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:: Friday, FEB. 27 - Thursday, MAR. 5 ::

CRUCIAL VIEWING

Robert Greene's ACTRESS (New Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday, 8pm, Saturday, 6:45pm, and Thursday, 6pm

It is not often one uses the term "mise-en-scene" when referring to documentary films but the opening shot of Robert Greene's ACTRESS is as stylized as anything Douglas Sirk ever did: a young woman, incongruously wearing a red party dress, stands in front of her kitchen sink, doing the dishes by hand. The camera frames her from behind in a medium-long shot--with two red potted flowers that match the color of her dress on either side of her in a perfectly symmetrical composition. The woman is Brandy Burre, an actress best known for a recurring role on HBO's acclaimed series The Wire, and the staged nature of this shot both sums up her dilemma and introduces viewers to the movie's tricky strategy of hybridizing non-fiction and melodrama elements. After this opening, we soon learn that Brandy has retired from acting in order to move to Beacon, New York, with her restaurateur boyfriend, Tim, and their two young children. Brandy is not satisfied, however, with playing the new roles of "mother" and "housewife," and the film turns into a complex essay on the nature of what it means for her to perform; as Brandy herself at one point candidly confesses, she has a love/hate relationship with "putting herself out there." Over the course of the year that Greene documented Brandy's tumultuous life, her relationship with Tim crumbles in the wake of his discovery that she is having an affair, and she decides to return to her first love of acting and resumes auditioning for parts. Of course, none of this would matter if Brandy Burre were not a compelling screen presence and if viewers did not sense a feeling of extreme mutual trust between her and the filmmakers (at one point, the camera actually accompanies her into the shower). One also has to wonder to what extent Greene's presence as documentarian may have precipitated his subject's major life changes. Whatever the case, ACTRESS is a film of uncommon emotional power: Brandy's late revelation about falling out of love with Tim over his indifference to installing a diaper-changing station in his restaurant bathroom feels more intimate--and electrifying--than any scripted scene from any film I saw last year. (2014, 86 min, DCP Digital) MGS
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Jack Arnold's THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and Werner Herzog's GRIZZLY MAN (American Revival/Documentary Revival)
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Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Thursday, 7pm (Free Admission) (Creature)
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Gene Siskel Film Center - Friday and Tuesday, 6pm (Grizzly)

These two films deal, in different but complementary ways, with obscenity and the wild: both the obscenity of people invading the wild, enforcing humanity upon the natural world, and the obscenity of the wild, the primitively uncaring and fundamentally bloody existence that is so dangerous, so monstrous, that people had to invent civilization just to get away from it. In one, the 3D monster feature THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954, 79 min, 3D 35mm), a group of plucky scientists journeys deep into an Amazonian cul-de-sac in search of a fossil, definitive proof of an aquatic hominoid from the Devonian Period. (Why a hominoid would be from the Devonian of all times is a mystery too deep to plumb.) They find instead that the species they seek is still alive, and it lives in lovesick solitude in a cave at the base of a serene lagoon. Narratively, CREATURE is a great plodding beast, lurching from one plot point to the next with all the dexterity of a half-man/half-fish out of water. But once in the lagoon, the film becomes a feast for the eyes, a series of languorous plays of depth, movement, and cross-species eroticism that is genuinely scary, and deeply disturbing. The film's 3D effects on land are often limited to cheap, but effective, shock effects--the creature approaching the lenses, his claw raking our eyeballs, and so on--but the uncannily unrealistic effects of 3D cinema become the very subject matter as the monster propels himself easily, strangely, through a primeval seascape. As the scientists close in on the Gill-Man, threatening to capture it, or kill it, the film literalizes its theme of humanity versus nature, making the advancement of learning a process that can only succeed at the expense of the world it studies. The wild, in the person of the creature, its libidinous needs created by the presence of a woman amongst the scientists, must either capture and rape her or be destroyed in the attempt. In THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, the only response possible to the evil we bring on nature is to finish the job of destroying it before it takes revenge upon us. The other film is a documentary one. Cine-poet (and bone-fide wild man) Werner Herzog's GRIZZLY MAN (2005, 100 min, 35mm) follows the life of Timothy Treadwell, an advocate for Alaskan bears, who lived among them for thirteen consecutive summers, believing himself to be protecting them from poachers, until he and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were killed and eaten by one on October 5, 2003. A ferocious defender of grizzlies, Treadwell, Herzog suggests, fundamentally misunderstood the foreignness of bears, taking the enormous, untamable carnivores to be his friends and developing strange, one-sided relationships with families of grizzlies over the years. Treadwell actively videotaped himself, and was a master self-promoter, and Herzog mines Treadwell's video diaries with characteristic ruthlessness, brutally dissecting Treadwell's inane anthropomorphisms, delusions, and recklessness in the face of obvious danger. At the heart of GRIZZLY MAN is a blank spot, an aural obscenity: when Treadwell and Huguenard were attacked, their camera was recording audio, and the tape survives, a trace of death too horrible to be played and too crucial to be excluded from the film, the last living moments of the Grizzly Man himself. It is an obscenity and cannot be endured, and so Herzog gives it to us in a sonic off-screen moment of haunting power and horror. CREATURE gave us an enclave of rationality at war with the terrible, unthinking mass of desire that lives in the jungle. They murdered to dissect it. GRIZZLY MAN shows us a flip side, a man who believed himself to have a wildness in his heart. He loved the wild, gave himself to it, and was destroyed by it, never understanding that he was just a man. Would that he had learned from the Gill-Man's example. THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON will be introduced by Kristen Whissel, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley, an expert on special effects and cinema technology; SAIC Professor Dan Eisenberg lectures at the Tuesday screening of GRIZZLY MAN. KB
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More info at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu and www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Jean-Luc Godard's EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF (Swiss Revival) 
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3pm and Monday, 6pm

