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:: Friday, FEB. 6 - Thursday, FEB. 12 ::


Andrzej Munk's THE PASSENGER (Polish Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Sunday, 11am

The 1961 death, by car accident, of Andrzej Munk brutally curtailed the life of perhaps the greatest filmmaker of the Polish Film School, a loss to cinema on the level of Jean Vigo succumbing to tuberculosis in 1934. In addition to being a celebrated documentarian, Munk had made three features and, at the time of his death, was in the process of shooting THE PASSENGER, the film he is most known for. It is a strange, tentative beast of a movie: disturbingly graphic, stylistically shocking, and achingly unfinished. Aboard a transatlantic ocean liner, a German woman, Liza, catches sight of another passenger. In a series of still images, for the scenes on the cruise ship were never completed, she confesses to her husband that she was not a prisoner in Auschwitz as he had believed but in fact an SS officer there, and that the other woman may well be one of her former prisoners, a Pole named Marta, whom she had believed to have died in the camp. In a complicated group of flashbacks, depicted in grueling, clinical live action, Liza narrates first to her husband, then to herself, episodes from her time at the concentration camp, memories that contradict one another, that circle back on uncannily lovely images of nightmarish savagery, that reek of self-justification and retrospective revision. Marta, seemingly powerless, was forced into a psychosexual power struggle by Liza--or did she invite it? Or were the games all just Liza's fantasies? The flashbacks themselves, all shot on location in Auschwitz, work out a shifting dynamic of power on the level of style, juxtaposing compositions of exquisite grace with the monstrousness of their contents: chimneys darkening the horizon with their human smoke are made to seem like an abstract forest of concrete death; a circle of Kapos torturing a shrieking naked woman is transformed into the face of a stopwatch; the camera tracks past an endless sea of faces of the condemned, erasing the distinctions between living and dead, between flesh and mud. The film has another, second narrator, a voice-over warring with the flashbacks, commenting on the film's construction, Munk's life, and the contradictions in the Nazi's tales. This second driving force refuses to allow any easy, stable interpretation of Liza's past to cohere, permanently opening the film's possibilities, forcing it wholly interrogative. It is a film in the process of coming apart, of exploding before our very eyes--its last moment, with a jolt, calls for a whole-scale re-evaluation of much of the 'present day' sequences. When Munk died, the scenes in the camp had been shot, but those on the ship existed only as tests and fragments. Notoriously fluid in his direction, Munk's final version of THE PASSENGER, had he lived to finish it, would doubtless not be the one we have, but using his notes and script drafts, his friends worked to shape the film into a completed form. Preceded by a brief and followed by a Q&A, led by Zbigniew Banas, film critic and instructor of Polish cinema at Loyola University. (1963, 62 min, 35mm) KB
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Celine Sciamma's GIRLHOOD (New French)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Check Venue website for showtimes

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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Laura Poitras' CITIZENFOUR (New Documentary)
Gene Siskel Film Center - See Venue website for showtimes

