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:: Friday, FEB. 7 - Thursday, FEB. 13 ::

CRUCIAL VIEWING

Adolfas Mekas' HALLELUJAH THE HILLS (Experimental Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday and Tuesday, 6pm

HALLELUJAH THE HILLS was not canonized alongside contemporaries like Jack Smith's FLAMING CREATURES, Kenneth Anger's SCORPIO RISING, and Stan Brakhage's DOG STAR MAN, but in its time it enjoyed a higher profile than any of them. Never encountering the censorship trouble that plagued Shirley Clarke's THE CONNECTION, HALLELUJAH THE HILLS became the briefly plausible prototype for feature-length avant-garde crossover success--pointing the way for Peter Emmanuel Goldman's ECHOES OF SILENCE, Robert Downey Sr.'s CHAFED ELBOWS, and its ultimate beneficiary, Andy Warhol's THE CHELSEA GIRLS. Feted in Time and Life, invited to numerous film festivals across Europe, HALLELUJAH THE HILLS acted as a genial ambassador for the New American Cinema to the domestic skeptics and the international ranks of the avant-curious. "As an American culture export," wrote Dwight MacDonald, "it has been received with the same mixture of romantic illusion and condescension as greeted Pocahontas and Buffalo Bill." Actually, it was something of an ideal introduction: building upon James Broughton and Sidney Peterson's overripe enthusiasm for Mack Sennett's silent comedies, HALLELUJAH THE HILLS consolidated the dreams and aspirations of the film society connoisseur, re-writing the history of cinema from Griffith to Godard as a pastoral goof. The whole American avant-garde of that moment radiates out from HALLELUJAH THE HILLS: the cameraman is Ed Emshwiller (THANATOPSIS, RELATIVITY), Taylor Mead appears in a cameo, and the music of Meyer Kupferman (BLAST OF SILENCE, GOLDSTEIN) even yielded a soundtrack LP, surely the first such vote of commercial confidence for a New American Cinema brand. Adolfas Mekas' output has been understandably overshadowed by that of his much more prolific brother Jonas (who served as assistant director here), so this extraordinarily rare revival, courtesy of Anthology Film Archives, may well be our Missing Link. Tuesday's screening includes an introduction and post-screening discussion from SAIC professor Bruce Jenkins. (1963, 82 min, Archival 35mm Print) KAW
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Dudley Murphy's THE EMPEROR JONES (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Friday, 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
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More info at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


Celluloid Therapy: The Diary Films of Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949-2012) (Experimental Revival)
White Light Cinema at The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) - Sunday, 7pm

