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:: Friday, SEPT. 11 - Thursday, SEPT. 17 ::

CRUCIAL VIEWING

Ernst Lubitsch's SO THIS IS PARIS (Silent American Revival)
The Northwest Chicago Film Society (at Northeastern Illinois University, The Auditorium, Building E., 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) - Wednesday, 7pm

More than most of Ernst Lubitsch's films, SO THIS IS PARIS offers up for our delectation a world of confection and bliss, in which the Charleston isn't just a dance but a way to explode the world into a kaleidoscope of possibility, in which the realm of the law is a joke in its very existence, and in which consequence-free sex and deceit don't blast couples apart but are instead the very glue that keeps the family unit together. One of his most delightful sex comedies, the film derives from the same source material, Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, as THE MERRY JAIL, which Lubitsch made in Germany in 1917. Already an accomplished comic actor and director, THE MERRY JAIL is a broadly played, slapsticky show, in which loose-limbed and funny-faced would-be adulterers gambol about in vain attempts to cheat on their spouses. It's brilliantly funny, but bluntly so, clearly the work of a director still finding his way. Made a decade later, SO THIS IS PARIS is the work of Lubitsch at the very height of his powers, taking the same plot, expanding it significantly, and, Rumplestiltskin-like, spinning out a golden tale of elegant, farcical, absurdity. Monte Blue, whose comic genius perhaps only Lubitsch truly knew how to harness, plays Paul Giraud, a doctor in a happy--but not too happy!--marriage to Suzanna, played by Patsy Ruth Miller. One day Suzanna spies their new neighbors sensuously cavorting and, after enjoying a erotic glance or two, sends Paul over to complain. Paul's delighted to discover that the new tenants are his ex-girlfriend, Georgette, and her new husband, Maurice, and he immediately sets out to seduce her, an idea she's most receptive to. Soon, Paul's faking a prison sentence to spend time with Georgette while Suzanne pursues Maurice with abandon. If his masterpiece from the year before, LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN, showed Lubitsch embracing a new-found maturity, emphasizing not gags but innuendos, eschewing jokes and exaggeration in place of intricate set-ups and biting social satire, here he embraces the deep-seated filthiness that would find its full flowering in the great DESIGN FOR LIVING. He stages each scene as a series of intense titillations, barely contained yearnings, and violent eruptions of confusion, filling the frame with Blue's lurching, phallic, id-on-legs, a grinning, groping buffoon with an erection for a brain, surrounded by women's legs, scantily-clad breasts, and inviting mouths. Lubitsch thrived on the oblique, the moment of misdirected erotic desire, the flash of awareness in which a delicate plot twist is unfolded before our eyes with all the grace and charm of a master stage magician, and SO THIS IS PARIS is no exception: for all its energy, all its smutty, good-natured fun, the film's narrative is nonetheless positively clockwork in its exactness. Each action is allowed for by a series of misunderstandings on the part of another character, and indeed, in the wonderful opening shots, on the part of the audience itself, each error taking place in a different, elaborately architectural space, spaces of wonder, pleasure, and perennially willing bodies. This is eye-candy at its best. Co-presented by the Silent Film Society of Chicago. Live accompaniment by Jay Warren. (1926, 68 min, 35mm Archival Print) KB
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More info at www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org.


Superimposed: Activist Video & Collective Voices (Experimental Revival)
Chicago Filmmakers and Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria St., UIC) - Wednesday, 7pm (Free Admission)