The first thing to be said about CITIZENFOUR, of course, is that it documents history in a momentously present-tense manner, a fly-on-the-wall (or bug-in-the-phone) record of a moment when the world changed. The long central section--with Poitras, Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Ewen MacAskill holed up in a hotel room in Hong Kong dissecting the clandestine, blatantly unconstitutional surveillance techniques of the NSA--unfolds with the quotidian sameness of many a continental breakfast. There's no attempt to make the material 'cinematic,' or fret over the limited number of potential camera angles. It's riveting stuff all the same, but chiefly for its rigor. Forget for a moment that it's distributed by the Weinstein Company and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature--CITIZENFOUR is best appreciated as an essay-film. CITIZENFOUR is a DV production, of course, but Poitras' sense of media heritage reaches back to an earlier era, looking for a model that predates the inspirational, talking head docs that clutter our screens today. The effect is akin to a 16mm tract screened in an empty university basement, or perhaps the kind of thing those punk kids in THE DEVIL PROBABLY would project for themselves after tiring of other atrocity films. Poitras' peculiar technique--she reads Snowden's communiqués aloud, but remains off-screen, narrating the events through sparse on-screen text--would not be out-of-place in an avowedly avant-garde effort from Harun Farocki or William E. Jones. It's a marvel of construction--especially for a documentary that began as something much broader, before Poitras even knew about Snowden or grasped the scale of NSA malfeasance. (The opening section--abbreviated profiles of William Binney and Jacob Appelbaum, shots of Greenwald futzing with a laptop in Brazil, ominous shots of a riotously unassuming data center in the middle-of-nowhere--is drawn from this early footage, a symphony of misdirection in search of a conductor.) George Packer, in a dubious profile of Poitras published in the New Yorker last year, claimed to be unmoved by CITIZENFOUR, but fascinated by its maker, sketching a patronizing dismissal of her ex-pat community. "Cut off from daily life in America, encrypted to the hilt, and surrounded by Europeans who were willing to believe the worst, Poitras was, in many ways, making a film about her own strange social world--an atmosphere that seemed likely to constrict the free flow of ideas," Packer demurred. He's half-right: CITIZENFOUR is not a paranoid vision of some imaginary global hegemon, but a portrait of an artist who felt it necessary to erase herself. (2014, 114 min, DCP Digital) KAW
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Shirley Clarke's PORTRAIT OF JASON (Documentary Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Sunday, 7pm

In 1966, Jason Holliday was a 33-year-old black gigolo and aspiring nightclub headliner, a man of tremendous physical presence and sensuality. Shirley Clarke's fascinating documentary, made over the course of a grueling alcohol-fueled and drug-addled twelve-hour shoot, presents him as a loquacious, charismatic, self-described 'male bitch' projecting a stunning immediacy, as though every aspect of his life, his feelings, his tragedies and achievements is open to us without reservation, and he seemingly has nothing but desire to reveal to the camera the entirety of his history. Clarke filmed him in her apartment with a minimal crew and two 16mm cameras as he reminisced, drank, smoked joints the size of my thigh, and in general ripped into everyone and everything in his life with candor and glee. But the very first words spoken are to reveal that 'Jason Holliday' was not his real name, that he was born instead Aaron Payne, and a mere four minutes into the movie, Holliday announces his ambition in life: 'What I really want to do is what I'm doing now, is to perform.' And so, from the very start, PORTRAIT OF JASON is insistent that we remember all we see here is illusion and fakery. Performance is the major theme of Clarke's film: the performances of Holliday himself, both of the celebrities he impersonates at various points and, more deeply, of the Holliday persona itself; the stories Holliday tells of his employers, friends, lovers, and enemies, all in various crises of identity; the ambiguous presences of the off-screen Clarke and collaborator Carl Lee, whose voices are heard but whose faces are never seen; and that of the film itself, which has been crafted in the most artificial and patently alienating manner. Filled with jarring, out-of-focus compositions, perpetually mobile camerawork, zooming, panning, capturing and losing Holliday's face, PORTRAIT is a film of unparalleled artifice: there's not a moment that doesn't call attention to itself as constructed, as at least somewhat false, as deliberately foreign. Lauren Rabinovitz has claimed that Holliday's work in the film is done 'in order to make himself an object of art,' arguing that the film has two mutually-contradictory end-games in mind, both to endorse and enable Holliday's transmutation of the raw material of his existence into beauty and at the same time to reveal that very transformation to be founded on nothing but an elaborate network of fictions and deceit. His 'self-aware expertise at playing the victim and at manipulating his position,' she writes, 'puts in doubt his role as the unassuming object of the camera's gaze.' Indeed, there's nothing unassuming at all about Holliday. Within the film, he's a figure of almost purely unadulterated assumption: playing with our assumptions about what life as a gay black hustler would mean, playing with the conventions of the documentary form that lead us to assume his stories, his tears, his soul-bearing is all real. The film is incredibly moving throughout, a masterpiece of affective manipulation, and just as strongly is an elaborate self-critique, continually stressing at every turn that nothing we see is unadorned, no story we hear can be trusted, no sob not at the same time a back-handed chuckle. Has Holliday been lying all along? And would that really diminish the power of his words? The central triumph of the film is that it shows truth as something strange to itself, a side-effect of the narratives we concoct to make sense of our lives and a consequence of the incessant self-doubt that at every second threatens to collapse all those narratives into despair. (1967, 105 min, 35mm) KB
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Nuri Bilge Ceylan's WINTER SLEEP (New Turkish)
Facets Cinémathèque - Check Venue website for showtimes