Self-documentation is so much the norm nowadays that it's difficult to imagine it as ever being art. Selfies hardly function as meaningful emotional landscapes, and the confessional essays and their filmic counterparts that are now all the rage are often full of contrivances. Predating such overindulgent and manufactured displays of artifice is the work of those for whom the showing is synonymous with the telling--their work speaks for itself and is free of the gimmickry associated with the squeamishly confessional mode of contemporary art and filmmaking. Super 8 filmmaker and diarist Anne Charlotte Robertson definitely falls into the master category, as is evidenced by her 38-hour long magnum opus, FIVE YEAR DIARY. Spanning more than five years, FIVE YEAR DIARY is a personal documentary endeavor in which Robertson uses experimental methods during the filming and post-production editing processes to oscillate between the oftentimes chaotic reality of the moment and the clarity that comes with hindsight. Of the 84 Super 8 reels that comprise the finished work, reels 22 and 23 will be shown at the Celluloid Therapy event. Reel 22, titled A SHORT AFFAIR (AND) GOING CRAZY (24 min), covers the period of her life from August 23 to September 1, 1982. In this segment, Robertson depicts herself in the midst of a tumultuous affair with another video artist, an affair that also has the misfortune of being mostly one-sided, and the subsequent breakdown that follows her lover's desertion. Reel 23, titled A BREAKDOWN AND AFTER THE MENTAL HOSPITAL (26 min), continues from where reel 22 left off up to December 13, 1982. This reel documents the weeks preceding a failed suicide attempt and Robertson's subsequent hospitalization. Both reels feature a jarring array of imagery combined with multiple layers of narration. One layer is presumably meant to be congruent with the filming, or at least recorded around the same time, while another layer, which is oftentimes the loudest, seems to have been recorded at a later date. In this layer, Robertson is always reflective, often exasperated, and sometimes even confused over the footage and original recordings. The result is a disjointed narrative similar to the bipolar disorder from which she suffered, her solemn calm in sharp contrast to the manic stream of consciousness. In between the heavy stuff is the day-to-day minutiae, such as visiting her family or cooking vegetarian meals, that again provides an inexplicable balance to the mayhem. Robertson has said that she used her art to better understand her disorders, and it's in this perspective that art begins to reflect life. The screening will also include the short films LOCOMOTION (1981), MAGAZINE MOUTH (1983) and APOLOGIES (1986), films of a diaristic nature that were largely therapeutic endeavors for Robertson. Specifically, the bingeing represented in MAGAZINE MOUTH reflects Robertson's own struggles with binge-eating, and APOLOGIES is an exercise in self-therapy that is reflective of both a disordered person's guilt over their actions and the tendency of women in general to over-apologize. In his book A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow, 1980-1989 film writer Stephen Prince says that, "[I]n the end, however, it is the combination of Robertson's relentless openness about her life, in all its limitations and frustrations and psychic fragility, and her considerable gifts for making visually arresting imagery that render her DIARY so compelling." That sentiment applies to all her work, and exactly describes what it is about Robertson that elevates her self-documentation to genuine self-expression. (1981-86, approx. 84 min total, Digital File Projection) KS
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Note: White Light Cinema is a project of Cine-File's Managing Editor Patrick Friel
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More info at nightingalecinema.org.


Abraham Polonsky's FORCE OF EVIL (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Saturday, 2pm

Too often today's affection for film noir comes off like a fashionable shortcut to cynicism or an alibi for spouting sexist cant. Although noir is often credited with bringing a downbeat post-war skepticism to Production Code-constrained Hollywood, very few noirs nurtured their musky weariness into a genuine critique of American society. FORCE OF EVIL is the real deal--the left-wing "business noir" that envisions the numbers racket as a representative species of predatory American capitalism. For a film that flopped upon its improbable Christmas 1948 release, FORCE OF EVIL became shockingly influential--suggesting the mafia-as-big-business synecdoche of MURDER BY CONTRACT and THE GODFATHER, laying out the first draft for the fraternal schism of ON THE WATERFRONT, and sparking the Lower East Side morality play showboating of so much early Scorsese. Allegedly fashioned from a blank verse script that Polonsky won the privilege of directing himself in the wake of the enormous box office success of BODY AND SOUL, FORCE OF EVIL applies an unexpectedly fierce Group Theatre intensity to its fastidiously melodramatic material. Strangely, its pretensions burnish its sui generis realism, which in turn supports its instinctively argumentative (and deeply Jewish) moral investigation. Even more than BODY AND SOUL and HE RAN ALL THE WAY, FORCE OF EVIL exploits the guilt-ridden magnetism of John Garfield, too long shoehorned in earlier pictures as a generic romantic lead. But even he pales next to Thomas Gomez, whose turn as Garfield's sweaty, fatally righteous older brother is simply the greatest supporting performance in American movies. Gomez's Leo Morse lurches forward with his whole anxious body, a highly technical performance that channels a consensual futility, a man unworthy of his own ideals. Marie Windsor's b-girl is largely decorative, but the penetrating plainness of Beatrice Pearson enlarges a thankless and underwritten role. The sharp, solid photography of George Barnes serves mainly to emphasize Polonsky's text; the fact that Polonsky subsequently complained that David Raksin's magnificent musical score crudely undermined his text demonstrates anew the fallibility of a great artist. Unfortunately, the blacklist soon silenced that artist, fallibility and all, and inadvertently elevated FORCE OF EVIL to a miracle production. We would not see its like again for a very long time. (1948, 78 min, Restored Archival 35mm Print) KAW
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More info at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


