Mary Jane Is Not a Virgin Anymore – DIY Indie Classic Screens in 16mm – Dec. 15 at Chicago Filmmakers

Chicago Filmmakers – 5720 N Ridge Ave., Chicago, IL 60660
Tickets: $8

Saturday, December 15 @ 7:30 PM
MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE
Directed by Sarah Jacobson • 1996
After hawking VHS copies of her short film “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” at ’zine conventions across the U.S. of A., self-proclaimed “Queen of Underground Cinema” Sarah Jacobson catapulted to DIY stardom with her first and only feature, Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore—or, as the film’s original website put it, “the 23-year-old Jacobson is back IN YOUR FACE with an explosive look at girls having sex and what they have to say about it.” Produced and self-distributed by Jacobson and her mother, Mary Jane chronicles the sexual travails of a high schooler (Lisa Gerstein) who works with punks, drunks, and losers at her local indie cinema, with San Francisco’s Victoria Theatre standing in for the generic, no-frills Midwestern art houses of Jacobson’s youth. The sex talk is as explicit and hilarious as you would expect from this fearless disciple of George Kuchar—and if that wasn’t enough, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys puts in a cameo. Mary Jane debuted at the 1996 edition of the Chicago Underground Film Festival and went on to play Sundance and numerous festivals around the world. “Out in the real world,” Variety condescendingly noted in its Park City dispatch, “Mary Jane will be lucky to find midnight dates in small college-town cinemas,” but anyone who’s been tasked with cleaning the popcorn machine after hours will instantly relate. (KW)
98 min • Station Wagon Productions • 16mm from Canyon Cinema
Short: “I Want a Clean Cinema” (Doc Films, c. 1999) – 16mm – 1 min

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Bow Down to “The Woman with the Whip” – Barbara Stanwyck in Samuel Fuller’s Widescreen Western Opera Forty Guns – 35mm Music Box Screening on Dec. 10

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10 •  Advance Tickets Here

Monday, December 10 @ 7:00 PM
FORTY GUNS
Directed by Samuel Fuller • 1957
As budgets and screens swelled in tandem in the 1950s, bread-and-butter genre pictures like musicals and westerns became bigger, louder, and safer. The exception that proves the rule: Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns, a propulsive, devil-may-care Western shot in black-and-white Cinemascope in two weeks, complete with Jidge Carroll singing the ballad of “The Woman with the Whip” to a gaggle of men bathing in a sagebrush spa. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Jessica Drummond, the Tombstone titan who commands as many thieves as Ali Baba. Her central conflict—protecting her ne’er-do-well brother (John Ericson) or giving it all up for the ex-gunslinger she comes to love (Barry Sullivan)—may sound rote, but the execution and emotional nuance are anything but. The overall attitude owes something to other proto-feminist westerns of the era, such as The Woman They Almost Lynched and Johnny Guitar, but the melancholy/mercenary savoir faire is specifically, spectacularly Stanwyck. As an independent producer contracted with 20th Century-Fox, Fuller enjoyed an unusual degree of creative freedom, staging elaborate dolly-shot excavations of Tombstone storefronts with a gusto that any studio chief would’ve found alarming. Still, Fuller’s experience was not without some compromise; as he complained in his posthumous autobiography, “For Chrissakes, my gunman had to think about box office receipts before pulling the trigger.” (KW)
80 min • Globe Enterprises • 35mm from 20th Century Fox
Cartoon: “Wild and Woolfy” (Tex Avery, 1945) – 8 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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A Pre-Code Punch to the Gut – Edward L. Cahn’s Laughter in Hell Screens in a New 35mm Print – Dec 5 at NEIU

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, December 5 @ 7:30 PM
LAUGHTER IN HELL
Directed by Edward L. Cahn • 1933
A rising, visionary director at Universal Pictures in the early years of the Great Depression and later subject of cult appreciation, Edward L. Cahn unceremoniously disappeared from the studio’s roster in 1933, relegated to poverty row cheapies and Our Gang shorts for the remainder of his filmmaking days. That year saw the release of his final picture for the studio, the explosive, controversial chain gang drama Laughter in Hell, an archetypal film maudit transgressive enough to end even the most illustrious career. An adaptation of hobo-writer Jim Tully’s novel of the same name, Laughter in Hell follows the tribulations of train engineer Barney (Pat O’Brien), who flies into a homicidal rage after discovering his wife has been carrying on an affair with his childhood nemesis and winds up sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor. Barney’s time on the chain gang provides grist for one of the most hellacious passages in American cinema, wherein the inmate witnesses horrors of pestilence and abuse, including an act of racially motivated violence that put the film in the crosshairs of local censorship boards discomfited by its indictment of institutional corruption. Little seen since its initial release and reported lost for years, Universal has finally unleashed Laughter in Hell from the vault in a recently struck 35mm print to stun audiences anew. (CW)
70 min • Universal Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Short: “A Burglar to the Rescue” (George Cochrane, 1931) – 18 min – 35mm from Universal

