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:: Friday, JUNE 17 -
Thursday, JUNE 23 ::
The Music Box opens Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s new documentary DE PALMA this week and presents a sidebar mini-retrospective of eight films (most in 35mm and THE UNTOUCHABLES in 70mm!) by its subject, director Brian De Palma. We’ve gone a bit overboard in our coverage, so it’s being run in a separate section right below CRUCIAL VIEWING, as a Crucial Addendum.
Edward F. Cline’s CAPTAIN JANUARY (Silent American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Wednesday, 7pm
Doc Films’ summer schedule was just announced, so we didn’t have time to do a proper write-up on this film, but it’s certainly Crucial Viewing due to its rarity, the historical importance of its star, and in that it’s showing as a preserved archival print from the Library of Congress. If the title sounds familiar, no, it’s not the 1936 Shirley Temple film. Rather, it is a silent version of the same story staring an earlier child star titan, Baby Peggy, whose fame was unparalleled and box-office power was dominant for a brief spell in the 1920s, and the majority of whose films are now lost (including most of her 150+ shorts). Baby Peggy, now Diana Serra Cary, currently has the distinction of being one of the last surviving actors of the silent era (born 1918). (1924, 64 min, 35mm Archival Print) PF
More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.
Billy Wilder's LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (American Revival)
Northwest Chicago Film Society at Northeastern Illinois University (The Auditorium, Building E., 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) - Tuesday, 7:30pm
Audrey Hepburn is the jeune fille whose father, Maurice Chevalier (who else in Billy Wilder's Paris, borrowed wholesale from Lubitsch?), is a private eye specializing in trailing cheating wives. More often than not, they're cheating on their husbands with Gary Cooper's decaying American playboy, with whom Hepburn becomes infatuated after seeing his image in a surveillance photograph (youth and death, united at last!). After she overhears one of her father's clients plotting to gun down Cooper in the hotel suite where he meets the man's wife nightly, she decides to rescue him. Sneaking across a balcony, she arrives at the window outside Cooper's suite, and the scene that follows in one of the simplest and most beautiful Billy Wilder ever directed. First there's a close-up of Hepburn's face, the expression vaguely startled. The next shot is of Cooper and the cheating wife, but the camera is not placed where Hepburn would be; it's not from her point of view. Instead, it's startlingly close to the couple, who are dancing slowly to a hired Gypsy band. The shot is only a few second long, but it's the closest Wilder would get to any of his characters until THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. Wilder, whose camera is always judging, is here completely without judgment. The lovers are covered by a warm shadow, and the details of their skin and their clothing are tactile; exact, but not caricaturistic. It's not that witty Billy is letting his guard down—it feels more like he realizes that here, his sarcastic stance is useless. This is something wit and cynicism can't affect, and he lets the camera linger a little, before the next shot comes and the comedy resumes. Like all of Wilder's romances, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON has been vastly underrated in favor of the showier cynical films. Yeah, Wilder appears to be a cynic on the surface, but the joke is on the people who believe in surfaces. It's the sort of thinking that Wilder despised above all: people who see themselves and others as types. The romantic Wilder is not a "secret Wilder"—it's a persona hidden in plain sight. Preceded by at TBA cartoon. (1957, 130 min, 35mm) IV
More info at www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org.
DRIFT: AN EVENING WITH JIM VENDIOLA (New American)
Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) - Saturday, 8pm (Repeats on Tuesday at 6:30pm at Columbia College, Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash Ave.)
The centerpiece of this program curated by local filmmaker Jim Vendiola is the eponymous DRIFT (2010, 33 min), Vendiola’s charming ode to Chicago and twentysomething aimlessness. It centers on a young woman who’s bored with her job, bored with living alone, and looking for a change to her routine. Most of the action takes place on a mild winter day when she decides to call in sick from work and go off on an adventure with a strange man she meets on Craigslist. Vendiola’s camerawork is jittery and his editing is no less nervous. Watching DRIFT, I kept expecting something terrible was going to happen to the characters at any time, but to my pleasant surprise it never did—rather, life manages to fall into place for the characters with the sort of randomness one associates with tragedy. Another highlight of the program is Joanna Arnow’s brilliant BAD AT DANCING (2015, 11 min), a study in female rivalry and sexual embarrassment that suggests an update on an Elaine May satire by way of one of Catherine Breillat’s psychosexual provocations. Formally assured, unpredictable, and brutally funny, it raises high hopes for Arnow’s next feature (which is hopefully coming soon). An even sicker comedy is Andrew Laurich’s A REASONABLE REQUEST (2015, 8 min), which closes out the program. Detailing the uncomfortable reunion between an estranged father and son, it’s a dirty joke played with deadly seriousness, given unexpected weight by a fine performance from Mr. Show’s John Ennis as the father. Also on the program are Zak Forsman’s MODEL/PHOTOGRAPHER, Rose Stark’s DAVID’S STORY, Matt Paley’s EXTERIORS, and HEARTBEAT, a Vendiola-directed music video for local rock outfit the Sleepovers. (Approx. 77 min total, 2010-16, Digital File Projection) BS
More info at www.chicagofilmmakers.org.
CRUCIAL ADDENDUM: BRIAN DE PALMA
Music Box Theatre – Friday-Thursday
Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s DE PALMA (New Documentary)
Check Venue website for showtimes
[The documentary DE PALMA was not available for preview, so in lieu of a review of that we have a general overview/appreciation of the director.]