By positioning himself stubbornly, permanently, tragically at the terminal end of cinema--or whatever "cinema" may constitute at any given moment in his life, be it the playground of profound hokum and momentous moving pictures of the mid-20th century, or the melancholy world of conflicting images of the present--Jean-Luc Godard out-paces everyone; he lives at the ever-shifting finish line. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF (also known as SLOW MOTION) marked Godard's return to the film industry after a lengthy period working outside of (or directly against) it. It also marks the start of a period that would last until HELAS POUR MOI in 1993, a run that includes ten features, countless shorts and mid-length films, and the start of the mammoth HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA project. Though Godard's early-to-mid-1960s films are the most frequently revived--and therefore the best known--his 1980s films are just as vital and arguably even more radical. The young Godard was a man who used cinema, the most emotional of media, to explore ideas; the middle-aged Godard was a man who had come to realize that people often hold on to emotions for ideological reasons, and that they often adopt or follow ideas because of their emotional significance. In EVERY MAN, the filmmaker, having let go of all aesthetic hang-ups, returns to the territory of his 1960s features (beauty, prostitution, compromised filmmaking, relationships) and rebuilds cinema from the purest level; the film is bleak, vivid, complex, simple, and a lot of other things that only Godard is capable of perceiving as not being contradictory of one another. It's also unlike any film made before it, and like very few films made after it. (1980, 87 min, 35mm) IV
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


Paul Thomas Anderson's INHERENT VICE (New American)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue website for showtimes

No bones about it: INHERENT VICE is one divisive movie. Going by the annotated ballots of anonymous Academy Awards voters published last week in The Hollywood Reporter, INHERENT VICE was the worst movie of the year, or maybe just the most arrogant: an object of grand-standing, head-scratching mediocrity, like some chuckling, elitist finger poking you in the cornea. Meanwhile, VICE's champions have largely described it as a laugh-a-minute ride, the best head picture since HEAD, prophesying an imminent critical rehabilitation along the casual light-up lines of THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Uh-huh. I admire the acid sunshine optimism of the VICE Squad, but the thing that makes this movie distinctive is its melancholy, earnest and earned. Set in the fictional enclave of Gordita Beach, INHERENT VICE excavates a historicized ennui that's disarmingly real, namely the morning-after realization that the '60s were only a mirage, or perhaps a conspiratorial diversion. Say it ain't so, Country Joe. As Joanna Newsom's Sortilège speculates in a late voice-over, "Was it possible that at every gathering, concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, freak-in, here up north, back east, wherever, some dark crews had been busy all along reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday?" That hippie shit could be tolerated up to a point--until Straight America asserted its natural will to power. But VICE isn't quite a nostalgic wail for freakdom's last stand--it's a memory-film of a finer, more obtuse pedigree. Like Terence Davies' DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES, it's essentially a speculative conjecture about the shape of the world just prior to its author's birth. (Writer-director Anderson was born in 1970, the unrecoverable, present-tense moment of VICE.) How did we get here?, this movie fruitlessly, savagely asks, knowing full well that the answer might kill us. We move through a druggy stupor, characters coming and going, plotlines maddeningly opaque, nearly every shot a dawdling close-up. It's a total conjuring, a séance with spirits not yet dead. (2014, 148 min, 35mm) KAW
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


