Short Runs

Commentary by Ray Pride



Thu 1

U2 RATTLE AND HUM (1988, USA) Directed by Phil Joanou. U2 on tour: Superb sound mix, lackluster filmmaking. Navy Pier (312)595-0090, 600 E. Grand, 9:00.

Fri 2

ANTONIO GAUDI (1985, Japan) Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara. A new 35mm print of a documentary from the director of "Woman in the Dunes" on the work of the Spanish architect, shot in Barcelona, without narration but with an eclectic score. 72m. 35mm print. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*CAPTAIN CONAN (Capitaine Conan) (1996, France) Directed by Bertrand Tavernier. An epic retelling of a French "secret war" that occurred after World War I, using widescsreen compositions to capture both the scope of battle and the intimate fear of the soldiers. Tavernier's one of our best. 129m. Panavision. 35mm print. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 7:30.

*CHASING AMY (1997, USA) Directed and Written by Kevin Smith. A movie ripe with Smith's trademark verbosity, raunchy sexual discussions, intense dramatic confrontations and a storyline about Holden, a hipster-in-his-own-head, goateed young comics artist (Ben Affleck) who, against the counsel of his jealous collaborator, Banky (Jason Lee), begins to fall for Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), a bright, funny, sexy, gorgeous woman who also draws comics and also happens to be lesbian. Smith's dramatic turns amplify his gags with great skill, examining with the fluidity of gender boundaries in matters of the heart as capably as the farcical tragic cruelties of male jealousy. Smith's started to tap into the heart behind his glib japery. "Chasing Amy" is a major step forward for a smart young writer-director. $5. Village (312)642-2403, 1548 N. Clark, Midnight.

*FEMALE TROUBLE (1974, USA) Directed by John Waters. Divine's crowning moment as Dawn Davenport, whose quest for cha-cha heels leads to Mom's murder under the Christmas tree and a trail of crimes that can only lead to the electric chair. Waters has become a better director, but none of his other pictures are as maniacally single-minded as this. 95m. $7.75. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, Midnight.

*THE PILLOW BOOK (1996, England-France-Netherlands-Japan) Directed and Written by Peter Greenaway. "The Pillow Book" is an adaptation of the thousand-year-old "Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon," a diary of lovers' stories, of sexual manners, of longings and regret, compiled by a lady-in-waiting to the Japanese Imperial court. Greenaway fashions his most elegant and compelling film in years, following Vivian Wu as a model in contemporary Hong Kong, who dreams of embodying the erotic fantasies of Shonagon by writing stories on the bodies of her lovers in ornate calligraphy. The combination of visual styles is dazzling-black-and-white memories in the style of Yasujiro Ozu's movies about family life; brightly colored scenes of street life and fashion shows, of lovemaking and revenge-getting, in varying screen widths and with frames superimposed within frames; and in one memorable scene, inspired by Karaoke, a French pop song accompanying a lovers' montage, subtitled in English and French with subtitles in calligraphy. Ewan McGregor is also at hand, offering a largely nude performance as Wu's ultimate blank screen, the body she has dreamed of writing her erotic fantasies upon. The lasting pleasures of Greenaway's movies are seldom simply those of narrative, but of found references, chance juxtapositions, painterly eruptions, moments that privilege the viewer in unexpected ways. Water and the shadows of reflected ripples suffuse "The Pillow Book." Hong Kong is shown as all urban delirium and dissociation, then the ripple of watery reflection plays off almost all of the miraculous, unaffordable dream decors of homes and cafés and restaurants. Even fire is photographed with the rippling caress of water. For the eyes, the ears, maybe even the mind. Panavision. $5. Village (312)642-2403, 1548 N. Clark, Midnight.

*PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994, Australia) Directed by Stephan Elliott. The always-fascinating Terence Stamp gives a grave yet serene performance as an aging transsexual who joins up with two drag queens to perform their musical specialties in an Australian outback resort. Their road trip from Sydney to the resort is just an excuse for a bright, bouncy musical with a raunchy, unapologetically queer sense of humor. It's lightweight, but entertaining. Panavision. Brew & View at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, (773)929-6713. Midnight.