Has there ever been a modern filmmaker that can divide the aisles like Brian De Palma? He makes blockbusters, sparingly, mixing the high profile with the personally under-the-radar. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is in every way a blockbuster of the mammoth scale, yet it also manages to fit right alongside the entire body of De Palma's work. In its cinematic construction lay scenes in which what we witness to be normalcy/truth are followed by shots or scenes that expose everything as a lie; there are surveillance cameras of all shapes and sizes monitoring the very surface of what is seen, a hero bound to get to the bottom of a conspiracy while trying to redeem themselves over a past trauma, plus not to mention the dazzling formal mastery on display, giving its technique over to new meaning, as filmic wonderment becomes a tool in which to purge the very nature of what is seen and felt. However theoretical you want to draw Brian De Palma, everything serves a function for entertainment, never too far from the importance of keeping an audience on the edge of their seat. RAISING CANE delights in it’s Buñuelian-surrealism by showing characters revisiting similar settings throughout their reality and dreams, unsure where one ends and one begins, while shifting gears so fast that the need for clever twists become obsolete, and a purer cinema is had as a result. FEMME FATALE (closer to MULHOLLAND DRIVE and HOLY MOTORS than anything else) uses repetition as its very function of creation, returning constantly to places and situations with images and characters bleeding over from previous scenes, as if the very nature of the film can’t keep up with the main character’s lies and imagined realities. FEMME FATALE fuses the idea of dreams and film together as one, seen as a temporary escape from one’s own past mistakes and traumas, as characters create their own thrillers in their heads while desperately clinging to the reality that keeps shifting all around them. Of course with De Palma, not only do the individual films reveal their stories through the nature of repetition, so does the context of De Palma’s entire body of work. Objects, faces, clothes, and rooms always reappear: the body double, the disguise from the murderer in DRESSED TO KILL popping up in SCARFACE, RAISING CANE, BODY DOUBLE, and PASSION, as well as certain situations being nodded to from film to film. Take for example a scene in FEMME FATALE where Antonio Banderas’ character follows Rebecca Romijn around a city, after being instructed by a voice on the phone to do so. While tailing the mystery woman, Banderas sees things that to him, reveal her to be a woman in trouble, beaten by her diabolical husband, all the while unaware of the fiendish plot/truth simmering underneath, as he decides to play hero while simultaneously being fascinated by her as a sexual object. Also, following both Banderas and Romijn is a shadowy character played by Gregg Henry. Everything just mentioned is a virtual re-telling of a scene in BODY DOUBLE, even down to having the same actor, Henry, playing the shadowy character in both films. FEMME FATALE even features a glowing-red poolroom with a fight involving a pool cue, and a jukebox sound-tracking the action, à la CARLITO’S WAY. Spending time with the entirety of De Palma’s work allows the viewer to catch every visual reference and nod, as if all the films function as one, revealing a key to the filmmaker’s imagination and thought-process. Going as far back as his late 60’s work GREETINGS, one finds the seeds for political conspiracy taking root in its characters’ minds, dictating their every action that follows. The American Cinema has always kept De Palma neatly-categorized under the file “subject for further research,” as if the bubbling satire beneath his films’ surfaces were a gate blocking viewers and critics from taking him seriously as a filmmaker. His recent film about the Iraq War, REDACTED, is a modern re-telling of his Vietnam-war film CASUALTIES OF WAR. What possibly evaded viewers when it came to a film like REDACTED, was the level at which De Palma was playing with the flimsiness of the image itself, revealing the documentation of the war, not to mention the war itself, to be a badly disguised farce, revealing its true nature in the very last minutes of the film. DE PALMA is evidence of the importance of popular filmmakers of their era to pay homage to filmmakers of the past, giving collective rise to how vital a filmmaker like Brian De Palma is to our history. Like his films, replaying what has come before can tell us how to move forward. I seem to recall in the history books, a certain filmmaker of suspense films being labeled as a pure genre filmmaker by critics of his time, until a group of younger, contemporary critics/filmmakers proved the case for his genius in the late 50’s-60’s, by writing articles, books, and making films drawing from his influence. Certainly it’s not too late for De Palma as well? (2015, 111 min, DCP Digital) JD
Brian De Palma's PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
Friday, 4:30pm and Midnight
A hit only in Winnipeg (a city then and now of exquisite good taste), PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE seems to have everything going against it. Music by the anti-cool songsmith Paul Williams, who also plays one of the leading roles, an alienating, mannered, downright strange performance by William Finley in the title role, a visual scheme exuberant with kitsch, gaudy colors, and off-putting compositions, and a tone of jokiness and self-mockery resolutely at odds with the deadly seriousness of the subject matter: at first glance, there's nothing about the movie that's not at odds with itself. It's the same with the plot line, which is so absurdly constructed and disconcerting as to fairly defy summary. Winslow Leach, bespectacled composer of a cantata about Faust, has his music stolen by the Svengali-esque Swan, a producer and nightclub owner. Framed as a heroin dealer, Winslow is sent to Sing Sing, where all his teeth are extracted in an experimental medical procedure. He soon escapes, however, when he hears his own songs on the radio being butchered and breaks in to Swan's record-pressing plant, only to have his head trapped in the machinery. Now with the grooves of the hated record inscribed on his face, and his own voice destroyed, he determines to destroy Swan's nightclub, disguising himself as a cybernetic owl, only to be waylaid in his quest for revenge when he falls in love with the ingénue Phoenix, played by the great Jessica Harper. And that's just the first two reels. There are a dozen musical numbers, elaborately staged and hilariously parodic, and a series of terrible murders, committed