MARK PATTON INTERVIEW
Visit our blog for an interview with actor Mark Patton, the subject of the documentary SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which is screening as the Closing Night film at the Reeling Film Festival (review below).
ODD OBSESSION FUNDRAISER
Our friends at Odd Obsession Movies are doing a fundraiser to help ensure their continued presence in the Chicago film scene! Chip in what you can! OO is a vital resource, and a DIY, grassroots, volunteer-driven place filled with movie-obsessives. In fact, Cine-File in many ways owes its beginnings to OO, as several of the founders of C-F volunteered there or were frequent patrons. Keep small, local, independent business alive! Keep independent cinema alive! Donate now.
Ism, Ism, Ism – Dialogues with Che: Appropriations of a Revolutionary Figure (Experimental Revivals)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) – Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission)
Block Cinema is bringing the bulk of Ism, Ism, Ism, a touring program of Latin American experimental films and videos organized by L.A. Filmforum, to the Chicago area this fall, with five programs at Block and an additional six programs at four grassroots film and art spaces in Chicago. This first program coincidentally serves as an ideal bridge from the Gate Theater Film Festival that concludes on Monday to the Ism series. The main work in the program, José Rodriquez Soltero’s 1968 film DIALOGUE WITH CHE, also screened at the NYC Gate Theater (although it seems under a different title), and its director was one of the filmmakers featured in the GTFF, with his short film JEROVI (a third Soltero film, LUPE, screens later in another Ism program). Soltero’s DIALOGUE WITH CHE (53 min, 16mm or Digital Projection; unconfirmed at our deadline) is a double-screen 16mm film that takes as its subject the death of revolutionary leader Che Guevara and the difficulty, and even appropriateness, of representing him on screen. Made shortly after Guevara’s 1967 murder, the film stars Venezuelan actor Rolando Peña as Guevara, and was made by Puerto Rico-born Soltero, for whom it was a pivot away from the overtly queer and camp sensibilities of his previous films toward a more politically-engaged media making practice. It starts with a reenactment of the famed photo of the dead Guevara, surrounded by his captors, taken by Freddy Alborta. The scene plays out, ending in a freeze-frame mimicking the photo, on the left side of the double 16mm projection; after three minutes, the same reel starts up on the right side, with this pattern of off-sync images continuing for the entire running time. The sound comes from the left image, until the very end. After this dramatization of the iconic Alborta photo, a long middle section follows—in fits and starts as reels run out or the camera is turned off and on—with Peña (still in costume as Che) reading from the introduction to Guevara’s published writing and engaging in a lengthy conversation with an off-screen Soltero about his belief that the project can’t reasonably expect to do justice to Guevara, the necessity for continued revolutionary action, and the ridiculous possibilities of a Hollywood biopic of Guevara. It’s in this section that the doubled, but off-sync, image gains particular resonance, as the actions on screen are ghosted by themselves, a reflection lagging behind its “real” self, just as the entire film is off-sync from the real Guevara’s not-too-distant death. The doubling, and Peña’s breaking of the fourth wall (repeatedly asking if Soltero is filming), foreground the process of image creation, and dovetails with Peña philosophical and ontological objections to the film. The end section returns to dramatization, with a sequence of Guevara’s captivity, brutalization, and execution, much of which happens in the background behind underground film star Taylor Mead, who sits and listens to Carlos Gardel songs on the radio and then reads the “Rifleman’s Creed.” This momentary camp-like intrusion perhaps signals that Soltero ultimately agrees with Peña that one can’t in fact capture anything meaningful about Guevara through this use of artifice and play-acting. A position hinted at by Soltero’s Warholian camerawork throughout the film, which wanders randomly away from its subject, and zooms suddenly; formal tactics which again highlight the constructedness of filmmaking, dispelling any sense of grounding in truth or reality. Paraphrasing Peña, Che Guevara remains an unfilmable subject. Also showing are Pedro Chaskel’s 1981 Cuban film A PHOTOGRAPH TRAVELS THE WORLD (13 min) and Leandro Katz’s 1997 Argentinean film THE DAY YOU’LL LOVE ME (30 min). (1968-97, 96 min total, Digital Projection and tentatively 16mm) PF
Gate Theater Film Festival (Experimental Revivals/Retrospective)
Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.) – Friday - Monday
The Gate Theater Film Festival, which showcases a diverse selection of films from the 1940s through the 60s that all screened at filmmaker/artist/poet Aldo Tambellini’s Gate Theater in New York City during the late 1960s, continues with four additional screenings. It’s organized/curated by local scholar and programmer Amelia Ishmael, as an extension of her current research on the Gate Theater. Everything this week is showing in 16mm.
