Daily Archives: June 1, 1998

Films By Mike Williams

Eight short films in Super-8, two of them premieres and one excerpting a work in progress, by former Chicagoan Mike Williams, who will attend the screening. I’ve previewed four of these films on videoParadise Lost (1990), Losers (1991), The 12 Seconds of Love (1996), and The Crowdand had a pretty good time with them. The first two are contemporary beatnik romps around San Francisco and Chicago; the 40-second 12 Seconds is a lovely depiction of sexual congress between a corkscrew and a lemon; and The Crowd is a brooding meditation on street accidents in Chicago and elsewhere, with explicit nods to the Ray Bradbury story and the King Vidor film carrying the same title. The other films to be shown: The Undeadheads (1990), Another Dead Soldier (1997), Bum (the work in progress), and Rapid Transit. Rounding out the program are two rare short Super-8 films by German experimental filmmaker Maria Von Voss, Fuhrer und Jazztanzer (1974) and Der Leson (1976), and a lot of live music by Katie Belle and several members of her band, the Belle Rangers. ( I say a lot because the program is scheduled to run five hours and the film segments add up to 70-odd minutes.) Read more

Urban Drive-in

An outdoor screening of three independent films by Chicago-area women filmmakers, all made last year: Deborah Stratman’s From Hetty to Nancy, Daniele Wilmouth’s striking and experimental Curtain of Eyes, and Angela Kates’s Mr. McFarlind. (JR) Read more

Brigands: Chapter Vii

The Paris-based Georgian filmmaker Otar Iosseliani has made about a dozen quirky features to date, and this ambitious 1996 frescoa French-Russian-Italian-Swiss productionis the best of those I’ve seen. Moving back and forth between 16th-century Georgia, Stalinist Georgia, contemporary Georgia, and contemporary Paris, each of which solicits a somewhat different directorial style, the movie might be regarded as a mordant, witty variation on D.W. Griffith’s Intolerancea view of warfare and political corruption over the past four centuries, with the same actors playing different parts in all four periods. (The lead, Amiran Amiranachvil, plays a king in the 16th century, an early-20th-century pickpocket enlisted by communists, and a Paris clochard, for instance.) Keeping his camera at a certain measured distance from his action, Iosseliani’s bleak view of human behavior is complex and amused enough to make this something more than a bitter tract; this picture is much closer to Tati or Bu Read more

Pay Or Die

Longtime Orson Welles assistant Richard Wilson was a good director in his own right, and this 1960 crime story about the Mafia in New York in 1906, made after his better known Al Capone, shows him at his near best. With Ernest Borgnine, Zohra Lampert, Al Austin, and John Marley. (JR) Read more

Dumb And Dumber

Another Jim Carrey comedy (1994), every bit as nihilistic as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. This one teams him with Jeff Daniels in a cross-country quest to return a briefcase full of money to its rightful owner. A few of the bad-taste gags are funny, and Carrey’s grimaces have a certain inspired delirium, but this is a long way from the social comedy of Jerry Lewis. The characters here are ultimately turned into punching bags or punch-line dispensers. Peter Farrelly directed from a script he wrote with his brother Bobby and Bennett Yellin; with Lauren Holly, Victoria Rowell, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket, and Teri Garr. 101 min. (JR) Read more