:: Friday, JULY 17 – Thursday, JULY 23 ::
Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes (Animated Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Saturday and Sunday, 11am (Free Admission)
The Music Box rolls out a generous (and free!) nearly three-hour selection of 24 Warner Bros. cartoons, 16 featuring Bugs Bunny (they’re calling the screening “Bugs Bunny and Friends”), and most directed by the legendary Chuck Jones—and all in 35mm! Here are a few noteworthy entries (all by Chuck Jones except BUGSY & MUGSY). In THE RABBIT OF SEVILLE (1950), Bugs Bunny is chased by Elmer Fudd onto the stage where an opera is being performed. Their antics are accompanied by the music from The Barber of Seville. Mel Blanc’s staccato singing voice blends well with the furiously fast-paced animation of Bugs acting as Elmer’s barber. Daffy Duck’s greedy personality is on full display in ALI BABA BUNNY (1957) as he and Bugs stumble upon a cave of treasures. A common theme of these cartoons is explored as the duo must go up against an oaf. Another frequent theme touched on is Daffy’s karmic punishment for his overzealousness. DUCK AMUCK (1953), a surrealist Daffy Duck vehicle, toys with the typical rules of animation, with Daffy expecting one scene to act in front of, only to have it quickly change to something else. A dizzying, dreamlike effect is achieved. As Daffy finds both himself and the background constantly erased and redrawn, the unexpected and bizarre occur. In BUGSY & MUGSY (1957, Friz Freleng) Bugs finds himself living under the floorboards of two crooks on the lam from the law, Mugsy and Rocky. An homage to the early days of gangster cinema, Mugsy clearly parodies Edward G. Robinson in LITTLE CAESAR. Short in stature and big on talk, he intimidates his doltish partner through threats and mild violence. The final shot harkens back to the neon sign from the original SCARFACE, replacing “The World is Yours” with “Rocky’s Hideaway”. The more famous of the two operatic films showing, WHAT’S OPERA, DOC? (1957), also includes the most memorable songs in Looney Tunes history, “Kill the Wabbit,” which is sung to the tune of “Flight of the Valkyries”. What makes this short so special is the way it flips the typical Bugs/Elmer dynamic on its head with Elmer finally getting the upper hand. Subtly riffing on FANTASIA, this is Chuck Jones’ magnum opus. Many of the other shorts not mentioned above are classics in their own right; all of which are worth seeing (which should go without saying). Also screening are the following (all directed by Chuck Jones, except where noted): BEDEVILLED RABBIT (1957, Robert McKimson), DEVIL MAY HARE (1954, Robert McKimson), DUCK RABBIT DUCK (1953), OPERATION: RABBIT (1952), RABBIT HOOD (1949), BILL OF HARE (1962, Robert McKimson), FOR SCENT-I-MENTAL REASONS (1949), RABBIT FIRE (1951), THE FOGHORN LEGHORN (1948, Robert McKimson), DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24 1/2TH CENTURY (1953), FORWARD MARCH HARE (1953), HARE LIFT (1952, Friz Freleng), MY BUNNY LIES OVER THE SEA (1948), REALLY SCENT (1959, Abe Levitow), LITTLE BEAU PEPE (1952), NO BARKING (1954), ONE FROGGY EVENING (1955), RABBIT SEASONING (1952), and THERE THEY GO GO GO (1956). (1948-62, approx. 170 min total, 35mm) KC
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.
THE ISLAND OF ST. MATTHEWS and Other Recent Work by Kevin Jerome Everson (Experimental Documentary)
The Nightingale and Constellation (3111 N. Western Ave.) – Monday, 7pm
For almost twenty years, Kevin Everson has been documenting personal and neglected aspects of the black experience in America, primarily in the South and Midwest (he was born in Ohio and live and teaches in Virginia). The dedication and sheer quantity of his films and videos transforms this project into a political act—even if the works themselves are not overtly so. Everson focuses on issues of labor—of work—and the ways in which place shapes people. The two films in this program are telling examples of both these issues. The longer of the two, THE ISLAND OF ST. MATTHEWS (2013, 64 min, Digital Projection), is about the citizens and environs of the small community of Westport, Mississippi. Specifically, about the region’s relationship with the Tombigbee River and a major 1973 flood. Everson combines long takes of the river and the locks, scenes of work and activity involving the river (a locks operator, river baptisms, water skiing), other scenes of work (a cosmetology school, an insurance agent, a preacher), and reminiscences of locals about the 1973 flood. It’s a quiet, measured film that allows the river its time and the people to speak at their own pace. Work, leisure, faith, and environment are inseparably entwined. Also showing is FE26 (2014, 7 min, Digital Projection), a short that moves the exploration of labor and place to the urban setting of Cleveland. Two men make their living off of the blight of abandoned houses and the streets themselves, as they strip buildings of copper and sidewalks of manhole covers. Even the depressed inner city can provide work, albeit illegal, and physical labor provides a relationship with place. Attendees will receive a printing of A Girl’s Youngtown by Jacqueline Marino courtesy of Belt Magazine. Post-screening discussion moderated by Belt Magazine Editor, Martha Bayne. PF
More info at http://nightingalecinema.org.