Made by the Cockettes over the course of two days, TRICIA'S WEDDING (Sebastian, 1971, 33 min, 16mm), a film inspired by and premiering on the same night as the wedding ceremony of President Nixon's daughter, is a garish, loud, hilarious masterpiece of glitter-soaked, sexually-explicit camp. The film begins with Richard Nixon, played by 'Harold Thunderpussy,' in bed, snuggling with his 'teddy bear,' a man in a bear suit, and arguing with his wife about the arrangements for the upcoming wedding of their daughter. The President and his bear fondle and stroke each other while the First Lady, oblivious, goes over seating plans and invitations. The next day, a television crew, always off-screen, interviews the wedding guests, a parade of celebrity and power lampooned ruthlessly. Prince Charles and Mick Jagger make out, the bride and groom use a meat cleaver to cut the cake, and Rose Kennedy repeatedly mistakes the ceremony for a funeral. Then Eartha Kitt, kicked out of the party for making Lady Bird Johnson cry, pours an enormous bottle of LSD into the punch and everyone loses their minds, stripping off their clothes, fucking each other with axe handles, and cheering on as Dick Nixon gives Mick Jagger a hand job. Tricia Nixon falls to the floor, exposing her enormous penis and testicles as the wedding guests cry in delight and horror. Throughout, the Cockettes, under the skillful direction of the mononym 'Sebastian,' brutally skewer the pomp and stupid circumstance of the state-sponsored ceremony, turning the turgid finalities and risible respectability of a First Family wedding into an orgy of absurd, self-mocking cartoonery. It's not really a film about the wedding itself, but rather one that uses the event as a staging ground for a wide-ranging series of caricaturing and piss-throwing, laying bare the hate and lust teeming underneath the surface of those dignified public figures. In TRICIA'S WEDDING, radical politics, formal satire, and utopian style combine to create a largely-forgotten masterpiece of queer film history. Also on the program are two short videos, ANT FARM'S DIRTY DISHES (1971/2003, 9 min, Video Projection) and STRONGER THAN BEFORE (1983, 27 min, Video Projection). DIRTY DISHES is a series of lo-fi portapak goofs featuring members of the Ant Farm collective as they reminisce about their first experiences with television, reflect on the legacy of Andy Warhol's films ('they show it how it is, how it really is'), and watch news coverage of Tricia Nixon's wedding. Shot in 1971 and lightly re-edited in 2003 by collective member Chip Lord, the video is a reminder that once upon a time the very mechanisms of portable video units could be hacked into agents of political and artistic utopianism. STRONGER THAN BEFORE, made by the Boston Women's Video Collective, is a record of the first year of the Seneca Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, formed to protest nuclear proliferation and militarization. Structurally democratic in both depiction and creation, STRONGER THAN BEFORE follows the activists as they confront the soldiers at the Seneca Army Depot, demonstrate and are arrested on the Waterloo Bridge, and, as the video closes, sing a Neo-Pagan chant that gives the video its name. In all it is a vital and fascinating call-to-arms to fight the death-dealing structures of power that remain dominant over all our lives, even if the threat of nuclear war no longer lies quite as heavy over us as it did under the horrors of Reagan. KB
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More info at www.chicagofilmmakers.org and www.gallery400.uic.edu/events.


Krzysztof Zanussi's A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN (Polish Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday, 8pm

Krzysztof Zanussi's A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN is decidedly slow, like patient lovemaking or the healing of a wound. Or perhaps both. Set in 1946 just after the end of World War II, it's about a Polish war widow (frequent Zanussi collaborator Maja Komorowska) and a middle-aged Army private (Scott Wilson) who fall into an unassuming romance amidst postwar malaise. Emilia lives with her infirm mother in a small, decrepit apartment after being relocated from eastern Poland to the reclaimed western territories; Norman volunteers to be part of a war crimes commission that's searching for a mass grave of American airmen in the area. By all appearances it's a far cry from the films that cemented Zanussi's position within the "cinema of moral concern," though it retains the fair-minded ambiguity that seems to inform even his most sectarian films. A devout Catholic, Zanussi was forced to suppress his religious leanings in his earlier work, but it's since become a focal point of his auteurship. However, it's more subtle in A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN, as he conveys his faith through craft rather than story. Slawomir Idziak's lighting is on par with Gordon Willis' in THE GODFATHER and Larry Smith's in EYES WIDE SHUT, both in regards to quality and deftness of use. At times it's harsh, reflecting a harsh reality. But it also serves as a slight reminder of hope and redemption, and as a loving tribute towards the beleaguered protagonists--it's almost as if Zanussi is lighting prayer candles around them. He also uses frames (mirrors, windows, and other such boxed-off segments) within the frame, though whether they're meant to distance the characters from us or us from the characters is enigmatic per usual. The film ends with Emilia and Norman at Monument Valley, where John Ford shot STAGECOACH, a movie that Emilia and her mother recalled watching. According to Roger Ebert's review, Zanussi and Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky visited the location on their way to Telluride in 1983, both vowing to film there someday. (Sadly, only Zanussi had the chance.) This homage to the classic Western embodies the redemptive, romantic elements of the genre, further solidifying Zanussi's tough but hopeful outlook. Zanussi in person. (1984, 106 min, DCP Digital) KS
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Frank Capra's SUBMARINE (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Saturday, Noon