grotesquely by the otherwise sympathetic hero, Winslow, all of which work to prevent any attempt on our part figure out what in the world we're watching. PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE never lets us get comfortable, and this is not merely on the level of plot. The film's strange, distracting style and other-worldly sights and sounds are just artificial enough to suggest that the work is wholly within a fantasy land, the fairy-tale world of the classic Hollywood musical, and just nasty, explicit, and corporeal enough to indicate that we're seeing a version of reality. After Winslow becomes the Phantom, he plants a time bomb in the trunk of a prop car about to be rolled onto a stage crowded with his enemies. It's is a dead ringer for the bomb we see in the opening seconds of TOUCH OF EVIL, and what follows is nothing less than a stunning one-upping of that film's luxurious and deadly first shot. Not content with one mobile camera, De Palma shoots his car-bombing in split-screen and during a song-and-dance routine. On one level, it's an exercise in audacity and confusion and suspense, a great director showing off. But, as in all aspects of PHANTOM, the segment serves to unnerve the viewer tonally, preventing us from fully enjoying the technical mastery of the style or from enmeshing ourselves within the story and feeling unmitigated suspense and horror, from either condemning or identifying with the characters and their actions. Hilarious, horrifying, mortifying, embarrassing, engrossing, and delirious all at once, PHANTOM's masterful control over every aspect of cinema makes it impossible to truly come to term with, but makes it one of the most profoundly pleasurable experiences in American cinema. (1974, 94 min, DCP Digital) KB
Brian De Palma’s DRESSED TO KILL
Friday, 9:30pm and Monday, 4:30pm
DRESSED TO KILL opens like a diamond reflecting light in many directions, inside the Day-Glo ambience of a bedroom, bathed in the immortal sound-sphere of Pino Dinnaggio’s soft-core string arrangements; the mind is where this film begins and ends. The glare of light pierces through the skin of this film like a sharpened razor, tearing at the fabric of the illusion. No other filmmaker, other than Godard, has played so much with what we as viewers perceive as the surface, or surfaces of films, revealing their layers into a sinking hole, like mirrors reflecting into themselves. This is the start of what we have come to know as Brian De Palma. While his previous films pointed towards the direction this film would take audiences, this is the film from which the rest follows. The layers of reality are just as buried as the more “obvious” BODY DOUBLE years later, and this work cements the filmmaker as the premiere Master of Subversion. While its tempting for critics to dish out weak cases in the trial of “Is De Palma the new Hitchcock?” maybe we as viewers, in our own times, should better ask the question “Is De Palma the new Buñuel?” A great deal could be said on that point, avoiding the narrow view to which we compare De Palma to Hitchcock; but what will this serve other than a base entry-way into De Palma the filmmaker? Maybe this is the ultimate juncture where PSYCHO and BELLE DE JOUR meet? Maybe De Palma better illustrates the similarities between Buñuel and Hitchcock? Or maybe De Palma is just De Palma and we’d serve his work, and ourselves, better if we proceeded as such? Yes, this film is an almost reimagining of PSYCHO, more so, an examination of the Hitchcock film itself, in which all the elements from the 1960 classic are fleshed out in the most literal sense: there is the murder of an innocent woman trying to regain her moral compass, her discussion with the unknowing murderer about her position in life, a killer with multiple personalities, a relative of the victim investigating the murder, the psychologist’s explanation, nefarious showers, and cross-dressing. De Palma seems to be daring critics and viewers to make the obvious comparisons, as he would do so more graphically the rest of his career. There may be no greater filmmaker, sans Griffith, to truly develop/invent the cinema like Hitchcock (certainly directors like Scorsese and Polanski “rip off” or “pay homage” to Hitchcock as much) and De Palma understands Hitchcock’s position as bedrock in the proliferation of the cinematic language. He understands that to try to avoid imitating Hitchcock within the “thriller genre” is almost as foolish as someone simply trying to BE Hitchcock. Its of note to mention the emotional connection that runs throughout the film, that of a boy being separated from his mother. While the emotions are less obvious than they are in an emotionally fuelled work like CARLITO’S WAY, they are not simply absent. Over the course of the film, the boy’s obsession with solving his mother’s murder, transitions into the fascination of using the eye of a camera to better establish a long-sought truth, one that will become more refracted and oblique as the investigation proceeds. As in a film like Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA, the original objective of the investigation is but a mere side-entrance into the connection between two lost souls as they solve the mystery together. This film is no more a horror film than the opening of BLOW-OUT is, and yet simply reducing the film to a mere commentary on genre, is completely missing the point. The ending of this film splits, like male and female, into two different planes of view, as we now get the voyeur perspective more explicitly, à la mental institution patients and customers at a posh Manhattan restaurant. To be more revealing about its conclusion is not so much an avoidance of things being spoiled, but more of things being discovered; this is not a film that sits neatly into the category of “well-defined,” but one that reveals itself over time, as it sweeps you up in the fantastical joys of how a film speaks to an audience and how an audience speaks to a film. (1980, 105 min, 35mm) JD
Brian De Palma’s SCARFACE
