Monthly Archives: October 2012

Decision 2012 Got You Down? Sing Along with the Super-Rare Thanks a Million in 35mm

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, November 7th @ 7:30pm
THANKS A MILLION
Directed by Roy Del Ruth • 1935
Anxious to keep out of the rain on a bus layover in that ubiquitous little village in Pennsylvania, Dick Powell and his troupe of traveling musicians attend a political rally for governor-to-be Raymond Walburn. The candidate is an incompetent drunkard, and his Square Deal Party backers turn to Powell & Co. to liven up the campaign. A victim of circumstance, Powell soon replaces Walburn as candidate for governor with the hope of losing the election and gaining a radio career. Beating Preston Sturges’s Hail the Conquering Hero to the punch by about nine years, this is the rare political satire that’s more transcendent than mean (the New York Times noted it was “pardonable but definitely incorrect of you to assume from this that the new film is an attack on the intelligence of the Pennsylvania electorate”), and Dick Powell is at his pre-noir best. (JA)
87 min • 20th Century-Fox • 35mm from Fox
Cartoon: “Let’s Go” (Arthur Davis, 1937) IB Technicolor 16mm – 7 min

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And don’t forget about our next screening at Cinema Borealis.

1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

Sunday, November 11th @ 6:00pm & 8:30pm
YOU GOT TO MOVE: STORIES OF CHANGE IN THE SOUTH
Directed by Lucy Massie Phenix and Veronica Selver • 1985
“What is it that changes people from feeling powerless to making them see and feel their own power in bringing about changes that will affect their lives?” You Got to Move began with this question and found ample and inspiring answers from a half dozen Southerners allied with the Highlander Folk School in rural Tennessee. The documentary commemorates three generation of political activists whose achievements would become marginalized in the Reaganite ’80s, including Sweet Honey in the Rock frontwoman Berenice Reagon and Highlander co-founder Myles Horton. Produced by engaged documentary veterans Phenix and Selver, who also contributed to Winter Soldier, Word is Out, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, and Berkeley in the Sixties. (KW)
85 min • 16mm from Milliarium Zero

Former Chicago Reader critic and Highlander alumnus Jonathan Rosenbaum will introduce the 8:30 show and lead a discussion afterwards.

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It’s No Picnic: Peter Weir’s Masterpiece in 35mm
Two Screenings This Sunday at Cinema Borealis

Cinema Borealis  • 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

Sunday, October 28th @ 6:00pm & 8:30pm
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
Directed by Peter Weir • 1975
Better known in the US for more straightforward projects like Dead Poet’s Society and The Truman Show, Peter Weir led the Australian New Wave almost single-handedly with The Cars That Eat People, The Last Wave, and this film about three teenage schoolgirls and their schoolmistress who disappear at Hanging Rock. Echoing the adolescent tension and repression of Lindsay Anderson’s If…., Hanging Rock is similarly able to feel real and unreal, and Weir’s sense of minimalism (so unsellable it caused an American distributor to throw a coffee cup at the screen) doesn’t give any clues or comfort. Like Nicholas Roeg in Walkabout, Weir painted Australia as a land of mystery until Crocodile Dundee blew it all out of the water: the score sounds like a jet engine that may never take off, the camera’s lens is masked in a thin wedding veil and often washed out by the sun, and the girls will be lost forever. (JA)
107 min • The Australian Film Commission • 35mm from Janus Films

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Lovers Caught in a Dark Tide of Sinister Terror:
Restored 35mm Print of Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, October 24th @ 7:30pm
NIGHT TIDE
Directed by Curtis Harrington • 1961
By the early ‘60s, Curtis Harrington had already studied with Josef von Sternberg, graduated from USC Film School, cofounded (with Kenneth Anger) the first artist’s film co-op, written perceptively about the history of horror cinema for Sight & Sound, and made a quartet of hazy and restless experimental shorts. He brought all this to bear upon his first feature, the independently produced Night Tide, inspired by the closing lines of Poe’s “Annabelle Lee.” Dewey-eyed Method wannabe and peripheral avant-garde mainstay Dennis Hopper stars as a depressed sailor who falls in love with self-professed mermaid Mora (Linda Lawson) who lives in an aquatic hippodrome in the most squalid corner of the Santa Monica Pier. As if normal adolescent sexual anxiety weren’t enough, just imagine irrepressible nightmares with your girlfriend as a killer octopus! The poetic Night Tide was originally dumped as double-bill fodder by American International Pictures after sitting on the shelf for two years. Now fully restored by the Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation, Night Tide re-emerges as a uniquely resplendent psychodrama that rivals Touch of Evil and Southland Tales as the finest cinematic excavation of the half-conscious countercultural mecca of Venice, California. (KW)
84 min • American International Pictures • 35mm from the Academy Film Archive
Restored by the Academy Film Archive with support from The Film Foundation and Curtis Harrington
PLUS: an episode of “Diver Dan” (1961) – 16mm – 7 min

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More of our kind of chills to follow on Sunday ….