Program 4: The Hero Is Left with His Own Uncertainty and Fears (Experimental Retrospective)
Friday's screening of the Gate Theater Film Festival recreates a Kuchar Brothers double feature that played for two months at the Gate Theater in 1966. If you are unfamiliar with the Kuchar Brothers, you have no excuse to miss this screening to become acquainted with the most passionate, rambunctious, and spirited underground filmmakers from the 1950s till today. The late George and the still active Mike started making lurid and scruffy 8mm films as teens in their Bronx neighborhood, aping the style of melodramas with homemade sets and a rotating cast of friends and co-conspirators. Perhaps greatest among their regular performers was the wondrous Donna Kerness, who appears in all three films showing tonight. George's CORRUPTION OF THE DAMNED (1965) is prime-Kuchar in that it's a ten-car-pile-up of filmic frenzy and narrative neurosis. George describes the film as "a cross between THE SILENCE, L’AVVENTURA, and Terrytoons... In it there can be found beauty, glamour, sophistication and smut." The more high-minded Mike directed THE SECRET OF WENDEL SAMSON (1966), a queer classic that features pop artist Red Grooms, not quite comfortable with his male relationships, getting provoked by the sultry Kerness. The later half has Grooms tortured by a gauntlet of surreal homophobic abuses, which he can only escape by coming to terms with his true self. It seems odd to say that a little five-minute short film is the standout of a program with underground classics, but Bob Cowan's MODDLE TODDLE (1967) (or "Model Toddle," depending on who you trust) is sight to behold. Cowan was another regular actor in the Kuchar world and a damn fine filmmaker in his own right. This film stars Kerness as herself, as she makes her own rollicking fun at a party of boring men. She dances with a lampshade, she kicks around a toilet plunger in a dirty bathtub, she does obscene things to the holes in a mannequin. It's a masterful improvised choreography that transforms the dingy apartment and the undesirable partygoers into a life-affirming solo explosion of spunky soul. And the final "duet" with a sleeping George Kuchar as an unwilling partner is one of the greatest minutes of cinema I've seen all year. (1965-67, 94 min total, 16mm) JBM
Program 7: The Underworld of Sensory Derangement
The final program in the Gate Theater Film Festival, as its title implies, features works that emphasize a variety of visual and tactile approaches to filmmaking. Two take a more classical tact: Maya Deren’s lovely 1958 film THE VERY EYE OF THE NIGHT positions dancers from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School representing figures from mythology, folklore, and literature against a field of stars. The dancers are presented in negative, giving them an otherworldly feel. Yoichi Takabayashi’s 1965 film MUSASHINO combines the simplicity of Japanese artistic traditions with a slight surrealist edge. A woman in a forest moves about, kisses a tree trunk, and is juxtaposed to cutouts of Japanese prints and stone statues randomly found among the natural elements. Storm De Hirsch’s 1965 film PEYOTE QUEEN is the most wide-ranging in its methods: De Hirsch punches holes in the film, scratches abstract forms and representational images (lips, eyes, breasts, fish) onto the film, and films what appears to be an ornate lamp, catching the light and color filtered through and reflected off it, and films images (a color photo of a naked breast) through a piece of glass that produces a kaleidoscopic effect. These visual elements are paired with a soundtrack of percussive music and jazz, adding aural energy to the visual density. It’s a playful, freewheeling film that suffers a little from its randomness. The two simplest films on the program are my two favorites: Aldo Tambellini’s cameraless 1965 film BLACK IS is the only entirely abstract work in the show. He scratches and draws on film leader, treats it with acid, and otherwise distresses it to create a frantic haptic dance of black and white forms and textures. Marie Menken’s 1957 film HURRY! HURRY! is a formally and conceptually simple work—it’s a superimposition of a flame over microscopic footage of sperm, accompanied by an abrasive, almost apocalyptic soundtrack. It’s a film of annihilation and destruction. It’s also damn funny. Also showing is Jud Yalkut’s 1966 film LE PARC, which was not previewable. (1957-66, 51 min total, 16mm) PF
Also showing are Program 5: Protest, as an Expression of Patriotic Duty on Saturday at 7pm, with Bruce Baillie’s masterpiece QUIXOTE (1965, 45 min), another great Aldo Tambellini film, BLACK PLUS-X (1966, 9 min), Abbe Borov’s LET IT SHINE (1968, 22 min), and Peter Gessner’s TIME OF THE LOCUST (1966, 12 min); and Program 6: Going Inward Is Not Withdrawing on Sunday at 7pm, with Ed Emshwiller’s TOTEM (1963, 16 min), Stan VanDerBeek’s SPHERICAL SPACE NO. 1 (1967, 5 min), Takahiko Iimura’s ANMA / THE MASSEUR (1963, 13 min), Mark Sadan’s ROSEBUD (1966, 5 min), and David Bienstock’s NOTHING HAPPENED THIS MORNING (1965, 21 min).
Abbas Kiarostami’s THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (Iranian Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Saturday, 3pm and Wednesday, 6pm
Whether explicitly or not, fiction and documentary are always intertwined in cinema. The films of Abbas Kiarostami take this intermingling deep into their core in order to create fascinating tapestries of fabrication and testimony. In 1990 when a devastating earthquake hit Northern Iran, killing fifty thousand people, Kiarostami made the difficult car trip to Koker, the setting of his previous film, WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE? (1987), in search of the two brothers who acted in it—only to find that the village was no longer as it had been. Trees and rivers remained, but the town itself was largely gone. Two years later, reflecting on what follows after such a disaster and the impulse toward life that emerges from it, Kiarostami made LIFE AND NOTHING MORE… (1992), a fictionalized account of this trip with a stand-in director and his son making that same journey. (The Ahmadpour brothers did survive the earthquake, we learn, though not from the film itself.) THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (1994), the third part of the sublime, self-reflexive Koker trilogy, picks up on a scene of newlyweds from the previous film and approaches it from a pseudo-documentary perspective. In what becomes a tragicomic romance of reenactment, an illiterate bricklayer, Hossein Rezai (who has an interesting trajectory through the Koker cycle as a tea boy turned bit player then star), and the woman cast as his wife Tahereh, who comes from a higher class, struggle to keep the film-within-a-film afloat in the midst of their hapless “real-life” courtship. It is revealing that through earthquakes and revolutions, social mores persist. As Kiarostami conveys in a conversation with critic Godfrey Chesire from a recently released book of interviews “when you see all three together, it’s more than just film: the Koker trilogy becomes a historical document.” Remarkably natural feeling for such a complex meta-fiction, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES is an essential piece of postmodern cinema, and a beautiful film to encounter as it thinks through layers of reality and representation with the lightest touch. (1994, 104 min, DCP Digital) MHS
Alejandro Landes’ MONOS (New Colombian)
Music Box Theatre – Check Venue website for showtimes
In the first scene of MONOS, a group of blindfolded teens plays a game of soccer high on a misty mountaintop. They mill about as night falls, listening for each other’s presences, hoping for a goal. It’s an apposite, concise introduction to this grim fable of moral and ideological blindness, in which a regiment of militarized youth clambers around in metaphorical darkness, stranded from their humanity. The kids, who carry noms de guerre such as Smurf, Wolf, and Lady, are also stranded from geographical coordinates: stationed on a remote mountain somewhere in Latin America, the only real connection they have to the outside world is via their stout sergeant, known as the Messenger (Wilson Salazar), who puts them through rigorous training exercises while reminding them of their loyalty to an obscure Organization. When he departs, leaving them to monitor an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson), and a cow named Shakira, things go to hell fast. The Lord of the Flies may be the obvious driving influence for Landes (if you weren’t sure, a rotting pig head makes a late appearance), but unlike that tale of social entropy, the makeshift youth civilization here is poisoned from the start, induced to feral aggression and base survival instincts by the invisible military faction that has radicalized them before the story even begins. Abandoning their foggy highland post after an attack by a rival group, the squad ventures deep into the rainforest, where a combination of the elements, personal hostilities, and panic over their escaped hostage further plunges them into atavistic chaos. It’s also here that Landes most viscerally conjures the film’s experiential intensity, enveloping the senses in the sounds of squelching mud, chattering monkeys, and peals of gunfire, and in the palpably fatiguing images of the actors trudging through the unforgiving landscape, dirt and sweat clinging to their skin. Mica Levi’s score, meanwhile, churns unnervingly throughout, oscillating between ethereal flutes and pulsing electronic distortions that suggest the musical analog of asphyxiation. All of the young actors do impressively committed work here, particularly Sofia Buenaventura as the ironically named Rambo, who emerges as the group’s brittle conscience, but Julianne Nicholson deserves special mention for a performance so grueling and full-bodied one feels taxed just watching it. Battered, chained, and ambushed by mosquitoes, yet relentless, we empathize with her even as her own animalistic will to survive tips over into desperate violence. Nearly all of its characters are, in some way, victimizers, but MONOS maintains some sliver of humanity in recognizing them as victims first, as people who have been subjugated and turned against one another by systems they can hardly begin to understand. In a lingering moment that locks on the fearful eyes of one of the children, Landes’ film perhaps evokes nothing so much as Elem Klimov’s devastating COME AND SEE, registering atrocity in the face of a child whose youth it has annihilated. Its thesis about war may not offer anything new, but MONOS does a worthy job of making us feel a twinge of its harrowing, internecine effects. (2019, 105 min, DCP Digital) JL
REELING: THE CHICAGO LGBTQ+ INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival continues through Sunday at Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.). Below is a selection of some recommended programs showing this final weekend.