The director’s second biggest theatrical hit, and the one with the longest life as gangsta staple and dorm room wallpaper (not to mention decades of legendarily risible censored AMC schedule filling.) De Palma needed a grabber after the financial disaster of BLOW OUT, and he delivered in spades: a headline-ripping, three-ring circus of excess, causing an epic battle with the MPAA over its ultraviolent set-pieces and spare-no-expense disreputability. It was, and still is, despised by all the right people, and a few of the other kind, too. It’s not seen by De Palma partisans as anywhere near the purest representation of his sensibility, and they have a point; whole sequences roll by in a logy, somewhat rote haze. One can spend stretches of the film daydreaming about what it could have been if directed by its writer, Oliver Stone, in full Warners-meets-SALVADOR punch-and-parry tabloid mode. But despite those passages, SCARFACE still has its fascinations, beginning with its star. Nothing quite prepared 1983 audiences for the 180-degree change in Al Pacino’s basic attack, his very mien, his transformation from supreme underplaying to jabbing, bobbing, ostentatious bombast. The accent is broad and ludicrous, but the kinesis is unfettered, utterly free; for better or worse, this is the film where he became a wholly different kind of actor, and it is nothing if not captivating. And many of those set-pieces really are something; De Palma’s native willingness to go there, to deliver the goods, to break out the chainsaws, grenade launchers, and defenestrations with a childlike glee, a delinquent’s love of pissing off the squares, is appreciated if you’re just plain in the mood to get off. Even the three-hour running time works if you feel it as a cokey hangover instead of the rush that you go to a Scorsese for. It is, in the final analysis, a deeply strange affair when looked at in the right light. With Michelle Pfeiffer in the first bloom of career luminescence, F. Murray Abraham as a guy you can’t wait to see die, a bonhomous Robert Loggia, and the great actor Harris Yulin, who delivers the finest expulsive “Fuck you!” in the whole of American cinema. (1983, 170 min, 35mm) JG
Brian De Palma's CARRIE
Saturday, Midnight and Sunday, 7pm
The strange CARRIE finds De Palma in a mode of perpetual discovery, movement, and defilement. In the film's now-legendary second scene, Carrie White, High School senior, cleans her thighs in the shower after P.E. class. She drops her bar of soap, and we, but not she, see it bounce off the tiles at her feet only to be replaced by a stream of blood filling her hand. After a moment, she gazes into her palm, and we see her fingers in close-up, cupped and dripping with menses. For Carrie, it is a moment of unspeakable horror—she wails like a beast for someone to help her—a horror of sudden knowledge: her body isn't what she thought it was, is in fact terrifyingly unruly where it ought most be domestic. Her blood has revealed her body to be a thing she cannot recognize, a thing we and Carrie are soon to see has a power that, like her first period, is uncontrollable, bloody in effect, and invisible in source. This moment becomes the structuring conceit for both the film's thematics and its style: nearly every shot finds space operating as on the principle of the jack-in-the-box, showing us what we expect to see but in a different place or way than it ought to be. While punishing her daughter for daring to enter sexual maturity, Carrie's religious fruitcake mother works with an antique sewing machine in a forced deep-focus composition made possible by the split-field diopter. It is a deeply uncomfortable shot, with the mother framed far to the right and a vast and preternaturally focused empty kitchen behind her. Suddenly, Carrie emerges through an unseen door into that kitchen. Two shots later, Carrie is weeping in a medium shot, but in a mirror: De Palma has faded from the woman, still at work making clothes, to her daughter's face in reflection such that Carrie's image has exactly replaced that of her mother's head. These slightly off revelations repeatedly reveal hidden filths, corruptions, or hatefulnesses we hadn't access to before: a hurtful graffito, a murderous parent, a bucket of blood. CARRIE begins and ends not in blood but in bleedings, horrifying transfers of what we keep desperately contained within our bodies at all cost, and as such it is a film that itself metaphorically bleeds, spreading though every crevice of its diegesis, mapping out the creepily familiar and labyrinthine space of monstrosity. (1976, 98 min, 35mm) KB
Brian De Palma’s BLOW OUT
Sunday, 5pm and Monday, 9:30pm
The tides of auteurist reputation seem to be turning away from BLOW OUT and toward CARLITO’S WAY as De Palma’s finest achievement. Not, as they say, that there’s anything wrong with that; CARLITO is an undersung triumph and is held in special esteem by the director himself. But BLOW OUT remains De Palma’s signature moment, the nexus of so many strains of his directorial temperament: the longstanding fascination with technology blooming into fullest mastery of the filmmaker’s toolkit, the use of lens and angle to force the viewer into a way of seeing; the political bent of his young career metastasizing into a vision of macro- versus micropolitics no less despairing for their couching in pop thriller verities. John Travolta’s Jack Terri, a sound man reduced to working on T&A bloodbath B’s who finds himself front and center in an assassination conspiracy, seems like Keith Gordon’s whiz kid from DRESSED TO KILL now grown up, ostensibly wised up, but marinating in cynicism. He’s too young to be this beaten up, but beaten he is, phoning it in at the job, taking weakish jabs at the political operative who wants him to disappear after fishing escort Nancy Allen out of a river-sunk Presidential candidate’s car. Travolta is marvelous, by turns giving and withdrawn, petty and playful—a wounded romantic if ever there was one. (Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography is rightly renowned for it’s inky blacks, split diopters, and bravura 360-degree moves, but the cherry on the sundae is his lighting of his star’s eyes, which reaches Golden Age heights of expressiveness.) Travolta here embodies an underreported trait of De Palma’s—his deeply felt political sense, a foursquare sense of right and wrong that runs through his career from HI, MOM! to BLOW OUT, the furious CASUALTIES OF WAR, and REDACTED. Travolta processes every deception as a personal affront, and proceeds as such, bringing his technical prowess and sheer cussedness to bear, to the point of finally using Allen as bait to expose the conspiracy. The movie was originally to be called PERSONAL EFFECTS, and it never strays far from that title’s resonance. Travolta and Allen’s give and take, their flirts and terrors, their romance that dies aborning, is among the sweetest and saddest things you’ll ever see. (Allen is every bit the screen presence as Travolta, or at least as nearly beloved of the camera. Her comic timing is impeccable, and her character’s upshot heartbreaking.) BLOW OUT is, along with THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, the finest of modern American romantic tragedies, released at point in time when the moviegoing public had no inclination to buy tickets for such bitter pills, no matter how expert and tantalizing their coating. But what remains is that De Palma-ness: the whiz-bang and the mourning, the fetish and the hard truth, the sex and the lie. With Dennis Franz, John McMartin, and a scarifying John Lithgow. (1981, 108 min, 35mm) JG