Cinema Borealis • 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

 

Sunday, October 28th @ 6:00pm & 8:30pm
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
Directed by Peter Weir • 1975
Better known in the US for more straightforward projects like Dead Poet’s Society and The Truman Show, Peter Weir led the Australian New Wave almost single-handedly with The Cars That Eat People, The Last Wave, and this film about three teenage schoolgirls and their schoolmistress who disappear at Hanging Rock. Echoing the adolescent tension and repression of Lindsay Anderson’s If…., Hanging Rock is similarly able to feel real and unreal, and Weir’s sense of minimalism (so unsellable it caused an American distributor to throw a coffee cup at the screen) doesn’t give any clues or comfort. Like Nicholas Roeg in Walkabout, Weir painted Australia as a land of mystery until Crocodile Dundee blew it all out of the water: the score sounds like a jet engine that may never take off, the camera’s lens is masked in a thin wedding veil and often washed out by the sun, and the girls will be lost forever. (JA)
107 min • The Australian Film Commission • 35mm from Janus Films

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It’s That Time of Year Again: Home Movie Day 2012

On October 20, Chicago Film Archives and the Northwest Chicago Film Society will present the tenth edition at Home Movie Day at the Chicago History Museum.

Everyone is encouraged to dig those long-forgotten 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 reels out of the closet to be inspected, projected, and experienced with other Chicagoans. Archivists will be on hand to evaluate footage, offer advice on conservation and transfer, and answer questions about the history and technology of home movies.

2012 marks the tenth anniversary of Home Movie Day, the international celebration of amateur cinema. Begun in 2002 by a band of access-minded archivists who sought to focus fresh attention on this long-neglected treasure trove of personal movie-making, Home Movie Day is sponsored by the Center for Home Movies. The annual event allows audiences to re-engage with local and family history presumed to be technologically irretrievable in an increasingly digital age. Attendees are encouraged to reminisce and narrate the footage as they see fit.

ABOUT HOME MOVIE DAY
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.
October 20th, 11am – 3pm
Free and open to the public
Formats: 16mm, 8mm, Super 8

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She’ll Save Your Soul: Barbara Stanwyck in
The Miracle Woman in 35mm!

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – 7:30 – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, October 17th @ 7:30pm
THE MIRACLE WOMAN
Directed by Frank Capra • 1931
When her dying minister father is fired from his church and replaced by a much younger man, disillusioned Barbara Stanwyck becomes a new kind of preacher—one with a lion’s cage for a pulpit, a legion of fans out in Radioland, and a con man pulling strings behind the scenes. After sweet, vulnerable ventriloquism hobbyist David Manners tells her she’s saved his life, she begins to reconsider her cynical methods. For scandal-ridden superstarlet evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, the real-life model for Stanwyck’s character, salvation was less clear cut. But this film is as much a melodrama as it is a surprisingly complex depiction of American religion, and Stanwyck’s performance is a moving reminder of the humanity implicated in both corruption and grace. (JA & RH)
90 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Cartoon: “Betty Boop, M.D.” (Fleisher Studios, 1932) – 16mm – 7 min

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A Most Unusual Rumpus Room: Home Movies & the Avant-Garde: Second Program – Sunday at Cinema Borealis

Cinema Borealis in Wicker Park • 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

Sunday, October 14 @ 7:00pm
HOME MOVIES AND THE AVANT-GARDE – PROGRAM 2
For decades, home movies and avant-garde films were jointly denigrated as ‘amateur’ in the least appealing sense: precious, obscure, endless, and immeasurably handicapped by a lack of professional polish. They were judged as failed attempts at Hollywood-style filmmaking, though their aspirations and implications often could not be more removed. In the 1960s, avant-garde filmmakers like Jonas Mekas and Stan Vanderbeek began reclaiming the epithet of ‘home moviemakers,’ producing work that challenged the borders of amateur cinema and domesticity itself. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Home Movie Day, the Northwest Chicago Film Society will be screening two programs of avant-garde films that exalt, appropriate, and reshuffle home movies. Co-sponsored by Chicago Film Archives

The Program
The Persistence of Memory (Ricardo Block, 1984, 16.5 min, 16mm from Filmmaker’s Coop)
A Trip to the Land of Knowledge (Zoe Beloff, 1995, 65 min, 16mm from Filmmaker’s Coop)
Reflexfilm/Familyfilm (Dana Hodgdon, 1978, 22 min, 16mm from Chicago Filmmakers)

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Luis Buñuel’s El: An Ode to An Insect in 35mmThis Wednesday at the Portage!