Though "Talkie Terror" was said to have plagued Hollywood in the wake of Al Jolson's tentative vocalizations--a legend that has since served as the backdrop for various about-the-industry films, including SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and THE ARTIST--Frank Capra was assuredly transfixed by the emerging technology. "When I got to working with sound, I thought, my, what a wonderful tool has been added," he said. "I don't think I could have gone very far in silent pictures--at least not so far as I did go with sound." Capra got the chance when Columbia production head Harry Cohn, that so-called merchant of the "Poverty Row" B studios, chose him to replace Irvin Willat on the big-budget feature SUBMARINE. (It's showing at the Music Box Theatre as part of Second Silent Saturday, but it was actually both Capra and Columbia's first foray into the new era. Recorded music and sound effects accompanied the film upon its release, something Capra biographer Joseph McBride says adds chilling effect to the rescue scene.) The film's astounding $150,000 budget was more than eight times that of any film Capra had made prior; Columbia offset the risk by partnering with the U.S. Navy, who let them use a submarine as well as an aircraft carrier and thousands of enlisted extras in hopes that the propagandistic feature would help save face in light of two recent maritime disasters. It stars Jack Holt and Ralph Graves, who'd later go on to work with Capra in both FLIGHT (1929) and DIRIGIBLE (1931). The film was a financial success and gave Columbia the confidence they needed to fully embrace sound. It also launched Capra into the big leagues; over the next several years, he made the aforementioned military films and a series of women's pictures starring the likes of Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Jean Harlow, and Adolphe Menjou. Capra's obituary in the New York Times declared that his films "helped America keep faith in itself;" in addition to the military trilogy and his populist classics, he also made several films for the acclaimed WHY WE FIGHT series. Though he'd never before made a documentary, he was chosen to participate in the latter program because "of his commitment to American ideals." It's interesting, then, that Capra's career took off under such fortuitous circumstances, more lucky break than industrious bootstrapping, but it's not out of the realm of understanding when it comes to the legendary contradiction that is Frank Capra. Live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott. (1928, 93 min, 35mm Archival Print) KS
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.


ALSO RECOMMENDED

Marco Bellocchio's CHINA IS NEAR (Italian Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Theater - Saturday, 5pm and Thursday 6pm

Like Bernardo Bertolucci's BEFORE THE REVOLUTION, Pier Paolo Pasolini's TEOREMA, and his own debut, FISTS IN THE POCKETS, filmmaker Marco Bellocchio gives us a singular vision on a familiar theme found in these mid-sixties works: the radical implosion of the upper middle-class family. Like FISTS IN THE POCKETS, this film starts by establishing the separate members of the equally dysfunctional unit: there's the elderly head-of-house, whose being physically hampered by old age, leaves the mostly-grown children to do as they wish. There is the eldest son, seeking sex and glory in running for government office, no matter his real political feelings, seeing he has switched parties more than four times. His younger brother also seeks sex and political splendor, though he'd prefer to detonate a homemade bomb in an opposing campaign's headquarters, crafted by his small Maoist cell of pseudo-revolutionaries. Then there is their sister, who mostly seeks sex as well, if only to criticize the class status of her sexual partners afterwards. Oh, there is also a young Socialist couple planning to marry the eldest son and sister, but only to destroy the eldest son's political campaign from the inside. Whatever the characters' true intentions, they seem only concerned with the outward image these goals present, caring little for the actual worth of holding any real values. The elements of psychological horror that informed FISTS IN THE POCKETS, are traded in for a full on satirical and surreal farce in the vein of Preston Sturges or Luis Buñuel. Bellocchio isn't credited enough for his experimentation in genre (he would try his hand at the "Italian police procedural" with the 1972 thriller, SLAP THE MONSTER ON PAGE ONE). With this sophomore work, the filmmaker crafts a wacky premonition forecasting the student revolts, violence, and civil unrest that would inform Italian society for the next nine years; in doing so, he chooses to give it to us in the guise of comedy, albeit an acidic one, close to bursting at its seams, and spiraling itself way beyond any discernible frame of view. (1967, 116 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) JD
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