Nuri Bilge Ceylan follows up his 2011 masterpiece ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA with this impressive near-companion piece, a Chekhovian chamber drama that focuses on dialogue-driven interior scenes as much as the earlier movie did on its majestically filmed journey through the barren Turkish landscape at night. The central figure here is Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), a retired, middle-aged actor who runs a hotel in rural Anatolia with his pretty young wife, Nihal (Melisa Sözen), and his combative, recently divorced sister, Necla (Demet Akbag). The verbal sparring with which Aydin frequently engages both women serves to mask the disappointment he feels with himself over his inability to start his long-cherished dream project of writing a non-fiction account of the history of the Turkish theater. While some critics have complained that this year's Jane Campion-led Cannes jury was only recognizing the longest film and not the best by bestowing Ceylan with the Palme d'Or, this does a disservice to his achievement; WINTER SLEEP does indeed require each one of its three hours and 16 minutes in order to fully illustrate Aydin's predicament in both its tragedy and ridiculousness (the film is at times surprisingly funny), and no contemporary director has a better compositional eye than Ceylan, who was a professional photographer before he turned to filmmaking. Perhaps not as formally perfect as ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, this is nonetheless a spellbinding experience--masterfully written, directed and performed. (2014, 196 min, Unconfirmed Format) MGS
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Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Italian Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Wednesday, 7 and 9:45pm

For many, the greatest film about filmmaking and Federico Fellini's finest hour. 8 1/2 is a work of such grandeur that it demands to be seen on a big screen--if nothing else but for the Chagall-esque final images, a celebration of the "carnival of life" as dreamt by a passionate artist on a massive oceanside set for a film that will never be made. It's also a film that demands to be heard in a theater, as the music of Nino Rota (Fellini's frequent collaborator) is rarely less than ravishing. "Fellini's camera is endlessly delighting. His actors often seem to be dancing rather than simply walking... [and Rota's] music brought a lift and subtle rhythm to their movements," wrote Roger Ebert in his "Great Movies" review, a deft formal analysis of a director often accused of groundless style. But if there's a movie defensible for groundless style, it's 8 1/2, a portrait of a film director's vibrant inner life as a mosaic of memories, dreams, sex fantasies, and ever-surprising images. Marcello Mastroianni, at the height of his star power, managed to make an iconic performance by standing in for Fellini, but the whole cast is ultimately dwarfed by the scope of Fellini's imagination. To again quote Ebert's review: "Few directors make better use of space. One of his favorite techniques is to focus on a moving group in the background and track with them past foreground faces that slide in and out of frame. He also likes to establish a scene with a master shot, which then becomes a close-up when a character stands up into frame to greet us. Another technique is to follow his characters as they walk, photographing them in three-quarter profile, as they turn back toward the camera. And he likes to begin dance sequences with one partner smiling invitingly toward the camera before the other partner joins in the dance. All of these moves are brought together in his characteristic parades. Inspired by a childhood love of the circus, Fellini used parades in all his films--not structured parades but informal ones, people moving together toward a common goal or to the same music, some in the foreground, some farther away... I have seen 8 1/2 over and over again, and my appreciation only deepens. It does what is almost impossible: Fellini is a magician who discusses, reveals, explains and deconstructs his tricks, while still fooling us with them." (1963, 138 min, 35mm) BS
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Frank Capra's LOST HORIZON (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am

