Chicago Guide to Alternative Cinema
Friday, December 21, 2012 – Thursday, January 3, 2013
Due to the holidays, this edition of the Cine-List covers the two-week period from Friday, December 21 to Thursday, January 3. There may be some added screenings or changes in line-up at venues during this time; we advise checking the venue websites and/or the Chicago Reader listings for any updates. Local venues have loaded up a cornucopia full of cinematic delights over the holidays; consequently, our “Crucial Viewing” section is pretty fat. We’ll get back to our regular schedule on Friday, January 4. HAPPY VIEWING!—Ed.
Lee Daniels’ THE PAPERBOY (New American)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Friday-Thursday, December 28-January 3 (four shows only), Check Venue website for showtimes
The plot of Lee Daniels’ THE PAPERBOY—the director’s brave follow-up to his critically and popularly acclaimed PRECIOUS—reads like Tennessee Williams melodrama hopped up on Erskine Caldwell pulp. It’s a Southern Gothic, sure enough, but don’t let the critics who dismiss (or praise) it as a simple, trashy romp fool you. This is a heady and intoxicating brew that, honestly, shouldn’t work—but does. The narrative threads are many (excessive even)—but they’re worthy vehicles for an ensemble of exaggerated characters, a messy set of themes, and a carefully pastiched visual style. Jack Jansen (Zac Efron—yes, really) is the hub of the film (a stand-in for the source novel’s author, Pete Dexter), a young man whose 1960s small-town life starts to spin out of control. Jack’s older brother (Matthew McConaughey) is a newspaper journalist who returns from the city, with his black colleague Yardly (David Oyelowo), to investigate the case of a convicted killer on death row. The convict (John Cusack) is a swamp-dwelling, alligator-hunting maybe-psycho mixed up in a torrid jailhouse romance with a trampy death-row groupie (Nicole Kidman). Rounding out the primary cast, singer Macy Gray plays the Jansen family’s domestic Anita (and the movie’s narrator). As in the great genre films of Hollywood’s heyday, Daniels uses a sensationalistic story, a debased genre, to explore a host of potent themes. Through shifting interactions and allegiances among his characters, Daniels riffs on race and class, guilt and innocence, sexual repression, friendship, trust, and more. There are shades of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, IN COLD BLOOD, DELIVERANCE, WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, and GOD’S LITTLE ACRE. Kidman evokes a sexed-up Elizabeth Taylor; McConaughey has the charming aloofness of Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke; Cusack combines the frightening iciness of Robert Blake’s Perry Smith and psychotic intensity of Richard Widmark in KISS OF DEATH. The list of cinematic reference points could go on, but it’s not the specificity of these (or others) that matters. Daniel’s achievement is recapturing the hot, sultry mood of these movies in his own haunting and beautiful way. It’s trashy, exasperating, convoluted, over-the-top, violent, and deliberately provocative. But these charged-up qualities give the film its unique power, and Daniels piles them on as if daring his audience to come to grips with, and move beyond, the excess. (2012 107 min, 35mm) PF
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Michael Roemer’s NOTHING BUT A MAN (Independent Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Friday, December 28, 6pm and Saturday, December 29, 5:15pm
Upon learning that NOTHING BUT A MAN is the work of two white filmmakers, we might assume that the title constitutes a syrupy call for brotherhood, smugly proud of its mild liberalism. Likewise, when Ivan Dixon says that he’s heading to Birmingham, we naturally jump to the conclusion that he’s about to become politicized, join the CORE, and subtend the front line of the civil rights movement. That NOTHING BUT A MAN frustrates both expectations is crucial to its lasting interest. Essentially a missing link between Italian neo-realism and the L.A. Rebellion naturalism of KILLER OF SHEEP and BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS, NOTHING BUT A MAN depicts a world of ceaseless striving and gross social stratification that marks Freedom Summer as