NOTE: Merry Moviegoing and Happy New Year! Check out our contributors’ 2018 end-of-year lists on the Cine-File blog.
Nadine Labaki’s CAPERNAUM (New Lebanese)
Music Box Theatre – Check venue website for showtimes
Capernaum is a city name found in the New Testament where Jesus was said to have lived and performed more miracles than 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 life but 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 1-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, through the character of Zain, for people to pay attention to and do something about the misery of others. Labaki’s greatest achievement may be that she made a beautifully crafted film with such a 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
Andrew Bujalski’s COMPUTER CHESS (American Revival)
The Chicago Film Society at Northeastern Illinois University (The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) – Wednesday, 7:30pm
The Chicago Film Society has done the world a great favor by striking the first 35mm print of Andrew Bujalski’s COMPUTER CHESS, one of the most idiosyncratic and ingenious works of American independent cinema of the last decade. It may seem counterintuitive to commission a film print of a feature mostly shot on obsolescent video cameras and edited digitally, but then again, COMPUTER CHESS is itself a triumph of erratic moves: call it a knight’s-tour-de-force. Made at a time when other notable “mumblecore” adherents like the Duplass brothers were starting to venture into more commercial, star-laden territory, Bujalski instead swerved hard in the opposite direction with a formally audacious, thematically arcane period experiment. Set in 1980, when both the homebrew computing movement and Cold War cybernetics were at their apogee, COMPUTER CHESS shrewdly evokes the era through its use of black and white vacuum-tube cameras and split-screen video editing effects. No mere gimmick, the choice of medium channels a McLuhan-fueled excitement for new electronic media possibilities, rather than an empty nostalgia for the aesthetics of the past. COMPUTER CHESS initially purports to be a documentary covering a tournament between chess-playing computers, hosted by an avuncular chess master (played by film critic Gerald Peary). Crowded into the windowless conference room of a nondescript Holiday Inn, the human participants—a formidable ensemble of dweebs, academics, and misanthropes—confront the stresses of both advanced technology and basic human interaction. But as soon as the competition gets underway, COMPUTER CHESS starts breaking its own rules, dropping the non-fiction pretense and following odd narrative tangents that cut across a spectrum of pre-Reagan cultural energies. A ghost-in-the-machine mystery plot, played with a lightly ironic touch, careens into new-age encounter groups, Pentagon paranoia and polyamory. What casually emerges, between the awkward hotel-bar conversations, regression therapy sessions and dreamlike interludes featuring elevator-riding cats, is nothing less than a shrewd prehistory of the “California Ideology” that dominates the tech industry today. (It’s easy to see comic figures like Michael Papageorge, a cash-strapped chess hustler indelibly played by Myles George, as a proto-techbro of the Elon Musk variety). For this largely improvisatory exercise, Bujalski cast non-professional actors, many of whom had a background in computers and mathematics; the presence of two Richard Linklater alumni (DAZED AND CONFUSED’s Wiley Wiggins and animator Bob Sabiston of WAKING LIFE) signals COMPUTER CHESS’ kinship with that Austin fixture’s discursive, digressive portraits of American subculture. Linklater’s made his share of period pieces, but as a creatively restless, medium-specific, psychically probing analysis of the recent past, I prefer to think of COMPUTER CHESS as a low-budget, cockeyed counterpart to Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER (2012) and INHERENT VICE (2014). Which is to say: thanks, CFS, for making COMPUTER CHESS available at last in 35mm; when can we see it in 70mm? Preceded by NOAH WATER TO WASTE Noah Water to Waste” (Golden West Television, 1983, 9 min, 16mm). (2013, 91 min, 35mm) MM
Claude Goretta’s THE LACEMAKER (French Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm
Claude Goretta is a director from Geneva, Switzerland, who had moderate success in the 1970s and 80s. His 1973 film L’INVITATION was nominated for a foreign-language Oscar (François Truffaut’s DAY FOR NIGHT won) and his 1981 film LA PROVINCIALE was chosen to compete in the 31st Berlinale. In between, he had the good fortune to direct Isabelle Huppert in a film that shows a side of the great actor we rarely get to see—her innocence. She plays Béatrice, a painfully shy shampoo girl at a Paris hair salon who lives with her mother (Annemarie Düringer) and is something akin to a devoted pet to her coworker Marylène (Florence Giorgetti). Marylène, frequently disappointed in love, is thrown over by her married lover, and to assuage her hurt, she travels to the resort town of Cabourg, on the Normandy coast, with Béatrice in tow. Soon Marylène goes off with a new man she meets at a disco, and Béatrice is adrift, that is, until François (Yves Beneyton), a college student from Paris, strikes up a very one-sided conversation with her as she eats ice cream outside a café. Their love affair