Brian De Palma's BODY DOUBLE
Tuesday, 4:30 and 9:30pm
The 80s were a heady time: Apple released the Macintosh, Eli Lilly brought you Prozac, and Brian De Palma was constantly inventing new and exciting ways to fail the Bechdel test. BODY DOUBLE (1984) had the unenviable task of following up the director's DRESSED TO KILL (1980), BLOW OUT (1981), and SCARFACE (1983). Say what you will about those films—I think the horse is still breathing—but in the waning days of New Hollywood they occupied a certain place in its pantheon. Caine, Travolta, Pacino. Add to that mononymous list: Wasson. "Nobody's perfect" is the De Palma mantra though, and BODY DOUBLE manages to transcend its flaws en route to realizing its unique vision of Reagan-era Los Angeles. Craig Wasson plays Jake Scully, underemployed actor and amateur claustrophobic. When we meet Scully he's just suffered a series of unfortunate setbacks: he has a fit on the job, he catches his wife cheating on him, and is thus booted from their home. Temporarily adrift, an acting acquaintance offers him a plush housesitting gig high, high in the Hollywood Hills. From this lofty vantage point Scully makes a habit of spying on exhibitionist neighbor, Gloria, and under the flimsy pretense of chivalry the practice eventually evolves into outright stalking. No points for catching the Hitchcock nods; De Palma's allusions to (or outright theft of) works like REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO are so overt as to signal jumping off points rather than ends in themselves. In a surreal segue toward the end of the film, a lip-synching Holly Johnson of the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood leads Scully, suddenly decked out in thick-rimmed glasses and argyle, onto a porno set to the tune of "Relax." The sequence functions as a movie-within-a-movie; it's De Palma's "Broadway Melody Ballet," if you will, except Gene Kelly didn't find Cyd Charisse behind a door labeled 'SLUTS.' The "Relax" scene marks a tonal crossroads in BODY DOUBLE. Soon after, the proceedings begin to accelerate at an almost nightmarish rate and the tightly plotted thriller De Palma fashioned in the film's first half starts to unravel as the limits of internal plausibility are pushed to the extreme. If you're on De Palma's wavelength though it's a worthy tradeoff, as tension gives way to near mania. When the film was released, Roger Ebert characterized BODY DOUBLE as having De Palma's "most airtight plot" yet—an assertion it's hard to imagine Ebert leveling without cracking a slight smile. The virtue and, dare I say, greatness of BODY DOUBLE come not from bulletproof narrative or even rudimentary character development, but instead from a messier place. De Palma synthesizes a multitude of disparate references into a scathing critique of nice-guy chauvinism, critical Puritanism, and countless other -isms, all under the guise mindless genre fare. (1984, 114 min, DCP Digital) JS
Brian De Palma’s THE UNTOUCHABLES
For the most part, De Palma's career has moved between the very personal, deeply self-reflexive, and politically agitational films which he has largely written himself (the major exceptions here are the astonishing late ‘70s pair OBSESSION and THE FURY) and the impersonal, formalist exercises in genre and narrative construction for which he has mainly been a hired director for the projects of others. These journeyman pieces tend to be opportunities for him to explore tensions and structures in the creation and manipulation of space, of rhythm, of imagery that are more daring and extreme than what is found in his more organically built films. Depending on the very conventional, very unproblematic scripts and Hollywood-standard casting developed through the studio processes has allowed him to be more wildly and dangerously experimental in many ways in his direction, knowing that his competent and star-powered actors and predictable, predigested dialogue and story patterns will be reliably intelligible to a mainstream audience no matter what devious or disruptive visual strategies he might deploy around them. THE UNTOUCHABLES is one of De Palma's most extraordinary deviations from the norms of cinematic narrative, though its propulsive, fascistic screenplay by David Mamet and wooden, aw-shucks central performance by Kevin Costner do wonders in disguising that. De Palma creates a Prohibition-era Chicago that is drunk on violence and corruption, in which the vileness of the city's degradation and humiliation by Al Capone's rule of terror seeps up from the streets like a miasma, distorting the world as though the very atmosphere was drunk, as though the city buildings themselves were insane. He shoots in disconcerting, narratively-unmotivated wide angles, and makes his camera weave in eldritch patterns through corridors, through shootouts, through windows and off the edges of rooftops, creating a kind of evil-eyed counterpoint to the staid and simplistically heroic tale of white hats battling black hats that the movie's ostensibly telling. As the film progresses, the incoherence between the deeply sane, self-satisfied, and respectably inoffensive Hollywood half and the mad, self-critical, and cartoonish De Palma half reaches a breaking point in the justifiably lauded sequence in which Costner's Eliot Ness attempts to capture Al Capone's bookkeeper amidst a firefight in Union Station. Any pretense of realism is abandoned as De Palma teleports characters from one end of the station to another, has gunshots propel victims multiple yards through plate glass walls, dilates time well past its breaking point, and does this all as part of a grand upstaging of himself by building the shootout around a short moment lifted and perverted from Eisenstein's BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN. While others of his films are more accomplished and powerful and disturbing—there is nothing here to rival, for instance, the anti-patriotism of BLOW OUT and its vision of America as a machine for turning the deaths of the poor into capital, or the distressingly insoluble problems of free-floating personal identity, determinism, and illusory mental states that are at the heart of FEMME FATALE's double roles and unreliable narration—but the constraints provided by the crutches of so much prima facie normalcy come with their own radical freedoms. This is top-notch B-grade De Palma. (1987, 119 min., 70mm) KB
Brian De Palma's CARLITO'S WAY
Thursday, 4:30 and 9:20pm
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
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.
