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:: Friday, FEB. 28 - Thursday, MAR. 6 ::


The Wes Anderson Anthology (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Check Venue website for showtimes

Despite his seemingly universal appeal, it could be argued that Wes Anderson is a divisive figure. On one hand, he's undoubtedly a gifted filmmaker whose panache for production design is matched by an earnest knack for storytelling. On the other, he's like the iPhone of contemporary directors--he may arguably be the better product, but there's also a possibility that people just "buy" him because, well, it looks cool. That's not to say that every person who admires Anderson does so for insincere reasons, but there is certainly a hype surrounding Anderson's aesthetic sensibilities that somewhat underestimates his true talent. And it's for this reason that a retrospective, or, as the Music Box is calling it, an anthology, is a welcome opportunity to revisit Anderson's work as a whole; in this way, it's easier to appreciate his work as that which emanates from a true auteur rather than a director who every so often puts out a cutesy film that inspires fashion and home decor choices. (Similarly, Matt Zoller Seitz's new book The Wes Anderson Collection is a perfect metaphor for Anderson's public perception. The book itself is gorgeous, and definitely looks great on an Ikea coffee table. But inside is a wealth of knowledge about the director, including prolific insight into his filmmaking techniques and his appreciation for film history.) The Music Box will show all of Anderson's feature films, from his first, BOTTLE ROCKET (1996), to his most recent theatrical release, MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012). The series will also include a sneak preview of his newest film, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2013), at which Anderson will participate in a Q&A [GBH is sold out--see note below]. This screening was booked within minutes, and the eagerness with which people refreshed their Eventbrite screen is worthy of consideration. One can only hope that it's a true testament to the director's populist ideals, a director whose work is primarily occupied with outward themes of family and friendship, and more subversive themes such as disappointment and mortality. KS
Following are the films/formats showing: BOTTLE ROCKET (35mm); RUSHMORE (35mm); FANTASTIC MR. FOX (DCP Digital Projection); THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (DCP Digital Projection); THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (35mm); THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (35mm); THE DARJEELING LIMITED (35mm); MOONRISE KINGDOM (35mm); also included are various shorts, commercial, and other works by Anderson.
Note: There are NO tickets left for the free screening of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, and the series passes that include GBH are also completely sold out. Tickets for the remaining individual films are available, and the Music Box will put additional series passes (that do not include GBH) on sale at Saturday at 8pm.
More info at

Jacques Demy's DONKEY SKIN (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm

Note: SPOILERS! -- While the bold aesthetic and soaring Michele Legrand scores of THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG and THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT hardly register as subtle, Jacques Demy grounded these contemporary fairy tales in the trappings of day-to-day existence. The films examine the practical tragedy and romance of auto mechanics, teachers, and sailors; to quote Jonathan Rosenbaum, they're "songs in the key of everyday life." With DONKEY SKIN though Demy ratchets up the whimsy and charges headlong into expressive esoterica. The difference between DONKEY SKIN and its predecessors is the difference between Lisa Frank and Lilly Pulitzer: Both are colorful, but it's hard ignore the unicorn. The "American Cinema" designation was a term of endearment bestowed on those working in unfashionable genres whose efforts possessed deeper virtues. In a post-May '68 environment where more overt political statements were in vogue, the image of Jean Marais lounging on a giant fuzzy cat must have qualified as terribly passé and DONKEY SKIN's critical legacy reflects this somewhat. To qualify it as a minor work though seems a great disservice, as anyone who's seen the film knows there's nothing slight about it. It's required viewing for anyone remotely interested in understanding Demy, but even for those with simpler aims DONKEY SKIN is a willfully bizarre lark that rises above any "so bad it's good" pigeonholing. Demy adapts Charles Perrault's classic French fairy tale, "Peau d'Âne," and in one of many nods to Jean Cocteau casts Marais as his king. The king lives an idyllic existence; with his wife (Catherine Deneuve), their daughter, an army of racially dubious blue minions, and a magical donkey that defecates treasure, he has it all. Things quickly turn south though when the queen becomes ill, and with her dying wish requests that he only remarry a woman whose beauty exceeds her own. The king is nothing if not a pragmatist and resolves to marry his daughter (also Deneuve, who displays impressive range transitioning from brunette to blonde.) The princess, understandably taken aback, enlists her fairy godmother (Delphine Seyrig) to bail her out. The two make increasingly unreasonable requests of the king that ultimately result in the death of the king's prized donkey and the delivery of its pelt to a sleeping Deneuve, à la John Marley in THE GODFATHER. At this point the princess, clad in her donkey skin, makes a hasty getaway and sets out to find her prince charming. The film's cumulative eccentricities and fairy tale logic come to a head in a wonderfully absurd finale where, in a big middle finger to the presumed milieu, characters arrive to wrap things up via helicopter. It's a fitting take-it-or-leave-it ending though to the most eccentric work of Demy's career. (1970, 90 min, Archival 35mm Print) JS
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Brian De Palma's CARLITO'S WAY (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Wednesday, 7 and 10pm