comprises the rest of the film. Goretta, who also wrote the screenplay from the award-winning 1974 novel by Pascal Lainé, knows how to use the telling detail to chart this tale. Béatrice wears miniskirts, but they seem more like a child’s wardrobe than that of a 21-year-old woman. Marylène, braless, wears a see-through blouse the first time she goes to the disco, signaling a desperation that repels her dance partner; by contrast, Béatrice’s one-word answers to François’ questions and silence at his cynicism about seaside resorts intrigue him. A flash of disappointment that crosses his face when Béatrice tells him what she does for a living reveals his snobbishness and foreshadows the end of their affair. My heart broke when François, so tender and protective early in the film, runs ahead of Béatrice, leaving her to cross a busy street by herself. The final image, Béatrice starting directly into the camera, is in imitation of a fake Vermeer painting titled The Lacemaker that nonetheless hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The implication perhaps is that Béatrice, also a lowly workingwoman like the lacemaker, has a value far too rarified for her false and selfish lover. (1977, 107 min, 35mm imported print) MF
Jean-Jacques Beineix’s DIVA (French Revival)
Music Box Theatre — Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am
DIVA was the flagship film of what came to be known as the “cinéma du look,” a wave of French movies released in the 80s and 90s that celebrated style over substance. At least this is how many critics characterized the films when they first came out. Time has been rather generous to the work of Léos Carax, who was initially grouped in with the movement as a result of his first two features, BOY MEETS GIRL and MAUVAIS SANG, and Jean-Jacques Beineix, who made DIVA, displays an interest in narrative trickery as well as visual expressiveness. (The films of fellow “look” director Luc Besson, on the other hand, still seem pretty superficial.) DIVA abounds with double-crosses and unexpected twists, and these enliven an otherwise basic chase film. Jules is an opera-loving Parisian postal worker who secretly tapes the performance of a recording-averse American singer; gangsters mistake the tape for the recorded confession of a mob-connected police chief, and soon they’re after Jules in pursuit of his bounty. The film contains a famous motorcycle chase that partly takes place in the Paris subway; one of the most celebrated sequences of its day, it generates tremendous suspense while showcasing Beineix’s filmmaking chops. The rest of the movie is visually striking as well, as the director employs lots of extended tracking shots and surprising editing choices to draw you into the tale. (1981, 117 min, 35mm) BS
Clint Eastwood’s THE MULE (New American)
One can be hard-pressed to still defend Clint Eastwood’s brand of moviemaking with a straight face. Not that there isn’t enough evidence for this defense, but it usually boils down to having to defend him and the slippery notion of separating the art from the artist. Eastwood’s work and public persona aren't all that distant in that his art isn’t necessarily trying to escape or gloss over his persona. Yet Eastwood is one of the most self-critical filmmakers living, at least to a point. It can be easy for many to let their cultural memory slip back only so far: to a cranky old man berating a chair at the RNC or shallow first-reads of the good but not great “racist old man movie”, GRAN TORINO (2008). It's sadly the shallowest observations of his art that will keep people from witnessing this strange and moving film, which oddly masquerades in the form of prestige, vying for awards-season love. In THE MULE, Eastwood seems to be posturing as a confessor, yet the result will have many scratching their heads at just how much humility he can muster onscreen. The director goes so far as to cast his own daughter and alter facts about the real-life subject he's portraying in order to comment on his own personal history. The movie is in part a rueful admission of having lived in the service of fleeting pleasures, but it also nosedives into sequences that wouldn’t be out of place in the horniest rap video. Eastwood has laid out these contradictions before: his persona of the shitty dad/husband who only cares about his work and fleeting sexual encounters has been there since TRUE CRIME, and threads about guilt and his public image going hand-in-hand, can be traced all the way back to SUDDEN IMPACT. But here, Eastwood's pursuit of forgiveness without expecting to find redemption feels more lonely than arbitrary—the film’s final shot, combining the ability to remain attached to one’s work without having to compromise, while remaining contained in one’s own personal prison of failure, is one of the loneliest shots you’re likely to see this decade. (2018, 117 min, DCP Digital) JD
Karlheinz Martin’s FROM MORN TO MIDNIGHT (Silent German Revival)