Daniel Mann’s THE ROSE TATTOO and Sidney Lumet’s THE FUGITIVE KIND (American Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Showtimes noted below
“Success and failure are equally disastrous,” Tennessee Williams once quipped. By this estimation, the film adaptations of his plays The Rose Tattoo and Orpheus Descending (renamed THE FUGITIVE KIND) were both disasters; the former was a veritable success and the latter a technical failure. Daniel Mann’s THE ROSE TATTOO (1955, 117 min, 35mm; Saturday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm) was both critically and commercially successful, receiving eight Academy Award nominations and winning three, including Best Actress (Anna Magnani, for whom Williams wrote the part; it was also her first American film) and Best Cinematography (James Wong Howe). Regardless of these accolades, it’s somewhat safe in how it translates the material to the big screen. As Dave Kehr notes in his review for the Chicago Reader, it’s directed “in the strident style of early television,” the pace and unevenness mimicking the aggressively compact medium. Magnani gives a compelling performance as an Italian seamstress mourning the death of her husband, though the initial intensity of her romantic fervor eventually gives way to roteness. Marisa Paven and Burt Lancaster, who play her whip-smart daughter and doltish would-be lover, respectively, also give notable performances, but the cumulative talent can’t quite make up for Mann’s uninspired direction. Sidney Lumet’s THE FUGITIVE KIND (1960, 119 min, 35mm; Saturday, 5:15pm and Tuesday, 6pm) is as ambitious as Mann’s film is prosaic, yet it’s not hard to see why it was and still might be considered a failure to some. Based on Orpheus Descending, which itself was an update of an earlier unproduced effort of his called Battle of Angels, it’s more explicitly Southern than THE ROSE TATTOO, and it uses the Orpheus myth to explore a perversely tight-knit Louisiana town from an outsider’s perspective. And when that outsider is played by Marlon Brando, you can trust there’ll be trouble. While his and Magnani’s performances—as a musically inclined rebel and the lonely store owner’s wife he falls in love with—are predictably captivating, it’s the direction and cinematography that make it either an interesting failure at worst or a visionary effort at best. (Joanne Woodward’s performance as Carol Cutrere, a self-proclaimed “lewd vagrant” who identifies with Brando’s character, is also worth noting, though it feels inexplicably separate from the film’s other idiosyncrasies.) Lumet asked cinematographer Boris Kaufman, brother of Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman, to make the film look both realistic and elegiac, which seems fitting for a Williams play. Lumet’s direction, however, is less felicitous; some of the framing is almost Wellesian, and the opening courtroom scene seems to be a holdover from his acclaimed directorial debut, 12 ANGRY MEN, made just a few years before. Still, the sum of these parts is somehow acceptable considering Williams’ own distinct style; both films, “disastrous” as though they may be by anyone’s standards, are fitting homages to one of literature’s unequivocal masters. KS
More info at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
Akira Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO (Japanese Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am
Kurosawa’s loose and darkly funny adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is a visually expressive marvel, with the director taking full advantage of the lateral possibilities of the widescreen frame. One scans the screen for details as if watching a tennis match—the garish visuals pop up on one side of the screen, then the other, then the other. (It’s hard to imagine Kurosawa having more fun on a picture than he did with this one.) Directed to behave like a mangy dog, Toshiro Mifune stars as Sanjuro, a wandering samurai who arrives in a small town and takes up work as a bodyguard (yojimbo) for two warring gangs. He cynically pits one group against the other, killing several baddies himself and allowing the gangs to take care of the rest. “Kurosawa converts the impending melodrama to comedy by abandoning his [usual] quest for fully human characters,” wrote Alexander Sesonske for the Criterion Collection in 2006. “Sanjuro is a Supersamurai, a whirlwind in combat; the village gangs are so grotesquely wicked, they become ludicrous and enlist neither our sympathy nor our belief. By the film’s end most are dead, but we feel no regret at the slaughter, nor cringe at its execution. The exaggerated evil of the gangs leaves them no other appropriate fate, and theirs is achieved with such style and cinematic verve that we are exhilarated by the spectacle and not at all dismayed by its content.” (1961, 110 min, 35mm) BS
More info at www.musicboxtheatre.com.
Scopitone Party 2 (Music Shorts Revival)
Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) - Wednesday, 8pm (Free Admission)
The definition and contours of obscenity enjoyed extensive litigation in American courts until the 1960s, reaching an anticlimactic apotheosis with Potter Stewart's infamous declaration that "I know it when I see it." Had Justice Stewart sought to single out work unambiguously conceived in the prurient interest, his clerks could well have hauled a Scopitone machine into the Supreme Court. When Scopitones are discussed today, they're often written off as feeble forerunners to music videos, but that's the least interesting way to engage these hoary, horny mystery-objects; projected on 16mm from within a hulking jukebox for a quarter a throw, the Scopitone delivered guileless, tone-deaf visions of sex and sensuality (and secondarily, pop music) to lonely men in nightclubs, train stations, bus terminals, and motel lobbies from Lodi to Wooster. (Appropriately, Scopitone, Inc. was financed with mob money and operated as a subsidiary of neon sign manufacturer Tel-A-Sign. Talk about vertical integration!) The Scopitone films are a swindler's emblem of Stag America, the beleaguered patriarch's prize that goes down like cheap vermouth at the bleary conclusion of an insurance claim adjusters' annual convention in Dubuque. In France, Scopitone films featured A-list musicians like Francoise Hardy; over here, the Scopitone roster consisted mostly of easy listening crooners, mid-list has-beens, and naive newcomers. In the really sad Scopitones, like Brook Benton's "Mother Nature, Father Time," the ostensible star knows he's only an also-ran to a cheap T & A showcase, pretending to smile while warbling his song and looking off somewhere in the distance like a terminal patient. In other cases, the disjunction between singer and stripper serves as a powerful lesson in the grammar of cinema. The editing is never invisible in a Scopitone--one minute we're watching Jody Miller singing about the straight-laced pleasures of being a housewife in "Queen of the House," the next minute some dancers are grinding across her newly-waxed kitchen floor in some very unmatronly bikinis. Were Miller and the dancers ever in the same room at the same time? Does one even know the other exists? Their relationship is established by the same deep principle of presumptive continuity demonstrated in the Kuleshov experiment. "Queen of the House" is a special Scopitone--one of the few where the subject of the song is explicitly at odds with the expressive ideas hatched by the burlesque hounds at Scopitone, Inc. In most Scopitone films, though, the sex is entirely gratuitous and totally incongruous. (In one instance, Back Porch Majority's "The Mighty Mississippi," the band actually sued Scopitone, Inc., for tarnishing their wholesome image with an unauthorized insertion of bouncing riverside cleavage.) The missing link between the buxom creations of Frank Tashlin and the hyperactive pop encyclopedias of Jean-Luc Godard, Scopitones demand more scholarly and archival attention. (Preserving the Scopitone library would merit a lifetime supply of Brylcreem and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.) Don't bother watching them on YouTube; you can only appreciate the full Scopitone experience in original 16mm prints, with scorching IB Technicolor and lifelike magnetic sound. [Note: the titles mentioned here are representative examples of the genre; the specific films to be screened have not been announced.] (c. 1960s, approx 90 min, 16mm) KAW
More info www.comfortstationlogansquare.org.