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow (Shorts Program)
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) - Friday, 7pm
Bittersweet, elegiac, and pointed toward the ineluctable uncertainty of the future, the shorts in this program explore relationships riven by the flux of circumstance and desire, not to mention the inexorable march of time. Yet what is most notable and refreshing about these films is how they refuse a sense of finality: despite their frequent emotional turbulence, the gay relationships they depict subvert the tragic endings they would have no doubt invited in the past. Partners may drift apart, and feelings may be shattered, but rather than signaling futures foreclosed, they recognize separation as a potential catalyst for new possibilities. This is certainly true of Simon Croker’s ALL GOOD THINGS, which wrings poignancy from the knowledge that its road trip, like any, must eventually reach its destination. Young Aussie Isaac, who’s helping move his boyfriend from Sydney to Melbourne, is all too aware of this fact, but the inevitable goodbye doesn’t end their relationship so much as validate it. Physical distance is also threatening to disjoin a couple in Layke Anderson’s MANKIND, albeit with more volatile results. Gradually revealing its sci-fi premise—a man is aggrieved over his boyfriend’s decision to apply for a one-way mission to help colonize Mars—the film figures its couple’s divergent wishes, attitudes, and ideas about their futures as a literally cosmic schism, weaving their emotional journey through Malickian montage that promises something beyond their fraying bond, even if it’s just more space. The couple in Xavier Miralles’ THE SPARK worries about the future for decidedly more domestic reasons, as a seemingly benign bedside dispute spirals into an all-night debate that threatens to unravel their decade-long relationship. Happily accommodating three, the bedroom is a less contentious space in Matthew Puccini’s LAVENDER, even as the polyamorous arrangement between a twenty-something man and an older gay couple meets its own snag. The longest and most stylistically singular of the bunch, Sofie Edvardsson’s animated TOP 3 charts the globetrotting relationship between two Swedish men, the diffident, neurotic homebody Anton and the wander-lusting David. It’s a fairly incompatible pairing, as we’re made to know at the start, but the film’s pleasingly geometric, paper cutout-esque animation and whimsical sensibility—not to mention its flair for depicting canoodling in illustrated form – goes some way toward soothing the heartbreak. (2019, 94 min total, Digital Projection) JL
The Kids Are Alright (Shorts Program)
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) – Saturday, 5pm
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of LGBTQ movies that offer hopeful outcomes for their protagonists, a trend that is working studiously to countervail decades-worth of downbeat queer representations. While these films often don’t make it immediately obvious that things are going to pan out in the end, you won’t have to spend time wondering with Reeling’s “The Kids Are Alright” program: given the title, it’s no spoiler to say that happy results are in store. In Johnny Alvarez’s VICTORY BOULEVARD, a Latino teenager with body issues finds himself attracted to his athletic neighbor, but doesn’t know how to approach him. As the boys get to know each other, a sweet kinship blossoms between them that gives the timid teen a gentle boost of self-confidence. Equally sweet in its validation of young gay love is Morgan Jon Fox’s THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET, which sees an African-American teen preparing for a school dance while his parents, excited to meet the date they assume is female, reminisce about their own courtship. The reveal of his partner’s gender won’t qualify as a surprise, nor will his father’s reaction, but the ending is still reliably “aw”-worthy. Exploring the frictions between Christianity and homosexuality, Mat Hayes’ COGNITIVE centers on a man still haunted by the homophobic rhetoric his Alabama church drilled into him as a child. Happily married but seeing a therapist for his lingering crisis of faith, he gradually comes to understand how religion and LGBTQ rights need not be mutually exclusive ideas. Four shorts from California’s Young Actors Theatre Camp—Nathan Adloff’s MONOCEROS REX, Shawn Ryan’s HENRY, and Jim Falls’ SING OUT and BIRTHDAY GIRL—all shot in the mountains of Santa Cruz, offer earnest reassurance for kids feeling estranged or unaccepted. The most genuinely queer-feeling of the lot, and for me the best, is Leandro Goddinho and Paulo Menezes’ LOLO, a winsomely idiosyncratic, freewheeling romp about three prepubescent friends (two of them gay) and their eccentric camaraderie. The premise concerns the meek Lolo’s attempts to convince his German boyfriend that they should go public with their relationship, but the film is far less interested in narrative than in cockeyed shenanigans involving pajama onesies, tarot cards, and beetroot hair dye. Its squirrelly, seemingly improvisatory style acutely evokes both the gawkiness and ingenuity of youth, making childhood alliance into a sublimely implacable force of nature. (2019, 75 min total, Digital Projection) JL
Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen’s SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (New Documentary)
Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) - Sunday, 6pm (Closing Night Film)
If you ask a horror fan how they feel about A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE, the response isn’t likely to be all-too positive. The highly anticipated sequel to the iconic first film in the series was largely met with criticism—most of which was directed at actor Mark Patton for his performance as the vulnerable and queer-coded protagonist Jesse Walsh. The spotlight on Patton—including questions of his sexuality and being dubbed a “scream queen”—forced him to come out to an unaccepting world and ultimately compromised his career as an actor when he was at his prime. In SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, Patton tells his story in an attempt to change the narrative. More than 30 years after the release of FREDDY'S REVENGE, Patton chronicles how he was treated by the media and by the horror community at large, opens up about being HIV positive, and tries to find closure with the cards he was dealt in a deep and honest way. Coupled with Patton’s own story are insights from queer media scholars on the legacy of FREDDY'S REVENGE as well as from queer horror fans who found parts of themselves in Jesse Walsh—so much so that they pay tribute to the film’s camp sensibilities through drag and other forms of queer self expression. SCREAM, QUEEN! shines a light on an integral moment not just in Patton’s life, but also in the horror genre as it continues to reinvent the shared experience of what it means to be afraid in a terrifying world. Patton and co-directors Tyler Jensen and Roman Chimienti in person. (2019, 100 min, Digital Projection) CC
Steve De Jarnatt's MIRACLE MILE (American Revival)
