The Chicago Rep-port 5/11-5/17, 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
One of the greatest films to come out of Cuba, Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968, DCP), enjoys a week-long engagement with a new 4K restoration. As one might expect from the title and country of origin, Memories of Underdevelopment is a political work, staged at the crux of Castro’s rise to power, but it is also vibrantly stylistic and entertaining. A blend of cinematic styles and narrative, the film is emblematic of the chaotic social and economic time in Cuba and the small wave of films that came to the United States.
The series on French filmmaker Philippe Garrel, The Gift of Intimacy, continues this week with Regular Lovers (Philippe Garrel, 2005, 35mm), which is a perfectly titled film for the filmmaker’s themes and narratives. The film follows a politically engaged poet (played by Garrel’s son Louis) in the 1960s during and in the aftermath the Paris student revolts. This time period has become a popular one in French cinema recently, but Regular Lovers is the most incisive and thematically rich among them. The film screens on Saturday and Monday.
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave
For those looking for something to celebrate on Mother’s Day, you can’t go wrong with the annual tradition of Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981, DCP) at the Music Box. With Faye Dunaway in a titanic performance as the titanic screen figure Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest is simultaneously wonderful and horrific camp. The tongue-in-cheek celebration of Mom is complete with a mother-daughter costume contest and some genuine bonding opportunities.
Co-presented by the Chicago Underground Film Festival and The Front Row, this week’s midnight screening on both Friday and Saturday nights is Mod Fuck Explosion (Jon Moritsugu, 1994, 16mm). The film is noted as a mix of West Side Story and Quadrophenia with a side of Asian-American biker gang violence and a punk rock soundtrack.
For the matinee crowd on Saturday and Sunday pre-noon, the Music Box Staff Picks chooses Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic, 2001, format unknown). In Reese Witherspoon’s most popular role, Elle Woods is the surprisingly strong, perceived “dumb blonde,” who gets accepted to Harvard Law School. Somehow 17 years old, Legally Blonde deserves a reappraisal to see how it has held up as a feminist comedy.
Doc Films, 1212 E 59th St # 3
The Spring 2018 series calendar is now in full swing, featuring the best of Canadian cinema, the Korean New Wave, the work of Elia Kazan and Michael Haneke, and more! Here is the breakdown of the calendar along with this week’s screenings:
Sundays, Miracle on the Han River: The Korean New Wave: The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Kim Jee-woon, 2008, 35mm), a send-up of the spaghetti western by way of the crazy Asian action film from the movement’s wildest director.
Mondays, Beyond Hollywood North: Contemporary Canadian Voices and Visions: Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995, DCP), three disparate stories are linked together by the words of a pirate radio DJ.
Tuesdays, Tremors of an Unknown Passion: A Michael Haneke Retrospective: Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005, 35mm), a normal suburban couple are terrorized by video tapes monitoring their home.
Wednesdays, Elia Kazan: A Retrospective: Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960, 35mm), starring Montgomery Clift as a federal prospector who is met with conflict when he offers to buy land from an elderly woman in a small town.
Thursdays, “Love Is a Matter of Timing…”: Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001, 35mm), a beautiful and strange love triangle road trip through Mexico.
Thursdays, Shattered Visions: Loss of Identity in Cinema: The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976, 35mm), its director is unfortunately in the news again but this is a taut and creepy thriller from someone who worked well in that space.
The Logan Theatre, 2646 N Milwaukee Ave
Late nights in May is a celebration of the greatest movie musicals. This week features the classic and the radical pinnacles of the genre: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001, format unknown) on May 11-14 and Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952, format unknown) on May 15-17.