Daily Archives: March 3, 1995


Appropriately and suggestively, the title of Francoise Romand’s first feature (1994), based on Frederic Dard’s thriller The Executioner Weeps, translates as “Past Imperfect.” Like her inventive documentaries Mix-Up and Call Me Madame, it deals with the construction of personal identity. On the Mediterranean coast of Tunisia a gloomy Jewish war photographer fleeing his past saves the life of a mysterious woman suffering from amnesia and carrying $300,000 (Helas pour moi’s heroine, Laurence Masliah). In helping her discover who she is and how she came by the money, he enters a metaphysical labyrinth that produces more questions than answers. This movie doesn’t offer many of the satisfactions of a conventional thriller, and the action flags a bit toward the end, but it’s a provocative, troubling, and haunting spellbinder just the same, beautifully shot and originally conceived. The sound track is especially striking. Romand will be present to discuss the film at all three screenings. A U.S. premiere. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, 8:00, and Sunday, March 5, 6:00, 443-3737. Read more

John Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisitions

The world premiere of an engrossing two-hour video documentary portrait by Chicago filmmaker Denis Mueller, who will be present at the screening. A hatchet job, though a convincing one, this compilation of intelligent talking heads and fascinating archival footage documents Hoover’s behind-the-scenes involvement in major historical events and wisely eschews such personal matters as his closet homosexuality to concentrate on the illegality of many of his investigative methods and procedures–a litany of abuses ranging from blackmail to embezzlement and beyond. Little of the indictment is new, but as a lucid survey and historical refresher course this is essential viewing. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Divison, Friday, March 3, 7:30, 384-5533. Read more