Daily Archives: April 23, 1993

Il ladro di bambini

The Italian title of this lovely, rambling feature by Gianni Amelio (Open Doors) translates unidiomatically as “The Children Thief,” and is undoubtedly meant to remind us of the 1948 film The Bicycle Thief. The “thief” in question is actually a young carabiniere officer (Enrico Lo Verso) based in Milan who’s given the job of escorting an 11-year-old girl (Valentina Scalici) and her 10-year-old brother (Giuseppe Ieracitano) to a religious home after their mother is arrested for forcing the daughter into prostitution. After the home turns them away the officer has to bring them to a reform school in Sicily, but he winds up taking his time about it–stopping off at his family home en route and finding other distractions. The biggest box-office hit in Italy last year, this also won the grand jury prize at the Cannes film festival, but the nice thing about it is that it doesn’t shove its virtues in your face; it’s made up of small discoveries and natural performances that raise as many questions about the characters as they answer. Accompanying some of the showings of this feature is an Oscar-nominated short film, Swan Song, starring John Gielgud and Richard Briers, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and adapted by Hugh Cruttwell from a short play by Anton Chekhov. Read more

Green on Thursdays

Astrong documentary by Dean Bushala and Deirdre Heaslip about gay bashing in Chicago, alternately terrifying and empowering in its matter-of-fact instructiveness about the extent of the problem and the response of local activists–including the Pink Angels street patrol, the Coalition Against Bashing, and Horizon’s antiviolence counseling and court advocacy program. Following many individual cases of violence against gay men and lesbians, the film makes effective use of several local talents: two videos by Charles Christensen, a song by the duo Ellen Rosner & Camille, and black-and-white photographs by Allen Nepomuceno, Paul Vosdic, and Paul Roesch. The title, if you’re wondering, originally referred to the 19th-century practice of gay men wearing green ties to work on Thursdays to identify themselves to each other; today it raises the issue of how much being “out” means being a target for a sociopath. The film deals only glancingly with the reasons for homophobic violence, but has a lot to say about the possible responses to it. A panel discussion with the filmmakers, film participants, and representatives from the Chicago Police Department and the mayor’s office will follow the Sunday screening. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 7:00 and 9:00; Sunday, April 25, 5:30; and Monday through Thursday, April 26 through 29, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114. Read more