John Magary's THE MEND (New American)
Facets Cinémathèque - Check Venue website for showtimes

There are aspects of THE MEND that will seem familiar to anyone acquainted with the microbudget American filmmaking scene of the 2010s: the New York City-apartment locations, the white thirty-something urban professional characters, naturalistic dialogue and acting, and a near-plotless series of caustically funny scenes examining the tensions that arise between lovers, friends, and siblings. This is also precisely why any attempts to describe this first feature by writer/director John Magary make it difficult to convey how much it distinguishes itself through formal mastery and narrative ingenuity. From the controlled chaos of the opening scene--a daringly elliptical and fast-paced montage depicting the protagonist, Mat (Josh Lucas), first fucking then fighting with his girlfriend, Andrea (Lucy Owen), immediately after wrestling on the couch with her pre-adolescent son, Ronnie (Cory Nichols)--THE MEND establishes itself as a film of uncommon originality and aesthetic diversity. Like Arnaud Desplechin, a director he admires, Magary resorts to nearly every stylistic trick in the book in order to best aid the atmosphere of a given scene--an "anything goes" approach that sees him alternating between handheld camerawork and smooth tracking shots, long takes and brisk cutting, irising in and out (as in a silent film), and peppering the action with a seemingly incongruous, dissonant orchestral score (the kind that Mathieu Chabrol used to compose for his father Claude), which lends this ostensible comedy/drama the flavor of a thriller and makes nearly every scene seem full of potential violence. Of course, there's nothing inherently virtuous about such a crazy-quilt mixture of moods and stylistic flourishes but the approach is wholly appropriate when applied to this particular subject matter: the competitive, occasionally toxic, love/hate relationship between two brothers. The older brother, the asshole-ish Mat, is a mooching, couch-surfing hipster with vague plans to incorporate his "web design" business. The younger brother, Alan (Stephen Plunkett), is a burgeoning yuppie with his own apartment and fiancé, who would appear to have his life together. Much of the fun to be had in watching THE MEND comes from observing the expert performances of Lucas and Plunkett, who infinitely complicate the initial impressions their characters make even as the film studiously avoids anything resembling a conventional resolution. (2014, 111 min, Unconfirmed Format) MGS
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More info at www.facets.org.


Geeta and Ravi Patel's MEET THE PATELS (New Documentary)
Music Box Theatre - Check Venue website for showtimes

Meet Ravi, a twenty-nine year old Indian-American actor who has just broken up with Amanda, his girlfriend of two years (a relationship that's been kept secret from his parents). Shortly after, he goes on a trip to India with his father Vasant, mother Champa, and sister Geeta (co-director of the film). Ravi agrees to have his family help arrange a woman to marry for him and has his biodata (essentially a dating resume, filled with facts such as caste, education, hobbies, known acquaintances, etc.) sent out to the entire extended Patel clan. As the matchmaking starts, he is soon set up on numerous dates that don't go anywhere beyond the initial meetings. Ravi tries a myriad of other methods to meet women, from online dating sites to weddings to attending the annual Patel convention in Philadelphia. The narrative crafted by Patel is lighthearted and humorous as Ravi is stuck in the middle between his parents' traditional arranged-marriage Indian culture and his own American culture of dating in order to find the one. The talking-head sequences are all done as animations, which is in keeping with the playful tone of the film and also allows for flashbacks and previous conversations to be visualized. MEET THE PATELS strongly challenges the traditions of one's heritage and how they evolve from one generation to the next. What worked for his elders doesn't necessarily work for him. The four principal Patels are portrayed as a loving and supportive family who all want the best for one another. Ultimately, this documentary shows that there is no secret recipe to finding love and that sometimes all you can do is be open and wait for it to come to you. Vasant and Champa Patel in person at the 7:20 and 9:45pm Friday screenings. (2014, 88 min, DCP Digital) KC
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.


