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:: Friday, FEB. 14 - Thursday, FEB. 20 ::

CRUCIAL VIEWING

A Peculiar People: Work by Talena Sanders (New Experimental/Documentary)
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) - Friday, 8pm

One of the more engaging of the aughts-born wave of experimental documentaries, LIAHONA (2013, 70 min), by newcomer Talena Sanders, is a meditative and at times personal journey through the mystifying world of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The film (named after the brass compass that guides a breakaway Jewish sect to the Zion of America) gracefully balances a portrait of Mormon faith between the folk-magic occultism of its founding and the mainstream yearnings of its present day incarnation. Percolating through a blend of educational films and contemporary documentation is a complex image of our American-born religion, touching on everything from baptismal rites to seer stones, from Utah to Carthage, Illinois. Lyrical and at times poignant, the film portrays a seemingly blissful lifestyle nestled into a John Ford landscape, showcasing a religion whose founders had a flair for the dramatic and a knack for civic planning. Three-quarters through LIAHONA though, the world literally flips upside down as a series of quotations and Utahan factoids appear in intertitles, written first in Deseret then in English. This sequence briefly exposes the dark underside of Utah living, and thus transitively, of Mormonism. Though the LDS church promotes a clean lifestyle, we are told of Utah's high rates of substance abuse and suicide. At first, the subsequent images of myriad wedding couples posing before the Salt Lake Temple is an incongruous picture of stability amid the preceding details, but we quickly come to understand that this final segment is Sanders' diaristic meditation on her history with the Mormon faith. Comprised of audio interviews with family members and past lovers, and footage of Sanders-present and Sanders-as-Mormon-settler, Sanders ponders what her life would have been like had she remained faithful and married her high-school sweetheart, especially given all she has come to know about the world she left behind. Also screening is TOKENS AND PENALTIES (2013, 4 min), a brief demonstration of a sacred oath meant to keep the mouths of apostates shut, performed at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Director Talena Sanders in person. (2012-13, 74 min total, Digital Projection) DM
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More info at www.nightingalecinema.org.


Jacques Demy's BAY OF ANGELS (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 5:30pm and Monday, 6pm

BAY OF ANGELS is one of the most underrated and uncharacteristic films of Jacques Demy's oeuvre. It might look like his first feature, LOLA (1961), but the black-and-white 'Scope of that "musical without music" is replaced in BAY OF ANGELS with a grittier cinematography that reflects the unusual straightforwardness of Demy's rather cynical narrative. Much of Demy's work falls under the umbrella of fairy tale, or fable; most obviously so are his later films, DONKEY SKIN (1970) and THE PIED PIPER (1972), while THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964), THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (1967), THE SLIGHTLY PREGNANT MAN (1973), LADY OSCAR (1979) and PARKING (1982) are more allusive in nature. BAY OF ANGELS is nothing like a fairy tale, and even though gambling addiction has certain moral implications, the film is far from being a fable in its ambiguous approach to examining obsessive behavior. In the film, a bored bank clerk is lured from his provincial upbringing to the more enticing, but ultimately more dangerous life of luxury gambling resorts. He is lured by luck--and a lady. Jeanne Moreau, as Jackie, is a rather campy bleach blonde who's abandoned true luxury as a wealthy housewife to indulge her addiction, in the process losing custody of her son. Many of Demy's films are about long-lasting desire, while the gambling in BAY OF ANGELS represents a source of immediate gratification not typically dealt with by a director whose patience rivals that of his characters. More so than desire is Demy's fascination with fate, a concept that is both embraced and rejected by the banker and the bleach blonde. Their obsession is one distinctly rooted in the moment, left to chance, something Demy has no use for in his other films. But there's a certain element of fate in the 'chance' meeting between two compulsive gamblers addicted to the thrill of looking destiny in the face before putting a price on it. The film also features one of longtime Demy collaborator Michel Legrand's best scores, which perfectly complements the emotional volatility of Demy's foray into reckless compromise. (1963, 79 min., Archival 35mm Print) KS
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Bruno Dumont's CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 (New French)
Gene Siskel Film Centre - Check Venue website for showtimes