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Edward Yang’s Masterpiece Yi Yi Returns to the Big Screen – 35mm Screening at the Music Box on November 26

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10 •  Advance Tickets Here

Monday, November 26 @ 7:00 PM
YI YI
Directed by Edward Yang • 2000
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Maybe no film can encompass all of human experience, but it’s remarkable just how much of it is in Yi Yi: a birth, a funeral, a wedding, a first date, near-death episodes, breakups, reconciliations, corporate intrigue, generational ennui, and the inscrutable actions of the most precocious young photographer in Taiwan. Detailing a stream of quotidian ordeals large and small in an extended family living in Taipei, Edward Yang’s epic consanguineal saga alternates between the lives of its ensemble as they come together and pull apart between major life events: patriarch NJ, a hangdog salary man in the midst of a midlife crisis; daughter Ting-Ting, in the blush of first love; son Yang-Yang, an outsider at school; newly married uncle A-Di, incapable of managing life as a family man; mother Min-Min, coming to terms with the approaching death of her own mother. The closest Yang ever came to crossover arthouse success in the United States, Yi Yi found a broader audience and greater critical acclaim than any of the director’s earlier pictures due in no small part to its tempering of the still-present bitterness that flavors all of Yang’s films with a heaping of tender comedy. Yi Yi would be Yang’s last film (he died of cancer in 2007), but through it he achieved the success that so often eluded his characters and gifted us one of the greatest films this young century has yet seen. The victim of limited print availability and fickle US distribution courtesy of arthouse villains best left unnamed, Yi Yi finally returns to Chicago for the first time since its premiere run at the Music Box Theatre for a special one-time-only screening in an archival 35mm print. (CW)
173 min • Atom Films • 35mm from Yale Film Archive, permission Janus
Short: “Duermete Ninita” (Thad Povey, 1994) – 6 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Only at CFS: An Ode to Child Labor, with Songs and W. C. Fields – Song of the Open Road Screens 11/21 in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, November 21 @ 7:30 PM
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon • 1944
Hollywood’s ode to child labor if there ever was one, Song of the Open Road stars teen actress Jane Powell (playing teen actress “Jane Powell”), who takes leave of an overbearing stage mother (Joseph Cornell’s own Rose Hobart) and a studio system intent on monopolizing her time and energy to find excitement and adventure picking lima beans for the USDA’s Crop Corps, a wartime effort to enlist teenagers to fill farm work vacancies. A regular Celine or Julie, Jane (disguised in a dyed brown bob as “Jane”) is fast enthralled observing her fellow teens in romantic roundelay and meanwhile mills around the edges of their dime store dramas, inadvertently bungling the tasks she volunteers for and mussing up the routines of the young pickers she has fallen in with. An easygoing meta-musical comedy pitched as Department of Agriculture propaganda, Song of the Open Road is a film that features an unmotivated and unconvincing archeology-themed ventriloquist routine, a musical number about date crops performed atop bicycles, and a gloriously besotted W.C. Fields cameo. In other words, it’s a film you will only see at the Chicago Film Society. (CW)
93 min • Charles R. Rogers Productions • 35mm from private collections
Short: “Hit and Rum” (Ben Holmes, 1935) – 20 min – 35mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Souls Made Great By Love & Adversity: Frank Borzage’s Street Angel in 35mm – Nov. 17 at the Music Box with Live Accompaniment by Organist Dennis Scott

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, November 17 @ 11:30 AM
STREET ANGEL
Directed by Frank Borzage • 1928
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Auteurist critics who rediscovered the work of Frank Borzage in the 1970s grasped for superlatives, but none fashioned as succinct a thesis statement as the opening titles of Street Angel, perhaps the director’s best silent effort: “Everywhere … in every town … in every street … we pass unknowing human souls made great by love and adversity.” The beatification of common people with everyday problems reaches a resplendent apex in Street Angel, in which Neapolitan urchin Angela (Janet Gaynor) turns amateur streetwalker after her mother falls ill. Fleeing the police, she joins a gypsy circus and meets romantic painter Gino (Charles Farrell). When the authorities finally catch up with the lovers, Gino’s portrait of Angela becomes a transcendent conduit for two souls blooming in adversity’s shadow. A follow-up to the Borzage/Gaynor/Farrell smash 7th Heaven, with a heavy helping of Expressionist visual finesse creatively cribbed from Fox’s star director F.W. Murnau, Street Angel is the rare popular success whose appeal is still readily apparent ninety years on. That potential was not always evident: Ernest Palmer’s highly diffused, near-ineffable cinematography was initially rejected by the Fox lab as unprintable, but luckily more poetic heads prevailed. (KW)
102 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “Rain” (Joris Ivens, 1929) – 12 min – 16mm

——

Tired of the classics? Have we got the film for you!