ALSO RECOMMENDED

Jim Jarmusch's DOWN BY LAW (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Thursday, 7pm

"It's a sad and beautiful world," declares Roberto Benigni's character in Jim Jarmusch's DOWN BY LAW. It's his first line in the film, and he says it to Tom Waits' character in a scene that connects the two men before all three of the main characters inexplicably end up in the same New Orleans jail cell. Jarmusch uses a variation of the phrase twice in the interview anthology book Jim Jarmusch: Interviews, once in 1985 when describing the "industrial ugliness" of his Midwest birthplace (Akron, Ohio) and again in 1987 when discussing why he's fascinated with the "problems of language." Both are themes that appear in much of Jarmusch's work, but are particularly prevalent in DOWN BY LAW, a film about three sort of innocent ne'er-do-wells who wind up in jail but eventually escape into the Louisiana hinterlands. As with many of Jarmusch's films, poetry also plays an important role. Benigni's character mentions Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" during the first half and Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" during the second half. (Additionally, the names of John Lurie's and Waits' characters are Jack and Zack, respectively, and at one point, Benigni and Co. break into a vociferous rendering of  "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.") While in jail, Benigni calls it "Leaves of Glass," a mispronunciation that's reminiscent of their punitive surroundings and reminds one of Jarmusch's elegiacal fondness for gritty locales. The importance of Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is obvious enough; all three men are on a journey of sorts, and at the end, they literally and figuratively must decide which road to take. Benigni's character, who's referred to as Bob by his new friends, calls Robert Frost "Bob Frost," a fact that amuses Zack and establishes Benigni as the thematic center of the film. (Ironically enough, Benigni spoke no English beforehand, but learned some while filming.) "DOWN BY LAW was something very different for Roberto, and that's what the film is ultimately about, that he is robbed of this basic element of communication," said Jarmusch in an interview with a Finnish film magazine. "He's very physical, but language is his strength, and it was very challenging for him to try to function with it, he liked that idea." Benigni also met his future wife, actress Nicoletta Braschi, on set; she plays the owner of the restaurant where the three men find respite. How they managed to find a restaurant owned by an Italian immigrant in backwoods Louisiana is as inexplicable as how these men ended up both in and out of jail together, but Jarmusch would likely assert that it's best left to the imagination. "To me...DOWN BY LAW is almost like a fairy-tale, a more imaginary piece," Jarmusch further explained in the aforementioned interview. "DOWN BY LAW is more imaginative, since imagination is a theme in the film, Roberto's ability to imagine things, to live in the imagination." (1986, 107 min, 35mm) KS
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi's WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (New New Zealand/American)
Music Box Theatre - Check Venue website for showtimes

Once upon a full moon, vampires were considered to be pure horror. With Bram Stoker's original Dracula, Bela Lugosi's 1930s and 40s Universal films, the iconic German expressionist film NOSFERATU, and Carl Theodor Dreyer's VAMPYR, their gothic mythology was firmly rooted in the collective conscious. These immortal creatures of the night relied on charm, sexuality, and dark magic to enchant and lure their victims. Over time, filmic (and other popular culture) representations of vampires strayed from the original formula, delving into comedy, romance, science fiction, and more. All of these varieties inevitably led to the ill-conceived TWILIGHT and its unavoidable sequels. The vampire film had reached a point of stagnation. WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS breaks free of this vampire-moribundity, and is also one of the most original and refreshing comedies in recent memory. This mockumentary combination of The Office meets LET THE RIGHT ONE IN meets The Real World satirizes what life would be like for a vampire living today, dealing with the mundane aspects of contemporary urban life. SHADOWS dares to asks such questions as who's going to clean the dishes, what clothes should vampires wear to the club, and is a human an appropriate plus one to bring to an undead masquerade ball. The answers play out in droll, hilarious fashion, aided by FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS' Jermaine Clement and Rhys Darby, who dazzle as two of the bloodsucking flatmates. Bram Stoker may be rolling over in his grave seeing what has transpired since his vaunted masterpiece, but for the viewers, SHADOWS rewardingly proves that there is still blood left in the veins of the vampire movie. (2015, 86 min, DCP Digital) KC
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.org.