What compelled Cahiers du Cinema to name Brian De Palma's CARLITO'S WAY among the best films of the 90s? At first--and for some maybe even second--appearances, this one is a head-scratcher. Al Pacino plays a just-released heroin dealer with a new appreciation for life, setting out to remake himself as a law-abiding citizen. Dreaming of running off to the tropics with his girlfriend, and despite his optimism, Carlito gets dragged down by the undertow of his former life. Rife with allusions to other gangster films, such as De Palma's own SCARFACE, CARLITO'S WAY hews closer to creative imitation. But where most gangsters opt for the shootout-cum-temper tantrum, Carlito's mid-life reemergence is a realization of his agency and an attempt to move beyond recriminations. Well shot and iconic in its own right, CARLITO'S WAY is worth viewing, but best film of its decade? Though ranking films is rarely edifying, the film's placement at the top might be in recognition of its ability to both capture and comment on the prevailing temperament of the 1990s. After years of material excess and rampant capitalism brought little more than an exacerbation of societal problems, the film's optimism that life is worth living despite such hardships--and that a modicum of inner peace can be found even in a world that is doomed from the beginning--is a message of hope, however thin and however problematic. (1993, 144 min, 35mm) BW
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Ian Curry: Film Is Not Dead (Experimental)
Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) - Saturday, 7:30pm and Columbia College (Collins Hall, 624 S. Michigan, Room 602) - Wednesday, 6:30pm

Every couple of years Chicago is lucky enough to get a new crop of film-mad students coming to study at places like the Art Institute or UIC. They come in packs with their bolexes and their split reels from places like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Ithaca, and Boston. As the Pittsburgh and Milwaukee crowds filter away after getting better gigs elsewhere, perhaps we're seeing the accent of a strong Boston contingent. Their work is marked by vigor and speed--rushing energies of light and striking rhythms in the edits. Ian Curry is one of these new Boston celluloid ruffians, come here to bang up our Eikis, and keep Larry Urbanski in business. (There you go--the most "inside baseball" sentence ever written on Cine-File). CIRCADIAN is a psychedelic romp through the garden. HAVING HER BABY is a stumbling, rollicking film of a band, their house, their cat, and their oddball art. GOOD MORNING, MY NAME IS MIKE is a delightful portrait of a friendship. RECTANGLE FACTORY is a somewhat straightforward document of the craft and businesses of art. WRECKED is a tremendous performance that flares and flashes light and sound in such a way to be both terribly frightening and breathtaking. ALL DAY sees Curry's camera swarming and jerking around a busy kitchen, trying to match the energy and effort of the work being presented. Finally, REMAINS TO BE SEEN is a fascinating double projection that bleeds matching images together in a beautiful way. (Film titles listed are tentative and may be different and/or may include some newly-completed work.) (2009-13, approx. 70 min total, 16mm) JBM
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Alfred Hitchcock's REBECCA (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Friday, 7pm