*PSYCHO (1960, USA) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. MOTHER! BLOOD! 109m. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 11:30.

*RUMBLE FISH (1983, USA) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Teen angst in lustrous black-and-white, expressionist-influenced visual style and all the melodrama a moody teen would be embarrassed to admit wanting. Sharp, loping score by Stewart Copeland. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 7:30.

*SICK: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BOB FLANAGAN, SUPERMASOCHIST (1997, USA) Directed by Kirby Dick. The phrase "pain of creation" achieves new heights of meaning after you've seen Kirby Dick's extraordinary documentary, "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist." "Sick" is an exacting portrait of the late performance artist, poet, lifelong sufferer of cystic fibrosis and "hetero masochist, in extremis" Bob Flanagan. "I've learned to fight sickness with sickness" was Flanagan's standard, typically jokey description of how his masochism helped him endure the chronic pain of CF. In collaboration with his longtime lover and collaborator Sheree Rose, what had been private ritual became a very public art. At his death at 43, Flanagan had lived double the years anyone in his condition is expected to live, and the pain he suffered-fundamentally a slow, breath-by-breath drowning-led him to explore the world of pain with great wit and knowledge. Dick, a friend of Flanagan's, has made a funny, beautifully nuanced, even tender film, touching on issues of intimacy in relationships in art and life in a way that could probably not be depicted in any other genre. 85m. $5. Village (312)642-2403, 1548 N. Clark, Midnight.

*VERTIGO (1958, USA) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock's 1958 excursion into surrealism and the lure of the blonde has been restored, with a 70mm print and a new stereo mix approximating the look of the original VistaVision release. While the palette is both bolder and creamier than the reissue last decade, the deep, piercing colors of the original IB Technicolor process are still only approximated. Bernard Hermann's score is crisply re-recorded, however, and is the film's major highlight in this edition. 128m. $5. Village North (773)764-9100, 6746 N. Sheridan, Midnight.

Sat 3

ANTONIO GAUDí See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980, USA) Directed by John Landis. Almost-gonzo comedy, some laughs, many groans, with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd expanding their Saturday Night Live sketch characters. Musical numbers by Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, James Brown. Look for the sequel, "Blues Brothers 2000," any damn time now. 130m. Projected video. Free. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, Midnight.

*CAPTAIN CONAN See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 3:00, 7:30.

*CHASING AMY See Jan 2. $5. Village (312)642-2403, 1548 N. Clark, Midnight.

*FEMALE TROUBLE See Jan 2. $7.75. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, Midnight.

*HELL'S ANGELS (1930, USA) Directed by Howard Hughes. Aerial epic, shot over a period of months, over the sometimes-dead bodies of directors and assistant directors, was the "Titanic" of its time in terms of cost overruns and production values. The aerial stunts impress. With James Hall, Ben Lyon, Jean Harlow. LaSalle Theatre (312)904-2507, 4901 W. Irving Park, 8:00.

*JOHNNY GUITAR (1954, USA) Directed by Nicholas Ray. Astonishing, topsy-turvy take on Western conventions as two tough women (Joan Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge) duke it out for control of a gambling saloon and the love of Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden). Hayden's quiet psychopath is a small amazement in the cyclone of warring psychologies. Weird, beautifully paced, bizarrely photographed (the strange colors courtesy of Republic's patented color process, Tru-Color, one of the most lurid ever). 110m. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, 11:30am.

*MON ONCLE (1958, France) Directed by Jacques Tati. Brilliant comedy contrasting the bohemian Monsieur Hulot (Tati) with his young nephew's family, newly ensconced in a most Modern, De Luxe, Contemporary Suburban horror show of a house. It's done with the same comic intelligence and technical ingenuity of his 1967 critical attack on urban architecture, "Playtime." Sight gags, sound gags, and peculiar behavior in an unforgettable mix. 110m. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, 11:30am.

*THE PILLOW BOOK See Jan 2. $5. Village (312)642-2403, 1548 N. Clark, Midnight.

*PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT See Jan 2. Brew & View at the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, (773)929-6713. Midnight.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975, England) Directed by Jim Sharman. You do the "time warp" again, leave me out of it. With Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick. $5. Village North (773)764-9100, 6746 N. Sheridan, Midnight.