Josef von Sternberg's UNDERWORLD (Silent American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Saturday, Noon

Josef von Sternberg, like his contemporary Yasujiro Ozu, appears inextricably linked in the mind of modern film culture to his iconic leading actress; Sternberg with Marlene Dietrich in works such as THE BLUE ANGEL and THE SCARLET EMPRESS, and Ozu with Setsuko Hara in the Noriko trilogy. As with Ozu though, the viewer would be remiss not to reckon with Sternberg's silent work. Far more than just a dress rehearsal for the main event, Sternberg's 1927 film UNDERWORLD arrives complete, a silent classic at once hilarious and brutal. The film features Evelyn Brent, Clive Brook, and George Bancroft, who, amid more notable roles, starred in the original THE WOLF OF WALL STREET in 1929, the plot of which involved various characters ruining each other via the stock market--still a wildly entertaining conceit in January of that year. Bancroft portrays Bull Weed, a perpetually cackling mobster who's assumed the role of local Robin Hood--if Robin Hood were more loathsome and contemptuous of the poor. He extends a helping hand to lawyer-cum-wino, Rolls Royce (Brook), after he spots Weed robbing a bank late one night. With Weed's help Rolls Royce sobers up and the two form an uncertain friendship. Complications arise when Rolls Royce falls for Weed's lover, Feathers (Brent), and Weed clashes with another local mobster, Buck Mulligan. These, along with several unseen characters (Blossom Savoy, Bella Schmitz and the incomparable "Magpie"), secure UNDERWORLD's place in the pantheon of best named ensembles--credit to famed screenwriter Ben Hecht who earned an Academy Award for his effort. While UNDERWORLD is widely credited with popularizing the gangster genre, it's also notable for vaulting Sternberg to prominence. Sternberg previously directed THE SALVATION HUNTERS in 1925, but foundered in the succeeding years after several unrealized collaborations with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. The success of UNDERWORLD solidified Sternberg's status as a visual innovator and marked the beginning of the most productive period of the director's career. Live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott. (1927, 80 min, 35mm) JS
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.

 

ALSO RECOMMENDED

Crispin Glover's BIG SLIDE SHOW PART 1 & WHAT IS IT? (Special Event/Exploitation Revival)
The Patio (6008 W. Irving Park Rd.) - Friday, 7pm

In WHAT IS IT? all the actors only did what they wanted to do, essentially playing for the camera. But this sunshiny interpretation, often put forth by curators and even Glover himself on occasion, isn't entirely satisfactory. In context with his Big Slide Show, in which Glover performs monologues aided by slides of his artbooks, we see his interest in titillation and exploring the darker sides of the human psyche. For Glover, the demons and abnormalities polite society suppresses--teens fucking, suicide, uncontrollable impulses, and the mentally and physically deficient--are what's interesting. Drudging up and confronting our collective nausea toward some suppressed reality is precisely what good exploitation films tend to do. Considering this, Glover has found quite the bilious vein to mine, which he does admirably, creating two unsettling, lurid films about those in society whom we too often look away from. Crispin Glover in person; he will be doing a Q&A and signing autographs after the event. (WHAT IS IT?: 2005, 82 min, 35mm; BIG SLIDE: approx. 60 min) DM
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More info at patiotheater.net.


Ruth Leitman's LIPSTICK AND DYNAMITE, PISS AND VINEGAR: THE FIRST LADIES OF WRESTLING (Documentary Revival)
Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) - Saturday, 8pm (7pm social hour) and Wednesday, 6:30pm at Columbia College (Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash, Room 109)