The novelist Graham Greene, at one time a great admirer of Capra's work, declared in his review of this film that "[n]othing reveals men's characters more than their Utopias." The Utopia in question is Shangri-La, the setting of Capra's LOST HORIZON, which is based on the eponymous novel by James Hilton. (Hilton's novel is the origin of Shangri-La, the idea of which has since been appropriated for various other mediums.) The film is primarily about a British diplomat, Robert Conway, who's kidnapped along with his brother and three others after escaping a war-torn city in China. Their plane is hijacked and then subsequently crashed into the Himalayan mountains, from which the group is rescued by the mysterious inhabitants of the aforementioned paradise. As Greene continues in his review, "This Utopia closely resembles a film star's luxurious estate in Beverly Hills; flirtatious pursuits through grape arbors, splashings and divings in blossomy pools under improbable waterfalls, and rich and enormous meals." The film's detractors largely criticized it for focusing more on theme rather than people; though famed character actors Thomas Mitchell and Edward Everett Horton contributed their talents to the otherwise lackluster ensemble, not even they can escape the strict characterizations assigned to each performer. Thus it's not the plot that's interesting about the film, but rather what it represents in the context of Capra's life and career. Career-wise, LOST HORIZON was one of Capra's greatest debacles, "a colossal act of hubris, a self-inflicted wound that caused lasting damage to Capra's career," as Joseph McBride states in his book Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. The usually austere director went significantly over budget, and it took years for the film to earn back its total cost, which was already more than Columbia had ever spent on a single production. The original cut was nearly six hours, later edited down to a little over three, and then edited several more times over the years to cuts of various lengths. (The version showing this weekend is 132 minutes and is the version Capra was most comfortable with before it was cut again by Columbia president Harry Cohn that same year and then in 1942 when the film was reissued as LOST HORIZON OF SHANGRI-LA. The film's restoration took 13 years and still isn't complete; while the film's soundtrack was recovered in its entirety, only 125 minutes of film could be assembled from various sources. Publicity photos and still frames were inserted where footage was missing.) Within the context of Capra's biography, it's interesting precisely for Greene's assessment of how Shangri-La is depicted. A lifelong Republican, Capra's championing of the everyman was more complicated than general analyses of his films would lead anyone to believe. Having grown up in poverty after emigrating from Sicily in the early 1900s, his attitude towards the upper classes was one of both antipathy and envy. The philosophical ideas espoused in LOST HORIZON don't specifically target the aristocracy as Capra does in some of his most populist films, but it does advance somewhat socialist ideals of pacifism and equality. However, as both Greene and McBride point out, the depiction of the main residence in Shangri-La hints more so at a benign colonialism in which some are more superior than others, but only in the most anodyne way. Just as one might see Capra's tried-and-true tropes in Conway's fatigued idealism, one can see the true Capra in his Utopia. (1937, 132 min, DCP Digital) KS
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Milos Forman's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Thursday, 7pm

One of only three films (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS being the other two) to ever win the 'Big Five' Academy Awards categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is widely considered to be one of the greatest American films ever made. Milos Forman's film boldly questions the powers of authority and the perceptions of what makes a person sane or insane. Taking place at a psychiatric hospital during 1963, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is presented from the perspective of Randle Patrick 'Mac' McMurphy (Jack Nicholson). He is a charismatic and anti-authoritarian criminal who's transferred into the mental institution in order to avoid the hard labor prison farm sentence for statutory rape. Shortly upon his arrival, Mac becomes entrenched in a battle of wits with the icy, suppressive Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). The head nurse delights in subtle humiliation and mind-numbingly boring routine to keep her patients at bay. Backdropped by a haunting, understated score by Jack Nitzsche and supported by the strong source material of Ken Kesey's audacious novel, the film excels across the board. Also of note are memorable performances by a young Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd (his onscreen debut), and Scatman Crothers. Although the movie's ending is well known to many by now, its messages of self-empowerment and altruism are fully realized by the novel's original protagonist, the mountainous Chief Bromden (Will Sampson), and the film's potent conclusion. An American classic, bookended by shots of the gorgeous mountains and wilderness of Oregon, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST resonates as powerfully today as it did nearly forty years ago. (1975, 134 mins, DCP Digital) KC
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Michael Curtiz's CASABLANCA (American Revival)
Park Ridge Classic Film Series at the Pickwick Theater (Park Ridge) - Tuesday, 7:30pm