both urgently necessary and despairingly distant. More acutely than any film I know, NOTHING BUT A MAN demonstrates how routine economic oppression simultaneously sabotages and stokes the possibility of political action. (When set next to Bertolucci’s superficially radical contemporary, it’s Roemer’s film that lays much greater claim to the title BEFORE THE REVOLUTION.) Like its post-Popular Front antecedent SALT OF THE EARTH, NOTHING BUT A MAN has the rare distinction of treating racial discrimination, gender equality, and labor rights as irreducibly linked. Most bracingly, NOTHING BUT A MAN possesses such an abiding and deep sense of righteousness that it never wastes our time by presenting compromise or gradualism as morally-defensible options. It’s also the only movie I’ve ever seen that credits a film laboratory (DuArt) as its production company, a footnote that suggests a major and neglected avenue of scholarly investigation at a moment when these former industrial behemoths are shriveling away. (1964, 92 min, Newly Restored 35mm Print) KAW
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Everything is Terrible’s Holiday Special 2012: Cataclysmic Transformation (New Experimental)
Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) — Friday, December 21, 7:30pm
Allan Arkush’s GET CRAZY (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre — Friday and Saturday, December 27 and 28, Midnight
What better way to ring in the Holidays than by witnessing the flaming sleigh wreck that is The Everything is Terrible! Holiday Special 2012: Cataclysmic Transformation? The found footage mash-up masters are at it again, mining dusty video collections for hilarious, forgotten, and just plain weird Christmas clips. The film mashes up an assemblage of Xmas footage, complete with the Olsen twins, WWF wrestling, Regis Philbin wearing the ugliest sweater on the face of the planet and a Ku Klux Klan chapter performing a play entitled “The Whitest Christmas Ever.” No homage to Christmas would be complete without the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special, featuring Boba Fett’s animated debut, Wookiees performing circus-style acrobatics, and a musical number by Jefferson Starship. The experience of an Everything is Terrible! film is not unlike eating a prodigious quantity of ice cream—it’s really satisfying, but inevitably induces a mega brain freeze. Try to imagine watching Bruce Conner on acid, or traveling back in time, and much to your horror or delight, rediscovering all the 80s and 90s boob tube nostalgia that you’d stashed away in the recesses of your cranium. But like every good mash-up, The Everything is Terrible! Holiday Special collects our pop cultural waste and recycles it into something that transcends irony or kitsch, becoming a sui generis post-post-modern meditation on short attention spans, the high/low/no-brow debate and the commodification of Christmas. Expect less of a civilized film-going experience and more of a “We just survived the apocalypse!” kind of atmosphere, complete with puppets, sing-a-longs, and special guest appearance by Saint Nicholas himself. Chopped up, not slopped up 2.0! (2012, Unconfirmed Running Time, Digital Projection – Unconfirmed Format) HS
Allan Arkush’s musical comedy GET CRAZY embraces the same off-the-wall, free form spirit as the Everything is Terrible! movies and is exactly the kind of lost VHS gem that epitomizes the group’s taste and aesthetic. The skeleton plot involves a New Years Eve concert at the Saturn Theatre, a stand-in for the Fillmore East where Arkush worked as an usher. All of the performers are caricatures of various rock stars, including the “metaphysical folk singer” Auden (a stand-in for Bob Dylan played by Lou Reed), King Blues aka B.B. King, and Malcolm McDowell doing his best Mick Jagger impersonation. A kind of New Wave AIRPLANE, the film uses cartoonish humor, slapstick gags and super early CGI to create a distinctively 80s, anything goes vibe. Other sights include: a robotic cowboy drug dealer named Electric Larry, a gigantic spliff mascot, and most of the cast from EATING RAOUL. Skip out on the YouTube upload (there’s no DVD) and see this one on the big screen. (1983, 92 min, 35mm) HS
More info at www.everythingisterrible.com and www.musicboxtheatre.com.