Actress Juliette Binoche portrays early twentieth century artist Camille Claudel, imprisoned in a private mental hospital and the overwhelmed by the isolation and oppression that comes along with it. Although Claudel was lover to artist Rodin, the film focuses on the relationships Claudel has with herself, her fellow mental inmates, and her brother who comes to visit her. Parallels to Dumont's earlier film HADEWIJCH are rampant in terms of close inspection of Catholicism, fanaticism, and the meditative qualities of the characters. The pacing accentuates Claudel's solitude and the minimal existence forced upon her by her family members who first sent her there, and the artful cinematography mimics this, opting for a distinctive cold color scheme, broken only when Claudel is outside, signaling her freedom. Even if Claudel is truly paranoid and schizophrenic, Dumont keeps her humanity close and casts her as one of the most reasonable and caring characters in the film. The film continually asks what is true madness?, offering few answers; rather, Dumont forces the audience to grapple with the question instead of providing his own answers. (2013, 95 min, DCP Digital Projection) SW
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


George Mihalka's MY BLOODY VALENTINE (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Friday and Saturday, Midnight

BLOODY VALENTINE is a real showstopper. Although Paramount released this as a quick cash-in on Sean Cunningham's FRIDAY THE 13TH, VALENTINE remains one of the finest gore/slasher films ever made. Twenty years ago, on Valentine's Day, miner Harry Warden went on a killing spree in the small town in which he lived. He then disappeared, though not before forbidding the town to ever celebrate the much loved greeting card holiday again, or else. When the townspeople decide to break their anti-Valentine tradition, they soon find themselves faced with a gas mask wearing, pickaxe-wielding killer who places his victim's hearts in boxes of chocolate! Is it Harry back for revenge, or is something more sinister afoot? Beneath its slasher exterior, VALENTINE is a brilliant mixture of over-the-top gore, black comedy, and giallo-esque narrative stylings, topped off by perhaps the cheesiest theme song in all of horror film history. (1981, 93 min, 35mm) JR
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.

 

ALSO RECOMMENDED

Brian De Palma's BODY DOUBLE (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm

The 80s were a heady time: Apple released the Macintosh, Eli Lilly brought you Prozac, and Brian De Palma was constantly inventing new and exciting ways to fail the Bechdel test. BODY DOUBLE (1984) had the unenviable task of following up the director's DRESSED TO KILL (1980), BLOW OUT (1981), and SCARFACE (1983). Say what you will about those films--I think the horse is still breathing--but in the waning days of New Hollywood they occupied a certain place in its pantheon. Caine, Travolta, Pacino. Add to that mononymous list: Wasson. "Nobody's perfect" is the De Palma mantra though, and BODY DOUBLE manages to transcend its flaws en route to realizing its unique vision of Reagan-era Los Angeles. Craig Wasson plays Jake Scully, underemployed actor and amateur claustrophobic. When we meet Scully he's just suffered a series of unfortunate setbacks: he has a fit on the job, he catches his wife cheating on him, and is thus booted from their home. Temporarily adrift, an acting acquaintance offers him a plush housesitting gig high, high in the Hollywood Hills. From this lofty vantage point Scully makes a habit of spying on exhibitionist neighbor, Gloria, and under the flimsy pretense of chivalry the practice eventually evolves into outright stalking. No points for catching the Hitchcock nods; De Palma's allusions to (or outright theft of) works like REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO are so overt as to signal jumping off points rather than ends in themselves. In a surreal segue toward the end of the film, a lip-synching Holly Johnson of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood leads Scully, suddenly decked out in thick-rimmed glasses and argyle, onto a porno set to the tune of "Relax." The sequence functions as a movie-within-a-movie; it's De Palma's "Broadway Melody Ballet," if you will, except Gene Kelly didn't find Cyd Charisse behind a door labeled 'SLUTS.' The "Relax" scene marks a tonal crossroads in BODY DOUBLE. Soon after, the proceedings begin to accelerate at an almost nightmarish rate and the tightly plotted thriller De Palma fashioned in the film's first half starts to unravel as the limits of internal plausibility are pushed to the extreme. If you're on De Palma's wavelength though it's a worthy tradeoff, as tension gives way to near mania. When the film was released, Roger Ebert characterized BODY DOUBLE as having De Palma's "most airtight plot" yet--an assertion it's hard to imagine Ebert leveling without cracking a slight smile. The virtue and, dare I say, greatness of BODY DOUBLE come not from bulletproof narrative or even rudimentary character development, but instead from a messier place. De Palma synthesizes a multitude of disparate references into a scathing critique of nice-guy chauvinism, critical Puritanism, and countless other -isms, all under the guise mindless genre fare. (1984, 114 min, DCP Digital Projection) JS
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Edmund Goulding's GRAND HOTEL (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Friday, 7pm