Boy meets girl—at Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits, as one does. Boy and girl fall fast in love. Boy and girl arrange to meet after girl's late-night work shift at Johnie’s Coffee Shop. Boy sleeps through his alarm and girl goes home. Boy wakes up and goes to the restaurant, only to find that girl has, understandably, left and gone to bed. Boy calls girl from a payphone and leaves a message on her machine. Boy then intercepts a call to said payphone in which a distraught soldier, having dialed the wrong number, reveals that nuclear weapons are heading toward Los Angeles, set to arrive in little over an hour. A simple tale of young love and impending atomic catastrophe, Steve De Jarnatt's cult classic MIRACLE MILE follows the boy, trombone-playing Harry (Anthony Edwards, from TOP GUN and E.R.), and the girl, mullet-wearing Julie (Oscar-winner Mare Winningham, who pulls it off), as they attempt to flee the menacing blast. During this time they encounter various local eccentrics, ranging from a mysterious diner customer (who facilitates a group exodus to Antarctica) to a purveyor of stolen stereos (who accidentally sets two cops on fire and delivers one of the film's genuinely poetic moments) to a queer bodybuilder who agrees to fly the helicopter that will supposedly take Harry and Julie to safety. Famously, De Jarnatt's script was in development for almost ten years, its history rivaling the film's tangled plot: Named by American Film magazine one of the 10 Best Unproduced Scripts of 1983, De Jarnatt first pitched it to Warner Bros., who kept it in production for a few years, at one point even considering it as the basis for the Twilight Zone movie, though De Jarnatt had bought it back with the money he made co-writing Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas' STRANGE BREW. The film's soundtrack is by German electronic band Tangerine Dream; the ambient drone beautifully typifies the onscreen action in an Angelo Badalamenti kind of way. I didn’t know much about the film before I viewed it, but I was struck to discover how earnestly its fans admire this seemingly minor effort, despite multiple scenes that are almost campy. That fans so ardently admire the film endears me to it even more, as does its dated aesthetic—who isn't a sucker for neon lighting and lycra workout clothes, especially when worn by people at a fabulous gym where Harry goes in the early hours of the morning in an attempt to find a helicopter pilot? Sadly, but perhaps appropriately, its elegiac ending tampers the speciousness. Boy meets girl; boy and girl fall in love; boy and girl are ultimately destroyed by the folly of man. It's a tale as old as the times in which we live. Preceded by Fern Field’s 1983 short JOURNEY TO TOMORROW: COMMUNICATION (18 min, 16mm). (1988, 87 min, 35mm) KS
George Lucas’ AMERICAN GRAFFITI (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Thursday, 7pm
In the classic coming-of-age film AMERICAN GRAFFITI, director George Lucas memorializes his own experiences of growing up in early 1960’s Modesto, California. Set over the course of one day, the film is centered on a group of teenagers facing their imminent futures as summer vacation comes to a close. Lucas’ film expertly recreates the aesthetic of the era with its artfully designed set pieces, classic cars, neon-bathed streets, and catchy 1950’s and 60’s tunes. Keeping this in mind, the film’s late-summer setting serves as a symbol for simpler times in pre-Vietnam War America and the looming changes and turbulence the country would face later that decade. In a way, the film’s message extends beyond the screen and also foreshadows the periods of great change that would ensue for both George Lucas and Harrison Ford with STAR WARS. One of the things that makes AMERICAN GRAFFITI so successful is its script. The film is deftly funny, handling the era’s vernacular in a respectable fashion that does not feel forced. Additionally, the multiple storylines that are interwoven keep the film flowing as freely as the onscreen traffic in the streets. AMERICAN GRAFFITI serves up a hot slice of 1960’s nostalgia and for the days when cruising around town was still king. (1973, 110 min, 35mm) KC
Alain Gomis' FÉLICITÉ (New Senegalese/French)
Alain Gomis' FÉLICITÉ, an immersive, celebratory work of magical realism, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival; it's also the first ever submission by Senegal for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It can be a harrowing film, but it's also a joyous and vibrant one. With great dignity, Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu portrays Félicité, a magnetic singer in a juke joint in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She's a proud, independent woman, "too tough for her own good," some say. When her son Samo (Gaetan Claudia) suffers a motorcycle accident, the doctor implies he'll lose his leg if they don't operate immediately. He also tells her they won't operate until she first coughs up a hefty pre-payment. (As Stuart Klawans has pointed out, this is a version of the system Republicans would like to see obtain in the U.S.) The first hour sticks to the classical hero's-journey structure, with suspense generated by a time-sensitive goal, as she races about trying to scrape up the cash. The sensory whirlwind of Kinshasa is captured by the tremendous French cinematographer Céline Bozon. She shoots from the shoulder, getting right in the middle of the action reporter-style, all the while rendering available light into beautiful, expressive images (she has spoken movingly of what Raoul Coutard meant to her). The second hour grows surreal, a storehouse of mysterious, even mystic, imagery. She's lost in the forest, searching in the starry night, and she meets an okapi (a little forest giraffe). These images evoke many things, including Novalis' Hymns to the Night, some lines of which Félicité intones, and themes of falling and rebirth—motifs of myth, or even the blues—of being lost and having to one's own way. (Samo seems to be in a kind of limbo; in fact, he only utters one word in the entire film—but it's an important one, and he says it over and over.) FÉLICITÉ is the fourth feature by Gomis, a French-Senegalese writer/director. In interviews, he's spoken about the various hybrids, or dialectics, his movie explores: urban and traditional, fiction and reality (the bar is a real Kinshasa joint; the actors interact with actual regulars), and perhaps most importantly in terms of culture and identify, Africa and Europe. Consider the music (and FÉLICITÉ is a great, life-affirming music film). Her backup band is portrayed by the Kasai Allstars. Well-known on the Kinshasa scene and even internationally, they're rural musicians who moved to the city and plugged in, playing a raucous, electrified, modern/traditional music for dancing. (Sound familiar, students of the blues?) However, we also get gorgeous, non-narrative, blue-tinted interludes of orchestral and choral music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, performed by the Kinshasa Symphonic Orchestra, who may be of modest means but who play absolutely beautifully. Meanwhile, Félicité gets involved with Tabu (Papi Mpaka), a hapless, fundamentally decent would-be repairman who enjoys getting falling-down drunk at the club where she sings, during which episodes he becomes quite expansive, and usually ends up getting himself pummeled. He is a funny, lovable character, and his relationship with Félicité develops into something good in her life: he makes her laugh, and he loves her. All his chest-thumping has a self-satirical air: he doesn't take himself seriously enough to be patriarchal. (His efforts to fix her refrigerator become a running joke.) Yes, Gomis offers a withering social critique, and Félicité struggles mightily. Yet as the movie goes on, he sounds other notes as well, notes of acceptance and of finding joy in the actually-existing world. I will leave it to others to determine if this is a betrayal of political engagement (essentially, it's the serenity prayer), but to me it looks like wisdom. I won't soon forget the experience of empathizing with a person like Félicité, whose experiences could hardly be more different than my own, and of feeling our inner lives resonate. Gomis seems to be arguing that this is what movies are for, and I couldn't agree more. Gomis in person at both screenings. (2017, 124 min, DCP Digital) SP
Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones’s MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (UK Revival)
Music Box Theatre — Sunday, 7pm
Once, while on a family vacation as a teenager, I was temporarily given leave to drive. I proceeded to nearly careen off the road, but it was only because I was laughing so hard while listening to a Monty Python tape. (They were wonderful aural comedians, as well). I recovered control of the vehicle, but soon found myself accelerating as the Python tape grew funnier. Somewhere beneath my laughter, my ear registered far-away protestations and the sound of a siren. In short, I managed to get a speeding ticket, before being summarily advised that my services as driver were no longer required. This brings us to MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, that extremely silly, completely mad, and also genius and immortal, comedy. As a teenager, the film was a favorite of mine, and I would always agitate to rent it on slumber party night. I would laugh and laugh until short of breath. It was directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones in their maiden attempt at helming a movie—as well as, according to the credits, by an international cast of llamas, and sundry guanacos. Set in medieval England, 932 A.D. to be precise, and shot mainly in Scotland, HOLY GRAIL is one of the Pythons' finest hours—they were always at their best when treating ancient history. The plot is right there in the title: this is, quite simply, the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their sacred quest for the Holy Grail, told Python-style—replete with all the ludicrous incidents, animation, and wordplay we love. I loved HOLY GRAIL as a kid because it is quintessentially British comedy, and, in a word, its absurdity was freeing. Of course, as a teen I had no notion of the Pythons' grounding in Spike Milligan and the Goon Show, much less the Theater of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett. Nor did I pick up on the film's cinematic homages and parodies. It starts right away, with those great opening credits parodying Ingmar Bergman. Amusingly, in 1975 the anonymous reviewer in the New York Times counseled Bresson-heads not to see HOLY GRAIL before they'd had a chance to see Bresson's own LANCELOT DU LAC, which had been released the year before, on the grounds that the former "seems to be putting on Mr. Bresson unmercifully...the comparison, which may never have been intended, is nevertheless lethal to the work of the great French director...Mr. Bresson's emphasis on what you might call the sound of knighthood (clanking armor, horses' hoofs) is also hilariously parodied, as well as the violence of the age, on which the Python people have the last bleeding word." The Pythons loved the art films they were sending up, though: Gilliam was a huge Bergman fan, and he even conceived of HOLY GRAIL as a kind of homage to the Trilogy of Life, Pasolini's take on three classics of medieval literature. Jones himself was a great student of medieval literature, and rather a scholar of the Middle Ages who has written a number of books on the subject. This all means there's a good chance that, no matter how silly the gags get, they have some grounding in actual history or legend—even the taunting French knights. (Not sure about that shrubbery, but you never know.) All our Python favorites are here. Each plays multiple roles, spoofing various medieval archetypes (peasants, damsels, etc.) while also playing a main character. The roll call, please: Graham Chapman is King Arthur. The knights of Camelot are, to wit: Eric Idle (Sir Robin, the not-so-brave), John Cleese (Sir Lancelot, the daring, heroic, and dangerous), Michael Palin (Sir Galahad, the chaste), and Jones (Sir Bedevere, the not-so-wise). Gilliam is Patsy, Arthur's trusty servant, who has only one line. All too briefly, there's the great Connie Booth (co-writer and co-star of the mighty Fawlty Towers) as the "witch." We could always do with more of her. That's also true of Carol Cleveland, who was in so many of the original TV episodes, and who here plays the sexually frustrated Zoot/Dingo twins at Castle Anthrax. Monty Python has always been a sort of raison d'être for me: no matter how brutal the world got, there was always this oasis of intelligence and humor and imagination. HOLY GRAIL is a high point in the history of farce. All these years later, after so many experiences and through our troubled times, it still makes me laugh like when I was young. (1975, 91 min, DCP Digital) SP
Jim Klein and Julia Reichert’s SEEING RED (Documentary Revival)
Workers Education Society (3339 S. Halsted St.) – Monday, 7pm
Working together, directors Jim Klein and Julia Reichert put together a string of documentaries during the 1970s and 1980s that focused on progressive politics, including GROWING UP FEMALE (1971) and UNION MAIDS (1976). SEEING RED, their look at the rise and fall of American communism during the 20th century, shows how radical leftist politics initially were inextricably tied to the labor movement and how Stalin’s reign of terror allowed the U.S. government to attack communism successfully and, more devastating to the party, disillusioned its members, causing 80 percent of them to resign their membership. The film hits all the familiar signposts of the era, from the Haymarket Riot to the Spanish Civil War and House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, while concentrating on talking-head interviews with communist activists from the 1930s, including the ubiquitous Pete Seeger. There’s nothing here anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of labor politics hasn’t seen before, save for an unusually moving interview with writer Carl Hirsch. After he labels his communist activities as a phase he passed through, Reichert confronts him with articles he wrote about forced evictions and letters he wrote to his wife describing the miserable conditions of the poor souls living in tents set up in ditches. His choked recitation of his eloquent prose is a clue that he didn’t give up the ideals of a just society for all; rather, the often-losing struggle broke his heart. (1983, 100 min, Video Projection) MF
Showing as part of the Hothouse-organized “On Whose Shoulders” film series.