Karlheinz Martin’s expressionist film FROM MORN TO MIDNIGHT was made hot on the heels of Robert Wiene’s THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. Martin, a theater director who had produced a stage version of the story in 1912, and his set designer Robert Neppach, push the flatness and artifice of Wiene’s (and set designer Hermann Warm’s) aesthetic to even greater extremes. Sets and props exist as crude and barely-realized line-drawings and constructions; they have a more ephemeral and fleeting quality than those in CALIGARI, where the angular geometries and distorted sense of space mirrors the insanity, criminality, and horror of the film’s character’s psychological states. In MIDNIGHT the set design also serves as more than simple functionality or decorativeness, but it’s one that reflects an exteriority, a sense of the tenuous and insubstantial state of the world. The downfall of the protagonist, a bank cashier with a bland domestic life and comfortably unremarkable job, is the result of base and superficial temptations, a sudden recognition of mediocrity, rather than of a consuming obsession. When he’s rebuffed by the woman he steals for, he moves on to other shallow pursuits. He’s after “passion” but doesn’t seem to know how or where to find it—or even what it means. MIDNIGHT hinges on its design elements (setting, props, makeup); their strangeness grounds the film and provides its main interest. Otherwise, it’s quite static and stage-bound in its style. It was Martin’s first film as a director and it contains little use of filmic techniques, apart from a few close-ups. Still, it’s a fascinating work that is lucky to have survived: the print showing comes from a copy that was located in Japan in the 1950s, after the film had been considered lost. Preceded by Otto Messmer’s 1927 Felix the Cat cartoon WHYS AND OTHERWISE (7 min, 16mm). Live accompaniment by Dennis Scott. (1920, 69 min, 35mm imported archival print) PF
Jacques Becker’s IT HAPPENED AT THE INN, RENDEZVOUS IN JULY, and TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (French Revivals)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Showtimes noted below
“[Jacques] Becker’s directorial temperament is that of an observer,” writes Marty Rubin in his program notes to the month-long Becker retrospective that kicks off this weekend at the Film Center. “This does not mean that he is neutral or detached but that, rather than imposing a predetermined scheme on the film, he allows its truth to emerge from an accumulation of countless small impressions and observations that illuminate the characters and their social milieu.” An apprentice to Jean Renoir, Becker clearly learned from Renoir’s deceptively casual approach to storytelling—his films tend to unfold relaxedly, betraying their sharp insights and astute sense of narrative development. Regardless of whether he depicted the past or the present, good guys or bad, Becker maintained a strong grasp of the dramatic moment, always seeming to bring his characters to some revelation. The series begins with IT HAPPENED AT THE INN (1943, 104 min, 35mm; Friday, 4:15pm and Tuesday, 6pm), which Rubin describes as “part mystery story, part black comedy, part Balzacian social canvas, [and] part satire of country-city conflicts.” It concerns an urbanite who arrives in a small town and becomes embroiled in the case of the robbery and murder of an old woman; several members of a family are suspected of committing the crime, and the hero gets tied up with these individuals as well. I haven’t seen this since it played at Doc Films over a decade ago, but I remember that it contains a pronounced sense of anarchic humor—likely a carry-over from Becker’s days with the far-left-leaning Renoir—as well as a vivid sense of milieu. RENDEZVOUS IN JULY (1949, 99 min, DCP Digital; Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm), which continues the series, prefigures the French New Wave in its carefree charm, documentary-style images of Parisian life, and thematic emphasis on youth. The film considers a group of friends, all in their 20s, who are navigating life and love in Paris. Becker centers the story on Daniel, an aspiring ethnographer raising money to make a documentary in Africa, but the writer-director is less interested in whether the hero achieves his goal than in how he enjoys himself in the meantime. RENDEZVOUS provides a spirited tour of jazz clubs, the Parisian street scene, and other youth hangouts—the film doubles as a time capsule of a generation discovering the liberty of the postwar world, its romantic sensibility seeming to emerge organically from the historical moment. TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (1953, 94 min, DCP Digital; Saturday, 5pm and Wednesday, 6pm) evinces a wholly different sensibility, that of world-weariness and affectless cool. Cited as the film that jump-started Jean Gabin’s career, it centers on Max (Gabin), a lifelong criminal who’s drawn into one last heist. “Plot, which abounds in [the source] novel, here becomes—at least until the final violent explosion—a chain of suggestive pauses,” wrote Geoffrey O’Brien for the Criterion Collection. “Becker’s genius in TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI is to focus resolutely on what comes before or after or falls in between the decisive actions: it’s a film where we learn how gangsters brush their teeth. The heist on which the plot depends isn’t shown, isn’t even explained. The scenes of confrontation are treated as tedious interruptions... GRISBI unfolds as a series of tableaus so vivid we scarcely notice how insignificant the story is: each scene has its own reality, its own fascination. New characters emerge without explanation, and past entanglements are never clarified.” Some of those characters are played by Lino Ventura (in his acting debut) and a young Jeanne Moreau, who turns in a performance as a duplicitous girlfriend. BS
