Daily Archives: May 15, 1992

The Waterdance

Don’t let the subject of this movie–the interactions of three men (Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes, and William Forsythe) at a physical rehabilitation center–scare you away from one of the most intelligent, sensitive, serious, subtle, and gripping American movies around. Codirected by Neal Jiminez and Michael Steinberg from an excellent script by Jiminez (who wrote River’s Edge and cowrote For the Boys), this eschews the usual inspirational and sentimental tactics for an honest look at what paraplegics have to deal with, practically, sexually, and emotionally. Stoltz plays a novelist with a devoted girlfriend (Helen Hunt) married to someone else; Snipes is a hard-living teller of tales with a disintegrating marriage; Forsythe is a racist biker. All three actors are uncommonly good at keeping their characters unpredictable and lifelike. Elizabeth Pena costars as a nurse. (Chestnut Station) Read more

Performance Art Videos, Part I

Three videos, including the Chicago premieres of Maria Beatty’s Sphinxes Without Secrets (1990), an hour-long documentary about women performance artists (among them Diamanda Galas, Holly Hughes, Joan Jonas, Robbie McCauley, Annie Sprinkle, Rachel Rosenthal, and Adrian Piper), and Laurie Anderson’s 20-minute What You Mean We? (1986). Receiving its world premiere is Suzie Silver’s subversive, gender-bending four-minute A Spy (Hester Reeves Does the Doors), a wild and inventive music video featuring Hester Reeves lip-synching the Doors’ “The Spy.” (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 7:30 and 9:15, and Sunday, May 17, 6:00 and 7:45, 281-4114) Read more


Orson Welles’s 1952 independent feature is finally back in circulation, looking better than ever thanks to restoration work, but also sounding quite different because of the restorers’ debatable decision to redo the brilliant score and sound effects in stereo. For all the liberties taken with the play, this may well be the greatest of all Shakespeare films (Welles’s later Chimes at Midnight is the only other contender)–a brooding expressionist dream of the play shot in eerie Moorish locations in Morocco and Italy over nearly three years, yet held together by a remarkably cohesive style and atmosphere (and beautifully shot by Anchisi Brizzi, G.R. Aldo, and George Fanto). Welles, despite his misleading reputation in the U.S. as a Hollywood filmmaker, made about 75 percent of his films as a fly-by-night independent in order to regain the artistic control he’d had on Citizen Kane; Othello, the first of these features, is, arguably, an even more important film in his career than Kane, since it inaugurated the more fragmented shooting style that dominates his subsequent work. The most impressive performance here is that of Micheal MacLiammoir as Iago; Welles’s own underplaying of the title role meshes well with the somnambulistic mood, but apart from some magnificent line readings makes less of a dramatic impression. Read more