Mike Gibisser’s THE MOTIVE POWER SERIES (New Experimental/Essay)
Chicago Filmmakers (at Columbia College’s Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash Ave.) January 2, 7:30pm (repeats Jan. 5 at Chicago Filmmakers, see below)
This film is really four films, each of which concerns itself—if obliquely—with one of the laws of thermodynamics. Though they have been screened separately, when taken as a whole the interior logics of each bleed beautifully into one another. THE MOTIVE POWER SERIES is made up of many potent moments—a grandfather’s exercise routine, two clocks out of phase, a grandmother idly clapping a film clapboard (indicating that that section is called ZEROETH), an astronaut somersaulting through the air—but moves along with a delicate pace. The audience is given time to sit with images and to become aware of the fullness of specific durations without growing tired. Each chapter takes its title from the address where it was shot, so Gibisser connects the specific—replete with the indices and details of a real domestic space—with the universal. It’s a cliché, perhaps, but sometimes the most direct route to a larger truth is through the personal. By linking the physical with the metaphysical, the thermodynamic with family-dynamics, and the tenuousness of both body and mind, Gibisser has crafted a work that is both effective and affective, never sacrificing intellectual engagement or our interpretive capacities. Gibisser in person at both this screening and a repeat showing at Chicago Filmmakers on Saturday, January 5 (see next week’s list). (2011, 50 min, 16mm transferred to Digital File) JM
More info at www.chicagofilmmakers.org.
Anthony Mann’s WINCHESTER ’73 (American Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Saturday, December 30, 3pm and Thursday, January 3, 6pm
With WINCHESTER ’73, Anthony Mann introduced westerns to the heady psychological overtones and nebulous morality of film noir. Similarly, star Jimmy Stewart abruptly dropped his aw-shucks act and unveiled the conflicted, taciturn personality that made him the go-to leading man for the increasingly complex films of Alfred Hitchcock. Ostensibly following a coveted rifle as it passes between owners, the plot eagerly scrambles the conventional story arc; all the requisite raids, hideouts, and showdowns are accounted for, but everything seems to take place out of order. Beautifully photographed in black and white, this marks visually Mann’s thematic transition from the claustrophobic alleys of RAW DEAL (1948) to the expansive, vacant frontiers of THE NAKED SPUR (1953). The key to Mann’s brand of genre revisionism lies in his pragmatic modesty: the self-conscious arrogance that plagued fashionably PC westerns like BROKEN ARROW (1950) is completely absent. (1950, 92 min, 35mm) MK
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (British Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Opens Tuesday, December 25, Check Venue website for showtimes
[LAWRENCE OF ARABIA shows in a major new 4K (8K scan of the original 65mm negative) digital restoration that has been lauded as amazing.]
If there is a single sequence in the history of film that tells you what watching a movie on a big screen really means, and how that larger-than-life way of experiencing a movie can be so important, it’s in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. A breathtaking long-shot of the desert. A view extending to the horizon. At first we see nothing more than a shimmer. A mirage. Then a speck. Then, finally, a rider on a horse. Trotting towards us at a deliberate pace. All at once an Arab in the foreground rushes to his own horse, pulls out a gun—and is shot. His corpse falls to the ground, a streak of blood across his black robe. It lies on the sand. Peter O’Toole looks down at it. After a time, the rider sidles right up to him and undoes his veil. Omar Sharif. They exchange words. The Pinteresque intimacy of their dialog is startlingly paired with the infinite vastness of the desert. It’s only one of countless great moments in this truly great film. And when the ten-minute intermission occurs, I dare you not to go to the concession stand and buy yourself a drink. (1962, 216 min, DCP Digital Projection) RC
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.
Pim de la Parra’s ONE PEOPLE (Surinamese/Dutch Revival)
Facets Cinémathèque – Friday-Thursday, December 28-January 3 (no screenings December 31 and January 1)
Made the year after Suriname’s independence, Pim de la Parra’s 1976 drama serves as an affecting call—for a return home for the Surinamese diaspora and for an embracing of the country’s rich multi-ethnic heritage and make up. The story is of Roy, a young black Surinamese student studying in Amsterdam (The Netherlands is the colonial power Surinam broke away from), who returns home to visit his dying mother. There, after many years away, Roy finds himself re-discovering his country and it’s simple joys. He also finds Rubia, a Hindustani nurse, with whom he begins an affair—ignoring his relationship with his white girlfriend in The Netherlands and upsetting relatives on both sides, who hold to entrenched prejudices. De la Parra’s film is subdued and visually flowing—once Roy returns to his homeland the camera is in nearly constant motion with tracking shots and pans, almost caressing the landscape and city life. Roy has come back to a country in motion, a country changing, moving into the future. The question he faces is whether he remains, aiding in that change, or returns to his studies in Amsterdam; whether he embraces an identity comingled with that of his newly-liberated land, or returns to the urbanity and intellectual pursuits he had in the diaspora. (1976, 111 min, 35mm) PF
More info at www.facets.org.
