius type felled before his time is a cliché Basquiat fits to a T; whether his work warrants it or not is another matter. But there is plenty to love in Driver’s beautifully constructed and edited film no matter one’s opinion of Basquiat’s worth. (2017, 78 min, Digital Projection) DS
*RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/boom-for-real-the-late-teenage-years-of-jean-michel-basquiat-tickets-54766563265
Eric Rohmer’s LA COLLECTIONNEUSE (French Revival)
Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) — Saturday, 1:30pm
The first feature-length film of Eric Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales” was also the director’s first work in color, and boy does he ever take advantage of it. Working with master cinematographer Nestor Almendros, Rohmer creates an intoxicating portrait of a world in bloom. The imagery is simple—grass, stones, water, and sand are recurring visual motifs—yet vividly rendered; many of the shots achieve a transcendent beauty. In classical fashion, form mirrors content, with characters musing and acting on their notions of the beautiful. (As always Rohmer creates the impression that he would have been very much at home in the late 18th century.) Adrien (Patrick Bauchau) is a 30-ish art collector who gets left alone when his fashion model girlfriend leaves for London for six weeks one summer. He decides to idle away the time at the country manor of a distant acquaintance; joining him are another dandyish friend, Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle), and Haydée (Haydée Politoff), a gaminish woman about ten years their junior. Haydée likes to sleep around, and Adrien, who has little else to do, amuses himself by wondering whether she’ll sleep with him. Adrien also narrates LA COLLECTIONNEUSE, and the film is subtly modernist how it draws attention to the subjective viewpoint behind the images. Consider a conversation between Adrien and Haydée on a beach; as the latter talks, Rohmer cuts to a flattering shot of the young woman’s bare legs—clearly a reflection of what Adrien is thinking about. Subjectivity informs the images in subtler ways, as when Adrien’s self-aggrandizing narration undercuts the natural beauty that’s all around him. And then there’s the dialogue, which Rohmer wrote in collaboration with the three leads. Few filmmakers make conversation seem as erotic as Rohmer did; the discussions of beauty are delivered so sensuously and suggestively that they intimate physical pleasure better than almost any rendering of lovemaking in cinema. Followed by a Skype conversation with actress Haydée Politoff. (1967, 87 min, Video Projection) BS
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) screens Can Candan’s 2000 US/Turkish documentary DUVARLAR-MAUERN-WALLS (83 min, Digital Projection) on Friday at 7pm, with Candan in person; and Med Hondo’s 1970 French/Mauritanian film SOLEIL Ô (98 min, DCP Digital) on Wednesday at 7pm. (***NOTE***: SOLEIL Ô has been rescheduled to Thursday, February 7 at 7pm.) Free admission for both.
South Side Projections, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) screen Shinsuke Ogawa’s 1973 Japanese documentary SANRIZUKA: HETA VILLAGE (146 min, 16mm) on Saturday at 7pm. Free admission.
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) presents Dominick Gray’s 2016 found footage film TELESONIC 9000 (approx. 55 min, Digital Projection), to which he performs the drum score live, on Saturday at 7pm.
Film Rescue, an occasional archival program of works from UIC’s film collection, presents How to Change Your Mind on Monday at 7pm at UIC Art and Exhibition Hall (400 S. Peoria St., Room 3226). The screening includes LSD – THE SPRING GROVE EXPERIMENTS (CBS News, 1965, 16mm), MAGICAL DEATH (Napoleon Chagnon, 1973, 16mm), and LAPIS (James Whitney, 1966, 16mm). Free admission.
Eclipsing: Death and Transformation is an extended multi-media festival that began in December and continues through February 4. As part of the festival, the following screening is taking place this week: at Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.), local artist Xitlalli Sixta Tarin screens BEST OF BOTH WORLDS along with a selection of earlier work on Wednesday at 6pm (***NOTE***: This screening has been rescheduled to Sunday, February 3 at 2pm.) Free admission but donations accepted/encouraged.
The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens Barry Levinson’s 1984 film THE NATURAL (101 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 1 and 7pm. Free Admission.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Jacques Becker’s 1945 French film FALBALAS (111 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 5pm and Wednesday at 7:45pm; and Melody Gilbert’s 2018 documentary SILICONE SOUL (71 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 5pm and Monday at 8pm, with Gilbert and select cast in person at both shows.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: John H. Auer’s 1948 film I, JANE DOE (85 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 1:30pm; Lana and Lily Wachowski’s 1996 film BOUND (109 min, DCP Digital) is on Tuesday at 7pm (***NOTE***: BOUND has been postponed/canceled (?) due to extreme weather); and Randal Kleiser’s 1978 film GREASE (111 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Found Footage Festival: Cherished Gems is on Friday at 9:30pm; Found Footage Festival: After Dark is on Saturday at 9:30pm; Ernst Lubitsch’s 1933 film DESIGN FOR LIVING (90 min, 35mm) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; Sean Gallagher and Justin Drobinski’s 2018 documentary DECONSTRUCTING THE BIRTH OF THE BEATLES (88 min, DCP Digital) is on Tuesday at 7pm; and Tatsuya Nagamine’s 2018 Japanese animated film DRAGON BALL SUPER: BROLY (100 min, DCP Digital; English dubbed) is on Friday and Saturday at 11:30pm.
Facets Cinémathèque screens Steve Sullivan’s 2018 UK documentary BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY (100 min, Video Projection) this week.
At the Chicago Cultural Center this week: the Chicago Latino Film Festival presents Jordi Mariscal’s 2011 Mexican film CINNAMON (100 min, Video Projection) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
PRESENT ABSENCE, a five-channel video installation by Salome Chasnoff and Meredith Zielke, is on view at Uri-Eichen Gallery (2101 S. Halsted) through February 1 (call 312 852-7717 for an appointment).
Currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago: Martine Syms' SHE MAD: LAUGHING GAS (2018, 7 min, four-channel digital video installation with sound, wall painting, laser-cut acrylic, artist’s clothes); and Dara Birnbaum’s KISS THE GIRLS: MAKE THEM CRY (1979, 6 min loop, two-channel video) is in the second floor corridor.
CINE-LIST: January 25 - January 31, 2019
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Kyle Cubr, Marilyn Ferdinand, Mike King, Michael Metzger, Jonathan Leithold-Patt, Scott Pfeiffer, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Brian Welesko, Dmitry Samarov