Robert Moore's MURDER BY DEATH (American Revival)
Northbrook Public Library (1201 Cedar Lane, Northbrook) – Wednesday, 1 and 7:30pm (Free Admission)
NOTE: Big Spoilers! -- Yes, Eileen Brennan was really funny in CLUE. But nearly a decade before playing Miss Peacock she was equally hilarious as Tess Skeffington, private eye Sam Diamond's leggy legwoman, in MURDER BY DEATH. In a movie crammed with zingy one-liners she gets some of the best, delivered with her trademark weary growl, including: "I'll tell you later. It's disgusting." Like most parodies, MURDER BY DEATH is a lot funnier if you're familiar with the original target. In this case, Neil Simon takes aim at fiction's most famous detectives, sleuths who (annoyingly) always seem to be two steps ahead of the audience when it comes to solving a crime. Thus, by the end of the film, when it's revealed that wealthy eccentric Lionel Twain (played by Truman Capote!) has not in fact been murdered but is alive and well and is actually Yetta, the cook (Nancy Walker!), Simon's point has been made: whodunits are horseshit. Really, the movie is just an excuse to watch James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, James Cromwell, and Estelle Winwood say some very funny things while interacting with Stephen Grimes' fantastic sets. (1976, 94 min, 35mm) RC
More info at www.northbrook.info/events/film.
Pier Paolo Pasolini's THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW (Italian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) – Thursday, 7pm
In 1963, the well-known atheist and Marxist Pier Paolo Pasolini collaborated with several directors on the satire ROGOPAG. Pasolini's segment, "La ricotta," starred Orson Welles directing a film about the life of Jesus Christ. Due to "publicly maligning the religion of the State" in his film, Pasolini received a suspended prison sentence and the film was banned. In a strange turn of events, only a year later he directed the critically acclaimed THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, winning the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the first prize of the International Catholic Office of Cinema. Now considered one of the best cinematic adaptations of Christ's life (played by a young Spanish student of economics named Enrique Irazoqui), the film begins with Christ's birth and continues through his betrayal by Judas and crucifixion at the hands of the Scribes and Pharisees. Most of the film simply concerns Christ sharing his teachings with people, the same beliefs now inculcated into our culture so deeply that they appear secular. Working under the tenets of Italian neorealism, Pasolini shot the film outdoors in the poor Italian district of Basilicata and its capital city Matera, capturing Christ and his disciples in long shots traveling through vast natural landscapes. Pasolini cast non-professional actors (including local shopkeepers, factory workers, and truck drivers) who fully embody their characters and do not rely upon make-up or elaborate costumes; the film and its realist aesthetic benefit most from these people. He also used actual text from the Bible rather than dramatically modifying it, which gives the film a sense of authenticity missing from other religious pictures. When later asked at a press conference why, as an atheist, he made a film about Christ, Pasolini replied, "If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for belief." THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW is a great, yet atypical, protest film from the 1960s, telling a story about the origin of faith not only in God, but also in humanity and why it continues to exist. (1964, 137 min, 35mm) CW
More info at www.docfilms.uchicago.edu.
Nathan Silver's STINKING HEAVEN (New American)
Filmfront (1740 W. 18th St.) – Saturday, 8pm
Films tagged with the "mumblecore" label have often come in for criticism for their structural formlessness and aesthetic blandness. What a treat it is then to see this largely improvised black-comedy/drama by prolific director Nathan Silver, who vividly recreates life in a New Jersey "sober living commune" circa 1990. Shot on lo-fi Betacam video, to reflect the consumer-grade visual style of the era, this remarkable microbudget sleeper also boasts convincing pre-internet-era production design as well as a fine ensemble cast of brave actors (headed by indie stalwarts Keith Poulson and Tallie Medel) whose characters videotape themselves re-enacting past traumatic events as a dubious form of self-therapy. The result is an atmosphere of almost unbearable intensity where, as in the work of Jacques Rivette, "real life" and performance mingle, giving the distinct impression that the potent onscreen drama must have reflected the off-screen drama of how the film was made. Also showing is Jack Dunphy’s 2015 short animated film SERENITY (6 min). Nathan Silver and Jack Dunphy in person. (2015, 70, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) MGS
Mia Hansen-Løve's EDEN (Contemporary French)
Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) – Tuesday, 6:30pm
It is a remarkable (albeit Francophilic) fact that one of the world's greatest living filmmakers--Claire Denis--and one of the world's greatest up-and-coming filmmakers--Mia Hansen-Løve--are, more-or-less, serious aficionados of club music, a relentless, ecstatic, and sometimes melancholic variety of genres which, to be honest, is poorly matched to many other emotions conventionally provoked by cinema. But like her protagonists in EDEN, Hansen-Løve has thrown caution to the wind and built an epic 21-year audiovisual mixtape around the prolonged young-adulthood of her brother, Sven Løve, a Parisian DJ whose social circle was obsessed with the soulful, vocals-heavy style of the 1980s-era Paradise Garage nightclub in New York (located around the corner from Film Forum). Her staging thrives in the events' thresholds--in those tunnels and stairways of echoing (and frequently Chicago-manufactured) basslines, spaces sometimes more memorable than the parties themselves--for those were the corporeal and mundane passages through which an apolitical generation in Europe and England found a temporary transcendence. But radically, EDEN's story is told less through plot and dialogue than in the gospel-influenced lyrics of the wall-to-wall soundtrack, stylistically constrained to express love, heartbreak, isolation, and communion. The addresser and addressee of these songs, once representing a choir speaking to god, comes to represent the voice of a lover to another; or from dancer to anonymous dancer; or from the DJ to the dance floor. "Follow me, where we can be free"; "Let's get close, closer than close"; "I'm trying to hold on to your love"; "One more time, one more time, one more time, one more time." (2014, 131 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) MC
More info at www.af-chicago.org.
