Chicago Guide to Independent and Underground Cinema
x x x x x x
> Sign up
> Editorial Statement
> Last Week > Next Week
a weekly guide to alternative cinema- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
:: Friday, JUNE 12 - Thursday, JUNE 18 ::


Lisandro Alonso's JAUJA (New Argentinean)
Gene Siskel Film Center - Saturday, 7:45pm, Sunday, 3pm, Monday, 8:15pm, and Tuesday, 6pm

Lisandro Alonso's JAUJA (pronounced "HOW-ha"...really lean into the voiceless velar fricative for those looking to defy their Midwestern roots at the box office) begins following a deceptively familiar arc, detours into mythic territory, and pushes further still somewhere altogether unknowable. "Jauja," in addition to being an actual province in Peru, is better known as the Spanish language Xanadu: a mythical land of abundance and happiness according to the opening titles. The film follows Gunnar Dinesen (Viggo Mortensen), a Danish engineer stationed in Patagonia in the late nineteenth century, along with his 15-year-old daughter, Ingeborg, and an assortment of local soldiers and laborers. The plot turns on Ingeborg's absconding with Corto, a young officer she's fallen for, and Dinesen's subsequent pursuit of his missing daughter. To concentrate on JAUJA's exposition though is to decidedly miss the point of Alonso's gorgeous and borderline spiritual feature. The film, framed in striking 4:3, is the Argentinean avant-garde director's first feature to employ professional actors and a proper script. According to the principal players in interviews the project is a genuine collaboration between producer/actor Mortensen (who spent the first ten years of his life in Argentina), director Alonso, and the two's mutual friend, writer and poet Fabian Casas. Comparisons have been made to the usual suspects/serial surrealists: THE SEARCHERS by way of Tarkovsky, Reygadas or Lynch. The involvement of populist Mortensen and the expert cinematography--filmed on 35mm by frequent Aki Kaurismäki collaborator, Timo Salminen--coupled with a pace and narrative that make nary a commercial concession does indeed lend itself to the ubiquitous David Foster Wallace "Lynchian" descriptor. JAUJA is not quite an art film, not quite a commercial film, but some uncanny other that causes us to, as Wallace puts it, "lose some of the psychic protections we normally (and necessarily) bring to bear on a medium as powerful as film." Alonso himself acknowledged in a recent Reverse Shot interview that JAUJA is a step in a new direction towards the subconscious, describing it as "something more like a fairy tale, or a fabula." The film is many things--beautiful, menacing, confounding--but most of all it's compelling on its own terms, without the need for the relentless dissection that similarly elliptical movies often inspire in viewers. The director continues, "With Jauja, it's going to take me a while to understand why I did certain things, and I love that. It keeps me feeling alive, and keeps me feeling curious about my own process." Alonso's willingness to relinquish control and the resultant energy and curiosity are infectious, and make for a singular work that deserves to be seen on the big screen. (2014, 109 min, DCP Digital) JS
More info at

Andrew Bujalski's RESULTS (New American)
Music Box Theatre - Check Venue website for showtimes

We all know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, but what about when you give a schlub some money? What kind of person does he become? How does it change his view of the world? And, most importantly, what does he do with the cash? Just as director Andrew Bujalski asks these questions of one of the main characters in his latest film, so too could they be asked of Bujalski himself. Though he adamantly rejects his position as the alleged "Godfather of Mumblecore," there's no doubt that up to now his films have been made on shoestring budgets with largely non-professional casts. RESULTS is therefore unique in his oeuvre for reasons that become obvious the second one recognizes Kevin Corrigan, Guy Pearce, and Cobie Smulders as its leads. Yes, someone gave the schlub (filmically speaking) some money, and with it he shot a rom-com (on digital rather than 16mm or video) starring actors from such half-hour sitcoms as How I Met Your Mother and Grounded for Life. But just as money doesn't change Corrigan's Danny--at least, not much--Bujalski's immense talent still flourishes under the trappings of mainstream success. (Perhaps it's too early to declare it as such, but would it really be so bad if it were true?) The guy who made the wonderfully bizarre COMPUTER CHESS just a few years back has proven that he can make a good movie about damn near anything on most any format. After the aforementioned schlub (Danny, not Bujalski) inherits a large sum of money from his deceased mother, he walks into an Austin-based fitness center and inquires about some personal training. Smulders' Kat, a fitness obsessive who's also kind of a loser, takes Danny on as a client and soon becomes the object of his affection. Trevor (played by Guy Pearce) both owns the gym and used to sleep with Kat before eventually becoming Danny's best friend. What starts out as an age-old tale of unrequited love soon turns into a classic love triangle, which then becomes an unlikely business partnership that results (no pun intended) in true love. The actors' performances and Bujalski's direction of them are what really stand out; Bujalski has said in interviews that thinking up a story for Corrigan and Pearce was his primary motivation, so it's no surprise that their inclusion seems effortless. Surprisingly, Corrigan doesn't play against type, and he and Pearce retain their respective Bronx and British accents despite the film being set in Texas. Though it's not improvised, this aspect of the film does make it feel more natural than not. Smulders is also a revelation, playing the awkward leading lady to perfection. Much like the near-empty McMansion that Danny buys with his newfound riches, it's a film that may initially appear to be all presentation with no foundation, but by the end, it's rightly filled with love--and, uh, sorority girls. (2015, 105 min, Unconfirmed Format) KS
More info at