Jean Cocteau’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (French Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Tuesday, 7pm
One of the most widely known fairy tales thanks to its plethora of adaptations, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is a timeless story about inner beauty. Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film version is visually lustrous and richly marked by stunning costumes, elaborate set design, and imaginative use of practical effects. Jean Marais’ dual roles as the unsightly Beast and the blonde, pretty boy Avenant, both of whom are determined to win Belle’s (Josette Day) hand in marriage, are juxtaposed against one another to represent France versus Germany during World War II. Cocteau possesses a fascination for eyes in this film with the implication that they are the windows to the soul. Repeated images of doors, windows, and mirrors all lend themselves to a metaphorical sense of discovery about the inner workings of a person’s mind. When mirrors are present, a self-reflection occurs, the introspection frequently taking on negative connotations. When an observer peers through a window or an enchanted door magically opens, extrospection is often employed, leading to a hidden trait being revealed about a character. The film’s romantic yet semi-tragic tone draws influence from the works of Shakespeare and Greek tragedies: Romeo and Juliet and hubris leading to a downfall serve as signifiers. For a film about surface appearance, two production asides seem appropriate: various film stocks used due to a post-war shortage produces textures in the image can be noticeably different from one scene to another, and a debilitating skin disease that Cocteau developed during the shoot is an ironic mimicking of the repulsiveness of the Beast. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is ultimately one of the most haunting and dreamlike films ever to grace the silver screen. (1946, 94 min, 35mm) KC
Yasujiro Ozu's LATE SPRING (Japanese Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday, 3:45pm and Tuesday, 6pm
The appropriately titled LATE SPRING is the film generally considered the beginning of Ozu's late period. Not only does the film introduce stylistic elements with which Ozu's name has become interchangeable (little to no camera movement, geometric compositions, deliberately unemphatic line readings, etc.); it marks the director's first deployment of a story that would preoccupy him for the remainder of his career: A middle-class family must arrange the marriage of an adult child who, for whatever reason, appears in no rush to be married. Like the great ceramic artists of Japan's late-feudal period, Ozu developed a totally personal body of work from the variation of the most familiar elements—in this case, narrative tropes of the shomin-geki ("common-people's drama"). By focusing on this critical juncture in the life of a family, Ozu found endless grace notes on the theme of generational conflict (more often than not passive, which would prove a goldmine for the director's sly humor), cultural changes (reflected visually in Ozu's painterly attention to the changing seasons), and the character of Japan. Critic and artist Fred Camper lectures at the Tuesday screening. (1949, 108 min, DCP Digital) BS
Assia Boundaoui’s THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (New Documentary)
Chicago Cultural Center – Saturday, 2pm (Free Admission)
Algerian-American director Assia Boundaoui investigates the FBI’s scrutiny of the Muslim community in Bridgeview, Illinois, where she grew up. Dubbed “Vulgar Betrayal,” the operation went back over 20 years and made Boundaoui and her neighbors suspicious of workmen and any other strangers they’d see on the street. Coupled with the fact that it yielded no substantive terrorism-related convictions, it led the director to conclude that her community was being targeted mostly on the basis of race and religion. The film works best when Boundaoui focuses on her family’s and her own experiences rather than theorizing on the broad aims of the US government. Followed by a discussion. (2018, 86 min, Video Projection) DS
Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand's NATIVE LAND (Documentary Revival)
In 1936, Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand founded Frontier Films, a nonprofit documentary production company that produced political and social activist documentaries. The best known of these is their 1942 film NATIVE LAND. Hurwitz and Strand's film begins with the great actor, singer, and activist Paul Robeson narrating the history of America—from the settlement of Jamestown in 1607 to the present day—as it was shaped by the people. Robeson eloquently recounts the various hard-fought struggles for liberty, in particular those of American labor in the 1930s. The film recreates the heinous crimes against organizing attempts across the United States through fictional episodes, since newsreels from the era did not report these abuses of civil rights to the public. Hurwitz and Strand based the scenes upon information obtained through the LaFollette Committee's governmental hearings about crimes perpetrated by corporations against fledgling unions and their members and supporters. While NATIVE LAND deftly mixes different types of footage to tell its (hi)story, Strand makes the most important contribution to the film's visual aesthetic. It is no wonder considering his still photography helped to define the canon of early American modernism. The traditional humanist genres of landscape, architecture, and portraiture inspired both his photography and filmmaking. In the film, Strand moves from the natural landscape to the modern city, its industries, and its inhabitants, remarkably capturing the details of everyday life that frequently escape us. Although NATIVE LAND screened briefly at small art houses in 1942, the filmmakers were blacklisted for their political beliefs in the McCarthy era, and audiences did not see the film again until Hurwitz bought the rights back in the 1960s. (1942, 80 min, Digital Projection) CW
Showing as part of the Hothouse-organized "On Whose Shoulders" film series.