Ingmar Bergman’s SUMMER WITH MONIKA (Swedish Revival)
Northwest Chicago Film Society at Northeastern Illinois University (The Auditorium, Building E. 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) – Wednesday 7pm
That the story of a willful teenager and her summer romance was picked up by Kroger Babb (the man behind such titles as SHE SHOULDA SAID NO) and distributed in the U.S. as an exploitation film should come as no surprise. The film was recut, with emphasis on Harriet Andersson’s scandalous nudity, and retitled MONIKA: THE STORY OF A BAD GIRL. “Naughty and Nineteen” promotional posters declared. Monika is a rebellious, sexually experienced teenager who winds up pregnant. We even see her ass. It’s not a tough sell. But this is Bergman. Andersson’s Monika isn’t offered up to the audience as an object for its salivation and sanctimony. She is never really punished for her “sins”—not cowed into domesticity or subjected to whatever horrors typically await “bad girls.” She is triumphant to the end. It is she who chooses Harry Lund, as if at random, to provide her with a light and a date to the cinema that first night. “I’m crazy about you,” she says, addressing Harry but gazing at her own reflection. She is a fervent consumer of love on screen and in print, and she has decided to embark on a summer romance of her own. Harry Lund, a shop clerk from a petit bourgeois home, is not exactly the stuff of dreams. Next to Monika, he is about as charismatic as a pat of butter. But he has a nice face and a kind demeanor, and, most importantly, he’s game. Monika has enough life for the both of them. She commands the screen. Yes, we see her ass, but she also holds our gaze in a radically drawn out extreme close-up. At about 30 seconds, it’s long enough that we can’t help but feel her mind churning, blood pumping, and life bursting just below the surface. What are we to think of Monika? Is she really so bad? So she chooses to spend a summer on a boat cruising along the Swedish coast, bathing naked in tide pools and dancing on piers. Given the opportunity, what sort of soulless monster would do otherwise? And what’s her alternative? To work in some cold cellar, selling dry goods to leering customers. What we see of her life in working class Stockholm puts into sharp relief the couple’s idyllic summer days (captured in all their sun-dappled glory by Gunnar Fischer). Her romanticism won’t allow her to accept the everyday drudgery that’s her lot. She is, at times, vulgar and petulant, self-absorbed and needlessly cruel—a typical teenager. But even at her worst, she’s captivating. Monika is as much Andersson’s creation as she is Bergman’s. For the director no other actress could have played the part. No other girl “could be more Monika-sh.” Andersson imbues the role with an energy that is both preternatural and wholly organic. When Harry jumps and shouts and acts wild, it’s a performance. He is playacting rebellion. Monika seems at home in that wildness. Freedom suits her. However we might judge her final act, it’s impossible to spend an hour and a half watching her live, so naturally and irresistibly, and wish to see that freedom tempered.
(1953, 97 min, 35mm) EJC
More info at www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org.
