Author Archives: Northwest Chicago Film Society

“What I Do with My Body Is My Business!” – Stephanie Rothman’s The Student Nurses – New 35mm Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Tuesday, June 28 @ 7:30 PM
THE STUDENT NURSES
Directed by Stephanie Rothman • 1970
One of the earliest films produced during Roger Corman’s legendary run with New World Pictures and the progenitor of Corman’s lucrative “Nurses” cycle, Stephanie Rothman’s The Student Nurses was a socially conscious and explicitly feminist anomaly in the world of early ’70s exploitation filmmaking. Centered on a group of four young nursing students who live together, Rothman reenvisioned a rote scenario that could simply have been a vehicle for delivering copious nudity as an exploration of the diversity of experiences particular to young women at the dawn of the ’70s. Speaking on the freedom working independently in a disreputable genre afforded her, Rothman said, “It allowed me to have a dramatized discussion about issues that were then being ignored in big-budget major studio films: for example […] a discussion about a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion when, at the time, abortion was still illegal in America.” A film of great energy, with a clear head and a racing pulse, The Student Nurses stands the test of time, simultaneously of its moment and more relevant than ever. (CW)
89 min • New World Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive, permission Criterion Pictures, USA
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2016) • Lab: Fotokem

Preceded by: “A Visit from the Incubus” (Anna Biller, 2001) – 16mm – 26 min

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C’est si bon! Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON
Directed by Billy Wilder • 1957
The first collaboration between Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond plays like a spiritual sequel to the pre-Code romantic comedies of Wilder’s mentor, Ernst Lubitsch. Maurice Chevalier returns to the American screen after a decade-long absence to play bedroom detective Claude Chavasse, who may as well be a grayer version of his character in One Hour with You. (The film inaugurated the second act of Chevalier’s career, which saw him playing similar roués in Gigi and Can-Can and performing the delightful theme song of The Aristocats.) When Chavasse’s daughter Ariane (Audrey Hepburn) intervenes to save an American playboy (Gary Cooper) from the bullets of a cuckold’s gun, a grand romance is born. The age difference between Hepburn and Cooper is considerable, but the scenario never tips over into squick territory because the masterful screenplay continually emphasizes Ariane’s agency and wit, as well as her “certain quelque chose, as they say on the Left Bank.” (KW)
130 min • Allied Artists • 35mm from RCFA, permission Swank
Film Stock: Eastman (1957)

Preceded by: Cartoon TBA

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“This Bitter Earth”: Charles Burnett’s Groundbreaking
Debut Feature Killer of Sheep – Restored 35mm Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

Tuesday, June 14 @ 7:30 PM
KILLER OF SHEEP
Directed by Charles Burnett • 1977
“I ain’t poor. I give things away to Salvation Army.” Spoken by Stan, the central figure in Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, these words are the closest this towering masterwork of American independent cinema comes to vocalizing a structuring philosophy, refusing to define the community it documents by its marginality and instead celebrating the vibrancy of black life in Watts, Los Angeles. Stan works days in a slaughterhouse (he’s the titular killer) and is kept up nights by bouts of chronic insomnia that are left unexplained. Meanwhile, his kids occupy their time playing in empty lots and on vacant rooftops that litter the outskirts of their neighborhood and singing along to the family’s record collection (the depth and diversity of African American recorded music is one of the throughlines in the film). Nothing like a plot coalesces to distract from the neighborhood reveries and quiet nights of introspection, and while a heavy air of melancholy suffuses much of the film, it’s a melancholy that remains tempered with the sweetness of family, community, and joy. (CW)
81 min • 35mm from Milestone Films
Film Stock: Kodak (2005) • Lab: UCLA

Preceded by: “Felicia” (Bob Dickson, Alan Gorg, & Trevor Greenwood, 1965) – Archival 16mm print courtesy of USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive – 13 min

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Debut Feature Killer of Sheep – Restored 35mm Print