F.W. Murnau's NOSFERATU (Silent German Revival)
Beverly Arts Center - Wednesday, 7:30pm
Like his contemporary Jean Vigo, F.W. Murnau died far too soon. His death in an auto accident cut short the career of a great talent who was reaching new artistic milestones after his arrival in the U.S. He died having directed only three films for Hollywood (not including TABU) and, while he is celebrated among auteurists and cinephiles, his popular reputation never reached the level of other European émigrés like Fritz Lang. David Thomson writes that Murnau had an unparalleled talent for "photograph[ing] the real world and yet invest[ing] it with a variety of poetic, imaginative, and subjective qualities. The camera itself allowed audiences to experience actuality and imagination simultaneously." In the case of NOSFERATU the result is a vampire story of startling realism. This is no fantasy, nor is it a lush period piece. This is mania, creeping fear, disease, and plague. Perhaps no film better illustrates the difference between dreams, which inhabit the margins of our world, and fantasies, which we each manufacture. Thanks to Murnau's pioneering style here and in later films, directors as diverse as Douglas Sirk and David Lynch have continued to practice a similar alchemy of melodrama, movement, desire, and fateful circumstance. (1922, 94 min, Digital Projection) WS
Edoardo De Angelis' INDIVISIBLE (Contemporary Italian)
Sentieri Italiani (5430 N. Broadway) – Saturday, 4pm
Coming of age never hurt quite so much as it does in Edoardo De Angelis's unique, intensely moving drama INDIVISIBLE. 18-year-old conjoined twins (Angela Fontana and Marianna Fontana) live in Villagio Coppola, a coastal village northwest of Naples. Their wolfish father (Massimiliano Rossi), who's the songwriter of the crew, and their stoned, sad-eyed, glowering mother (Antonia Truppo), exploit them as an itinerant singing act, entertaining the rich with songs that poke fun at their own disability. Even the local priest (Gianfrano Gallo), who wears shaded John Lennon glasses, gets in on the act, marketing them to his impoverished immigrant flock as local saints whom it's good luck to touch—who can heal people and perform miracles. As the film opens, the young women are happy with their lives. In a desperately poor area, they're good earners. Their parents are carny people, essentially, but they do love the girls, in their way. The father can even be seen as an analogy for the once-essential mentor who, finally, stands in the way. When the twins discover that a doctor in Geneva can easily separate them, they run away to have the operation. Playing the twins, literally joined at the hip for life, the Fontana sisters give remarkably expressive, poignantly powerful performances. Constantly cradling each other, they have given us sisters who are symbiotic physically and psychologically, while also registering as individuals. De Angelis has said his film was inspired by the rather sad story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, real-life conjoined twins who appeared in Tod Browning's FREAKS—the twins in this film are called Dasy and Viola—and it's almost as if he's dared to imagine a different fate for them. He is not afraid to swipe from Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA, recreating the famous shot of a hoisted Jesus statue. There's also a ship populated by a Felliniesque demimonde of "freaks," collected by a pervy agent winkingly named for Marco Ferreri, whose film THE APE MAN was an avowed influence on this film. With INDIVISIBLE, De Angelis has created as powerful a metaphor as any I know for the hurtful, but necessary, process each of us must go through to grow up: separating from the ones we love, so as to become fully ourselves. Becoming your own person also means asserting your own aesthetic choices. In a heartbreaking scene, what that means for the twins is, finally, to sing a Janis Joplin song. (2016, 101 min, Video Projection) SP
David Schalliol’s THE AREA (New Documentary)
Beverly Arts Center – Saturday, 7:30pm
David Schalliol’s THE AREA follows community matriarch-cum-activist Deborah Payne as she crusades to save her neighborhood from mass demolition at the hands of the Norfolk Southern Railway corporation. The title refers to an 85-acre residential pocket of Englewood surrounding Payne’s home near 57th and Normal that’s scheduled to be bulldozed for the purposes of an intermodal freight hub, i.e. a glorified parking lot for shipping containers. Schalliol, a photographer and sociologist by trade who possesses a canny eye for architectural portraiture, is careful to eschew the ruin p*rn aesthetic in which dilapidated structures are treated as pure spectacle devoid of any contextual information about the socioeconomic forces that led to their demise. In one of the film’s most poetic shots, two houses are juxtaposed side by side: one in sound condition, the other abandoned, shuttered, and in the midst of dismantlement. It’s a stark contrast that symbolizes the conflicting perceptions of Englewood itself—there’s the nightly news caricature of Englewood, reducible to poverty and gun violence, and there’s the actual Englewood that’s home to a community of people. Indeed, THE AREA is deeply rooted in a sense of place, so much so that we’re often told the precise intersection or address where a scene is unfolding, and, like THE INTERRUPTERS and 70 ACRES IN CHICAGO before it, this is an urgent and compelling documentary about a dimension of city that’s rarely seen on the big screen. Though the scope here is hyperlocal, the themes of political apathy, corporate avarice, and the disenfranchisement of a minority community extend well beyond the parameters of the Area. Faced with the encroachment of the railroad company, some residents enthusiastically take buyouts; others want to stay, but aren’t given much of a choice. In order to execute their land grab, Norfolk Southern employs dubious tactics like enacting eminent domain, which allows the government to acquire private property and transfer it to a third party, and persuading at least one homeowner not to pay her mortgage in order to facilitate a “short sale.” Moreover, as a result of the entire neighborhood getting razed, residents are exposed to a slew of environmental hazards, including increased diesel emissions and gas leaks, bringing to mind Chicago’s recent pet coke scandal, the Flint, MI, water crisis, and countless other instances of environmental racism. At a town hall meeting, a Norfolk Southern representative argues that, “What we have to do is we have to balance the business imperative with our desire for the environmental need,” unaware or indifferent to the fact that these are diametrically opposed agendas. What bothers Payne most isn’t the inevitable railroad takeover, but the lack of respect for the families being displaced. Despite the efforts of a collective bargaining coalition and help from community organizations, homes inside the Area, which total around 400 at the outset, continue to dwindle until the film reaches its tragic conclusion. What’s missing, perhaps, is an in-depth interview with Norfolk Southern or 20th Ward alderman Willie Cochran, who endorses the sale of land in an about-face, in which they are taken to task for the fallout from their actions; the documentary, however, is less concerned with hard-hitting investigative journalism and more with chronicling Payne’s personal struggle. On its surface, THE AREA might seem like a tale of defeat, but this is ultimately a story about resistance, resilience, and collectivism. As Payne reflects near the end, “I feel good that we stood up to people who thought they could do anything…I think that it made me a better person.” Payne and co-producer Brian Ashby in person. (2018, 93 min, Digital Projection) HS
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
The Chicago South Side Film Festival takes place over the next two weekends (Friday-Sunday), with screenings and events at multiple locations. More info and complete schedule at www.southsidefilmfest.org.