A strong candidate for the most entertaining movie ever made, CASABLANCA irresistibly weds the theme of self-sacrifice for a greater good to a love story set against the backdrop of wartime intrigue. Mix in Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at their most iconic, deliciously witty dialogue, a cast of colorful supporting characters played by unforgettable character actors and the able craftsmanship of director Michael Curtiz and you have Exhibit A for anyone looking to understand the genius of Hollywood's old studio system. You must remember this: Bogie as Rick Blaine, the American nightclub owner living in Morocco, whose cynical exterior conceals a sentimental heart; Bergman as Ilsa Lund, the Norwegian woman he loved and lost in pre-World War II France, only to find again under less-than-ideal circumstances in the Vichy-controlled title city. Out of all the gin joints in the world, why did she have to walk into his?! Thank God for the sake of movie lovers that she did. They'll always have Paris--and we'll always have CASABLANCA. Preceded by James W. Horne's 1931 Laurel and Hardy short OUR WIFE. (1942, 102 min, DCP Digital) MGS
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Jean-Luc Godard's MADE IN U.S.A. (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 5:15pm and Monday, 6pm

After attending a screening of Howard Hawks' classic THE BIG SLEEP (1946) in Paris during the summer of 1966, Jean-Luc Godard aimed to remake the film noir with his ex-wife Anna Karina in Humphrey Bogart's role of Philip Marlowe. Godard dedicates MADE IN U.S.A. to the great American filmmakers Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller, "who raised me to respect image and sound." Loosely adapted from Donald E. Westlake's pseudonymous crime novel The Jugger, Godard's collage of image and sound stars Anna Karina as the mod private investigator Paula Nelson. Paula describes to her audience, "We are in a political movie, meaning Walt Disney with blood." In a nondescript French suburb also known as Atlantic City, Paula investigates the disappearance and possible assassination of her lover Richard; Godard's other characters and the audience only know Richard through his slogan, "Fascism is the dollar of ethics." Paula's nemesis Paul Widmark (Laszlo Szabo) attempts to derail her investigation, leaving Richard's disappearance a mystery forever. MADE IN U.S.A. is Godard's early political statement as simultaneously a Walt Disney cartoon and high Pop Art. In addition to remaking THE BIG SLEEP, Godard said, "I wanted to oblige a friend [Georges de Beauregard], to tackle the Americanization of French life, and to do something with the Ben Barka affair." While Godard's comments range from Algeria to Vietnam, his plot also reflects on the actual disappearance and possible assassination of the Moroccan revolutionary Mehdi Ben Barka a year earlier in Paris. But Godard worries toward the film's end, "There's no changing [Left and Right]! The Right because it's so cruel it's brainless. The Left because it's sentimental. Besides Left and Right are completely obsolete notions." Is this where Godard first begins to bid adieu to language? (1966, 90 min, 35mm) CW
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Alfred Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW (American Revival)
Doc Films (University of Chicago) - Friday, 6:30, 8:45, and 11pm and Sunday, 1:30pm

Grace Kelly was never lovelier, "the right girl for any man with half a brain who can get one eye open." Thus spoke Thelma Ritter to Jimmy Stewart's sardonic photographer. The three are a great trinity, equally matched and indivisible, perhaps the only such formation in any Hitchcock film. Through an alchemy yet to be duplicated, Hitchcock and writer John Michael Hayes got together and somehow fashioned the most perfect screenplay ever created. The characters' dialog as written and performed meshes seamlessly with Hitchcock's own monologue, one that brilliantly uses camera, editing table, and especially sound design. And its pacing is flawless; it's tightly conceived yet never seems to be in a hurry. No matter how many times you've seen it, this is one movie that never stops offering up new pleasures. (1954, 112 min, 35mm) RC
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Jean-Luc Godard's ALPHAVILLE (French Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 3pm and Wednesday, 6pm