Mariano Pensotti's CINEASTAS (FILMMAKERS) (Film-Related Live Theater)
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Continues through Mar 1 (Check Venue website for performance times)

As the death knell for celluloid continues to ring, debates persist over what counts as cinema. Many purists (with whom this writer expresses solidarity) will profess that the medium hinges on the infallible ontology of the photographic image, but as Jean-Luc Godard recently reminded us with GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE 3-D, part of what sets cinema apart from other art forms is that is boasts its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary (irrespective of format). CINEASTAS (FILMMAKERS), a "filmic drama" by Argentine avant-garde theatre virtuoso Mariano Pensotti, plays with the language of cinema by translating techniques like flashback, montage, cross-cutting, and voice-over for the stage. A meta meditation on filmmaking, the play centers on several groups of film crews colliding in Buenos Aires. Using a two-level stage often illuminated with contrasting colors (picture a giant Mark Rothko painting), film shoots play out on the bottom, while personal dramas transpire on the top. Similar to Godard's TOUT VA BIEN, which employs a similar dollhouse-style aesthetic, CINEASTAS straddles the line between life and art, theatre and cinema. The performance is in Spanish with English subtitles. (2014, approx 105 min, Live Theater Performance) HS
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More info at www.mcachicago.org.


Federico Fellini's AMARCORD (Italian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Wednesday, 7 and 9:30pm

The film directly responsible for Woody Allen's RADIO DAYS (1987) and a good many moments in the work of Emir Kusturica, Federico Fellini's AMARCORD is a two-hour celebration of life, love, and community so clearly personal to its maker that every shot seems to require some sort of artistic signature. The title means "I remember" in the dialect of the small town Fellini grew up in, and many of the tall tales that comprise its drunken-reunion structure were inspired by his 1930s youth. "It's like a long dance number, interrupted by dialogue, public events and meals," Roger Ebert wrote in his "Great Movies" review of 2004. "It is constructed like a guided tour through a year in the life of the town, from one spring to the next... The film is saturated with Fellini's affection for these people, whose hopes are so transparent they can see through their own into another's. All of Fellini's visual trademarks are here, including the half-finished scaffold that mediates between heaven and earth, the grotesque faces of the extras, the parades and processions, and always the Nino Rota music..." Somewhere amidst all the nostalgic excess are memories of the rise of Italian Fascism and some more bittersweet episodes about death. But even in these moments, Fellini recognizes the spectacular human comedy present in all communal affairs. (1973, 123 min, 35mm) BS
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Friday, 7 and 9:15pm and Sunday, 1:30pm

So much ink has been spilled over PSYCHO that it might have been best if nothing had been written about it at all. More than any other Hitchcock film it deserves a fresh pair of eyes (perhaps the kind we'd find in a kid with hands that barely reach the ticket window and then cling to the armrest as he loses the main character less than half way in, as a lucky few recount). Even if the infamous shower scene has lost its surprise and shock value (but watch it closely anyway), there's still a great deal to enjoy: a black and white pallet fine-tuned down to Vera Miles' bra; Hitchcock's bizarre infatuation with the Oedipus Complex; Bernard Herrmann's superb score. From the outside it's a film we've become accustomed to, but in a dark theater it becomes hauntingly unfamiliar again. (1960, 109 min, 35mm) JA
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Celine Sciamma's GIRLHOOD (New French)
Block Cinema (Northwestern University) - Friday, 7pm
Black World Cinema (at the Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 (210 W. 87th St.) - Thursday, 7pm