F.W. Murnau’s SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (Silent American Revival)
Music Box Theatre – Saturday and Sunday, December 29 and 30, 11:30am
One of the most imaginative films ever made and probably the greatest ever made about love—but that makes it sound like homework. Murnau’s SUNRISE is as much a discovery now as it was in 1927, if not a greater one, as it’s no longer common for serious films to believe in universal experience. (As Lucy Fischer noted in her excellent BFI Classics book, the film’s subtitle implies that the feelings of men and women—or homosexuals and heterosexuals, for that matter—are essentially the same.) Murnau’s compassion for the central couple seems ever-expanding: their every emotion seems to trigger some new stylistic innovation. The movie’s first major passage—depicting the Woman from the City’s attempt to seduce the farmer (George O’Brien) away from his wife (Janet Gaynor, adequately filling the role of the Eternal Feminine)—mixes naturalism and expressionism to bring the characters’ inner lives vibrantly to life. Murnau famously instructed O’Brien to put lead weights in his shoes during these scenes; there is no mistaking the man’s guilt. This section climaxes with a collage of superimposed images—several of them intentionally distended—that illustrates the woman’s lure of “Come to… THE CITY!” It is a thrilling effect, principally because it requires the viewer’s imagination to complete it: as one’s eyes dart around the frame, trying to take it all in, the scene appears luxurious or terrifying depending on where they fall. (Directors of special-effects movies still have a lot to learn from Murnau.) The orchestration of detail is one of the film’s many allusions to symphonic music, the most obvious being its three-movement structure, wherein key motifs of the first section (the farm-on-the-lake setting, the theme of love in peril) are contradicted in the second and brought to resolution in the last. The second movement, which could bring any viewer to swoon, may be the film’s crowning achievement. It takes place in one of the most dream-like cities in cinema, a setting brought into being by the couple’s re-avowal of their love. Here, Murnau’s effects (which include a funny freeze-frame at a portrait studio and some great suspense involving a runaway piglet) invite the viewer to share in the characters’ joy, reflecting their spontaneity and their astonishment. For all the marvels of the filmmaking, though, the film’s transcendental power never seems to be for its own sake. It is Murnau’s response to the universal capacity for feeling (and not just romance—but generosity and loyalty and courage) that drove him to create a monumental new art form using the greatest attributes of all the others. (1927, 94 min, 35mm) BS
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.
Clint Eastwood’s HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (American Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Sunday, December 30, 5pm and Wednesday, January 2, 6pm
The political odyssey of Clint Eastwood encompasses ideologies and idiosyncrasies so peculiar that they have yet to be named. In the last four years, 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, and delivered an explicitly pro-Romney duet with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. 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
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT (American Revival)
Northwest Chicago Film Society (at the Portage Theater) – Wednesday, January 2, 7:30pm
Nobody’s perfect. But it still might come as a surprise to some that this famous final line from SOME LIKE IT HOT was originally intended as a placeholder while co-writers Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond thought of something better before shooting the film’s last scene. “Neither of us could come up with anything…so we shot that line, still not entirely satisfied,” Wilder told The Paris Review in 1996. “But we just hadn’t trusted it when we wrote it; we just didn’t see it. The line had come too easily, just popped out.” Equally prolific as both a screenwriter and director, it’s certainly no surprise that Wilder could be as effortless with his words as he was with his direction. SOME LIKE IT HOT is the embodiment of screwball-comedy excellence, with a plot that works just fine and a cast against whose comedic timing you could set a watch. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play struggling musicians who accidentally take part in the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day massacre and escape mob retaliation by acquiring jobs as players with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators. This entails a bit more than just musical know-how, as Curtis and Lemmon don makeup and high heels, inventing themselves as Josephine and Daphne in order to fit in with the all-female troupe. Aboard a train to Florida they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), a down-on-her-luck, aptly-named beauty who walks like “Jell-O on springs” and is preoccupied with both ends of the lollipop. Monroe is often symbolized by the upskirt scene from Wilder’s THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, but her performance as the sexy-goofy cynic certainly feels more true to life. Curtis and Lemmon marvel at the seeming easiness of female sexuality, and Monroe is surely the best representative of its actual complexity. Gender is certainly fluid in Wilder’s farce, with norms and mores being challenged throughout. The film begins amidst pure machismo, and ends with the above declaration of acceptance that could just as easily apply to Wilder as to the characters themselves. The laughs come easy and complex issues of gender and sexuality pop out between mob chases and musical numbers. Also showing: Robert Clampett’s 1946 Bugs Bunny cartoon THE BIG SNOOZE (7 min, 16mm).(1959, 120 min, 35mm) KK
More info at www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org.