Chicago Filmmakers presents Ruth Leitman's delightfully tawdry cinema-scrapbook about the birth of female wrestling in the 1930s and 40s--a world full of sexualized glamour, bad beats, and life-long rivalries. Or as Johnnie Mae Young puts it in the film: "You gotta have the angel and you gotta have the heel." Mae (who, at age 76, was named the WWF's "Miss Royal Rumble 2000" in an impressive career come back), is just one of several brash and indomitable women that recount the heyday of one of America's most deliciously seedy pop culture phenomenons. Kenneth Truman from the LA Times writes, "What makes LIPSTICK AND DYNAMITE its own animal is that, intentionally or not, the director has allowed... a glimpse of the unvarnished and the unsanitized. The uneasy, unnerving air of the carny hangs over this film, and it gives a whiff of how rough, rowdy and raucous, how inescapably down and dirty, these women's world could be." Showing as part of the "Dyke Delicious" series. Leitman in person at both shows. (2004, 83 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) CL
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More info at www.chicagofilmmakers.org.


Jacques Demy's THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3 and 6:30pm (Repeats February 16)

Jacques Demy is a cinematic alchemist. Ever present in his body of work is an uncanny ability to transform or combine standard, even banal, elements of various genres into 'gold'--or, rather, something so luminous and rarefied that it can only be Demy who's created it. THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG is arguably the best of his films, and almost certainly the first film of his to so fully bend genre and style convention. Demy was both inspired by and considered to be a member of the French New Wave, and like several of his peers, he had an unabashed love for Hollywood studio musicals of the era. Demy's most 'New Wave-ish' films preceded THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG; LOLA (1960) and BAY OF ANGELS (1962) were shot in black and white, and dealt more straightforwardly with themes inherent to the movement. Both hinted at Demy's progression, but THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, when viewed in the context of his first three features, certainly stands out. (It's also his first film in color.) In an essay about the film for the Reader, critic Jonathan Rosenbaum admitted that he originally considered it to be a commercial sellout, comparing it to other "corny pretenders" allegedly borne of the New Wave but merely ascribing the label where it didn't belong. Demy's vision, especially in his later films, is understandably confounding, as he uses elements that, when mixed, shouldn't create gold. Virtually undefinable, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG is neither just a musical nor entirely an opera. The film's narrative is completely conveyed through song, with a jazzy score by longtime Demy collaborator Michel Legrand providing the music against which the sung dialogue is set. It's about a young couple, Guy and Genevieve; she's the too-young daughter of an overbearing mother who owns an umbrella shop in Cherbourg, he's a mechanic who hasn't yet served his time with the French military. Their courtship is shown in the first part of the film, titled "Departure." Naturally, he's drafted to fight in the Algerian War and soon thereafter Genevieve learns she is pregnant. In this part, titled "Absence," Genevieve's mother compels her to consider the overtures of a well-to-do jeweler while Genevieve wonders if her and Guy's love is waning. (It was common among the New Wave filmmakers to reference other films in their work, and here Demy references himself. The jeweler, Roland Cassard, was a suitor of Lola's in LOLA, and Lola herself returns in Demy's 1969 film MODEL SHOP.) Genevieve soon gives in to Roland, who accepts that she is pregnant with another man's child. In the third and final part, "Return," Guy is back from the war and spiraling out of control, likely due to Genevieve's desertion. The ending is bittersweet and surprisingly cynical, two hallmarks of Demy's romantic pragmatism. It has this in common with his previous films, and somewhat separates it from his 1967 film THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT, in which all is happy in the end despite Demy's overall tone of deceptively joyful endurance. This and THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT are noted for their use of color, but the schemes are distinct. In the latter, the fluffier of the two, sunny pastels and bright whites obscure any hint of grimy realism. In THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, which is more operatic in tone and structure, Demy utilizes bolder, more primary colors. This further allows for hints at the film's fateful bitterness. All that glitters is gold in Demy's world, but his is a gold that illuminates the screen while revealing its own artifice. (1964, 91 min, DCP Digital Projection; New Digital Restoration) KS
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Jia Zhang-Ke's A TOUCH OF SIN (New Chinese)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Saturday, 7 and 9:45pm; Sunday, 3:45pm