Leopards in Connecticut: New Season Kicks Off with 35mm Screening of Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Tuesday, May 31 @ 7:30 PM
BRINGING UP BABY
Directed by Howard Hawks • 1938
“My dear sir, it will never be clear as long as she’s explaining it.” With a plot involving a stressed-out paleontologist, a nutty heiress, a missing dinosaur bone, some befuddled cops, a couple instances of grand theft auto, and a slightly paunchy leopard, things may never be clear no matter who’s explaining it, but it quite possibly doesn’t matter. A frenetic and sexy (the censors were out to lunch for this one) ping pong game played with words, wit, and a hefty dose of lunacy, everything in this film seems to be in place for stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn to ricochet off of into each other’s arms and back out again. The screwball comedy for even those who grimace at the very term. A disappointment at the box office upon its initial release it’s now widely considered one of the funniest films ever made, going on to define a genre and inspire two film homages, Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? and the Madonna star vehicle Who’s That Girl? Cinematography by longtime Douglas Sirk collaborator Russell Metty. (RL)
102 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA

Preceded by: Cartoon TBA

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You Asked For It! — Latest NWCFS Season Announced /
35mm Screenings Resume May 31

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Our latest schedule is now online!

This season’s calendar is all over the map, just the way we like it. It includes prints that have been rescued by private collectors like Ferry Cross the Mersey, as well as films that have benefited from deluxe archival restorations like The Road Back and Killer of Sheep. We have a silent mystery written by a woman in 1924 (The Bedroom Window), as well as a politically savvy exploitation film directed by a woman in 1970 (The Student Nurses). We’re screening films that everybody loves (screwball classic Bringing Up Baby) and films that everybody loves to dismiss sight unseen (screwy Breathless with ballsy studmuffin Richard Gere).

Check out the full schedule.

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35mm Screenings Resume May 31

Edgar G. Ulmer’s “Joyously Energetic and Wholesome” The Naked Dawn – Vintage 35mm IB Technicolor Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

ND Half Sheet
Wednesday, May 11th @ 7:30 PM
THE NAKED DAWN
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer • 1955
A rare chance to see B-movie master Edgar G. Ulmer work in fantastically garish Technicolor, The Naked Dawn is a tense and whimsical south-of-the-border Western brimming with lust, greed, and hate, just as nasty and intense as Detour. Shot on location in Mexico, The Naked Dawn stars Arthur Kennedy as Santiago the Bandit, who convinces a poor farmer (Eugene Iglesias) to join him on a train robbery. Lured by a life of crime, Iglesias plans to murder Kennedy, while his wife plots to kill him and run away with the Bandit. A favorite of François Truffaut, The Naked Dawn was one of the primary inspirations for Jules et Jim and a flurry of adjectives; the young director called it “poetic and violent, tender and droll, moving and subtle, joyously energetic and wholesome.” Screening in an original IB Technicolor Print from NWCFS Collections. (JA)
82 min • Universal International Pictures • 35mm, permission Universal

Preceded by: “Around the World Revue” (George Robinson, 1956) – 35mm – 16 min

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A Breach of Natural Law: Allan Arkush’s Get Crazy
Beautiful 35mm Print – Unavailable on Home Video

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

09 Get CrazyWednesday, May 4th @ 7:30 PM
GET CRAZY
Directed by Allan Arkush • 1983
When veteran concert promoter and Saturn Theater leaseholder Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield) suffers a heart attack, it falls to his staff to organize the Saturn’s most ambitious New Year’s Eve party ever in hopes of saving Max and staving off his parasitic rival (Ed Begley Jr.), who plans on demolishing the venue. Financed primarily as a tax shelter and dumped into release with the understanding that it wouldn’t make any money (this turned out to be true), Get Crazy evinces the same go for broke attitude as its characters, cramming in more jokes, songs, drugs, cult screen and music personalities (Mary Woronov! Lee Ving! Paul Bartel! Lou Reed!!) and miscellaneous craziness than any American film of its day. Compulsively, incessantly hilarious, the lineage of Get Crazy can be traced to the Marx Brothers and Jerry Lewis, and in a just world, it would be regarded as a crass masterpiece on the order of The Ladies Man. Few films are as joyful in the face of embattlement and changing currents—no surprise it’s a personal favorite with the NWCFS staff. (CW)
92 min • Embassy Pictures • 35mm from Park Circus