Delivering on the promise of her 2007 Louis Delluc award-winning debut WATER LILLIES, and her impressive second feature TOMBOY, Celine Sciamma's GIRLHOOD is another lively snapshot from a singular French filmmaking talent about adolescent girls constructing their identities in the face of societal pressure. The film centers on Marieme (remarkable newcomer Karidja Toure), a black teenager living in the outskirts of Paris who is being raised, along with two younger sisters and a possessive older brother, by an overworked single mother. Marieme finds an alternative family when she is taken under the wing of a trio of brassy older girls who promptly rename her "Vic" and initiate her into a new world of shoplifting, street-fighting, and more glamorous fashions and hairstyles. While GIRLHOOD is an exemplary coming-of-age picture, it isn't quite the universal story that its English-language title implies. A more accurate translation of the original French title, "Band of Girls," would better capture the film's flavor since Sciamma is interested in exploring the dynamics of a group identity within a specific cultural milieu. Sciamma's focus on the "band" is underscored by a deft use of the now-unfashionable CinemaScope aspect ratio, which is conducive to grouping multiple characters together. This aesthetic choice pays dividends in the film's undisputed highlight: a scene in which the girls check into a hotel room for the sole purpose of dressing up, getting drunk, and dancing with each other while listening to Rihanna's "Diamonds." The feeling of sisterhood imparted by this sequence, bolstered by the buoyant performances and gorgeous blue-tinted lighting, makes it a far better showcase for the song than Rihanna's official music video. Even if it weren't any good, GIRLHOOD would be worth seeing just because its focus on the intimate lives of black female characters makes it something of an anomaly. Fortunately for movie lovers, the result also shines bright like a diamond in the firmament of contemporary cinema. (2014, 112 min, DCP Digital) MGS
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More info at blockmuseum.northwestern.edu and blackworldcinema.net/blog.


Wim Wenders' ALICE IN THE CITIES (German Revival)
Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) - Thursday, 6pm (Free Admission)

Wender's fourth film is a study in contrasts: between photography and the written word, between Europe and America, bachelorhood and parenthood, contrived soul-searching and genuine epiphany. A navel-gazing German journalist (Rüdiger Vogler) equipped with an early Polaroid camera returns existentially empty-handed from a road-trip across America, only to find himself the de-facto caretaker of an abandoned ten-year old girl, the eponymous Alice (Yella Rottländer). Traveling through Europe in search of Alice's relations, lost in the way which only humans who pre-date cell phones and the Internet can be, the pair form a strange albeit wholesome partnership in a sort of platonic take on the road trip section of Lolita.  Wenders is the warmest of the New German Cinema auteurs and, despite its bleak landscapes and damaged characters, ALICE is a surprisingly gentle and optimistic film. It is the first of Wender's road trilogy, and an early collaboration with cinematographer Robby Müller. (1974, 110 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) ML
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More info at http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/chi/enindex.htm.


Tomm Moore's SONG OF THE SEA (New Animation)
Music Box Theatre - Check venue website for showtimes

Since the release of Walt Disney's 1937 masterpiece SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS as one of the first animated feature length films, animation has come a long way. From cut-outs to cel shading to stop motion to CGI, the medium has evolved greatly. In this current era, traditional animation techniques are now eschewed for CGI due to its stylistic appearance, rapid production, and overall flexibility. Tomm Moore's SONG OF THE SEA is a throwback to the hand drawn Golden Age of Animation of Disney and others. An Irish folk tale that has a timeless feel and would fit well in any era, it is one of the most visually stunning animated films ever made. To be frank, gorgeous is an understatement for how breathtaking this movie is to behold. Every cel is a labor of love. Full of eye-popping spiral, circular, and fractal images, Moore's film is one to be experienced on the big screen in order to completely absorb his intoxicating efforts. Hayao Miyazaki, famous for MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and SPIRITED AWAY among many others, is indisputably the greatest living master of hand drawn animation, and his influences are on full display in Moore's film with a couple slight nods to boot. After his previous 2009 work, THE SECRET OF KELLS, Moore has improved upon his skills in every way, from his refined characters to his rich and vibrant storytelling to his graceful art design. Moore is staking a claim as the next great animation auteur with SONG. If and when Miyazaki decides to retire for good and actually means it, audiences can rest assured that the torch is being passed into capable hands. One can only hope that his career is just as long and prosperous. (2014, 93 min, DCP Digital) KC
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More info at www.musicboxtheatre.org.


Ruben Ostlund's FORCE MAJEURE (New Swedish)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Saturday, 7 and 9:30pm and Sunday, 3:45pm

While holidaying in the French Alps and facing an impending natural disaster, Tobias (Johannes Kuhnke), a yuppie family-man from Sweden, behaves in a cowardly fashion in front of his wife, Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli), and their two young children. The marital discord that results spreads like a virus to another vacationing couple, Tobias's friend Kristofer (Kristofer Hivju) and his much younger girlfriend Fanny (Fanni Metelius). This masterful drama piles complex emotions--shame, fear, embarrassment, anguish--on top of one another and then, amazingly, finds a way to somehow mine the most emotionally excruciating moments for a vein of rich, black comedy. Writer/director Ruben Ostlund's meticulous attention to sound and image, and his love of formal symmetry, make FORCE MAJEURE a more apt point of comparison with the films of Stanley Kubrick than anything Jonathan Glazer has ever done. The only thing preventing me from calling this a full-fledged masterwork is the inclusion of a couple of unnecessary scenes at the very end: Ostlund's illustration of how both male protagonists are desperate to redeem themselves in the eyes of the women who love them through dramatic external action is redundant; he has already conveyed this notion with more subtlety and power in the preceding hour and 45 minutes. (2014, 120 min, DCP Digital) MGS
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More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.