Expectations of something boldly different followed word from overseas that Jia Zhang-Ke, perhaps mainland China's greatest filmmaker, had begun work on his first commercial feature. The rumors were of a late Qing martial arts drama with sets, costumes, professional actors--the works. All this from a filmmaker whose oeuvre up to now might be said to constitute a wholesale rejection of the sort of glamorous historical fantasy fifth generation filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige have come to live by. The rumors were true in part. The film that premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival was boldly, indeed thrillingly, different, but it was not a Qing set period epic. That production had been put on hold in order to make a different film, contemporary set yet no less epic in terms of the rich expanse of emotional and geographical territory it would cover. This film would address itself more directly to the exigencies of China's present condition in four true stories of violence, both physical and psychological, both structural and interpersonal, that together would form a portrait of a society brutalized by outlaw capitalism. What this abrupt gesture alone reaffirms about Jia is his earnest sense of duty as a social artist whose work always places the needs and concerns of his people above his own, or rather one for whom that distinction does not exist. While, in 2013, several American filmmakers, from Harmony Korine to Sophia Coppola, from Ridley Scott to Michael Bay and Martin Scorsese, released films that addressed what seems to have emerged, finally and thankfully, as a signal theme for the current cinema, it would take a filmmaker like Jia in a country as blasted as China to bring that issue--inequality, of course--its proper sense of urgency, scale and context. Where the Americans have emphasized the excesses of the haves, Jia has zeroed in on the destitution, not only material but spiritual, of the have-nots and, in the process, achieved something exceedingly rare in the movies: a just explanation, without a shred of speculative self-indulgence, of why people sometimes do horrible things. (2013, 133 min, DCP Digital Projection) EC
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Michael Haneke's AMOUR (New International)
Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) - Wednesday, 6:30pm

One of Haneke's overarching themes has always been society in relation to the individual; more specifically, how society's toxic elements (prejudice, the class system, mass media) exact their consequences on the individual. On the face of it, AMOUR appears to be an exception. At heart it's a two-person character study that takes place almost entirely within the confines of an apartment. Yet even this self-contained world is regularly invaded by the outside world. Family members. A former student. A healthcare worker. And, invisibly but devastatingly, society's view of how one is "supposed to" grow old. In other words, us. Just as forcefully as in FUNNY GAMES, when the murderer winks at the camera and thereby implies our complicity, AMOUR implicates us, the viewer. "Did you imagine that moving into your twilight years would be serene and dignified? Perhaps not." Isn't that what that pigeon's all about? Introduced by local photographer Art Shay. (2012, 127 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) RC
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More info at www.af-chicago.org.


Bill Siegel's THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI (New Documentary)
Film Studies Center (University of Chicago) at the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) - Friday, 7pm (Free Admission)

Metaphors abound in reviews of Bill Siegel's THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI, and appropriately so. Not only does the sport that the film's subject is a champion of provide limitless opportunities for allusion, but the subject himself, formidable boxer Muhammad Ali, was once a veritable pull-quote factory whose verbal fervor was as conspicuous as his physical acumen. Nonetheless, this critic will throw one more onto the pile by comparing not the film's subject or his out-of-the-ring battles to his in-the-ring prowess, but by comparing the film itself to the sport which Ali dominated. Much like a boxing match, Siegel's film, the latest from Chicago-based documentary company Kartemquin Films, takes Ali's most significant conflict and presents it as a series of smaller conflicts, or "rounds," that result in an unceasing triumph of the man over matter. Instead of focusing on Ali's physical accomplishments, Siegel focuses on the period of his life during which the boxer was as equally known for his political and religious rebellion as he was for his prodigious sportsmanship. In 1964, soon after becoming the heavyweight champion of the world, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name first from Cassius Clay to Cassius X and then famously, and finally, to Muhammad Ali. A few years later, during the height of the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction into military service on the grounds that the aforementioned religious convictions prevented him from doing so. Ali soon found himself thrust from the limelight into the shadows as his boxing license was revoked and he was sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion. Along the way, Ali was involved with a variety of cultural figureheads, including high-profile members of the Nation of Islam such as Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammad, and Malcolm X, and disparaged by sports heroes of a similar stature to his own, such as Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. The resulting struggle of this several-year period, arguably his most difficult fight, also produced his most important win; in 1971, the Supreme Court overturned his previous conviction in a unanimous ruling. Despite claims that the film focuses on an aspect of the boxer's mythology not often touched upon, such incidents from Ali's life were sufficiently acknowledged in Michael Mann's 2001 biopic ALI and the HBO film MUHAMMAD ALI'S GREATEST FIGHT (Stephen Frears) from earlier this year. However, as a documentary, and an expertly paced one at that, it provides a happy medium between expansive legend and centralized nuance. Siegel already exhibited such skill as co-director of the Academy Award-nominated THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (2002), and his representation of Ali as something of an activist calls back to that first film. (Siegel is also proving himself as an antithesis to the Ken Burns-style of long-form documentary filmmaking, packing in just as much subject matter in a film more suitable for enjoyable theatergoing.) The film also employs expert use of archival footage, as demonstrated by the much-lauded opening sequence which contrasts two clips that set the tone for the rest of the film: in one, Ali is criticized by television host David Susskind for his political dissidence, while in the other, taking place several decades later, former president George W. Bush presents Ali with the Medal of Freedom. Like with any great fight from history, the viewer goes into it knowing of how it began and how it ended. This film covers the many rounds in between, those that are either ignored in lieu of the sensationalistic highlights or buried under seeming societal amelioration. Director Siegel in person. (2013, 94 min, DCP Digital Projection) KS
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More info at filmstudiescenter.uchicago.edu.