Luchino Visconti's SANDRA (Italian Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3pm and Wednesday, 6:15pm

It begins at a multilingual party in glamour magazine black-and-white: a sort of Paris Match mise-en-scene, with the first rushing zoom reminding us that a cinematographer is, after all, a photographer, and that the telephoto lens is the one favored by paparazzi. SANDRA is in part about Claudia Cardinale, an actress who, like Loren or Bardot, was always an Actress with the capital A that suggested sports cars, Cannes, the front pages of magazine. Yes, they were great performers, but they also suggested a greater image, something bigger than a film could contain, and people went to the movies to get a glimpse at that mystery. The American talkie gave us leads who could live next door, their names often changed to sound more Anglo-Saxon, their lives presented as completely ordinary (stars--they're just like us!); the European film industry of mid-20th century cultivated women who were unbound and uncontainable, who never seemed oversized on a 60-foot screen. SANDRA is a perverse photo shoot, a world where the wind blows only to ruffle hair, spinning around a woman with a past (and a present) like an Alain Resnais character--it's everything that is wonderful and ugly about Luchino Visconti, everything lonely and hypocritical, in painstaking, accidental detail. (1965, 105 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) IV
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS [Restored Version] (Silent German Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 5pm and Tuesday, 6pm

The now-famous story of METROPOLIS' new restoration--nearly half an hour of footage recovered from a newly-discovered 16mm print that had been sitting in Argentina since 1928, comprising a more or less definitive version only a few minutes shorter than the premiere print--has eclipsed just exactly what those restored 25 minutes do to this Introduction to Film History juggernaut/music video reference-point, a delirious fantasy that's had the unfortunate fate of being boiled down to its "iconic moments," muddled politics (courtesy of an ostensibly "socialist" script by future Nazi Thea von Harbou) and its status as the only Fritz Lang movie to not have any real people in it (besides, of course, villain Rotwang). If previous versions (most notably the enthrallingly ridiculous one produced by Giorgio Moroder, which runs half the length of this one) made METROPOLIS seem more like a von Harbou film than a Lang one, the now "complete" version of this sprawling future fever-dream actually resembles a movie someone as smart as dear old Fritz would make. More nuanced because it is more excessive, the restored METROPOLIS is a film that understands (and feels through) its artificiality--as well as the fixations with death and female sexuality inherent in its material--instead of presenting it as straight allegory; it's fitting that the first piece of restored footage, arriving about seven minutes in, is a brief sequence of a man applying make-up to a woman. Since METROPOLIS tells its story (about a 21st century city made possible by a caste of underground-dwelling workers) through two substitutions--the son of the city's ruler taking the place of a worker; a vicious cyborg taking the place of a saintly young woman--previous versions have inevitably picked the son (Gustav Fröhlich) over the worker (Erwin Biswanger), and the cyborg over the girl (both played by Brigitte Helm; in this case it's understandable, because she is more interesting playing a villain). This version restores the ample screen time devoted to 11811, the prole who trades places with heir apparent/smirking naïf Freder, and to 11811's adventures in upper-class decadence (especially in a scene that now seems essential--a car filling up with flyers for a local night club, dissolving into a montage of excesses), as well as many apocalyptic hallucinations and black-gloved intrigues (especially so in the case of striking Lang regular Fritz Rasp; essentially an extra in previous versions, this cut presents him as a major character in both the realities of the plot and in Freder's nightmares). Film writer and artist Fred Camper lectures at the Tuesday screening. (1926, 147 min, DCP Digital) IV 
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Alfred Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST (American Revival)
The Park Ridge Classic Film Series (at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge) - Thursday, 7:30pm