When pondering the influence of Edmund Goulding's GRAND HOTEL on subsequent film history, it's hard to decide if Goulding and MGM should be praised or condemned for the ensemble feature that undoubtedly influenced its many successors. We might have them to thank for the films of directors such as Robert Altman and Wes Anderson, whose works oftentimes feature an array of big stars and intersecting vignettes, the former a particular master of such works. We also have MGM and Goulding to thank, but less sincerely so, for films like Garry Marshall's VALENTINE'S DAY and NEW YEAR'S EVE (2010 and 2011, respectively), ensemble films so packed to the brim with stars that any semblance of narrative dexterity or genuine character development has been pushed down to the bottom. Surprisingly enough, despite its place in film history as a work of considerable nuance, GRAND HOTEL is more akin to one of Marshall's vapid commercial endeavors than to the finesse of genre greats such as Altman and Anderson. (Though in terms of production design, GRAND HOTEL does have a lot in common with Anderson's films. The film's art director, Cedric Gibbons, utilized set as character, and as a result the set rivals the grandeur of the stars who are inhabiting it.) While Goulding is an interesting director in his own right, (some of his other well-known films include DARK VICTORY, THE RAZOR'S EDGE and NIGHTMARE ALLEY), he received the job due to having previously worked with the film's female leads, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. As Dave Kehr said in his review for the Chicago Reader, "the direction...seem[s] deliberately pale, the better to set off the glitter of the stars; they're like jewels mounted in a deliberately neutral case." With audiences used to the tried and true two-star system, MGM knew it could produce a unique "event film" simply by adding a few more stars into the mix. Aside from the aforementioned leading ladies, the film also stars John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, and Wallace Beery, all of whom portray guests at the eponymous Berlin hotel. Garbo and Crawford portray female characters with whom their real-life personalities were comparable; at one point, Garbo, as a morose ballerina lacking in inspiration, famously declares, "I just want to be alone," while Crawford, as a sultry secretary in love with Garbo's beau, favors pragmatism over romanticism. Beery and the Barrymores deliver performances suitable to their respective talents, with the elder Barrymore delivering a particularly moving portrayal of a dying man who wishes to spend his last days experiencing the luxury he'd never known as a working-class factory worker. There is very little upstaging on the whole, as the actors seem to have an inherent understanding of a newfound five-star system in which one performance is only as good as the other four. Intended from the start to be a somewhat complex melodrama packaged and sold as an innovative star vehicle, GRAND HOTEL will remind audiences of a time when gimmickry served a larger purpose. (1932, 112 min, Archival 35mm Print) KS
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More info at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


Cheryl Dunye's STRANGER INSIDE (American Revival)
Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted St.), Friday 7 pm