Joel and Ethan Coen's THE BIG LEBOWSKI (American Revival)
Logan Theatre - Friday, Saturday, and Monday, 10:30pm

Dude, people love this movie--and with good reason. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is what so few modern comedies are: legitimately good. Between all the "dudes" and "fucks," it's easy to miss some of the underlying themes of the film; but beyond its oft-quoted dialogue and obsessive fan base, THE BIG LEBOWSKI is an LA noir for the modern age. It's also a gigantic metaphor for the Gulf War, a true testament to the time in which it is set, and eerily prophetic to watch today. A Bush is in office, we're in a recession, and we're fighting a fatuous war in the Middle East, so boy is this film still relevant. Don't forget, though, that it's also hilarious. Fix yourself a White Russian, folks. Let's see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. (1998, 117 min, Unconfirmed Format) CS
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More info at www.thelogantheatre.com.


Michelangelo Antonioni's L'AVVENTURA (Italian Revival)
Italian Cultural Institute (500 N Michigan Ave.) - Tuesday, 6pm (Free Admission)

At the premiere of L'AVVENTURA at the Cannes Film Festival in 1960, Michelangelo Antonioni famously said, "Eros is sick; man is uneasy, something is bothering him. And whenever something bothers him, man reacts, but he reacts badly, only on erotic impulse, and he is unhappy." Similar to L'ECLISSE, L'AVVENTURA begins with a wealthy Roman girl named Anna (Lea Massari), expressing her unhappiness in her relationship with Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti). Still, the couple embarks on a cruise with their friends. Their yacht stops at a small island north of Sicily for the party to explore and suddenly Anna disappears from sight. Taking up the role of the protagonist, Anna's friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) and Sandro comb both the island and the small towns across Sicily to find her. Antonioni sets nearly half of the film at sea, and Claudia and Sandro return to face it from their palatial hotel in Taormina at the end. Excluding Claudia, Antonioni's characters are the idle rich, who pass the time with rather unemotional sex, considering they are unable to love. Aldo Scavarda's cinematography gives the sea and its islands a lifeless appearance that seems forbidding to their travelers. He creates a very desolate seascape unconcerned with Italy's past or present--space unmarked by time leads to a sense of alienation, the defining condition of these characters' lives. In L'AVVENTURA, the world only exists as subjective reality. The film is not only concerned with the mystery of Anna's disappearance, but also the mystery of our own existence, one "that can only end in a stalemate." (1960, 143 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) CW
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More info at www.iicchicago.esteri.it.