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, October 10th @ 7:30pm
EL
Directed by Luis Buñuel • 1953
El is one of the crown jewels of Buñuel’s prolific Mexican period, which saw the director seeding everyday interactions and unpromising genre exercises with surrealist absurdities. We know where this is going from the opening moments when a priest lovingly caresses a row of bare young feet, no? Devout businessman Don Francisco (Arturo de Córdova) sets out on an impulsive romantic conquest to win such a pair of feet and eventually steals Gloria (Delia Garcés) from her fiancé. Their marriage is instantly marked by irrational jealousy and delirious compensations, mainly involving needles. Equally sympathetic to Gloria’s untenable domestic nightmare and Don Francisco’s unspeakable desires, El is a violent and committed expression of l’amour fou. “The hero of El interests me as a beetle, or a disease-carrying fly does,” wrote Buñuel. “I’ve always found insects exciting.” Originally distributed in the US under the generically Buñuelian title This Strange Passion, El remains a crucial classic despite limited availability over the past two decades. (KW)
92 min • Producciones Tepeyac • 35mm from private collections • In Spanish with English subtitles
Short: Laurel & Hardy in “Helpmates” (James Parrott, 1932) – 35mm – 20 min

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And don’t forget about more fun and games at Cinema Borealis!


Cinema Borealis in Wicker Park • 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 4th Floor
Suggested Donation: $10

Sunday, October 14 @ 7:00pm
HOME MOVIES AND THE AVANT-GARDE – PROGRAM 2
For decades, home movies and avant-garde films were jointly denigrated as ‘amateur’ in the least appealing sense: precious, obscure, endless, and immeasurably handicapped by a lack of professional polish. They were judged as failed attempts at Hollywood-style filmmaking, though their aspirations and implications often could not be more removed. In the 1960s, avant-garde filmmakers like Jonas Mekas and Stan Vanderbeek began reclaiming the epithet of ‘home moviemakers,’ producing work that challenged the borders of amateur cinema and domesticity itself. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Home Movie Day, the Northwest Chicago Film Society will be screening two programs of avant-garde films that exalt, appropriate, and reshuffle home movies. Co-sponsored by Chicago Film Archives

The Program
The Persistence of Memory (Ricardo Block, 1984, 16.5 min, 16mm from Filmmaker’s Coop)
A Trip to the Land of Knowledge (Zoe Beloff, 1995, 65 min, 16mm from Filmmaker’s Coop)
Reflexfilm/Familyfilm (Dana Hodgdon, 1978, 22 min, 16mm from Chicago Filmmakers)

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IB, Therefore …

Between fuzzy adolescent memories and Amazing Dreamcoats, getting a real fix on Technicolor has always been difficult. A dizzying example of total branding supremacy, Technicolor was not just a process but cultural shorthand for a certain kind of overripe, retina-scarring engagement with the world around us. (It was a Hollywood fantasy, and an irresponsible one.) With the name used as adjective to describe anything from a candy store to a brilliant automobile, it’s time to husk away the shades of grey. Continue reading

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Run Away with Us and Join This Circus:
Super-Rare 16mm Technicolor Screening of Chad Hanna

The Portage Theater – 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Portage, please click here.

Wednesday, October 3rd @ 7:30pm
CHAD HANNA
Directed by Henry King • 1940
After helping a runaway slave escape to Canada, starry-eyed Henry Fonda runs away with Guy Kibbee’s upstate New York circus. Also along for the trip are John Carradine, Dorothy Lamour, Oscar the Lion, and 17-year-old runaway Linda Darnell. Fonda falls for Lamour and then dopily falls for Darnell, eventually proving his worth by getting the circus an elephant. Adapted from Red Wheels Rolling, a Saturday Evening Post serial by Walter Dumaux Edmonds, this is the kind of simple, natural filmmaking that made Henry King 20th Century-Fox’s most subtly valuable director. Bosley Crowther captured the overwhelmingly lush and dreamlike state of Chad Hanna in his New York Times review: “the color and mood of that small town America has been excellently captured in the crickets dinning the night silence at Canastota; the creak of wagon harness as the little caravan journeys to the next town; . . . the roustabouts of rival circuses fighting it out with tent pegs on the bridge; the acrobats in pink tights and gold fringe running into the sawdust ring while Guy Kibbee delivers a stentorian rhetoric on the ‘most daring, the most breath-taking . . .’” (JA)
86 min • 20th Century-Fox • IB Technicolor 16mm from the Radio Cinema Film Archive
Short: Notes on the Circus (Jonas Mekas, 1966) – 16mm from Canyon Cinema – 12 min

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