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 7pm
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's self-reflexive musical about the introduction of sound and, soon thereafter, singing, in Hollywood feature films is, hands down, one of the most inventive Hollywood musicals ever made. Sure, it's brash and brightly colored but, as far as mainstream Hollywood studio musicals go, it's not simply a rote number. To begin with, it pre-empts the popularity of post-modern strategies in Hollywood cinema even before Jean-Francois Lyotard had diagnosed the condition and it was also heavily inspired by Powell and Pressburger's THE RED SHOES (1948); the surreal and fantastical dream sequence for the song "Gotta Dance" undoubtedly borrows from the 15-minute long production of the Red Shoes ballet. Although SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is in many ways inferior, Donen and Kelly's desire to bring some of Powell and Pressburger's inventiveness to Hollywood was a courageous move. Comparisons aside, SINGIN' boasts its own impressive repertoire of brilliant performances, particularly Donald O'Connor's incredible physical comedy routines, sure to make even the most griping curmudgeon crack a smile. Although the most widely remembered scene in the film is Gene Kelly splashing around in the puddles and singing the title song, Debbie Reynolds' steals the show from him on more than one occasion—particularly her performance of "Good Mornin'" (which contrary to popular rumor she does sing herself). Throw in the fact that the Technicolor is stunning and the jokes still pack a punch 50 years later, and you have a clever, comic masterpiece. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is a theater-going experience not to be missed—watching it on TV just doesn't do it justice. (1952, 102 min, 35mm) BC
Donna Deitch’s DESERT HEARTS (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Tuesday, 7pm
What does it mean to say a film has heart? I used that phrase when explaining why I appreciated Claude Sautet’s CLASSE TOUS RISQUE—which, contrary to critical consensus, I found to be in line with the well-meaning worldview of Sautet’s more congenial, better-known films—after seeing it for the first time at Noir City a few years ago, and I applied it when mulling over the quiet firecracker that is Donna Deitch’s DESERT HEARTS. Referred to as a “lesbian classic,” the film is an adaptation of Jane Rule’s 1964 novel Desert of the Heart, one of the first to seriously portray a romantic relationship between two women. Set in the late 1950s, it follows 35-year-old Columbia lit professor Vivian as she travels to Reno to procure a quickie divorce. There she meets Cay, ten years her junior and borne of a different social sphere, though what she lacks in sophistication she makes up for in independence. Waiting for her decree, Vivian resides at a ranch owned by Cay’s would-be stepmother, Frances, who, while having a romantic streak of her own, condemns Cay’s so-called lifestyle. Despite Cay’s family (generally benign as they think their intolerance is) and Vivian’s initial reticence, romance flourishes in the heat of the desert sun. Vincent Canby is mostly correct when, in his review of the film for the New York Times, he points out that “[i]t's the sort of film in which everyone, including the English professor, talks as if she'd grown up inside ‘The Life of Helen Trent’” (I listened to some of that program on YouTube, and he’s not wrong). Canny as his criticism may be, it’s that very earnestness that gives it its heart, raw feeling overshadowing its grandiloquent flaws. Superficial similarities to Todd Haynes’ CAROL, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, are undeniable—one woman is older, the other is younger; one is très sophistiqué, the other an uncultivated creative—but DESERT HEARTS is softhearted where CAROL retains hints of Highsmith’s signature chilliness. The basal pulchritude of Robert Elswit’s cinematography, an early entry in his illustrious career, palliates the clunkiness of the script. Patricia Charbonneau and Helen Shaver deliver compelling performances as the romantic teacher and her student, respectively (though it’s the latter who’s the professor at Columbia), and the soundtrack is charming as all get out. But it’s Deitch’s direction that elevates it above whimsicality, giving it that something, a je ne sais quoi, similarly embodied by her characters. (1986, 96 min, DCP Digital) KS
Clint Eastwood’s HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Tuesday, 9:30pm