An urbane gentleman is pursued by a sinister organization headed by a cultured villain while simultaneously shadowed by a gorgeous female spy. That's the basic setup for NORTH BY NORTHWEST--and for a sizeable portion of the James Bond series. What's under acknowledged is that Hitchcock, and specifically this masterpiece of playful paranoia, 1950s style, has acted as a lasting and flexible template for 007's cinematic adventures. James Mason's ultramodern, mountaintop house, as imagined by production designer Robert Boyle, uncannily anticipates many of the fantastic evil lairs designed by Ken Adam for Bond villains (especially Goldfinger). And doesn't the film's famous closing scene remind you of many 007 double-entendre finales? But where NORTH BY NORTHWEST moves into deeper territory is on the question of identity. Not only is no one else who you thought they were, but you yourself are not who you thought you were. Yet in Hitchcock's hands such a weighty existential theme sounds like the best time a guy could have. Pre-show music by Jay Warren starting at 7pm. (1959, 131 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) RC
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More info at http://parkridgeclassicfilm.com.


Alex Ross Perry's QUEEN OF EARTH (New American)
Music Box Theatre - Friday and Saturday, Midnight and Saturday and Sunday, 1:30pm

If the movies have taught us anything, it's that there is no landscape more wondrous than that of the human face. In a much-remarked upon shot in LISTEN UP PHILIP, Alex Ross Perry's formidable previous film, the camera held on Elisabeth Moss's visage in close-up as she silently ran through a gamut of emotions, a single long take that constituted a welcome interlude of radical empathy in a film otherwise deliberately brimming with unpleasantness. In a way, QUEEN OF EARTH, Perry's fourth and best feature to date, picks up where that shot in PHILIP left off: with an extraordinarily gripping close-up of Moss's tear-stained, mascara-smeared face, as her character, Catherine, confronts her boyfriend, James (Kentucker Audley), about his infidelity in the immediate wake of her father's suicide. This double whammy of misfortune soon sends the New York City-bred Catherine packing for a lakeside retreat with her childhood friend Ginny (Katherine Waterston) in order to take stock of her life and perhaps engage in a little female bonding. Things don't go according to plan, however, as Catherine slowly becomes mentally unglued over the course of a week's ostensible "R & R." While large swaths of this film's dialogue would not have felt out of place in either of Perry's previous two films, acerbic comedies marked by extremely literary screenplays (2014's LISTEN UP PHILIP and 2011's THE COLOR WHEEL), the particular context of who is speaking to whom, and where, pushes the content here into a very different and welcome direction--the realm of psychological horror. While Perry freely assimilates influences from both the "high" (e.g., PERSONA, REPULSION, etc.) and "low" (e.g., CARNIVAL OF SOULS, LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, etc.) ends of the cinematic spectrum, QUEEN OF EARTH resonates not because it's any kind of post-modern pastiche but because of what it has to say about real-world human psychology. In particular, Perry taps into universal fears and anxieties about class privilege and nepotism (with the epithet of "spoiled brat" being pointedly hurled back and forth between the female leads). Ultimate interpretations will vary wildly from viewer to viewer (Are the main characters two halves of a single personality? Are the "present-day" scenes a twisted revenge fantasy being projected by Ginny at the conclusion of the "flashbacks?"); I suggest catching it with a friend and afterwards doing coffee, over which you may want to extensively theorize about What It All Means. (2015, 90 min, DCP Digital) MGS
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.


Christian Petzold's PHOENIX (New German)
Music Box Theatre - Friday, 3:10pm and Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am

Hitchcock's VERTIGO is masterful but decidedly farfetched, whereas Christian Petzold's PHOENIX is farfetched but still realistic, a contradiction that aptly defines this brilliant allegory of postwar guilt and reclamation. (Petzold openly acknowledges the film's relationship to the Hitchcock classic in many interviews.) It's about a Jewish woman--Nelly, played by Petzold's longtime muse, Nina Hoss--who undergoes facial reconstruction surgery after she's liberated from a concentration camp, presumably having been shot in the face by a Nazi. She learns that all of her family and most of her friends are dead, and that her gentile husband may have been the one who betrayed her to the Gestapo. Back in Berlin she looks for him anyway, only to find that he's working in a club called the Phoenix, a blood-red-lit American joint that gives the film its name. (The mythical bird that rises from its ashes is also owed some credit.) Though the surgery significantly altered her appearance, he notices her "resemblance" to his thought-to-be-deceased wife and recruits her to help him acquire her inheritance. Co-written with the late Harun Farocki, "it's a metaphorical movie and it's also not a metaphorical movie," to put it in his words, with the man's guilt (or lack thereof) representing that of a nation and Nelly's regeneration representing that of its oppressed people. On paper it seems absurd, similarly to many of the American genre films that inspired both Petzold and Farocki, but on screen, it's executed with surprising verisimilitude. (2014, 98 min, DCP Digital) KS
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.


MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS

The experimental media festival Vision Quest continues on Friday and Saturday at Co-Prosperity Sphere (3219 S. Morgan St.). On Friday, Ben Russell's 2014 film GREETINGS TO THE ANCESTORS (29 min) screens at 6pm, followed at 7pm by the shorts and performance program "Hi-Tide." The program includes work by Basma Alsharif, Ephraim Asili, Zachary Epcar, Joe Hamilton, Sean Hanley, Rainer Kohlberger, Laida Lertxundi, Kerry Laitala, Jodie Mack, Jesse Malmed, Simon Payne, Sabrina Ratté, Deborah Stratman, Esther Urlus, Karen Yasinsky; and audiovisual performances by Sara Ludy, Arcane Bolt, and Jeff Kolar. On Saturday at 5:30pm is "Color Location Ultimate Experience," a program of historical video work (1971-1984) by Videofreex, Hermine Freed, Cecilia Condit, Dara Birnbaum, Max Almy, and Lyn Blumenthal and Carole Ann Klonarides with Ed Paschke. The shorts and performance program "Beyond the Abyss" is at 7pm, with work by Ben Balcom, Tony Balko, Peter Burr, Nicole Ginelli, Adam Kaplan and Boaz Levin, Meredith Lackey, Kent Lambert, A Bill Miller, Jodie Mack, Shana Moulton, Elizabeth Orr, Simon Payne, Jon Satrom and Mike Stoltz; and audiovisual performances by _??????5?¥?N?_, Jon Satrom, and James Connolly. Complete details and schedule at http://dincavisionquest.com.

South Side Projections presents Red Squads and Beyond, 1960s to the Present on Sunday at 5pm at the Logan Center for the Arts (Screening Room, 915 E. 60th St.). Screening are Chicago Newsreel's 1968 short APRIL 27 (10 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) and Steven Fischler, Joel Sucher, Howard Blatt, and Francis Freedland's 1972 documentary RED SQUAD (45 min, 16mm). The screening is followed by a discussion with civil rights attorney Matthew Piers, filmmaker Peter Kuttner, activist Micki Leaner, and Hatem Abudayyeh (Director of the Arab American Action Network); moderated by art historian Rebecca Zorach, who has conducted research on police and FBI surveillance of the Black Arts Movement. Free admission.

The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents The Garden of Earthly Delights: Three Films by Ben Russell on Tuesday at 7pm, with Russell in person. Screening are LET US PERSEVERE IN WHAT WE HAVE RESOLVED BEFORE WE FORGET (2013, 20 min, Video Projection), ATLANTIS (2014, 24 min, Video Projection), and GREETINGS TO THE ANCESTORS (2014, 29 min, HD Projection).

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival opens on Thursday at the Music Box Theatre with Andrew Nachman's 2015 film FOURTH MAN OUT (95 min, Digital Projection) showing at 7:30pm (optional 6pm reception; higher admission). Actors Evan Todd and Kate Flannery in person. The festival continues September 18-24 at the Landmark's Century Centre Cinema and other locations. More info at full schedule at www.reelingfilmfestival.org.