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, November 21 @ 7:30 PM
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon • 1944
Hollywood’s ode to child labor if there ever was one, Song of the Open Road stars teen actress Jane Powell (playing teen actress “Jane Powell”), who takes leave of an overbearing stage mother (Joseph Cornell’s own Rose Hobart) and a studio system intent on monopolizing her time and energy to find excitement and adventure picking lima beans for the USDA’s Crop Corps, a wartime effort to enlist teenagers to fill farm work vacancies. A regular Celine or Julie, Jane (disguised in a dyed brown bob as “Jane”) is fast enthralled observing her fellow teens in romantic roundelay and meanwhile mills around the edges of their dime store dramas, inadvertently bungling the tasks she volunteers for and mussing up the routines of the young pickers she has fallen in with. An easygoing meta-musical comedy pitched as Department of Agriculture propaganda, Song of the Open Road is a film that features an unmotivated and unconvincing archeology-themed ventriloquist routine, a musical number about date crops performed atop bicycles, and a gloriously besotted W.C. Fields cameo. In other words, it’s a film you will only see at the Chicago Film Society. (CW)
93 min • Charles R. Rogers Productions • 35mm from private collections
Short: “Hit and Rum” (Ben Holmes, 1935) – 20 min – 35mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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“Honor — and Betrayal — Among Thugs”: Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky in 35mm – Nov. 12 at the Music Box

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $10 •  Advance Tickets Here

Monday, November 12 @ 7:00 PM
MIKEY AND NICKY
Directed by Elaine May • 1976
Riding high on the critical and commercial success of The Heartbreak Kid, Elaine May was given the chance to write and direct a gangster story she’d been contemplating for two decades. Shot in the scuzziest and least brotherly corners of Philadelphia and steeped in the desiccated dreams of its low-level hoodlums, Mikey and Nicky emerged as a decidedly unromantic addition to the genre. Nicky (John Cassavetes) owes a small sum to the mafia and turns to his childhood friend Mikey (Peter Falk) to find the light at the end of the tunnel. In keeping with the rambling, low-key vibe, even the hired gun tracking them down (Ned Beatty) looks more like a cheesed-off storefront accountant than a fearsome assassin. May is an acute observer of tiresome masculinity and keeps Mikey and Nicky moving sideways towards its sad-sack, seemingly inevitable conclusion. After two years of editing, Paramount soured on May’s free-spending ways (over a million feet of film had been exposed during production) and gave a compromised version of Mikey and Nicky a cursory theatrical release. Comedian and May admirer Patton Oswalt memorably summed up the rest of the story: “She stole the print from the studio, hid it in her garage like a punk-fucking-rocker, and stared the studio down to put out the version she wanted. Avert your gaze as she passes by! That’s Elaine May, goddammit!” (KW)
119 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Julian Schlossberg
Short: “Where It All Began: Philadelphia” (Michael E. Smith, 1975) – 10 min – 16mm

—–

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, November 17 @ 11:30 AM
STREET ANGEL
Directed by Frank Borzage • 1928
Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
Auteurist critics who rediscovered the work of Frank Borzage in the 1970s grasped for superlatives, but none fashioned as succinct a thesis statement as the opening titles of Street Angel, perhaps the director’s best silent effort: “Everywhere … in every town … in every street … we pass unknowing human souls made great by love and adversity.” The beatification of common people with everyday problems reaches a resplendent apex in Street Angel, in which Neapolitan urchin Angela (Janet Gaynor) turns amateur streetwalker after her mother falls ill. Fleeing the police, she joins a gypsy circus and meets romantic painter Gino (Charles Farrell). When the authorities finally catch up with the lovers, Gino’s portrait of Angela becomes a transcendent conduit for two souls blooming in adversity’s shadow. A follow-up to the Borzage/Gaynor/Farrell smash 7th Heaven, with a heavy helping of Expressionist visual finesse creatively cribbed from Fox’s star director F.W. Murnau, Street Angel is the rare popular success whose appeal is still readily apparent ninety years on. That potential was not always evident: Ernest Palmer’s highly diffused, near-ineffable cinematography was initially rejected by the Fox lab as unprintable, but luckily more poetic heads prevailed. (KW)
102 min • Fox Film Corp • 35mm from Fox Library Services
Short: “Rain” (Joris Ivens, 1929) – 12 min – 16mm