Dudley Murphy’s THE EMPEROR JONES (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7pm
Eugene O’Neill’s one-act from 1920 was instrumental in making his career, and Paul Robeson, plucked from relative obscurity to star in a revival of it four years later, rapidly because a stage superstar. In eight scenes, the play follows the titular Brutus Jones as he tries to escape through a moonlit jungle from a mob of Caribbean islanders out to kill him. Six of these scenes comprise a massive monologue by Jones interspersed with hallucinated dumbshows illustrating an unreliable version of his life’s story. Through equal parts cunning and cruelty, Jones has managed to set himself up as dictator of a small, impoverished nation, after having killed at least two people in the United States and escaped from prison. Now, having amassed a fortune safely stored offshore, Jones tries to slip out of the country before his subjects murder him. It’s a great play: astonishingly intense, emotionally complex, boldly experimental in form. It’s also a work of truly repulsive bigotry. Its lines written in a nauseating, dehumanizing dialect and its central character shown as only barely human in intellect, urge, and appetite, O’Neill’s play is as flatly indefensible today as a blackface routine. The movie is a different thing altogether. Radically expanded in scope, the movie dramatizes much of what is implied or suggested in the play, invents new characters, scenes, and a decade’s worth of backstory for Jones that simply doesn’t exist in the O’Neill. Paul Robeson, brought into the production to reprise his role as Brutus Jones, was quite simply the best American actor alive at the time, and he captivates the eye and dominates the frame like a typhoon conquers a beachhead. The way Robeson plays Jones, every muscle, every tendon is stretched as though his body knows what his mind does not–that every coming second could mean either flight or death. The film is built around Robeson’s amazing talent, building a mesmerizing, shifting chiaroscuro that surrounds and imprisons him, showing all the world as a dizzying labyrinth of power and betrayal and hubris. Dudley Murphy, a truly great and undersung director (THE SOUL OF THE CYPRESS, BALLET MÉCHANIQUE, BLACK AND TAN, ONE THIRD OF A NATION) stages each scene as a tragedy, each shot as a secret. He has the supporting characters move through space as though they’re haunting it, rightfully focusing his incredible kinetic gifts on Robeson, who, under Murphy’s direction, creates a Brutus Jones who isn’t just tragic but also pitiable, not a caricature or stereotype but an Everyman. Shortly after it was completed, a variety of censorship boards demanded severe cuts, and despite a restoration effort by the Library of Congress, several key sequences have been lost, perhaps permanently. This adds a choppy confusion to quite a few scenes, particularly toward the end, but in no way diminishes the power of Murphy and Robeson’s collaboration. (1933, 105 min, Archival 35mm Print) KB
More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.
Orson Welles’ THE TRIAL (International Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Saturday, 5:30pm and Thursday, 6pm
Casting a glib and voluble Anthony Perkins in the role of Josef K., a man compelled to court by a nebulous governmental authority who is ignorant of any crime, provides for a decidedly strange and personal adaptation of Kafka’s unfinished story. At times a confounding film, Orson Welles’ loose adaptation offers an unsettling and haunting expression of the modern experience. By putting K—and by extension the audience—into byzantine governmental systems, nightmarish and anonymous spaces, and contact with people sometimes better described as moving bodies, Welles “confronts the corruptions and self-deceptions of the contemporary world.” Iconic images abound through Welles’ aesthetic mastery, using sets and later (when the money ran out) abandoned locales in Paris, Zagreb, and Rome; the scale of an office floor the size of an airplane hangar is astonishing. Welles himself—also appearing as K’s lawyer—is monumental in scale as well, looming over the picture in all his anxiety and discontent. (1962, 118 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) BW
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and The Chicago 8 Small Gauge Film Festival present Life Without Buildings: Super 8mm Films by Steve Polta on Sunday at 7pm, with San Francisco-based experimental filmmaker Polta in person. Screening are a selection of Polta’s Super-8mm films (and one 16mm) from 1996-2011. Unconfirmed running time.
South Side Projections presents Everything Must Come to Light: The Films of Mpumi Njinge on Saturday at 7pm at the Hyde Park Free Theater (1448 E. 57th St.). This screening of two short documentaries by the late South African clothing designer, actor, and filmmaker Mpumi Njing features MY SON THE BRIDE (2002, 24 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format), about the first same-sex marriage between black men in South Africa, and EVERYTHING MUST COME TO LIGHT (2002, 25 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format), about three lesbian sangomas (traditional healers) in Soweto. Followed by a discussion led by Andrew Brown, who is finishing a PhD in performance studies at Northwestern University. Free Admission.
Also at The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) this week: Basement Media #5: Lo Fi-Lo Def-Lo Tech Moving Image Works (approx. 79 min, Various Formats) is on Saturday at 7pm, with curator LJ Frezza in person. With work by Yates, Jarrett Hayman, John Wilson, Amelia Johannes, Eric Stewart, Paul Turano, Jared Hutchinson, Hannah Piper Burns, Henning Frederik Malz, and Felipe Steinberg.
Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) presents 2014 CDMPF Award Winners Exhibition on Saturday at 8pm, with select filmmakers in person. Screening are excerpts of the awarded projects by Logan Jaffe and Zachary Sigelko, Leon Kelsick, Laura Stewart, Anuradha Rana and Doris C. Rusch, Benjamin Jaffe, Kyle Henry, Robert Carnilius, Fahima Mohamood, Tirtza Even, Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn, JoAnne Smith, and Manual Cinema and Ben Kauffman. The screening repeats, with select filmmakers in person, on Wednesday at 6:30pm at Columbia College (Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan Ave.). Free admission for both screenings.