 

MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS

The graduate program in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University presents Backward Glances: Margins of Media, a conference featuring graduate student panels with faculty responses, on Friday beginning at 4pm and Saturday beginning at 9:30am. Amy Villarejo, Cornell University, gives a keynote talk on Friday and Lisa Parks, University of California, Santa Barbara, gives a keynote talk on Saturday. The conference takes place in the Alice Kaplan Institute of the Humanities, 2nd Floor of Kresge Hall (1880 Campus Dr.). Free admission. More info and full schedule at http://marginsofmedia.blog.com.

The Chicago Film Seminar presents University of Iowa Ph.D candidates Jonathan Crylen and Dimitrios Latsis on Thursday at 6:30pm. Crylen will present a talk entitled "Expanding Oceans, Expanded Screens: Deep-Sea Exploration and the IMAX Experience" and Latsis will talk on "Canaletto, Promio, Greenaway: An Eternal Landscape Braid." The respondent is University of Chicago Ph.D candidate Matt Hauske. The event is at the DePaul University Loop Campus (The Daley Building, 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102; use the entrance at 247 S. State St.). Free admission.

Latitude (2041 W. Carroll, Suite C223) hosts the first program in a new screening series, New North, on Tuesday at 6pm. The program, Loneliness & Bad Behavior, is curated by Kate Bowen and David Oresick and will include work by Mike Hoolboom, George Kuchar, Dani Leventhal, Nate Sullivan, Piotr Urbaniec, and Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby.

Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) screens two films by Stan Brakhage, THE ACT OF SEEING WITH ONE'S OWN EYES (1971, 32 min, 16mm) and SIRIUS REMEMBERED (1959, 11 min, 16mm), along with the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Information's 2004 work THE COMMON TASK (58 min, Digital File Projection) on Monday at 7pm. Followed by a panel discussion. Free admission.

The Nightingale presents Selections from La Guarimba on Tuesday at 7pm. La Guarimba International Film Festival takes place in a renovated outdoor theater in Amantea, a small town in the south of Italy. Organizers of La Guarimba will be in person to present a selection of works shown at the festival. Screening are narrative winner HOME (Ruslan Magomadov, 2012, 26min, Russia (Chechen Republic), animation winner OH WILLY... (Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels, 2011, 17 min, Belgium), and documentary winner COME TO VENICE (Benedetta Panisson, 2012, 20 min, Italy). All Digital Projection.

Also at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) this week: Dakota Loesch's 2013 independent feature KISS LIKE BIG DOGS (56 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) is on Friday at 7:30pm.

The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens J. C. Chandor's 2013 film ALL IS LOST (106 min, 35mm) on Saturday at 2 and 7:30pm. Local filmmaker Reid Schultz will lead a discussion after each screenings; Jazz Forum XLI includes short films and clips featuring Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and more. Screening on Tuesday at 1 and 7:30pm. Unconfirmed Years, Running Times, and Formats; and Billy Wllder's 1950 classic SUNSET BLVD. (110 min, 35mm) is on Wednesday at 1 and 7:30pm. Free admission. www.northbrook.info/events/film