Prison films, and especially Women in Prison films, are an exploitation genre. Your protagonist is lovable but flawed. The plot is "get out of prison" or "fight the rival" or "do one last job for a big haul!" STRANGER INSIDE is a prison film, and falls within some of its genre confines, but thankfully not all. Our main character, Treasure Lee, is a tough young prisoner who wants nothing more than to know her mother, a woman serving life-without-parole, and to prove herself. The film falls somewhere between the average "prison film" and the reality of prison life (with its vast racial disparity) partially because while writing the film Dunye worked with inmates at the Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility, and absorbed their stories into the texture of her fiction. The result is something strangely heart-wrenching: obviously a bad end is coming, the state penitentiary rarely leads to any other kind, but you can't help but wince for Treasure Lee and hope for her to somehow forge a kinder path for herself. Even redemption is bleak. Note: also features photographs by Catherine Opie. The event will also include a sneak peek at Dunye's newest movie, BLACK IS BLUE. Director Dunye in person. (2001, 90 min, Unconfirmed Format) CAM
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More info at www.centeronhalsted.org.


Michael Roemer's NOTHING BUT A MAN (Independent Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday, 6pm and Tuesday, 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. SAIC professor Bruce Jenkins lectures at the Tuesday screening. (1964, 92 min, Newly Restored 35mm Print) KAW
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Abbas Kiarostami's TASTE OF CHERRY (Contemporary Iranian Revival)
Logan Center for the Arts (915 East 60th Street) - Monday, 7pm (Free Admission)

This is one of the great big-screen experiences, comparable in its effect to L'ECLISSE or 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Like those films, Abbas Kiarostami's Palme d'Or winner confronts some of the essential questions of existence; while Kiarostami's approach may be more modest than Antonioni's or Kubrick's, the poetic simplicity of TASTE OF CHERRY assumes a monumental quality when projected. The plot is structured like a fable: A calm middle-aged man of apparently good economic standing drives around the outskirts of Tehran. Over the course of a day, he gives a ride to three separate hitchhikers; after engaging each in conversation, he asks if the stranger will assist him in committing suicide. That the succession of hitchhikers (young, older, oldest) suggests the course of the life cycle is the only schematic aspect of the film. Each encounter contains enough digressions to illuminate the magic unpredictability of life itself--not only in the conversation, but also in the formal playfulness of Kiarostami's direction. The film is rife with the two shots that, paradoxically, form Kiarostami's artistic signature: the screen-commanding close-up of a face in conversation, eerily separated in space from the person he's talking to; and the cosmic long-shot of a single car driving quixotically across a landscape. Here, both images evoke feelings of isolation that are inextricable from human consciousness, yet the overall tone of the film is light, even bemused. The final sequence, one of the finest games conjured by a movie, sparked countless philosophical bull-sessions when TASTE OF CHERRY was first released, and it remains plenty mind-blowing today. (1997, 95 min, 35mm) BS
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More info at www.arts.uchicago.edu.


Carol Reed's THE THIRD MAN (British Revival)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) - Wednesday, 1 and 7:30pm

Carol Reed and Graham Greene's THE THIRD MAN stars Joseph Cotton as Holly Martins, an American writer of "cheap novelettes" such as Oklahoma Kid and The Lone Rider of Santa Fe. In 1949, Martins goes to Vienna to visit his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) and soon finds out that he is dead. In an international zone designated for police at the center of the city, the British Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) and his officers investigate Lime's recent death and his role in selling diluted penicillin on the black market. Martins also begins to look into whether the death was an accident or murder only to inadvertently discover that Lime is alive and hiding out in the Russian sector. (Although Welles spends very little time onscreen, Harry Lime is his most celebrated performance after Charles Foster Kane; in fact, Andre Bazin said that the role made Welles into a myth.) Similar to Vittorio De Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF (1948) and Jean Cocteau's ORPHEUS (1950) in its semi-documentary quality, THE THIRD MAN captures Europe in ruins after the second war to end all wars. Following the February 1948 coup that brought the Communists to power in Czechoslovakia, the film's producer Alexander Korda asked Greene to go to Vienna and write a screenplay on the city's occupation by the Americans, Russians, British, and French. According to Lime's associate "Baron" Kurtz (a reference to the corrupt ivory trader in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness), all of the Viennese are now at the mercy of the black market. Robert Krasker's camera often catches their faces in close-up as they watch what happens on the city's streets; they rarely, if ever, make the mistake of speaking about it. Toward the end of the film, Martins meets Lime at an empty carnival in Prater Park. While going around on the Ferris wheel, Lime reveals to his friend, "You're just a little mixed up about things in general. Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat. I talk about the suckers and the mugs. It's the same thing.  They have their five-year plans, so have I." THE THIRD MAN is one of the great works of British film noir that considers what, if anything, is left of morality for those who were spared by the Second World War. (1949, 104 min, 35mm) CW
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More info at www.northbrook.info/events/film.