The political odyssey of Clint Eastwood encompasses ideologies and idiosyncrasies so peculiar that they have yet to be named. Over the last decade, Eastwood has delivered a masterful and deeply sympathetic survey of minority-majority America in GRAN TORINO, implicated J. Edgar Hoover as a closet case whose private delusions left deep scars on free society, starred in an implicitly pro-Obama Super Bowl half-time spot directed by David Gordon Green, performed an explicitly pro-Romney duet with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, directed a jingoistic pile of barely concealed kink called AMERICAN SNIPER, voiced ambivalence about the rise of Donald Trump while lamenting the political correctness imposed by the "pussy generation," and played a nonagenarian drug runner working for the Mexican cartels in THE MULE. Less a flip-flopper than a film personality with a downright Maoist penchant for self-criticism and deflection, the Eastwood oeuvre contains embarrassing multitudes. If you start out with the prostrate repentance of UNFORGIVEN, it might not be apparent just how extreme and violent Eastwood’s screen sins were. Take a fresh look at HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, one of the most loutish and offensive films ever released by a major studio. Essentially a continuation of the sadistic adventures of the Leone/Eastwood Man With No Name, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER envisions an American polity overrun with corpulence, whoring, hypocrisy, and general venality. Grafting a grinning, pro-rape grind house aesthetic onto big-studio classical filmmaking, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is a monstrous artifact from Spiro Agnew’s unconscious or perhaps a pre-Haneke experiment in audience torment. Is this a recommendation? No, definitely. (1973, 105 min, 35mm) KAW
Morgan Neville's WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (New Documentary)
Music Box Theatre – Sunday, 11:45am
Those hoping for the Woodward and Bernstein treatment from Morgan Neville's WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, a heartening and restorative documentary about public television icon Fred Rogers, will have to look elsewhere. With Mr. Rogers, what you saw was, by all indications, precisely what you got: a deeply humane man, gentle, honest, responsible (and, yes, square). That said, the film deepened and even changed my view of the man. I came away with a new admiration for his vision, and his ambition. Neville, whose previous credits include the personal favorite 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, is a deft craftsman at dramatizing the standard doc formula: well-curated archival footage, artfully mixed with good interviews. In opposition to the bludgeoning children's shows of the day, Pittsburgh-based Mr. Rogers envisioned what we might call a kind of "slow TV." To illustrate a minute elapsing, for example, he'd simply show a clock face as the minute played itself out. He wanted a show that would fortify children for navigating the thorny realities of adult life. His philosophy was remarkably unswerving down the decades: love is at the root of everything. No one can reach his or her full potential unless they realize they are loved, and capable of being loving. He believed children feel just as deeply as you or I, and he was certain that denying those feelings, especially darker ones like fear and anger, was bad for the health, on levels both personal and public. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood went national in the troubled year of 1968, echoes of which resound through our own days, and we see Mr. Rogers interacting with a painfully riven country in ways that are positive, helpful, and healing. The show grappled with a truer, darker America than perhaps its latter-day image would suggest. To address the assassination of Robert Kennedy, Mr. Rogers turned to Daniel the tiger, one of the allegorical hand puppets from the Neighborhood of Make Believe (and Rogers' alter-ego), who movingly expressed to Lady Aberlin the questions and concerns a child might have. As whites violently drove black people from swimming pools, Mr. Rogers pointedly pictured himself and François Clemmons, the black man who played Officer Clemmons, cooling their feet together in a kiddie pool. Then there is the semi-legendary 1969 Senate hearing wherein his testimony almost singlehandedly saved public television, thanks to the emotional impact it had on hardboiled committee chairman John Pastore. To watch Mr. Rogers, a lifelong gentleman-Republican, nail down funding for PBS is to know you're peering into a different era. Neville does, in fact, include some critical perspectives on Mr. Rogers, which come in the voices of the comically awful American right. They criticized him for the crime of...wait for it...teaching children that each of them is inherently special. Yet the idea that everyone is endowed with value is a very Christian one; in fact, Mr. Rogers conceived of his television work as an outgrowth of his ministry. You might say his vision of TV's potential was no less than to build a neighborhood out of a whole country. (He visits an inner-city neighborhood, slipping happily into the vibrant street life.) This brings us to a hard question in these dangerous days. Did his attempt to influence America succeed? For a man the very essence of whom was finding common ground, the America of 2018 would be a great sadness. WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? makes a strong case that Mr. Rogers' vision is more badly needed than ever, and more absent than it's ever been. (2018, 94 min, DCP Digital) SP
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
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Jonathan Rosenbaum discusses his new book Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues with local film critic (and former Cine-File contributor) Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on Saturday at 3pm at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.). Followed by a book signing. Free admission.
Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.) presents Experimental Films from Iowa on Thursday at 7:30pm. The screening of 16mm and digital works includes films by Traci Hercher, Auden Lincoln-Vogel, Julianna Torres Villarosa, Stephen Wardell, Kai Swanson, Michael Wawzenek, P. Sam Kessie, Philip Rabalais, and Sam Kahrar. Filmmakers in person.
Media Burn Archive and Hungry Brain (2319 W. Belmont Ave.) present Erwin Helfer and Mama Yancey on Saturday at 9pm. The program features footage of a performance by and conversation between pianist Erwin Helfer and the late blues singer Estelle “Mama” Yancey filmed by future Chicago Blues Festival Coordinator Barry Dolins in 1982. Helfer and Dolins in person. Introduced by documentary filmmaker John Anderson.
Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 200) presents Short Films for Children (2004-14, 66 min total, Video Projection), a program of German films without dialogue for youngsters aged 6-11, on Thursday at 4pm. Free admission.
The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Ave.) screens Daniele Vicari’s 2008 Italian film THE PAST IS A FOREIGN LAND (120 min, Video Projection) on Thursday at 6pm. Free admission.
The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens George Roy Hill’s 1969 film BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (110 min, DCP Digital) on Wednesday at 1 and 7pm. Free admission.
The Beverly Arts Center (2407 W. 111th St.) screens Hal Hartley’s 1990 film TRUST (107 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 7:30pm. Preceded by Hartley’s 1991 short AMBITION (9 min). Introduced by local filmmaker and Northwestern professor Spencer Parsons. [Rescheduled from November]
At the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Rupert Everett’s 2018 UK film THE HAPPY PRINCE (105 min, DCP Digital), Alexis Bloom’s 2018 documentary DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES (108 min, DCP Digital), and Milad Alami’s 2017 Danish/Swedish film THE CHARMER (102 min, DCP Digital) all play for a week; Chris Marker’s 1989 French 13-part television miniseries THE OWL’S LEGACY is showing in four programs throughout January. Program One (parts 1-3, 78 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 5pm and Monday at 6pm. Ofir Trainin’s 2018 Israeli documentary FAMILY IN TRANSITION (70 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 6:15pm and Monday at 8pm; and Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev’s 2018 Swiss/Chinese documentary GENESIS 2.0 (112 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 5pm and Tuesday at 8pm.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Yasujiro Ozu’s 1962 Japanese film AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (113 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Dava Whisenant’s 2018 documentary BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY (87 min, DCP Digital) opens; Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 Mexican film ROMA (135 min, 70mm) opens on Wednesday and runs through January 13; Anna Zamecka’s 2016 Polish documentary COMMUNION (72 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 5pm; Stephen Maing’s 2018 documentary CRIME + PUNISHMENT (112 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 2pm; and Douglas Burke’s 2018 film SURFER: TEEN CONFRONTS FEAR (98 min, DCP Digital) and Panos Cosmatos’ 2018 film MANDY (121 min, DCP Digital) are on Friday and Saturday at Midnight.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Graham Foundation (Madlener House, 4 W. Burton Place) continues Martine Syms: Incense Sweaters & Ice through January 12.
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: December 14 - December 21, 2018
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Michael Castelle, Marilyn Ferdinand, Scott Pfeiffer, Michael W. Phillips Jr., Dmitry Samarov