The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.), Chicago Film Archives, and Experimental Sound Studio present Kinosonik #3: Industry, Design & Experimentation (approx. 46 min total, Digital Projection) on Saturday at 8pm. The program of shorts from CFA's holdings, with live scores by Mwata Bowden and Coppice (Noé Cuéllar & Joseph Kramer), includes: BLACK WHITE AND GRAY (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1930, 6 min), INLAND STEEL COMPANY "MONOSTRESS" (Goldsholl Design & Film Associates, 1960s, 13 min), LICHT SPIEL NUR I (Robert Stiegler, c. 1967, 3 min), CHICAGO & NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY CO. "GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY" (Goldsholl Design & Film Associates, 1960s, 14 min), RHYTHM (Len Lye, 1957, 2 min), and TRAFFIC (Robert Stiegler, c. 1960, 8 min). Free admission

The Asian Pop-Up Cinema Series premieres with Pang Ho-cheung's 2014 film WOMEN WHO FLIRT (96 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 7:30pm at AMC River East 21; and Pan San-yuan's 2015 film LOST AND LOVE (112 min, Digital Projection) on Thursday at 7:30pm at the Wilmette Theatre.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival continues through Sunday at various venues. Check their website for the schedule and details: http://reelabilitieschicago.org.

The Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) screens Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's 2015 film ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL (105 min, DCP Digital) on Saturday at 2 and 7:30pm; and screens Irvin Willat's1919 silent Harry Houdini film THE GRIM GAME (71 min, DCP Digital) on Wednesday at 1 and 7:30pm, with live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. Free Admission. www.northbrook.info/events/film

Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) hosts Henrique Couto's 2014 horror film SCAREWAVES (81 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 8pm, with Couto and screenwriter John Oak Dalton in person.

Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents the shorts program Something to Say (shorts program) on Tuesday at 7pm, with work by Frances Bodomo, Dehanza Rogers, and Talibah Newman; and Misspelled Thoughts: A Screening of Absurdism (also a shorts program) on Wednesday at 8pm, with work by David Torres II, Kenny Reed, Selden Paterson, Jake Myers, Traci Hercher/POOL, Yaloopop, and Drew Blomquist. Both programs Digital Projection. Free admission for both.

Also at Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Kim Longinotto's 2015 documentary DREAMCATCHER (98 min, DCP Digital; subject Brenda Myers-Powell in person Saturday and Thursday, producer Lisa Stevens also in person Thursday), Asif Kapadia's 2015 documentary AMY (128 min, DCP Digital), and Roy Andersson's 2014 Swedish film A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE (101 min, DCP Digital) all play for a week; and Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's 1984 Italian film KAOS (188 min, DCP Digital; New Restoration) is on Sunday at 3pm and Monday at 6:30pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's 2015 documentary MERU (87 min, Digital Projection - Unconfirmed Format) continues; and Sam Raimi's 1981 film THE EVIL DEAD (85 min, 35mm) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight.

Also at Facets Cinémathèque this week: Milo? Forman's 1984 film AMADEUS (Director's Cut, 180 min, Blu-Ray Projection) screens on Sunday at Noon, in a co-presentation with the Chicago Opera Theatre.

The Chicago Cultural Center hosts the Cinema/Chicago screening of Antonio Serrano's 2012 Mexican film MORELOS (105 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission.

 

ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS

The Art Institute of Chicago is running artist Charles Ray's 1996 film FASHIONS (13 min, 16mm Projection) through the remainder of the run of the exhibition Charles Ray: Sculpture 1997-2014 (ends October 4). The film screens daily at the following times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3pm; Thursday at 11am, 1:30pm, 3pm, and 6:30pm; and Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 and 3pm.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Im Reich der Sonnenfinsternis (In the empire of the solar eclipse), an installation by Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys, which is comprised of paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings and a 25 minute video entitled DAS LOCH (THE HOLE). On view through January 17.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents an exhibition of nine video works by artist Keren Cytter. On view through October 4.

 

UPDATES/CLOSURES

Chicago Public Library screenings: Due to the frequency of late-additions (past our deadlines) and to their frequent inability (due to licensing restrictions) of publicly listing the titles of films they are screening, we will no longer be listing specific CPL screenings. Check their website for any films that may be showing.

The Patio Theater and the Portage Theater calendars have been confusing and constantly shifting--adding and removing events with little notice--and reportedly have been unexpectedly closed for scheduled events. We will no longer attempt to list any screenings there.

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CINE-LIST: September 11 - September 17, 2015

MANAGING EDITOR /
Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Kian Bergstrom, Rob Christopher, Kyle Cubr, Jeremy M. Davies, Kathleen Sachs, Michael G. Smith, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Darnell Witt

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