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Jacques Demy's 1961 film LOLA (90 min, Archival 35mm Print) is on Saturday at 4:45pm and Monday at 6pm; Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori's 2012 Paraguayan film 7 BOXES (99 min, DCP Digital Projection) begins a two-week run; Rouhollah Hejazi's 2012 Iranian film THE PRIVATE LIFE OF MR. & MRS. M (80 min, Digital Projection - Unconfirmed Format) is on Friday at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm; Mark Mori's 2013 documentary BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL (101 min, DCP Digital Projection) plays for a week (no show on Monday); Cheryl Dunn's 2013 documentary EVERYBODY STREET (83 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Saturday at 3pm, Monday at 7:45pm (director in person), Wednesday at 6:15pm, and Thursday at 7:45pm; and Peyman Moaadi's 2013 Iranian film SNOW ON PINES (92 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Saturday at 8:15pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Tim Burton's 1994 film ED WOOD (127 min, 35mm) is on Friday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 1pm; Gabriel Mascaro's 2012 documentary HOUSEMAIDS (76 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Sunday at 7pm and will be introduced by Myrla Baldonado, a domestic worker and organizer for the Latino Union of Chicago/Chicago Coalition of Household Workers; Mark Sandrich's 1936 film A WOMAN REBELS (88 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm; Margarethe von Trotta's 2012 film HANNAH ARENDT (113 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Monday at 9pm. introduced by U of C Comparative Literature professor Haun Saussy. Free admission; Chi Liang-Liu's 1981 Hong Kong film MY YOUNG AUNTIE (121 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; Brian De Palma's 1992 film RAISING CAIN (91 min, 35mm) is on Wednesday at 7 and 9pm; Kasi Lemmons' 1997 film EVE'S BAYOU (109 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm; Martin Scorsese's 1999 film BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (121 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9:15pm; and an added free screening of an unnamed Philip Seymour Hoffman film (showing from DVD or Blu-Ray) will be on Tuesday at 9:30pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Patrick Creadon's 2013 documentary IF YOU BUILD IT (85 min; filmmakers in person at the Friday and Saturday 7:10pm shows and the Sunday 2:30pm show) and local filmmaker Joe Swanberg's 2013 film 24 EXPOSURES (80 min) both open; Hirokazu Kore-eda's 2013 film LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON (121 min) continues through Sunday only; Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 film THE GREAT BEAUTY (142 min, DCP Digital Projection) and two programs of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Docs continue all week; George Marshall's 1948 film HAZARD (95 min) is on Sunday at 11:30am; and Steve Barron's 1990 film TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (93 min) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight. Unconfirmed Formats.

Facets Cinémathèque presents Denis Côté's 2013 Canadian drama VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR (95 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week run.

Also at the Logan Theatre this week: Wong Kar-wai's 2000 film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (98 min, Unconfirmed Format) screens on Thursday at 10:30pm.

The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents Russ Marshalek's (formerly of Silent Drape Runners) live "re-soundracked" version of David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME on Thursday at 9pm.

The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) screens Hawa Essuman 's 2010 Kenyan narrative SOUL BOY (61 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 6pm. Free admission.

The Chicago Public Library - Back of the Yards Branch (2111 W. 47th St.) screens Julie Moggan's 2010 documentary GUILTY PLEASURES (86 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 6:30pm. Free admission.

 

ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS

Public Works (1539 N. Damen Ave.) opens the show Only Real on Friday, with a reception from 7-10pm. The show runs through April 4. Included are works by Peter Jellitsch (his "Data Drawings," hand-drawn diagrammatic landscapes) and Theodore Darst, whose video and installation work "Collag[es] fragments of personal narratives through the endless variables of the digital interface."

The Art Institute of Chicago has two video installations currently running. Isaac Julien's The Long Road to Mazatlán is on view until March 30 (Gallery 186) and Amar Kanwar's The Lightning Testimonies is on view until April 20 (Gallery 291).

The Mission (1431 W. Chicago Ave.) opens the show Dis/placement on Friday, with a reception from 6-8pm. The show runs through February 22. Included are video and photography works by Ella de Burca (Dublin, Ireland), Cameron Gibson (Chicago), Orr Menirom (Tel Aviv/Chicago), and Bryan Zanisnik (New York).

The Museum of Contemporary Art continues Chicago Works: Lilli Carré through April 15, 2014. The show includes a video work by Carré.

The Museum of Contemporary Art continues City Self through April 13. The show includes Sarah Morris's 2011 film Chicago.

 

UPDATES/CLOSURES

The Portage Theatre remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The Patio Theater continues to have their programming on hiatus.

The Northwest Chicago Film Society is on a brief hiatus this January and plans to resume screenings in February.

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CINE-LIST: February 7 - February 13, 2014

MANAGING EDITOR /
Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Kian Bergstrom, Edo Choi, Rob Christopher, Christy LeMaster, Doug McLaren, Kathleen Sachs, Carrie Shemanski, Jamie Stroble, Kyle A. Westphal, Candace Wirt, Darnell Witt

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