The story goes that Godard originally wanted to call ALPHAVILLE "Tarzan vs. IBM," but as Jonathan Rosenbaum has pointed out, that title is far more apropos to Boorman's POINT BLANK (released the same year as LA CHINOISE). ALPHAVILLE could be better described as "Murnau vs. Lang vs. Welles vs. Cocteau vs. Borges," since the influence of each of these luminaries are made to duke it out through Godard's sci-fi city of the eternal now as surely as Lemmy Caution must do battle with the agents of the all-powerful computer Alpha 60, controlling its subjects with its unforgettable voice. A love letter to expressionism and pulp--which like every Godardian love letter contains no small amount of criticism--ALPHAVILLE is alternatively off-putting in its esotericism and accessible in its broad and familiar genre gestures; and its groundbreaking work demonstrating that the future is always located just a little bit behind us cannot be undervalued. Starring Anna Karina and Eddie Constantine, reprising his perennial role as hardboiled secret agent Caution, as well as Akim Tamiroff and Howard Vernon--double agents for Welles and Lang, respectively. The woozily romantic score is by Paul Misraki, hardworking composer for the previous Lemmy Caution films. (1965, 99 min, DCP Digital) JD
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David Fincher's FIGHT CLUB (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Friday and Saturday, Midnight

Viewed without the constraints of political interpretation, David Fincher's FIGHT CLUB is one of the rare great films to come out of contemporary Hollywood--rare because it puts the regular luxuries of the blockbuster studio film at the service of provocative satire and a bottomless imagination. (On first release, its only real precedent was Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL.) It's also the rare film adaptation that actually improves upon its source material, imbuing Chuck Palahnuik's glib, sub-Vonnegut prose with a near-Joycean level of cross-references, allusions, and puns. The wealth of detail helped the film attract a devoted cult following, which made it one of the first true successes of the DVD era, but the density of Fincher's framing and sound design is best appreciated in a theater. Never arbitrary, Fincher's carefully assembled aesthetic overload captures perfectly the anxiety of the so-called Information Age even when the film's sociopolitical stance becomes muddled. As for that critical knot, tied either out of naivety or cynicism (and which Robin Wood attempts, fairly brilliantly, to untangle in his introduction to Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan... and Beyond), it manages to make the film linger in the mind regardless of one's interpretation. For what it's worth, this writer has overheard lengthy conversations about the moral costs of consumerism at nearly every screening of FIGHT CLUB he's attended. (1999, 139 min, Unconfirmed Format) BS
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Leslie Buchbinder's HAIRY WHO & THE CHICAGO IMAGISTS (New Documentary)
Chicago Cultural Center - Saturday, 3pm (Free Admission)

For the longest time there was a dearth of scholarly coverage of the Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists. Prominent figures like Ed Paschke and Karl Wirsum were periodically spotlighted as solo artists, but it was difficult to contextualize their work within a larger historical narrative. What was the relationship between the Hairy Who and other cliques in the Chicago art scene like the Monster Roster and Nonplussed Some, not to mention the Pop artists based in NYC? This is the subject of Leslie Buchbinder's new documentary, HAIRY WHO & THE CHICAGO IMAGISTS, which functions as a brilliant treasure trove of interviews and archival photographs, aided by animations by cartoonist Lilli Carré. The Imagists drew inspiration from comic books, tattoo flash, and the iconography of local spectacles such as Maxwell St. market. However, unlike their East Coast, postmodern counterparts, the Imagists had a sincere love of mass culture. In this sense, they leapfrogged much of the debate that has preoccupied the contemporary art discourse over the past several decades, presaging what some critics refer to today as "metamodern." The influence of the Imagists can be seen in the work of Gary Panter, Mike Kelley, and John Kricfalusi. Moreover, in an extended interview with the director (which can be read on the Cine-File blog), she expands on the intimate link between Imagists and the cinema--just another footnote in what amounts to the most comprehensive chronicle of Chicago's most vibrant, iconoclastic, and carnivalesque chapter in art history. Followed by a panel discussion with Imagist artist Karl Wirsum, cartoonist Chris Ware, Picturebox publisher Dan Nadel, and moderated by Robert Cozzolino, senior curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. (2014, 105 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) HS
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Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) presents Best of EFFPortland (2010-14, 95 min total, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 8pm, with Experimental Film Festival Portland Co-Director Hannah Piper Burns in person. The program repeats on Wednesday at 6:30pm at Columbia College Chicago's Hokin Hall (623 S. Wabash Ave.). Screening are Jorge Lopez Navarette's LITTLE BLOCK OF CEMENT WITH DISHEVELED HAIR CONTAINING THE SEA, Tyler Lynch's DIGITAL DECAY, Réka Sz?cs' AGNUS DEI, Katya Yakubov's SHE LEARNS TO LUNGE, Lindsay McIntyre's WHERE SHE STOOD IN THE FIRST PLACE, Brenda L. Burmeister's UP ENDED, Caroline Monnet's GEPHYROPHOBIA, Brent Coughenour's WORK IN PROGRESS, and Lily Jen's MY QUIET WORLD.