Since Joan Fontaine's death in December, Alfred Hitchcock's REBECCA has been referenced in most every write-up of the late actress's illustrious career, and for good reason. Hitchcock made the film under contract with producer David O. Selznick, who was working on REBECCA at the same time as he was tying up loose ends on his legendary 1939 film GONE WITH THE WIND, and Fontaine competed for the leading role in a race similar to that of Selznick's search for the perfect Scarlett O'Hara. Fontaine even competed against Vivien Leigh, who eventually won out as Scarlett and was also married to actor Laurence Olivier, the man chosen over Ronald Colman to play the male lead in Hitchcock's first joint venture with the infamously controlling Selznick. Fontaine was selected and she brings genuine curiosity to the unique role that is really two characters in one. The film, based on the eponymous novel by Daphne du Maurier, is about a young woman (Fontaine) who falls in love with a handsome widower and settles for a dull, but privileged life in the shadow of his late wife, Rebecca. The young woman's husband, Maxim, rarely mentions Rebecca, but his friends, family, and even the household staff, are deeply reverent of her memory and the impact her death supposedly had on Maxim. She never appears on screen, not even in a photograph or portrait, yet the book and film are titled after her; just as ironically, the first name of Fontaine's character is never mentioned and she's referred to only as Mrs. de Winter, just as Rebecca was called when she was alive. In an attempt to seem as lively and welcoming as the first Mrs. de Winter, Fontaine's character convinces Maxim to throw a costume ball like the one they used to have at Manderley (Maxim's estate) in gayer times, only to receive bad advice from the duplicitous housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (played intriguingly by Judith Anderson and considered to be Hitchcock's only lesbian character). Danvers suggests that she copies the outfit of an ancestor whose portraits hangs in the house, after which it's revealed that Rebecca had adorned the same costume at the previous year's event. The portrait is not of Rebecca (it's of Maxim's ancestor, Caroline de Winter), but it acts as a representation of the deceased woman, and in being both unnamed and eventually recreating Rebecca's costume, Fontaine's character is also a representation of the conflicting character whose name is as much a presence as her living counterpart. It's no wonder then that, despite Maxim's later admissions of their marriage being a sham and his late wife as having been a promiscuous sociopath, critic Kent Jones, in his essay for the Criterion DVD release, would consider Rebecca to be "the film's real heroine." The film subconsciously suggests that, both in Rebecca's lasting effects on those she knew when she was alive, and those who came after. Hitchcock's first American film was not an entirely his own, with Selznick insisting upon as strict an adherence to the original material as censorship would allow, but scholar Robin Wood is correct when he declares this understated film as the "the most decisive single step both in Hitchcock's career and aesthetic evolution." Hitchcock would use similar themes in later films; for example, in VERTIGO (1958), he adapts another story in which a woman with multiple identities causes a male lead great distress. (Also, the first part of VERTIGO revolves around a painting and the woman who is imitating it.) Wood argues that "[S]kepticism about male-female relationships under patriarchy is central to Hitchcock's importance to us today," and that REBECCA is the first example of this enduring theme in Hitchcock's work. Despite Hitchcock's tempestuous relationship with Selznick, REBECCA reflects a turning point in the iconic director's career that foreshadows some of his best films. (1940, 130 min, 35mm) KS
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Herbert J. Biberman's SALT OF THE EARTH (American Revival)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Saturday, 2pm

Produced independently by Hollywood Blacklistees--who were inspired to make a pro-labor film as a way of getting even with HUAC--SALT OF THE EARTH is a landmark act of civil disobedience and the rare film that's entitled to masterpiece status without having to be any good. Thankfully, its artfulness is commensurate with its conviction. A docudrama about a lengthy miners' strike in New Mexico, shot on location and featuring many of the actual miners as extras, it's also one of the few American films of the period comparable to the Neorealist masterpieces made in Italy around the same time. Arguably, the makers of SALT OF THE EARTH went even further than Roberto Rossellini in developing an artistic process that reflected their collectivist ideals: The script was frequently revised according to input from the miners and their families--most notably, to devote more attention to the role played by wives and mothers in organizing the strike. (Jonathan Rosenbaum has called this ahead of its time in its feminist sentiment.) Telling the miners' story in their own words often gives this the stolid feel of community theater; but on the other hand, it lends the film a certain no-bullshit authenticity that separates it from slicker--and ultimately patronizing--stuff like NORMA RAE. It's also plenty suspenseful. A sort of moral inversion of the hostage-standoff movie, the prolonged strike sees the workers' community become more unified as pressure increases from bosses and police. (1954, 94 min, 35mm) BS
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George Cukor's HOLIDAY (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Monday, 7pm