Jacques Demy's THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm

Jacques Demy, in the preparation for his follow-up to the downbeat psychedelic jazz opera UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, reportedly waited two years to cast Gene Kelly as a love-struck American composer in this symmetrical ensemble of Crayola-coded seaside romantics--a move which helps place the perpetually sunny ROCHEFORT as one of the best "date movies" in Demy's otherwise surprisingly existentialist oeuvre. Taking place over the course of one weekend in and about the town square of the namesake Atlantic seaport, the film literally "transports" us (via the opening crane shots on an extended mechanical gondola) into a harmonious lattice of unresolved heterosexual affinities established through two complete hours of straight-faced song and dance in Iambic hexameter. With each character in the network colored fairly exclusively by garish pastel wardrobe signifiers (e.g. Catherine Deneuve's canary yellow and her sister Françoise Dorléac's lavender), the viewer--at least on the big screen--can relax their focus on the protagonists and enjoy the kaleidoscopic spectacle of public space dispersed into a chromatic orgy of pirouetting passersby. Initially criticized for a level of semi-professionalism unworthy of its ostensive Hollywood musical progenitors, the essentially half-assed choreography remains one of the film's most glorious attributes--a singular mode of expression that attempts to dissolve the distinction between the individual and the collective. And in a tableau that reduces the missed connections of a complex urbanity into the orchestrations of 8-10 amorous souls, Michel Legrand's hyperactive score projects a traditional musical narrative into just four or five essential themes that mirror and overlap each other in tandem; behold, the first (and last) great fugue musical. (1967, 125 min, Archival 35mm Print) MC
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Tim Burton's EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Friday, 7, 9, and 11pm; Sunday, 1pm

After the success of BATMAN, Tim Burton was able pull out all the stops for this surreal take on teenage suburban isolation, and got twice the budget that was originally planned. The titular character is based on drawings Burton made while growing up in Burbank, where he struggled to keep friends and often retreated into his painting and stop-motion animation. Often referred to as his masterpiece, this contemporary fairy tale vacillates between elements that would be right at home in a Universal horror film and a stylized set of pastel tract homes, emphasizing Burton's mixed feelings about the American middle class. Johnny Depp's portrayal of the meek and scarred Edward is amongst his finest performances, notable for his character's economy of dialogue and cautious demeanor. The incomplete construction of a deceased inventor, played by Vincent Price, Edward stands in for every adolescent who would rather be left alone to make art than conform in order to make friends. Dianne Wiest is wonderful as the Avon Lady who finds Edward in the abandoned mansion on a hill, and takes him home to join the cookie cutter enclave below. Frightened by his outward appearance but seeing the gentle prince underneath, her motherly efforts to integrate him into the conservative town are doomed from the start. But, there is magic in both of their hearts, and eye-candy galore for us. (1990, 105 min, DCP Digital Projection) JH
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Abdellatif Kechiche's BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR (New French)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Saturday, 6:30 and 9:45pm; Sunday, 3:15pm