Transistor Chicago (3441 N. Broadway St.) screens Abel Ferrara’s 2005 film MARY (83 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 8pm. Introduced by local film writer and instructor Michael Glover Smith. Free admission.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Alexander Hall’s 1934 film LITTLE MISS MARKER (80 min, Restored 35mm Print) is on Saturday at 3pm and Monday at 6pm; Philippe De Broca’s 1961 French film FIVE DAY LOVER (95 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) is on Friday and Tuesday at 6pm; Kim Farrant’s 2015 film STRANGERLAND (112 min, DCP Digital), Shawn Rech and Brandon Kimber’s 2015 documentary A MURDER IN THE PARK (93 min, DCP Digital; check the Siskel website for in person appearance details), and Lucie Borleteau’s 2014 French film FIDELIO: ALICE’S ODYSSEY (97 min, DCP Digital) all play for a week; and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1951 film TALES OF HOFFMANN (135 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) is on Sunday at 3pm and Wednesday at 6pm.
Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Gerald Cargl’s 1983 film ANGST (83 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 7 and 9pm; Hal Needham’s 1977 film SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (96 min, 35mm) is on Saturday at 7 and 9pm; and Enzo G. Castellari’s 1967 film ANY GUN CAN PLAY (105 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Sean Baker’s 2015 film TANGERINE (88 min) opens; Matthew Heineman’s 2015 documentary CARTEL LAND (98 min, DCP Digital), Crystal Moselle’s 2015 documentary THE WOLFPACK (80 min), and Carol Reed’s 1949 film THE THIRD MAN (104 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) all continue; Penelope Spheeris’ 1998 documentary THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART III (86 min) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight; Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film THE ROOM (99 min, 35mm) is on Friday at Midnight; and Jim Sharman’s 1975 film THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (100 min, 35mm) is on Saturday at Midnight. Unconfirmed Formats except where noted.
Facets Cinémathèque plays Pablo Fendrik’s 2014 film ARDOR (101 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week’s run.
The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens Brad Bird’s 2004 animated film THE INCREDIBLES (115 min, DCP Digital) on Wednesday, 1 and 7:30pm. Free admission. www.northbrook.info/events/film
The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) screens Andreas Dresen’s 2010 film CLOUD NINE (100 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.
The Chicago Cultural Center presents a screening of Chicago youth-made and other work selected by Cultural Center Artist in Residence Cheryl Pope on Sunday at 3pm; and hosts the Cinema/Chicago screening of Sudabeh Mortezai’s 2013 Austrian film MACONDO (98 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission for both.
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents an outdoor screening of George Chesebro and Bruce Mitchell’s 1925 silent film WOLF BLOOD: A TALE OF THE FOREST (approx. 68 min, Digital Projection) is on Wednesday at sundown (approx. 8:30pm), with live music by The Gothsicles. Free admission.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Zhou B Art Center (1029 W 35th St.) is presents the exhibition -scape, curated by Mo Chen and Snow Yunxue Fu, from July 17 to August 28. Opening Reception Friday from 7-10pm. The mixed-media show includes several moving image works. The exhibiting artists are Jon Cates, Mo Chen, Snow Yunxue Fu, Philip Hanson, Max Hattler, Alan Kwan, and Philip Vanderhyden.
Roman Susan (1224 W. Loyola Ave.) continues the exhibition Kera MacKenzie and Andrew Mausert-Mooney: havoc and tumbled from through 25. The show features video, 16mm film, sound, and painting by the collaborative local artists.
Deadly Prey Gallery (1433 W. Chicago Ave.) presents the exhibition Action-Packed & Horrible, featuring contemporary (1990s-present) hand-painted movie posters from Ghana. The show runs through July 24.
The exhibition Frances Stark: Intimism is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through August 30. The show is a comprehensive survey of Stark’s video and digital production.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents an exhibition of nine video works by artist Keren Cytter. On view through October 4.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents German artist Clemens von Wedemeyer’s HD video installation Muster (Rushes) (2012). On view through July 26.
Chicago Public Library screenings: Due to the frequency of late-additions (past our deadlines) and to their frequent inability (due to licensing restrictions) of publicly listing the titles of films they are screening, we will no longer be listing specific CPL screenings. Check their website for any films that may be showing.
The Patio Theater and the Portage Theater calendars have been confusing and constantly shifting—adding and removing events with little notice—and reportedly have been unexpectedly closed for scheduled events. We will no longer attempt to list any screenings there.
CINE-LIST: July 17 – July 23, 2015
MANAGING EDITOR / Patrick Friel
CONTRIBUTORS / Kian Bergstrom, Elspeth J. Carroll, Kyle Cubr, Kathleen Sachs, Brian Welesko