Jennifer Kent's THE BABADOOK (New Australian)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue website for showtimes

The modern horror film, as a whole, seems to have been divided into two distinct groups. On one hand, there are the CGI driven, jump-scare saturated exploits that most movie studios pump out purely for cheap thrills and a quick buck, and on the other, and much more rarely, there are those that entrust in strong storytelling, a building of tension, and promoting a sense of dread until the audience can barely stand it anymore without peeking through their fingers. THE BABADOOK falls into the latter of these categories. "If it's in a look. Or in a book. You can't get rid of the Babadook." These are the beginning lines of the demonic children's storybook, Mister Babadook, presented in Jennifer Kent's horrifying film. As unsettling as David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE and as claustrophobic as Roman Polanski's REPULSION, Kent's directorial feature debut is a much needed adrenaline shot to the arm of the horror genre; a film that owes more to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Mario Bava, and Dario Argento than to the recent trend towards torture porn. Relying on a monochromatic color scheme that ranges from ashen white to ghastly black, Kent creates an ever present sense of terror as a widowed mother and her son are forced to confront and battle the malevolent and mysterious Babadook in a slow descent into psychological torment. (2014, 94 min, DCP Digital) KC
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More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.


MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS

The Film Studies Center (University of Chicago) presents An Evening with Ernie Gehr on Friday at 7pm, with Gehr in person. The famed experimental filmmaker will screen a selection of his recent digital video work: PHOTOGRAPHIC PHANTOMS (2013, 27 min), PICTURE TAKING (2010, 10 min), WINTER MORNING (2013, 18 min), BROOKLYN SERIES (2013, 8 min), and A COMMUTER'S LIFE (WHAT A LIFE!) (2014, 20 min). It's at the Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.). Free admission.

The Chicago Film Seminar welcomes Richard Dyer (King's College London), who will give the talk Anything, and More, for the Family: Seriality and the Set Piece in the Italian giallo film on Tuesday at 6:30pm. It's at DePaul's Loop Campus in the Daley Building (14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room LL 102; use the entrance located at 247 S. State St.). Free admission.

Chicago Filmmakers and Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria St., UIC) present Does the world exist, if I am not watching it? on Wednesday at 7pm. Screening are Janie Geiser's KINDLESS VILLAIN (2010), Basma Alsharif's WE BEGAN BY MEASURING DISTANCE (2009), Travis Wilkerson's NATIONAL ARCHIVE V. 1 (2001), Soon-Mi Yoo's DANGEROUS SUPPLEMENT (2006), George Barber's THE FREESTONE DRONE (2013), and Jennet Thomas' BECAUSE OF THE WAR (2005). Approx. 80 min total. All Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format. Free admission.

Chicago Filmmakers and Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln Ave.) present local filmmaker Kris Swanberg's 2012 feature EMPIRE BUILDER (72 min) and her  2013 short BABY MARY (8 min) on Thursday at 7:30pm. Both Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format.

The Conversations at the Edge series at the Gene Siskel Film Center presents John Gerrard: Networks and Power on Thursday at 6pm, with Gerrard in person.

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (600 S. Michigan Ave., Columbia College) presents Video Playlist: An Ordinary Instant on Wednesday at 6pm. Screening are INVENTARIO (Beatriz Santiago Munoz, 2006), LA CABEZA MATO A TODOS (Beatriz Santiago Munoz, 2014), MY THROAT MY AIR (Loretta Fahrenholz, 2013), BAILU DREAM (Nicholas Boone, 2012), and MOON STREET (Larissa Lewandowski, 2013). Approx. 71 min total, Digital and Video Projection - Unconfirmed Formats. Free admission.

Threewalls (119 N. Peoria St., Suite 2C) presents Direct Object/Direct Action Live with ACRE TV on Friday at 7p. ACRE TV will stage a live event in which the TV stream will operate as a prop/instrument/soundtrack for performances.