Winner of the 2013 Palme d'Or, Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche's controversial new film BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR presents a young-love story that extends for more than four years. Beginning when Adele is in her junior year of high school, the film follows her crush on an older artist, Emma, as it turns into a steadfast relationship. For all of its scandal since its release, the film is nothing more than a three hour coming of age romance story that shows the evolution of main character Adele grow from her natural trepidation of being a teenager to an established and accepting adult. The cinematography by Sofian El Fani gives the film a slow and sensual feel, with its heavy soft-focus coupled with frequent shallow depth of field used to distance the two characters from the rest of the world as the pair grow up and apart. When the two characters are apart, the film turns from a poetic, sensory exploration of a couple to a messy and chaotic cinema verité style, which reveals the natural ugliness of human life in a modern city. As the English title suggests, El Fani pays homage to the graphic novel from which the film is adapted with her focus on the color blue, which subtly bleeds into to the film and into the relationship; the hue is so particular throughout that it is the only element in the narrative the drifts from its naturalistic style. (2013, 179 min, DCP Digital Projection) SW
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Woody Allen's ANNIE HALL (American Revival) 
Logan Theatre - Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 10:30pm

The shiksa-seduction field guide par excellence, ANNIE HALL is so meticulous in the formalities of this particular form of traditional interethnic liaison (tennis dates; going out to depressing art-house documentaries; recommending morbid philosophy at the bookshop) that it can be difficult to determine whether the film originated the technique or merely popularized it. As strong a statement of pointless bohemian romanticism as anything else, the openly melancholic Alvy strides almost fully formed from Kierkegaard's Diapsalmata--having "the best-developed sense of humor" and an unstated allegiance to the idea that "falling in love is the best time of one's life... when with every meeting, every glance, one brings home something new to rejoice over." Allen's now-unenviable consumerist approach to dating seems here cute, quaint; his portrayal of Los Angeles as a ritualistic utopia debased by technology still vaguely reasonable; and the breathless conclusion--a saccharine, nostalgic summary of the previous 90 minutes--an efficient précis of an entire credo, which you may follow at your peril. (1977, 93 min, Unconfirmed Format) MC 
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More info at www.thelogantheatre.com.

 

MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS

This week from the Film Studies Center (University of Chicago): Eddo Stern's Games on Stage, a screening/talk by the artist and game designer, is on Friday at 7pm at the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.); on Saturday at 8pm, Presented by the U of C's radio station WHPK, Pictures and Sounds features Maine-based artist Jason Lescalleet who will present a new video series Trophy Tape, created by international artists to accompany select tracks from his "Songs About Nothing" album, with Lescalleet performing live, followed by performances by Olivia Block, Coppice, and MT Coast + Michael Una. This event is at Cobb Hall (5811 S. Ellis Ave., Room 307); and Natascha Drubek (University of Regensburg) will present the lecture Between Resistance and Compliance: The Ambivalent Bequest of the Theresienstadt "Ghetto" Films on Thursday at 5pm. This event is in room 801 of the Logan Center. Free admission for all events.

Also at The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) this week: Watch Me Break It Down: Films & Videos by Julie Perini screens on Saturday at 8pm, with Perini in person. Screening are experimental shorts THEY HAVE A NAME FOR GIRLS LIKE ME, NEBRASKA DIARIES, JULIE TIME, GIRL NEXT DOOR, 306 STEPS IN GUANAJUATO, I'LL ASK FOR LUNCH IN REVERSE ORDER WHILE YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT IF THE WAITER CARES, WHITE LADY DIARIES, COLLABORATION WITH THE EARTH, LET'S WATCH THIS GUY AT A COFFEE SHOT, and 2 MINUTE MOVIES; and on Sunday at 8pm, it's PDX ? CHI: Portland Experimental Film and Video Makers, featuring Erin Yanke's sound piece CHICAGO, Benjamin Popp's TRIANGLES Stephen Slappe's ENTRANCE, Matt McCormick's INTERSTITIALS #1 AND #2, Hannah Piper Burns' LACQUERED NIGHT, Julie Perini's COLLABORATION WITH A STREAM, Riley King's MAYBE I JUST LIKE TO DANCE, Carl Diehl's PARALINGO, Nadia Buyse's CALL ME MAYBE, Karl Lind's WAITING, Kellie Rauer's SEGMENT 1, Pam Minty's POSSESSED, Vanessa Renwick's 9 IS A SECRET, Jesse Malmed's THIMBLERIG, and Peter Burr's ALONE WITH THE MOON.