Preceded by: Excerpts from Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Baby” (Alive Productions, 1973) – 16mm – 16 min

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Beautiful 35mm Print – Unavailable on Home Video

Mosey On Down to the Midway to See the Most Spectacular Attraction of Modern Times: King’s State Fair in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Tuesday, April 26th @ 7:30 PM
STATE FAIR
Directed by Henry King • 1933
Before State Fair was a melody in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ears, it was a popular novel by Phil Stone and a lovely film adaptation that became a heartland hit and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Long overshadowed by its musical remakes, the original State Fair is a winning collaboration between two titans of homespun patois, comedian Will Rogers and director Henry King. Dropping his trademark topical humor, Rogers delivers a stirringly sincere portrayal of a farmer simultaneously devoted to his wife, Louise Dresser, and his prize pig, Blue Boy. (Old-fashioned or not, Rogers isn’t above spiking Dresser’s mincemeat with apple brandy.) Post-pubescent ragamuffins Janet Gaynor and Norman Foster accompany their parents to the Iowa State Fair and find love on roller coasters and inside trapeze tents. The whole thing is tied together by King’s preternatural talent for mining nostalgia from the everyday. Once asked whether he considered himself a creator of Americana, King replied, “Can only say that I love Americana and do not feel we have to create it. It is already here—but I do like to interpret it for the screen.” (KW)
99 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from Fox Library Services

Preceded by: “The Immigrant” (Charles Chaplin, 1917) – 35mm – 21 min

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Cisco Pike Is a Man of the West … West L.A.!
Archival 35mm Print Screens 4/20

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, April 20th @ 7:30 PM
CISCO PIKE
Directed by Bill L. Norton • 1972
Described by director Bill L. Norton as “La Dolce Vita set in L.A.,” Cisco Pike co-opts the episodic structure of Fellini’s ubiquitous classic as an excuse to burrow into the post-’60s West Coast freak scene. Kris Kristofferson, in his first leading role, plays the title character, a washed-out rock star-turned-pot dealer blackmailed into unloading 100 kilos of marijuana in 48 hours by a crooked cop (a hyperventilating Gene Hackman). More concerned with texture than plot, the film takes its time unfolding, all the better to take in its myriad counterculture psychologies. Today, Cisco Pike appears primarily to be a repository of charming, distinctly early ’70s Americana, including, but not limited to: chunky sideburns, casually deployed western wear, and shambling hippie country rock. National treasures Karen Black and Harry Dean Stanton turn in winning supporting performances as, respectively, Kristofferson’s put-upon girlfriend and his burnout sideman. The soundtrack features tunes by Kristofferson and Doug Sahm (who also appears in the film) further capturing the spirit of the times. (CW)
95 min. • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

Preceded by: “Marijuana, Driving, and You” (1980) – 16mm – 12 min

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Archival 35mm Print Screens 4/20

Where Spurs Are A-Jinglin’: Gus Van Sant’s Sleepy
Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

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Wednesday, February 17th @ 7:30 PM
MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
Directed by Gus Van Sant • 1991
A sleepy, slow-burning adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is one of the finest American independent films of a brief and now-gone era when major studios still saw value in funding the weird, the sublime, and the small budget (or was it just a dream?). Centered around the experiences of a narcoleptic hustler in Portland (River Phoenix), the film borrows its checkerboard structure from William S. Burroughs, tossing and turning through the Pacific Northwest. Keanu Reeves is River’s love interest, another streetwalker who left his family (his father, the Mayor of Portland) but has an inheritance to collect when he turns twenty-one and will “leave this life behind.” Van Sant has developed a reputation for having one foot inside Hollywood (Milk, Good Will Hunting) and one firmly outside of it (Last Days, Elephant), but Idaho—a road movie, an urban western, and a coming-of-age film tied together with the soft and reassuring voice of Eddy Arnold—makes such distinctions irrelevant, bound only by a sense of place and time. (JA)
104 min • Fine Line Features • 35mm from Warner Brothers/Swank

Preceded by: “Junior” (Gus Van Sant, 1992) – 16-to-35mm blowup – 4 min
Print courtesy of the Gus Van Sant Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

 

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Masterpiece My Own Private Idaho in 35mm