The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) presents New England Home Movie Tour on Friday at 7pm, with curator and filmmaker Warren Cockerham in person. Screening are ANIMALS MOVING TO THE SOUND OF DRUMS (Jonathan Schwartz, 2013, 8 min, 16mm), TRACKING SHOTS: MINUS MOOSE (Colin Brant, 2014, 5 min, 16mm), THE NATURAL HISTORY OF HARRIS AVE (Jo Dery, 2004, 3 min, 16mm), ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS (Robert Todd, 2013, 9 min, 16mm), PERSIAN PICKLES (Jodie Mack, 2012, 3 min, 16mm), SCREAM TONE (Jo Dery, 2004, 3 min, 16mm), 3 GENERATIONS: TRAINING (Warren Cockerham, 2014, 10 min, 16mm), DIRTY RIBBON (Luther Price, 2004, 5 min, 16mm), TREMBLING PALACE (Robert Todd, 2013, 6 min, 16mm), IF THE WAR CONTINUES (Jonathan Schwartz, 2012, 5 min, 16mm), INKBLOT #40: SLEEP (Luther Price, 2011, 5 min, 16mm), FUTURE IS BRIGHT (Jodie Mack, 2011, 3 min, 16mm), WALKING THE CROSS (Luther Price, 2012, 10 min, 16mm), and a selection of 35mm handmade slides by Luther Price (2008-12; selections from Light Fractures, Meat, and Sorry); and Through the Prism: Videos by Hannah Piper Burns on Sunday at 7pm, with videomaker Burns in person, who will be showing a selection of her work made since 2008.

The Film Studies Center (University of Chicago) screens Short Films of Shirley Clark (approx. 88 min total, DCP Digital; New Restorations) on Friday at 7pm. Screening are DANCE IN THE SUN (1953), IN PARIS PARKS (1954), BULLFIGHT (1955), A MOMENT IN LOVE (1957), BRIDGES-GO-ROUND (1958; both versions, with the Louis and Bebe Barron soundtrack and the Teo Macero soundtrack), SKYSCRAPER (1960), and A SCARY TIME (1960, co-directed by Robert Hughes). Free admission.

Gallery 400 (400 S. Peoria St., UIC) screens Ryan Coogler's 2013 film FRUITVALE STATION (85 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 5:30pm. The event includes a talk back will include activists, teachers and students about police violence and "relationships between budget cuts, school closings and the school to prison pipeline." Free admission.

Black Cinema House (7200 S. Kimbark Ave.) screens Marlon Riggs' 1989 documentary TONGUES UNTIED (55 min, DVD Projection) and Isaac Julien's 1989 documentary LOOKING FOR LANGSTON (40 min, DVD Projection) on Friday at 7pm; and Barrie Gavin's 2012 documentary CHI-CHI: TALES FROM THE BASS LINE (50 min, DVD Projection) on Monday at 7pm. Both are free admission, but limited seating; RSVP at

Black World Cinema at the Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 (210 W. 87th St.) presents COSMIC AFRICA, SOUTH AFRICA (Craig and Damon Foster, 2003, 78 min) on Thursday at 7pm. Preceded by HUBBLE'S DIVERSE UNIVERSE (Dean Tapia, 2009, 38 min) and AFRONAUTS (Frances Bodomo, 2014, 14 min).

The Spertus Institute (610 S. Michigan Ave.) presents John Lollos' 2014 documentary THEODORE BIKEL: IN THE SHOES OF SHOLEM ALEICHEM (75 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Sunday at 2pm. Followed by a discussion with Chicago musician and music historian Stuart Rosenberg and tenor Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi.