The Shortcut 100 Film Festival, a single-screening festival with a dozen shorts from the US, France, and the Netherlands, takes place on Saturday at 6pm (5pm reception) at the Logan Theatre. More info at https://shortcut-100-film-festival.jimdosite.com.
The Chicago Horror Film Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at The Comedy Bar (500 N. LaSalle Dr.). More info and schedule at http://chicagohorrorfest.com.
The (In)Justice for All Film Festival opens on Thursday and continues through October 12 at multiple venues. More info and full schedule at www.injusticeforallff.com.
The Alder International Short Film Festival continues through Sunday. Screenings take place at the Repertorio Latino Theater Company (3622 S. Morgan Ave.). More info at www.alderfilmfestival.com.
The Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) screens Phil Karlson’s 1960 film HELL TO ETERNITY (131 min, 35mm) on Wednesday at 7:30pm. Preceded by Mervyn LeRoy’s 1945 short THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (11 min, 16mm).
The Conversations at the Edge series (at the Gene Siskel Film Center) presents New Films from the GLAS Animation Festival (2017-19, approx. 80 min total, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 6pm, with curator Jeanette Bonds in person. The program features a selection of films from the festival’s 2019 edition.
Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria St., Lecture Room, UIC) hosts an artist’s talk by experimental filmmaker Ephraim Asili on Thursday at 6pm. Free admission.
The Midwest Independent Film Festival (at the Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema) presents their annual Female Filmmakers Night on Tuesday at 6pm. The screening is preceded by a reception and a panel discussion.
Presented by Asian Pop-Up Cinema this week: Tsukamoto Renpei’s 2019 Japanese film BENTO HARASSMENT (106 min, Digital Projection) is on Friday at 7pm at the Midwest Buddhist Temple; Ping Lumpraploeng’s 2018 Thai film THE POOL (91 min, Digital Projection) is on Wednesday at 7pm at River East 21, with Ping Lumpraploeng in person; and Chito S. Roño’s 2018 Filipino film SIGNAL ROCK (127 min, Digital Projection) is on Thursday at 7pm at the Alliance Française, with actor Christian Bables in person.
The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 200) screens Henk van Dijk’s 1989 Dutch film TRIADIC BALLET (72 min, Video Projection) on Friday at 6pm. Free admission.
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) screens Hugh Parks’ 1990 film SHAKMA (101 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 8pm. Free admission.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Louis Garrell’s 2018 French film A FAITHFUL MAN (75 min, DCP Digital), Rob Fruchtman and Steve Lawrence’s 2018 documentary THE CAT RESCUERS (87 min, DCP Digital), and Rick Alverson’s 2018 film THE MOUNTAIN (106 min, DCP Digital) all play for a week; Abbas Kiarostami’s 1976 film A WEDDING SUIT [aka A SUIT FOR THE WEDDING] (60 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 5pm, preceded by his short films TWO SOLUTIONS FOR ONE PROBLEM (1975, 6 min) and HOW TO MAKE USE OF LEISURE TIME: PAINTING (1977, 18 min); Seanie Sugrue’s 2019 film MISTY BUTTON (88 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 8pm, with Sugrue in person; Frank Shouldice’s 2018 Irish documentary THE MAN WHO WANTED TO FLY (82 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 8pm, with Shouldice in person; Aodh Ó Coileán’s 2019 Irish documentary CUMAR: A GALWAY RHAPSODY (69 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 5pm, with producer Aisling Ní Fhlaithearta in person; and Jeanine Isabel Butler’s 2019 documentary AMERICAN HERETICS: THE POLITICS OF THE GOSPEL (85 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 6pm.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Ari Aster’s 2019 film MIDSOMMAR (171 min Director’s Cut, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 9:30p; William K. Howard’s 1933 film THE POWER AND THE GLORY (76 min, DCP Digital) is on Wednesday at 7 and 9:30pm; and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 film VAMPYR (75 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9:30pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Todd Phillips’ 2019 film JOKER (122 min, 70mm) opens on Thursday and begins a two-week only run; the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour screens daily at 2pm; Kirill Mikhanovsky’s 2019 film GIVE ME LIBERTY (111 min, DCP Digital) continues; Molly Hewitt’s 2019 film HOLY TRINITY (91 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 9:45pm and Tuesday at 7pm, with Hewitt and cast/crew in person at the Friday show; Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 film THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (120 min, 35mm) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s 2019 horror-thriller VILLAINS (89 min, DCP Digital) screens at select showtimes Friday-Monday, preceded by Callum Smith’s 2017 short EAST HELL (9 min); and John Carpenter’s 1994 film IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (95 min, 35mm) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight, preceded by Stellan Kendrick’s 2017 short GOODNIGHT, GRACIE (4 min).
Facets Cinémathèque plays Teng Congcong’s 2019 Chinese film SEND ME TO THE CLOUDS (98 min, Video Projection) for a week-long run.
The Chicago Cultural Center hosts the Cinema/Chicago screening of Wiktor Ericsson’s 2017 Swedish film STRAWBERRY DAYS (93 min, Video Projection) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission.
CINE-LIST: September 27 - October 3, 2019
MANAGING EDITOR // Patrick Friel
ASSOCIATE EDITORS // Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Kyle A. Westphal
CONTRIBUTORS // Cody Corrall, Kyle Cubr, Marilyn Ferdinand, Malia Haines-Stewart, Jonathan Leithold-Patt, JB Mabe, Dmitry Samarov, Will Schmenner, Candace Wirt