George Cukor directed a number of great movies, but none of them balance humor and pathos as beautifully as HOLIDAY. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn play star-crossed lovers united by a desire to transcend the rigor of high society as represented by Hepburn's repressive old-money family. What starts as screwball comedy becomes something more adult and poignant, colored by what Dave Kehr calls "Cukor's serious concern for the ways in which we choose to live our lives." Like much of the director's best work, this was adapted from a Broadway play, a Philip Barry hit from ten years earlier. Cukor clearly loved the material: He rehearsed the actors until they knew the characters inside and out, which enabled him to shoot longer takes that retained the rhythm of Barry's writing--And besides, these performances are so three-dimensional they don't need to be enhanced with editing. It's only through his deep understanding of theatrical conventions that Cukor could produce something so vitally cinematic. This film may be revived often, but you owe it to yourself to go if you haven't seen this on a big screen. The elegance here, both in image and in spirit, virtually defines Hollywood glamour. (1938, 95 min, 35mm) BS
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Cinema Borealis (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., 4th Floor) hosts Damage Control: The Films of Adam Paradis & JB Mabe on Wednesday at 7pm. The screening features a selection of Super-8, 16, and 35mm works by the two Chicago-based filmmakers.

This week at the Film Studies Center (University of Chicago): Woman with a Movie Camera, Now and Then (Digital and Analog): An Evening with Babette Mangolte is on Friday at 7pm. The acclaimed filmmaker and cinematographer will be screening and discussing excerpts of her work. This even is at the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.); and the one-day conference A Numerate Film History?: Cinemetrics Looks at Griffith, Sennett and Chaplin (1909-1917) is on Saturday from 1-6pm. Speakers include Michael Baxter (Nottingham Trent University), Tom Gunning (U of C), Daria Khitrova (UCLA), and Yuri Tsivian (U of C). This event is at Cobb Hall (5811 S. Ellis Ave. Room 307). Both events are free admission, but visit here to RSVP for the conference:

Obama and the Oscars: Lights, Camera, Nationalism!, a symposium about the "Obama effect" on film culture, is on Friday from 4-7pm at DePaul University (Richardson Library, Rosati Room 300). Speakers include George Elliott Clarke (University of Toronto/Harvard University), Jasmine Cobb (Northwestern University), Charles Coleman, Film Programmer for Facets Cinémathèque), and Armond White (editor and film critic for City Arts). More info here:

The Black Cinema House (6901 S. Dorchester Ave.) screens Gordon Parks, Jr.'s 1974 film THREE THE HARD WAY (93 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Sunday at 4pm. Free admission, but due to limited seating, RSVP at

The Logan Square International Film Series presents Daniel T. Skaggs' 2014 film FREELOAD (65 min, DVD Projection) on Thursday at 8pm at Comfort Station in Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Director Skaggs, originally scheduled to be in person, is unable to attend due to travel issues. Free admission.

The Museum of Contemporary Art screens Guy Marc Hinant and Dominique Lohlé's 203 documentary WHISKY TIME: A PORTRAIT OF CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE (57 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free for Illinois residents or with museum admission. This screening is in anticipation of Palestine's visit to Chicago March 13-17, during which he'll present a series of concerts, screenings, and an installation opening.

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 8pm. Filmmakers in person.

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Jamsheed Akrami's 2013 documentary A CINEMA OF DISCONTENT (86 min, DigiBeta Video) is on Friday at 6:15pm; Laurent Boileau and Jung Henin's 2013 French animated docudrama APPROVED FOR ADOPTION (75 min, DCP Digital Projection), Jem Cohen's 2012 drama MUSEUM HOURS (107 min, DCP Digital Projection), Mohsen Makhmalbaf's 2013 film THE GARDENER (87 min, DCP Digital Projection) all play for a week; Jacques Demy's 1973 film A SLIGHTLY PREGNANT MAN (92 min, DCP Digital Projection; New Restoration) screens on Saturday at 4:45pm and Monday at 6pm; Gustavo Bernal-Mancheno's 2012 Chicago-made film SILHOUETTES (89 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Saturday at 8:30pm and Wednesday at 8:15pm, with actors Tom Silva, Fawzia Mirza, and Puja Mohindra in person at both screenings; and Mike Kuchar's 1965 experimental narrative SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS (43 min, 16mm) and his brother George Kuchar's 1966 experimental classic HOLD ME WHILE I'M NAKED (15 min, 16mm) are on Tuesday at 6pm, with a lecture by SAIC professor Bruce Jenkins.

Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Tim Burton's 2003 film BIG FISH (125 min, 35mm) is on Friday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 1pm; Haifaa Al-Mansour's 2012 film WADJDA (98 min, 35mm) is on Saturday at 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday at 3:45pm; Matías Piñeiro's 2012 film VIOLA (65 min, DCP Digital Projection) is on Sunday at 7pm; Jennifer Baumgardner's 2013 documentary IT WAS RAPE (60 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Tuesday at 5pm, followed by a discussion with Vickie Sides, Director of Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention. Free admission; Chia-Liang Liu's 1985 Hong Kong film DISCIPLES OF THE 36TH CHAMBER (90 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; Dee Rees' 2011 film PARIAH (86 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 7pm; and Neil LaBute's 2006 film THE WICKER MAN (102 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Alain Guiraudie's 2013 film STRANGER BY THE LAKE (100 min, Unconfirmed Format) continues; Michael Costine, Mark Gaster, and Brian O'Neill's 2013 film HOW TO BE HAPPY (80 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Saturday at 7:30, with cast members Brain Gleeson and Gemma-Leah Devereux and producer Richard Bolger in person. Presented by the Chicago Irish Film Festival; Michael Curtiz's 1942 classic CASABLANCA (102 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Tuesday at 7:30pm. This free screening is presented by TCM. Visit the MB website for a link to reserve a ticket; Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 film THE GREAT BEAUTY (142 min, DCP Digital Projection) and Robert Siodmak's 1942 film FLY BY NIGHT (74 min, 35mm) are on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; and Richard Kelly's 2001 film DONNIE DARKO (113 min, 35mm, Original release version) and Hideaki Anno, Mahiro Maeda, Masayuki, and Kazuya Tsurumaki's 2012 anime EVANGELION 3.0: YOU CAN (NOT) REDO (96 min, Blu-Ray Projection) are on Friday and Saturday at Midnight.

Facets Cinémathèque plays Arnaud Desplechin's 2013 drama JIMMY P. (PSYCHOTHERAPY OF A PLAINS INDIAN) (114 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week run; and Eliezer Perez Angueira's 2012 documentary FREE HAVANA (58 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Sunday at 3pm, with Eliezer Perez Angueira in person. Co-presented by the Center on Halsted.

The Logan Theatre screens Harold Ramis' 1993 film GROUNDHOG DAY (101 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 10:30pm.

The Chicago Cultural Center screens Rodney Evans' 2004 drama BROTHER TO BROTHER (94 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm, as part of the Cinema Q series; and the Peace on Earth Film Festival opens on Thursday at 6pm (continues through Sunday, March 9).

The Chicago Public Library (Blackstone Branch, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.) screens Nirit Peled's 2009 documentary SAY MY NAME (73 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6pm. Free admission.

The Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) presents the FOTA Film Festival on Saturday at 5pm. Screening are the results of a student film production challenge; and on Sunday at 2pm, it's Cathy Pearson's 2013 documentary GET THE PICTURE (70 min, Unconfirmed Format), with the film's subject, legendary photo editor (and LAB and U of C grad) John G. Morris, in person. Free admission for PICTURE.

Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Ursula Meier's 2012 film SISTER (97 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Local film critic Hank Sartin will discuss the film after the screening. Free admission.

The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N Michigan Ave.) screens Edoardo Gabbriellini's 2012 film THE LANDLORDS (90 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.

Northbrook Public Library: Unconfirmed at press time; check their website for any updates.



The President's Gallery at Harold Washington College (30 E. Lake St.) presents Demons, Snake-Girls & Evil Trees: Handpainted Ghanaian Movie Posters from the Odd Obsession Collection. The exhibition is on view through March 30. A separate grouping of posters will also be on view at Odd Obsession Movies (1822 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

The Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) opens the exhibition Yang Fudong: East of Que Village on Friday at 6pm with a reception. The show, which features a selection of video work by the Chinese artist, is on view until March 30.

Carrie Secrist Gallery (835 W Washington Blvd.) continues an installation of Michael Robinson's 2013 experimental video THE DARK, KRYSTLE 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 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.



The Portage Theatre remains closed for the foreseeable future.

The Patio Theater continues to have their regular programming on hiatus.

The Northwest Chicago Film Society has resumed programming on a limited, monthly basis for the present.

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CINE-LIST: February 28 - March 6, 2014

Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Josh B. Mabe, Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, James Stroble, Brian Welesko, Darnell Witt

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