Stanley Donen’s ROYAL WEDDING (American Revival)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) – Wednesday, December 26, 1 and 7:30pm
A brother-and-sister dance duo: he (Fred Astaire), the older sibling by, from the looks of it, something like 30 years, is low-key and affable; she (Jane Powell) casually charms all sorts of lunkheads. They get booked for some shows in the UK during then-Princess Elizabeth’s wedding and both meet their match: he in a local dancer (played by Winston Churchill’s daughter!), she in a rake (Peter Lawford!). Produced at MGM’s Arthur Freed unit, ROYAL WEDDING was Stanley Donen’s first film as a solo director. There’s a world of difference between Gene Kelly, who starred in and co-directed Donen’s first movie, ON THE TOWN, and became associated with the director early in his career, and this film’s star: Astaire is the gentleman to Kelly’s athlete; if Gene Kelly appears to bend space and time through the force of his will, Astaire dances like a disinterested God. Astaire’s charm was his virtuoso elegance, a long way from Kelly’s unbridled energy, which would always have an equal in Donen’s uncontrolled vigor. It’s a wonderful mismatch: Astaire, twice his director’s age, is in over his head; Donen, a young turk surrounded by old pros, tries to fake respectfulness. During the dialogue portions, it’s Donen doing his best 1930s and Astaire doing his best 1950s. But then Astaire animates a metronome and a hat rack by dancing with them, distorts gravity with the power of his love, dances in the rocking ballroom of an ocean liner or cocks his hat down on to his nose so that a pretty girl can’t see he’s looking at her and we forget about everything else and just think “Is there anything more beautiful than a movie?” Reid Schultz will lead a discussion of the entire Fred Astaire series after the film. (1951, 93 min, 16mm) IV
More info at www.northbrook.info.
Hiroshi Teshigahara’s ANTONIO GAUDI (Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday-Thursday, December 21-27 (no shows Dec. 24 and 25), Check Venue website for showtimes
By now nearly a timeworn tradition, the Siskel’s late-December run of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s meditative and enigmatic ANTONIO GAUDI annually attracts a respectable and respectful crowd, with its fair share of SAIC architecture students done with finals and therefore blazed. In this film—devoid as it is of narration until the very end—every visual texture possesses its own subtle, droning sound: a particular class of curvature will produce an otherworldly gong-like shimmering; a long shot of Barcelona is accompanied by a low rumble. Anything involving intricate metalwork is, sonically, inexplicably menacing. Unless one is already ultra-familiar with Gaudi’s oeuvre the viewer generally has no idea what they are looking at, where it is, or when it was constructed, and are thus transported to experiencing the cryptic persuasiveness of man-made structures before an age of writing and reading: to a time in which there may not have ostensibly been an explanatory narrative (or even a subtitle) for every surface. (1985, 72 min, 35mm) MC
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Jon Favreau’s ELF (American Revival)
Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema – Friday and Saturday, December 28 and 29, Midnight
The determining factors of what make a Christmas movie a classic are ambiguous at best. An alleged war on Christmas is defended by its annual movies-in-arms, and the rise through the ranks of those contenders is always worth a passing thought around the holiday season. Santa is obviously a common denominator in these films, and the elves usually take a supporting role to his lead. But in Jon Favreau’s ELF, one of Santa’s not-so-little helpers becomes the main defender against holiday cynicism. Considered a ‘new’ Christmas classic, it’s hard to resist the earnestness of Will Ferrell’s Buddy as he travels to New York City from the North Pole, where he was adopted as an elf after crawling into Santa’s sack of presents in an orphanage. This might sound like an actual nightmare for most reasonable moviegoers, but Ferrell and friends pull it off. The gags are enjoyable and the plot is equal parts cynical and hopeful, a perfect mix for those hardened by Capra and made