The Chicago Rep-port 2/2-2/8, by Aaron Pinkston
Repertory screenings may not be as abundant in Chicago as they are in LA/NY but when you look around, there are many theatergoing delights. The Chicago Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the Second City.
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St
The ongoing series Apocalypse Then: The Vietnam War On Film moves into its third week with The Quiet American (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1958, 35mm), a mostly forgotten film of the genre made by a major Hollywood filmmaker — I’ll be honest, I never knew that the 2002 Phillip Noyce film starring Michael Caine and Brendan Frasier was a remake. The film uses the Vietnam conflict as a backdrop between a cynical journalist (Michael Redgrave) and an idealistic American living in war-torn Vietnam. The film also boasts the fun fact of being the first American film shot on location in the country. The Quiet American screens on both Saturday, February 10 and Tuesday, February 13, with an added bonus of post-screening discussion led by SAIC professor Nora Annesley Taylor at the Tuesday screening.
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave
The rep screening schedule is loaded at the Music Box this week, offering wildly different cinematic experiences. The week is headlined by a special Valentine’s Day screening of The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987, DCP). The fairy tale adventure comedy has long lived as a staple for lovers and dreamers, so showcasing it on the fake holiday for lovers and dreamers is just about perfect. The Valentine’s Day screening will be enhanced by a pre-show costume contest and prop bags to help play along with the beloved classic.
That isn’t the only romantic festivity, though, with a Sunday, February 11 program centered on Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942, 35mm). If seeing one of the great enduring loves on screen isn’t enough, the film is paired with a live organ musical sing-a-long before the movie.
Also screening on Sunday is the first of a new round of weekend matinee picks, Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951, 35mm). If you’re not totally wrapped up in St. Valentine’s vibes, this sadistic tale of love and deception will be a fine antidote.
Finally, the midnight madness screenings on Friday and Saturday night offer a wild pairing: Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1970, DCP) and Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977, DCP).
Doc Films, 1212 E 59th St # 3
With the new year, a new batch of fantastic film series is on tap at Doc Films. Over the next few months, you can check out great classic and genre films on bad marriages, feminist horror films, African American visions of the future, and retrospectives on Seijun Suzuki and Alain Delon.
Sundays, Phantom Rides: Trains & Cinema: Closely Watched Trains (Jirí Menzel, 1966, 16mm), one of the defining films of the Czech New Wave, a wondrous coming-of-age comedy set in WWII Europe
Mondays, The Future is Black: Afrofuturism in World Cinema: Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006, 35mm), one of the great sci-fi epics of the 21st Century with understated but vital racial politics built in
Tuesdays, Deep Seijun: Rare Films of Suzuki Seijun: Blood-Red Water in the Channel (Seijun Suzuki, 1961, 35mm), a Coast Guard hero vs. gangster smugglers
Wednesdays, Le Samouraï: An Alain Delon Retrospective: The Sicilian Clan (Henri Verneuil, 1969, DCP), another Delon and Gabin collaboration, this time with a hardened mafia capo recruiting the younger master thief
Thursdays, A Dish Best Served Hot: Feminist Revenge Fantasies: Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991, 35mm), a female-centric criminals-on-the-run film that has become one of the cinema’s defining female friendship films
Thursdays, Ginger Snaps Back: A Feminist Take on Horror: Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi, 2009, DCP), Raimi’s triumphant return to horror-comedy, a film that is as kooky as it is creepy, in all the best ways
Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W Fullerton Ave
On Monday, February 12, the Facets Cinematheque will be holding a free (donation appreciated) teach-in on Latcho Drom (Tony Gatlif, 1993, format unknown), a film focused on Romani travelers across Europe and their musical lives. Local artist and activist Marguerite Horberg will hold a discussion on the film and how music can change the world.
The Logan Theatre, 2646 N Milwaukee Ave
To celebrate awards season, the Logan’s February late-night series spotlights Oscar winning or Oscar worthy films from the past six decades. This week features one of the most successful Oscar films of all time and a film I guess the Logan feels should have been an Oscar contender: Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976, format unknown) on February 9-12 and Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981, format unknown) on February 13-15.