David Lynch's BLUE VELVET (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Friday and Saturday*, Midnight

This is where the legend really began. It's curious to think how Lynch's career would have developed if DUNE (1984) had not been a box office failure, but cinema history can thank him for not playing it safe with this rebound project. Though Lynch had already made three features, VELVET was the first full articulation of his core theme of the evil that lurks in small towns everywhere. Not the outright surrealist endeavor that was ERASERHEAD, it is also not the most accessible of narratives. Dark, violent, sexual, and reeking of 1963 suburbia, the film is at times a noir mystery and at others a violent thriller. Many of the visual symbols that would populate TWIN PEAKS are introduced here, such as red curtains appearing when danger is present in a scene, and Lynch's continued growth as a complete cinematic artist is evident. Despite having a cast that didn't feature a legitimate star (Dennis Hopper may be the exception, but his career was in the dumps when he was the third choice), the film earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, as well as praise from critics throughout the world. It's also notable that Kyle MacLachlan (essentially playing Dale Cooper) might never have worked again if not for his excellent performance. Still dangerous nearly thirty years later, the film is as gorgeous as it is classic. (1986, 120 min, 35mm) JH
* The Saturday screening is bundled in the Music Box's "A Celebration of David Lynch" event. See the website for details.
More info at

Orson Welles' THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (American Revival)
Music Box Theatre - Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am

You could recut Orson Welles, but you couldn't cut him out. He was like Shakespeare, whose words can be rearranged, taken out of context, or translated into different languages but remain beautiful. There are directors who edit brilliantly but whose films lose meaning if they are cut by someone else. The reason we consider Welles one of the greatest directors is because the genius of his filmmaking lies on a level more basic than the finished film. A single sound recorded by Welles, a single bit of framing overseen by him, is powerful on its own. Which is the reason, perhaps, why his second feature, THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS seems greater than his first, CITIZEN KANE; KANE is entirely Welles' film, with very little outside meddling, while AMBERSONS was truncated and rearranged without his input. Diluted, it's still astounding--a movie that is great even as a series production stills, plot synopses, or as a reference. It's the reason we have the word "masterpiece." A heartbreaking expression of the way our memories make the past seem like it was inevitable, AMBERSONS catalogues the decline of a wealthy family through the turn of the 20th century. Every piece--the dense images, Welles' narration--is potent enough to kill you. (1942, 88 min, 35mm) IV
More info at


South Side Projections presents a screening and discussion on prison issues on Wednesday at 6pm at the Toman Library (2708 S. Pulaski Rd.). Screening are Prisoners: Rights and Wrongs (1991, 58 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format), an episode of the Emmy-winning public television program The 90s, and an excerpt from Blues in the Big House (1993, 5 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format). Following the screening, organizers of the 96 Acres project will talk about their work. Free admission.

The Chicago Film Archives presents their CFA Media Mixer benefit event on Thursday at 8pm at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.). Included in the evening are three commissioned works made from CFA archival footage by Amir George (audio by The O'Mys), Jesse Malmed (audio by ONO), and Fern Silva (audio by Phil Cohran). More info at tickets at

Black Cinema House and the Chicago Film Archives present an outdoor screening at the corner of S. Kimbark Ave. and E. 72nd Place on Friday at 9pm. Screening are ALBERTA HUNTER: BLUES AT THE COOKERY (1982, 42 min), preceded by the short films ANANSI THE SPIDER (Gerald McDermott, 1974, 7 min) and CHILDREN OF WAX: A FOLKTALE FROM ZIMBABWE (Kathleen Houston, 1988, 6 min). All Digital Projection. Free admission, but limited seating; RSVP at Rain location: Black Cinema House (7200 S. Kimbark Ave.).

Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.) presents two mash-up features created by local filmmaker Sharon Zurek (who also organizes the Dyke Delicious screenings) on Saturday beginning at 5:30pm. First up is GIA, GIA, GIA (a mashup of the late supermodel Gia Carangi, and Angelina Jolie as Carangi). A social hour follows at 7pm, and then Zurek's women-in-prison mashup BAD GIRLS BEHIND BARS is at 8pm. The program (minus the social hour) repeats on Wednesday at 6:30pm at Columbia College Chicago (Hokin Hall, 623 S. Wabash Ave.). Screening as of the monthly Dyke Delicious series.

Comfort Film at Comfort Station Logan Square (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.) screens Alexander Stitt's 1981 Australian animated film GRENDEL GRENDEL GRENDEL (88 min, Digital Projection) on Wednesday at 8pm. Free admission.

Little House (1851 S. Allport - in the back) screens the shorts program Police Violence in Chicago (Unknown Years and running time, 16mm) on Sunday at 6:30pm. The specific films are not revealed until showtime, but they are focused on the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937.

The Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St., University of Chicago) presents Language of Opportunity and Searching for Sparrows: A Documentary Work-in-Progress Showcase on Wednesday at 7pm. The event is a screening of and panel discussion about two in-progress documentaries on globalization in India. Co-presented by the Eye on India Festival. Free admission.

The Northbrook Public Library resumes their film series after a long auditorium renovation hiatus with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's 2014 animated film THE LEGO MOVIE (100 min, Unconfirmed Format) on Friday at 7:30pm. Free admission.

Also at the Gene Siskel Film Center this week: Sophie Barthes' 2014 film MADAME BOVARY (118 min, DCP Digital) and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders; 2014 documentary THE SALT OF THE EARTH (110 min, DCP Digital) play for a week; Tom Roberts' 2014 documentary EVERY LAST CHILD (83 min, DCP Digital) is on Friday at 6pm and Monday at 6:15pm; Pantelis Voulgaris' 2013 Greek film LITTLE ENGLAND (132 min, DCP Digital) screens on Friday and Thursday at 7:45pm, Saturday at 5:15pm, and Wednesday at 6pm; Justine Triet's 2013 French film AGE OF PANIC (94 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 3pm and Wednesday at 8:30pm; Antonin Peretjatko's 2013 French film RENDEZ-VOUS OF DÉJA VU (88 min, DCP Digital) is on Saturday at 5pm and Thursday at 6pm; and Andrea Sedlácková's 2014 Czech film FAIR PLAY (100 min, DCP Digital) is on Sunday at 5:15pm and Tuesday at 8:15pm.

Also at the Music Box Theatre this week: Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon's 2014 film THE FAREWELL PARTY (95 min) opens; Marc Silver's 2015 documentary 3 ½ MINUTES, TEN BULLETS (85 min) is on Tuesday at 7:30pm, with producer Carolyn Hepburn in person; Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy (DCP Digital; New Restorations) continues with just one screening each of APARAJITO [THE UNVANQUISHED] (1955; Saturday, 11:30am), APUR SANSAR [THE WORLD OF APU] (1956; Sunday, 11:30am), and PATHER PANCHALI [SONG OF THE LITTLE ROAD] (1959; Friday, 3:15pm); Albert Maysles' 2014 documentary IRIS (83 min) is on Saturday and Sunday at 1:20pm only; Noel Marshall's 1981 film ROAR (102 min, Digital Projection - Unconfirmed Format) is on Friday at Midnight; and Rodney Ascher's 2015 documentary THE NIGHTMARE (90 min) is on Saturday at Midnight. Unconfirmed Formats except where noted.

Facets Cinémathèque presents the Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival this week. Check their website for a complete schedule.

The Chicago Cultural Center hosts the Cinema/Chicago screening of Tamar Tal's 2011 documentary LIFE IN STILLS (60 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. Free admission.

Alliance Française (54 W. Chicago Ave.) screens Régis Roinsard's 2012 French film POPULAIRE (111 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Wednesday at 6:30pm. There will be a pre-screening récital of French songs.

The Buddhist Temple of Chicago (1151 W. Leland Ave.) screens Richard Curtis' 2013 film ABOUT TIME (123 min, Video Projection - Unconfirmed Format) on Tuesday at 7pm. Free admission.



The exhibition Frances Stark: Intimism is on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through August 30. The show is a comprehensive survey of Stark's video and digital production.

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

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



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 Northwest Chicago Film Society will be resuming screenings in July.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

CINE-LIST: June 5 - June 11, 2015

Patrick Friel

CONTRIBUTORS / Jason Halprin, Kathleen Sachs, James Stroble, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Darnell Witt

> Editorial Statement -> Contact