too idealistic by LOVE, ACTUALLY. Buddy attempts to find his birth father after discovering that he, at 6’3″, was not born an elf, and the holiday cheer is somewhat minimized by the surprisingly dark undertones of that plot point. In an attempt to utilize “old techniques,” Favreau used forced-perspective rather than CGI to make Ferrell appear larger than his little elf friends and several scenes feature the two-frame stop motion animation familiar from those old school made-for-TV movies. Only time will tell if ELF can pass the test and hold its ranks amongst the veritable classics, but for the time being it suffices as an enjoyable holiday romp. And if a person such as Buddy who was both unwanted and bamboozled as child can find happiness in the holidays, then maybe there is hope for us all. (2003, 97 min, Digital Projection – Unconfirmed Format) KK
Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (American Revival
Music Box Theatre — Friday-Monday, December 21-24, Check Venue website for showtimes
Patio Theater — Saturday, December 22, 2pm
Like Steven Spielberg today, Frank Capra was associated more with reassuring, patriotic sentiment than with actually making movies; but just beneath the Americana, his films contain a near-schizophrenic mix of idealism and resentment. In this quality, as well as his tendency to drag charismatic heroes through grueling tests of faith, it wouldn’t be a stretch to compare Capra with Lars von Trier. There’s plenty to merit the comparison in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE alone: The film is a two-hour tour of an honest man’s failure and bottled-up resentment, softened only intermittently by scenes of domestic contentment. Even before the nightmarish Pottersville episode (shot in foreboding shadows more reminiscent of film noir than Americana), Bedford Falls is shown as vulnerable to the plagues of recession, family dysfunction, and alcoholism. All of these weigh heavy on the soul of George Bailey, a small-town Everyman given tragic complexity by James Stewart, who considered the performance his best. Drawing on the unacknowledged rage within ordinary people he would later exploit for Alfred Hitchcock, Stewart renders Bailey as complicated as Capra himself—a child and ultimate victim of the American Dream. Ironically, it’s because the film’s despair feels so authentic that its iconic ending feels as cathartic as it does: After being saved from his suicide attempt (which frames the entire film, it should be noted), Stewart is returned to the simple pleasures of family and friends, made to seem a warm oasis in a great metaphysical void. Showing as a double-bill at the Music Box only with Michael Curtiz’s 1954 film WHITE CHRISTMAS (120 min, Unconfirmed Format). Tickets available individually or as a double feature. (1946, 130 min, Unconfirmed Format (MB)/Digital Projection – Unconfirmed Format (Patio)) BS
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com and http://patiotheater.net.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Centre (1034 N. Milwaukee Ave.) opens Where’d I Leave the Thing Itself, a two-person show of collaborative work by local filmmakers and artists Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, on Friday (6-9pm). Included are an animation loop, a double-projection 35mm slide installation, and works on paper. On view through January 4.
Columbia College’s Glass Curtain Gallery (1104 S. Wabash Ave.) continues the exhibition Embracing the FARB: Modes of Reenactment through February 9. Among the works on view are video installations by Lori Felker (The Variable Area Television Network) and Kirsten Leenaars (Homeland of Gestures; part one on display till mid-January, part two on display from mid-January), and Jefferson Pinder (The Great Escape).
The Art Institute of Chicago continues the exhibit focus: Hito Steyerl, which features six of the artist’s video installations. It runs through January 27.
The Art Institute of Chicago continues an exhibition of work by artist Steve McQueen, which features a number of his film/video installation pieces, on Sunday. The show runs through January 6.
Ongoing at the Museum of Contemporary Art though May 12 is MCA Screen: Akram Zaatari, featuring the artist’s 2010 Single-channel HD video Tomorrow everything will be alright (12 min loop).