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Eric Rohmer's 1992 film A TALE OF WINTER (114 min) screens in an imported archival 35mm print (Sunday, 3pm and Thursday, 6pm) and as a new digital restoration on DCP (Friday, 6pm and Monday, 7:45pm); Shahram Mokri's 2013 Iranian film FISH & CAT (134 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 7:15pm and Sunday at 5:15pm, with Mokri in person at both shows; and Harun Farocki's 1990 documentary/essay HOW TO LIVE IN THE FRG (83 min, Digital File) is on Tuesday at 6pm, with a lecture by SAIC professor Daniel Eisenberg.

Also at Doc Films (University of Chicago) this week: Ira Sachs' 2014 film LOVE IS STRANGE (94 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 7 and 9:15pm and Sunday at 4pm [this replaces the previously scheduled WHIPLASH]; Jacques Doillon's 1990 film THE LITTLE GANGSTER (100 min, 35mm) is on Monday at 7pm; Jay Roach's 1997 film AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY (94 min, 35mm) is on Tuesday at 7pm; and Pedro Almodóvar's 1983 film DARK HABITS (114 min, 35mm) is on Thursday at 9:45pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Gabe Polsky's 2014 documentary RED ARMY (76 min) opens; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's 2014 film TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (95 min) and Andrey Zvyagintsev's 2014 Russian film LEVIATHAN (140 min) both continue; The 2015 Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts screen this weekend (Program A is on Saturday at Noon; Program B is on Sunday at Noon); David Cross' 2014 film HITS (96 min) is on Thursday at 7:30pm (RSVP at the Music Box website; pay what you want); and Youssef Delara and Victor Teran's 2013 film ENTER THE DANGEROUS MIND (88 min) is on Friday and Saturday at Midnight. All Unconfirmed Format.

Block Cinema (Northwestern University) screens Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1947 masterpiece BLACK NARCISSUS (100 min, 35mm) on Friday at 7pm; and the shorts program Blurring the Lines (1953-2014, approx. 90 min, Various Formats) on Thursday at 7pm. Screening are CRIME: THE ANIMATED SERIES (Alix Lambert and Sam Chou, 2014), NOTES ON BLINDNESS (James Spinney, Peter Middleton, 2014), O DREAMLAND (Lindsay Anderson, 1953, 16mm), LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. (Sandhya Sundaram, 2014), VERY NICE, VERY NICE (Arthur Lipsett, 1962), HACKED CIRCUIT (Deborah Stratman, 2014), WINDOWS (Peter Greenaway, 1974, 16mm), and I THINK THIS IS THE CLOSEST TO HOW THE FOOTAGE LOOKED (Michael Vaknin and Yuval Hameiri, 2014). Digital and Video Projection except where noted. Deborah Stratman in person.

The Goethe-Institut Chicago (150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 200) screens Judy Kibinge's 2013 film SOMETHING NECESSARY (85 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Thursday at 6pm. Free admission, but RSVP is required; email or call (312) 263-0472.

The Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Jean-Pierre Ameris' 2011 film ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (80 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Saturday at 1:30pm. A chocolate tasting is scheduled prior to the film.

The Italian Cultural Institute (500 N. Michigan Ave.) screens Edoardo Leo's 2013 film OUT OF THE BLUE (99 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 6pm. Free admission.

The Instituto Cervantes (31 W. Ohio St.) screens Mikel Bonet's 2007 film TOKIO JONDO (63 min) and Tao Ruspoli's 2013 film MANUEL (22 min) on Monday at 6pm; and Ricardo Pachón's 2013 film TRIANA PURA Y PURA (73 min) on Thursday at 6pm. All films Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format. The first program is free admission; the second is unclear.



Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) continues Kate McQuillen's multi-media installation Old Flame through February 22. The installation is viewable only from the outside of the building, through the windows.

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 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.

The Renaissance Society presents Mathias Polenda's 35mm film installation Substance (7 min loop) through February 8.

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



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 6 - February 12, 2015

Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Kian Bergstrom, Rob Christopher, Kyle Cubr, Jeremy M. Davies, Ben Sachs, Kathleen Sachs, Harrison Sherrod, Michael G. Smith, Kyle A. Westphal, Candace Wirt, Darnell Witt

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