Prince's UNDER THE CHERRY MOON (American Revival)
Black Cinema House at Bing Art Books (307 E. Garfield Blvd.) — Thursday, 6pm (Free Admission)
A weird tribute to pre-Code comedies made with the pacing and humor of a 1930s production and the aesthetics of a high-minded 80s music video transposed to some unusually (but beautifully) classical images courtesy of legendary Fassbinder and Scorsese collaborator Michael Ballhaus (he shot this one between AFTER HOURS and THE COLOR OF MONEY) —a mixture of new and old that borders on the Caraxian—UNDER THE CHERRY MOON is very certainly a vanity project, with special emphases on vanity and the most academic uses of project as a verb and whatever other terms you can think of that bring out the fact that this is an analysis of fantasy played as straight fantasy self-consciously. Shot from a script by No Wave Feminist and Nicholas Ray associate Becky Johnston (who'd eventually end up writing much more "respectable" and less self-aware fare in the 1990s), UNDER THE CHERRY MOON stars Prince in the Maurice Chevalier role, playing a good-hearted gigolo out to woo the women of Monaco. As a tiny man who wears a lot of make-up and wallpaper-patterned suits, Prince is inherently funny, and while the Prince of today is known for his apocalyptic self-seriousness, the Prince of mid-1980s realizes this and goes along with it, playing up his charming ridiculousness and shortness when he's not busy throwing in visual references to Jacques Demy's LOLA, having Ballhaus carefully frame and light his ass, making Jerry Lewis-like (a good point of comparison for the wackiness to earnestness ratio here) use of a 360° pan, or indulging in some gay-panic-free homoerotic humor with Jerome Benton of The Time. An Ernst Lubitsch parody directed as cross-pop-cultural pastiche, the movie's an ornate mirror for a man who's got no problem poking fun at his reflection. (1986, 98 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) IV
More info at bingartbooks.com.
MORE SCREENINGS AND EVENTS
Also at Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square this week: Euzhan Palcy’s 1983 Martiniquan/French film SUGAR CANE ALLEY (103 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 7:30pm (outdoor screening). Free admission.
The Chicago Film Archives presents Movies Under the Stars: Textured Lives on Friday at 9pm, outdoors at The Muffler Shop (359 E. Garfield Blvd.). Screening are three documentaries: GWENDOLYN BROOKS (1966, 29 min), LORRAINE HANSBERRY: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN THE CREATION OF DRAMA (1975, 35 min.), and THE WRITER IN AMERICA: TONI MORRISON (1978, 28 min). Unconfirmed formats. Free admission.
Black Cinema House (7200 S. Kimbark Ave.) screens Ronit Bezalel's 2015 documentary 70 ACRES IN CHICAGO: CABRINI GREEN (56 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Sunday at 4pm, with Bezalel in person. Free admission.
Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: German Kral’s 2015 Argentinean/German film OUR LAST TANGO (85 min, DCP Digital) begins a two-week run; Anne Bogart and Holly Morris’ 2015 documentary THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL (71 min, DCP Digital) and Jillian Elizabeth and Neil Dalal’s 2014 documentary GURUKULAM (108 min, DCP Digital) both play for a week; Št?pán Altrichter’s 2014 Czech/German film SCHMITKE (94 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 8pm (with Altrichter in person) and Sunday at 3pm; Petr Václav’s 2014 Czech/French film THE WAY OUT (103 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 5:15pm and Wednesday at 6pm; and George Kurian’s 2015 documentary THE CROSSING (55 min, DCP Digital) is on Monday at 6pm with Kurian and Human Rights Watch representative Bill Frelick in person.
Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen’s 2015 documentary RAIDERS!: THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE (95 min, DCP Digital) opens; Eric Zala’s 1989 film RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: THE ADAPTATION (100 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 4pm; Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s 2016 documentary WEINER (96 min, DCP Digital) continues; Phil Grabsky’s 2016 documentary RENOIR: REVERED AND REVILED (87 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am; Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film THE ROOM (99 min, 35mm) is on Friday at Midnight; and Jim Sharman’s 1975 film THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (100 min, 35mm) is on Saturday at Midnight.
Facets Cinémathèque plays Tali Shalom-Eze’s 2014 Israeli film PRINCESS (92 min, Unconfirmed Format) for a week-long run; and screens Marcel L’Herbier’s 1924 French silent L’INHUMAINE (135 min, Digital Projection) on Sunday at 4pm.
The Chicago Cultural Center screens Matt Wechsler’s 2014 documentary short I AM FOR PEACE (31 min, Video Projection) on Saturday at 2pm; and hosts the Cinema/Chicago screening of Chao-jen Hsu’s 2012 Taiwanese film TOGETHER (114 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission for both.
The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) screens Sebastian Grobler’s 2011 film LESSONS OF A DREAM (113 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6pm; and Eric Beaufils’ 2015 documentary SOLAR IMPULSE – ACROSS AMERICA (52 min, Video Projection – Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 6pm. Both Free Admission.
ONGOING FILM/VIDEO INSTALLATIONS
The Art Institute of Chicago presents Ragnar Kjartansson and the National's A LOT OF SORROW (2014) through October 2.
Luther Price: Flesh Fracture is on view at Mana Contemporary (2233 S. Throop) through August 12. Included in the show are selections of Price’s handmade 35mm slides from the series Sugar Fractures, Utopia, and Meat Chapter 3. Also on view are video projections of Price’s 1990/1999 Super-8mm films HOME and MEAT.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago exhibits Phil Collins’ 2004 video EL MUNDO NO ESCUCHARÁ (56 min) through August 21.
The exhibition Kartemquin Films: 50 Years of Democracy Through Documentary is on view at Expo 72 (72 E. Randolph St.) through August 20. The exhibit will include film stills, documents, cameras, and other material related to the organization’s history, and new items will be added through the show’s run. More info and a list of scheduled gallery talks at www.ktq50.org/exhibit.
The Arts Club of Chicago (201 East Ontario St.) presents the exhibition Sharon Lockhart Rudzienko though August 13. The show includes Lockhart’s newest film RUDZIENKO (2016, two channel video installation), along with related photographic work.
Scottish artist Luke Fowler has an exhibition of work at the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium (5701 S. Woodlawn Ave.). The show runs through July 1. Included are Fowler’s 2016 film FOR CHRISTIAN and his 2009 film series TENEMENT FILMS.