The Eye & Ear Clinic series at SAIC presents Queering New Media, a presentation and panel discussion, on Tuesday at 6:30pm at the 112 S. Michigan building (Room. 1307). Panelists include Porpentine, Judd Morrissey, Nu Eevul, and Luis Mejico.

The Chicago Irish Film Festival opens on Friday and runs through March 7 at the Music Box Theatre and other locations. Full schedule at www.chicagoirishfilmfestival.com.

Black Cinema House (7200 S. Kimbark Ave.) screens Lee Daniels' 2009 film PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL "PUSH" BY SAPPHIRE (110 min, DVD Projection) on Friday at 7pm. Free admission, but limited seating; RSVP at www.blackcinemahouse.org.

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Jean-Luc Godard's 1985 film HAIL MARY (82 min, 35mm) and Anne-Marie Miéville's companion short THE BOOK OF MARY (25 min, 35mm) are on Saturday at 4:45pm and Wednesday at 6pm; Safi Yazdanian's 2014 Iranian film WHAT'S THE TIME IN YOUR WORLD? (101 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 4:45pm; and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's 2014 Iranian film TALES (88 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: the U of C student group FOTA Film Festival is on Saturday at 1pm; Carmelo Bene's 1968 film OUR LADY OF THE TURKS (124 min, 35mm) is on Sunday at 7pm; Jacques Doillon's 2008 film JUST ANYBODY (121 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm; Akiva Schaffer's 2007 film HOT ROD (88 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; Gini Reticker's 2008 documentary PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL (72 min, Unconfirmed Format) is on Thursday at 4:30pm; and Paolo Dominici's 1973 film SISTERS OF SATAN (100 min, 16mm) is on Thursday at 9:15pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Local filmmaker Michael Caplan's 2014 documentary ALGREN: THE MOVIE (87 min) is on Tuesday at 7:30pm, with Caplan in person; Norman Z. McLeod's 1932 Marx Brothers comedy HORSE FEATHERS (68 min, 35mm) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; Tsuneo Kobayashi's 2013 Japanese animation THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE (112 min) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight and Sunday at 11:30am; and Joe Lynch's 2014 film EVERLY (92 min) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight. Unconfirmed Formats except where noted.

Facets Cinémathèque plays Lance Edmands' 2013 film BLUEBIRD (90 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week's run.

The DuSable Museum screens Justin Simien's 2014 film DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (108 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Friday at 6:30pm.

The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Ave.) screens Federico Fellini's 1960 film LA DOLCE VITA (174 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.

Sentieri Italiani (5430 N. Broadway Ave.) screens Maria Sole Tognazzi's 2013 film VIAGGO SOLA [A FIVE STAR LIFE] (85 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 4pm. $20 admission day-of, space permitting.

 

ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS

Blanc Gallery (4445 Martin L. King Dr.) opens the exhibition Nacelle, a show of video work by Marco G. Ferrari, on Saturday (opening reception 6-9pm). The show runs through May 1.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents German artist Clemens von Wedemeyer's HD video installation Muster (Rushes) (2012). On view February 21 to July 26.

David Weinberg Photography (300 W. Superior St., Suite 203) continues the exhibition Try Youth As Youth, which includes an installation version of Tirtza Even's NATURAL LIFE, plus work by Steve Davis, Steve Liss, and Richard Ross. Runs through May 8.

Threewalls (119 N. Peoria St., Suite 2C) continues Jaime Davidovich: Outreach 1974-1984 through March 21. The exhibition, which features video and television work by the Argentinean artist, is comprised of three programs of work, which will rotate over the course of the show; check http://three-walls.org for the schedule.

Melika Bass' solo exhibition The Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast, an immersive multi-channel video and sound installation, continues through April 19 at the Hyde Park Art Center.

Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria, UIC) continues the exhibition Visibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen through March 14.

Anri Sala's 2003 digital video installation Mixed Behavior (8 min loop) runs through March 1 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

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.

The Northbrook Public Library film series is on hiatus during renovations at the library. Expected completion is Spring 2015.

The Northwest Chicago Film Society is again on hiatus for their weekly series, with the closing of the Patio Theater. They plan to do occasional screenings as opportunities arise.

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CINE-LIST: February 27 - March 5, 2015

MANAGING EDITOR /
Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Julian Antos, Kian Bergstrom, Kyle Cubr, Mojo Lorwin, Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Harrison Sherrod, Michael G. Smith, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Kyle A. Westphal, Darnell Witt

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