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Also at Chicago Filmmakers: On Friday, December 21 at 7:30pm, CF hosts an Open Screening & Holiday Party. Bring a film to show (20 minutes max; DVD only) or bring something to eat; small donation requested otherwise.
Also at the Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook): John Huston’s 1948 Humphrey Bogart film KEY LARGO (100 min, Unconfirmed Format) will tentatively screen on Wednesday, January 2 at 1 and 7:30pm. Check at www.northbrook.info for confirmation closer to the screening date.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center: Leos Carax’s 2012 French/German head-scratcher HOLY MOTORS (115 min, 35mm) plays Friday-Thursday, December 21-27 (no shows Dec. 24 and 25); Richard Knight, Jr., and Peter Neville’s 2012 local film SCROOGE & MARLEY (88 min, HDCam Video) screens on Friday, December 21 (8:15pm) and Saturday and Thursday, December 22 and 27 (7:45pm). Check website for details on in-person appearances; James Whale’s 1931 horror classic FRANKENSTEIN (70 min, New 35mm Print) screens Sunday, December 23 at 3pm and Thursday, December 27 at 6pm; Charles T. Barton’s 1948 film ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (83 min, 35mm) screens on Sunday, December 23 at 4:30pm and Wednesday, December 26 at 6pm; Yaron Zilberman’s 2012 drama A LATE QUARTET (105 min, 35mm) and Malik Bendjelloul’s 2012 documentary SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (86 min, 35mm) both screen Friday-Thursday, December 28-January 3 (no shows Dec. 31 and Jan. 1).
Also at the Music Box Theatre: Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns’ 2012 documentary THE CENTRAL PARK 5 (119 min Unconfirmed Format) and Sean Baker’s 2012 film STARLET (103 min, Unconfirmed Format) both continue (Friday-Thursday, December 21-27; check the website for possible screenings the following week); Eric Lartigau’s 2010 French film THE BIG PICTURE (114 min, 35mm) opens on Friday, December 28; and Ronald Neame’s 1972 disaster film THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (117 min, DCP Digital Projection) screens as part of the Music Box’s New Year’s Eve event on Monday, December 31 at 11pm.
Also at Facets Cinémathèque: Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán’s 2010 film Dominican Republic film JEAN GENTIL (84 min, 35mm) screens Friday-Thursday, December 21-27 (no screenings December 24 and 25).
The Wilmette Theatre (1122 Central Ave., Wilmette) opens Edward Burns’ 2012 film THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS (99 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Friday, December 21.
The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents the Odd Obsession Foreign Film Series on Saturday, December 29 at 7pm. As of press time, the film showing has not been announced. Followed by Impala Sound Champion DJs, with special guests Shred One and AMALIA at 9pm.
Also at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema: Richard Donner’s 1988 film SCROOGED (101 min, Digital Projection – Unconfirmed Format) screens on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22, at Midnight.
The Logan Theater screens Jeremiah S. Chechik’s 1989 film NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (97 min) on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22, at 11pm and Monday, December 24, at 10:30pm; Lee Harry’s 1987 film SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 (88 min) on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22, at 11:30pm and Monday, December 24, at 11pm; Bob Clark’s 1983 film A CHRISTMAS STORY (94 min) on Saturday and Sunday, December 22 and 23, at Noon; Tommy Wirkola’s 2009 film DEAD SNOW (91 min) on Friday and Saturday, December 28 and 29, at 11:30pm; and Sydney Pollack’s 1972 western JEREMIAH JOHNSON (108 min) on Friday and Saturday, December 28 and 29, at 11pm. All Unconfirmed Formats.
Also at the Portage Theater: Santa’s Scary Saturday takes place on Saturday, December 22 with Video Projected screenings of GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (Noon), GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (2pm), SPACEBALLS (3:30pm), HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (5:45pm), and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STRANGLER (7:30pm).
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CINE-LIST: December 21, 2012 – January 3, 2013
MANAGING EDITOR / Patrick Friel
CONTRIBUTORS / Michael Castelle, Rob Christopher, Kat Keish, Mike King, Jesse Malmed, Ben Sachs, Harrison Sherrod, K.A. Westphal, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Darnell Witt
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