The Chicago Rep-port: 3/31 to 4/6, 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.
Now that the European Union Film Festival has wrapped, the Gene Siskel Film Center returns to its programming of limited engagements, special events, and rep screenings. One of my favorite things about the Siskel is its ongoing partnership with the School of the Art Institute to offer patrons to “audit” a class each semester—a film series screening plus a lecture from a local professor. Currently, the series is exploring the “New Sensory Cinema,” and on Tuesday, April 4, they will be screening one of the strangest films of the decade, The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, 2015, DCP). Check back to this space as we continue to highlight the series as it runs through May.
Another must see event at the Siskel this week is a free screening of Terence Davies’s superb Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion (2016, DCP widescreen) with the director in attendance on Monday, April 3. If you haven’t already acted on this, unfortunately all RSVP passes have been claimed. Thankfully, though, the Siskel will be holding 70 seats for the general public on a first-come-first-served basis, so you still have a shot. While you’re at it, you should check out my review of A Quiet Passion from last year’s Chicago International Film Festival.
Shifting over to the Music Box Theatre, Cine-File Chicago is presenting classic musical The Pirate (Vincente Minnelli, 1948, 35mm) on Wednesday, April 5. The online guide to independent and underground cinema is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and this is a great way to do it.
This weekend’s midnight screenings at the Music Box are also celebrating a 10th anniversary—specifically of Judd Apatow-produced teen comedy Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007, 35mm). It’ll show on both Friday and Saturday night at 11:59 pm.
The 50th Anniversary Music Box Matinee series is coming to a resounding end with Thoroughly Modern Millie (George Roy Hill, 1967, 35mm) on April 1 and 2. The musical, nominated for 7 Academy Awards, will be presented with a special roadshow print including an overture and intermission.
Finally at the Music Box, on Monday, April 3, the Chicago Film Society is showing R.W. Fassbinder’s final film, the glorious Veronika Voss (1982, 35mm). As a special treat, the program will also include rare short films from the Society’s collection.
If you’re interested in catching the Nazi Germany set Veronika Voss this week, you should be aware of Facets Cinematheque’s free teach-in event of Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935, format unknown). One of the most controversial documentaries ever made, it is a vital piece of film and human history. The free event is taking place on Sunday, April 2 and will be followed by a discussion lead by Judy Hoffman, professor of the University of Chicago’s Department of Cinema and Media Studies.
Speaking of the University of Chicago, Doc Films has started up their spring schedule with a number of fantastic film series. On Mondays through May, they will be presenting Heat and Sand, programmed by Theodore Zelmo, exploring desert landscapes on film. This week’s selection is Breakdown (Jonathan Mostow, 1997, 35mm), a chase thriller starring Kurt Russell. Tuesdays are focused on “Stories from the New Land: Chronicles of the Migrant Experience,” programmed by Shanice Casimiro, with French-Canadian drama Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011, 35mm) showing this week.
Wednesdays are all about Robert Bresson, one of cinema’s great auteurs. Perhaps his best film, Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, 35mm), will have two showtimes on April 5. Finally, Thursdays are showcasing two different series: “Defend the Keep: Sieges, Encirclements, and Last Stands” will highlight crazy action flick The Raid: Redemption (Gareth Evans, 2011, 35mm) at 7:00 pm and “Neon Noir: Fluorescent Visions of Vice and Violence” has the great Blood Simple (Joel & Ethan Coen, 1984, DCP) at 9:15 pm—that is one hell of a double feature. I’ll be relaying all the amazing films apart of all these series each week, but nothing is stopping you from looking ahead at the Doc Films’ schedule.
Heading north, Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art Cinema is starting a fantastic series on Chantal Akerman on Thursdays in April. This week is showing her masterpiece, Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, 35mm). This is a great excuse to purchase a quarterly pass for the Block Cinema for only 20 bucks.
The Logan Theatre’s newest late night series is partnering with C2E2 for the best in comic book cinema. This week you can see The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008, format unknown) on March 31-April 3 at 11 pm and Superman (Richard Donner, 1978, format unknown) on April 4-6 at 10:30 pm. And if you find yourself free on April 4, you should come early for movie trivia sponsored by C2E2.
Wrapping up our review of the week, TCM Big Screen Classics is showing North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959, format unknown) at all Chicagoland Century Cinemas on Sunday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 5. This screening includes a special introduction from TCM.