The Bijou Theater (1349 N. Wells St.) presents Upstairs/Downstairs: The Bijou Variety Spectacular on Thursday at 8pm. The multi-format event will include video work by Emily Kuehn, along with stand up comedy by Mike Lebovitz, Megan Gailey, and Chris Sowa, a live performance by Ono, and an after party.

Mana Contemporary Chicago (2233 S. Throop St.) presents ACRE TV Launch: Please Stand By and ACRE_Lab Opening & Moving Image Reel Screening on Saturday at 5pm. The event marks the launch of the residency and exhibition non-profit ACRE's new online television project and the opening of their audio/visual & tech studio, ACRE_Lab. Screening are artist-made test patterns and selections of work made by participants at the 2013 residency. Free admission.

The Eye & Ear Clinic series at SAIC presents Carla Gannis: Cogency in the Imaginarium (Or, What a Picture's Worth), a new media work presentation and artist talk, on Tuesday at 4:30pm at the school's Columbus Auditorium (280 S. Columbus Dr.). Free admission.

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. Filmmakers in person; and Lori Felker: Breaking News! (approx. 76 min, Digital Projection and 16mm), featuring work by the local experimental filmmaker, is on Saturday at 7:30pm at Chicago Filmmakers and Wednesday at 6:30 at Columbia College (Collins Hall, 624 S. Michigan, Room 602).

Black Cinema House (6901 S. Dorchester Ave.) screens Jules Dassin's 1968 film UPTIGHT (104 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Sunday at 4pm. Introduced by urban planning consultant Lee Bey. Free admission, but limited seating so RSVP at www.blackcinemahouse.org.

Tritriangle (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 3rd Floor) is hosting CAALTERNATE 2014, a day-long "casual art salon and show" on Saturday, featuring new media artists Patrick Lichty, Andrew Blanton, Morehshin Allahyari, Christine Kirouac, Sanglim Han, Kayla Beth Anderson, and Hiba Ali. At 6pm, it's the "open participation platform" Stuff on Stuff on Stuff. More info at http://tritriangle.net.

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 Saturday at 6pm. Rescheduled from last Thursday due to weather-related travel cancellations. Free admission.

Also at Block Cinema (Northwestern University) this week: King Vidor's 1934 classic OUR DAILY BREAD (80 min, 35mm) screens on Saturday at 2pm.

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori's 2012 Paraguayan film 7 BOXES (99 min, DCP Digital Projection) continues its two-week run; Majid Barzegar's 2012 Iranian film PARVIZ (105 min, DCP Digital Projection) screens on Friday at 8pm and Sunday at 4:45pm; Tomas Leach's 2012 documentary IN NO GREAT HURRY: 13 LESSONS IN LIFE WITH SAUL LEITER (75 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Saturday at 3 and 6:30pm, Monday at 8pm, and Wednesday at 6:15pm; and Kamran Heidari's 2012 Iranian documentary MY NAME IS NEGAHDAR JAMALI AND I MAKE WESTERNS (65 min, Digital Projection - Unconfirmed Format) is on Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3:15pm, with a discussion by local filmmaker and Columbia College professor Mehrnaz Saeedvafa at the Saturday show.

Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Alfonso Cuarón's 2001 film Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (106 min, 35mm) is on Sunday at 7pm; Gregory La Cava's 1937 film STAGE DOOR (92 min, DVD) is on Monday at 7pm; Chia-Liang Liu's 1981 Hong Kong film THE MARTIAL CLUB (110 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; Cauleen Smith's 1998 film DRYLONGSO (86 min, 16mm) is on Thursday at 7pm; and Spike Jonze's 2002 film ADAPTATION (114 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Kim Mordaunt's 2013 film THE ROCKET (96 min) opens; Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 film THE GREAT BEAUTY (142 min, DCP Digital Projection) continues; Rob Reiner's 1987 film THE PRINCESS BRIDE (98 min) is on Friday at 6 and 9:30pm; Michael Curtiz's 1942 film CASABLANCA (102 min) is on Saturday at 2pm; Gavin O'Connor's 2004 film MIRACLE (135 min) is on Thursday at 7pm, screening in the occasional "Press Pass" series with the Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom and Mark Caro hosting; Leigh Jason's 1943 film DANGEROUS BLONDES (81 min) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; 2014 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Docs Program A is on Saturday at 11:30am; and the "For Your Consideration" series presents the following Academy Award nominated films: Stéphan Aubier, Vincent Patar, and Benjamin Renner's 2012 animated feature ERNEST & CELESTINE (Sunday, 3pm), J.C. Chandor's ALL IS LOST (Sunday, 5pm and Thursday, 4:30pm), Alexander Payne's NEBRASKA (Sunday, 7:15pm and Monday, 9:30pm), Jeff Tremaine's JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRAMPA (Sunday, 9:45pm), Wong Kar-wai's THE GRANDMASTER (Monday, 5pm and Tuesday, 9:45pm), Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cyn, and Anonymous' documentary THE ACT OF KILLING (Monday 7:15pm and Wednesday, 5:30pm), Martin Scorsese's THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Tuesday, 4:30pm and Wednesday, 8pm), and Rithy Panh's documentary THE MISSING PICTURE (Tuesday, 7:45pm). Unconfirmed Formats except where noted.

Facets Cinémathèque screens Rola Nashef's 2012 film DETROIT UNLEADED (90 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week run.

Also at the Logan Theatre this week: Robert Wise's 1961 film WEST SIDE STORY (152 min, Unconfirmed Format) screens on Thursday at 9:30pm.

The Chicago Cultural Center screens Bill Siegel's 2013 documentary THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI (94 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 2pm, followed by a discussion; and the world premiere of local filmmaker Jeff Spitz's 2014 documentary FOOD PATRIOTS (72 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 5:30pm. Filmmakers in person.  Both free admission.

The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) screens Tosh Gitonga's 2012 film NAIROBI HALF LIFE (96 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 6pm. Free admission.

The Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Lasse Hallstom's 2000 film CHOCOLAT (121 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 1:30pm. Introduced by Randy Williams, former president of the AF.

The Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.) hosts a screening of the documentary EVERYWHERE IS TAKSIM (no information available), about the occupation of Gezi Park in Turkey, on Wednesday at 7pm. Presented by Turkish Cultural Alliance of Chicago.

The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N Michigan Ave.) screens Susanna Nicchiarelli's 2013 film THE DISCOVERY AT DAWN (85 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.

The DuSable Museum screens Steve McQueen's 2013 film 12 YEARS A SLAVE (134 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 7pm, followed by a discussion.

 

ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS

Carrie Secrist Gallery (835 W Washington Blvd.) presents an installation of Michael Robinson's 2013 experimental video THE DARK, KRYSTLE. The opening reception is on Saturday from 5-8pm. The show runs through March 15.

Public Works (1539 N. Damen Ave.) continues the show Only Real 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 and plans to resume screenings in late February.

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CINE-LIST: February 14 - February 20, 2014

MANAGING EDITOR /
Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Michael Castelle, Jason Halprin, Chloe A. McLaren, Doug McLaren, Joe Rubin, Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Jamie Stroble, Shealey Wallace, Kyle A. Westphal, Candace Wirt, Darnell Witt

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