*RUMBLE FISH See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 10:00.

*VERTIGO See Jan 2. $5. Village North (773)764-9100, 6746 N. Sheridan, Midnight.

Sun 4

ANTONIO GAUDí See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*CAPTAIN CONAN See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*PSYCHO See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 9:30.

*JOHNNY GUITAR See Jan 3. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, 11:30am.

*MON ONCLE See Jan 3. Music Box (773)871-6604, 3733 N. Southport, 11:30am.

*RUMBLE FISH See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 7:30.

Mon 5

ANTONIO GAUDí See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*CAPTAIN CONAN See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 7:30.

I'VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING (1987, Canada) Directed by Patricia Rozema. The fantasies of a temporary secretary, melancholy and imaginative, with a whimsical performance by Sheila McCarthy. Rozema says, "I wanted to draw a 'little' person, a quirky vulnerable innocent whose inept exterior belies a vast and vivid universe." DOC Films (773)702-8575, University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th, 7:00.

*PSYCHO See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 7:30.

*RUMBLE FISH See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 11:30.

Tue 6

ANTONIO GAUDí See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*HALLELUJAH (1929, USA) Directed by King Vidor. An all-black melodrama, one of the first sound films to work largely with exteriors. Vidor's use of space and sound continues to impress. Shown with Dudley Murphy's "Black and Tan," a 1929 short featuring Duke Ellington. DOC Films (773)702-8575, University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th, 7:00.

*RUMBLE FISH See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 11:30.

STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE (1979, USA) Directed by Robert Wise. the unending "Star Trek" franchise in its first try at the big screen. On video. Free. Chicago Cultural Center (312)346-3278, 78 E. Washington, 5:00.

TOTAL RECALL (1990, USA) Directed by Paul Verhoeven. An ordinary man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) discovers his brain has been transgressed by forces unknown, and, traveling to 21st century Mars, discovers his true identity. Verhoeven's usual stylish mix of leftist sentiment and ultraviolence, with Oscar-winning special effects; the script's first hour is actually superb before descending into some mind-numbing twists and backflips. With Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox. Projected video. Free. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 9:30.

Wed 7

*CAPTAIN CONAN See Jan 2. $6. Film Center (312)443-3733, Columbus Drive at Jackson, 6:00.

*PSYCHO See Jan 2. Projected video. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 9:30.

*REPO MAN (1984, USA) Directed by Alex Cox. Tabloid space aliens meet L.A. no-brainers and a stray nuke straight out of "Kiss Me Deadly" in Cox's best film. Emilio Estevez is the eager youngster taught the "ways of the repo man," or car repossessor, by profane, lunatic Harry Dean Stanton. With Sy Richardson, Tracey Walter. Told with a carload of sarcasm and satire, Cox's touch is consistently overbearing and mostly amusing. 92m. Projected video. Free. Celluloid Moviebar (312)707-8888, 1805 W. Division, 7:30.

*TWO FRIENDS (1986, Australia) Directed by Jane Campion. Campion's first feature, made for Australian television in 1986, is a minor gem. While Campion's short films and her theatrical debut, "Sweetie," have been widely distributed, "Two Friends," while only ten years old, awaited restoration of both the 16mm image and the soundtrack before it could be distributed. It's a compelling comedy-drama about what brings a pair of teenage girls together, and the social forces that bring down their friendship. Helen Garner, writer of the fine "Last Days of Chez Nous" for Gillian Armstrong, as well as the acute novel "Monkey Grip" and short-story collection "Postcards from Surfers," tells the story in reverse, making the questions of class and temperament seem even more tragic and simply inevitable. Campion's visual sense is keen, with framing more consistently compelling than in her short films, and yet still a few steps behind the breathtaking "Angel at My Table." The dense accents are sometimes difficult to follow, but Campion's verve as a director of actors and the camera, and Garner's as an observant writer of character and nuance, make "Two Friends" essential viewing. 76m. Shown with Campion's 1984 "A Girl's Own Story." DOC Films (773)702-8575, University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th, 7:00.








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