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Don’t Cut Class This Week: “Unsentimental Education” – 16mm Classroom Films at Chicago Filmmakers on 11/3

Chicago Filmmakers – 5720 N Ridge Ave., Chicago, IL 60660
Tickets: $8

Saturday, November 3 @ 7:30 PM
Unsentimental Education: Classroom Films by Barbara Loden and John Mackenzie
Nostalgic reflections of youthful hours whiled away in palatial movie houses are all fine and good, but for many a generation cinephilia blossomed in the classroom under the auspices of cheap little films shown during rare reprieves between geography and math. While not all classroom films are created equal, many of these unheralded wonders were made by filmmakers with real talent, and a lot of these films left marks that lasted into adulthood. We’re bringing you a selection of some of the best, courtesy of two bonafide auteurs who found a creative outlet in the educational market in lean years when funding for features was scarce. Faced with public indifference following the release of her American independent classic Wanda, Barbara Loden began directing for the Learning Corporation of America and made two desolate, masterful approximations of New Hollywood aesthetics for the junior set: survivalist Western The Frontier Experience and harrowing JD parable The Boy Who Liked Deer (both 1975). Meanwhile in England, The Long Good Friday director John Mackenzie made a name for himself in the British public information film market, where in 1977 he directed the Ten Little Indians-aping farm safety short Apaches, perhaps the most traumatic film ever made ostensibly for children. We’ll be giving these films a rare theatrical presentation, so be sure you don’t cut class this week! (CW)
Approx run time 70 min • 16mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, Chicago Film Archives, and BFI National Archive

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Believe Your Eyes: Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon – 35mm Halloween Screening

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 31 @ 7:30 PM
NIGHT OF THE DEMON
Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1957
“I make films on the supernatural,” Jacques Tourneur once admitted, “and I make them because I believe in it.” Tourneur’s American career took off with a trio of stylish and suggestive horror films for RKO producer Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man), but he didn’t return to the genre again until his stature in the industry had seriously eroded in the late 1950s. Yet Night of the Demon is not the film of an artist on the ropes, but instead a finely calibrated, highly personal, and intellectually rigorous work to stand beside Tourneur’s best. Written by Hitchcock’s go-to scripter Charles Bennett, Night of the Demon dramatizes the conflict between scientific rationalism and ancient superstition with uncommon nuance and sensitivity. Dana Andrews stars as self-styled American myth-buster John Holden, who journeys to England to investigate and debunk rumors of a demon loose in the countryside. When a colleague turns up dead, Holden finds himself drawn into the occult underworld of magician, hypnotist, and occasional birthday clown Niall MacGinnis, who remains one of the most simultaneously sinister and sympathetic villains the genre has yet bequeathed. The producer showed more of the demon than Tourneur considered strictly necessary and lopped off thirteen minutes for the retitled American version, Curse of the Demon, but nothing can diminish the satanic majesty conjured in the marsh. (KW)
95 min • Associated British Picture Corp. • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: 1950s Horror Trailer Reel

 Check out the full schedule here!

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Bring Your Favorite Reels to Home Movie Day 2018 – Oct 27 at Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street • Free Admission

Saturday, October 27 – 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
HOME MOVIE DAY 2018
Presented by the Chicago Film Society and Chicago Film Archives.
Go down to the basement and dig out your Super 8 memories of that interminable trip to Idaho or that embarrassing 16mm footage of your mother’s rockin’ bat mitzvah and bring them to the Chicago History Museum on Saturday, October 27 for this year’s edition of Home Movie Day. Jointly presented for the eighth year in a row by Chicago Film Archives and the Chicago Film Society, Home Movie Day offers Chicagoans the opportunity to gather together and share their celluloid histories. Home movies provide invaluable records of our families and our communities: they document vanished storefronts, questionable fashions, adorable pets, long-departed loved ones, and neighborhoods-in-transition. Many Chicagoans still possess these old reels, passed down from generation to generation, but lack the projection equipment to view them properly and safely. That’s where Home Movie Day comes in: you bring the films, and we inspect them, project them, and offer tips on storage, preservation, and video transfer–all free of charge. And best of all, you get to watch them with an enthusiastic audience, equally hungry for local history.

——–

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, October 31 @ 7:30 PM
NIGHT OF THE DEMON
Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1957
“I make films on the supernatural,” Jacques Tourneur once admitted, “and I make them because I believe in it.” Tourneur’s American career took off with a trio of stylish and suggestive horror films for RKO producer Val Lewton (Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man), but he didn’t return to the genre again until his stature in the industry had seriously eroded in the late 1950s. Yet Night of the Demon is not the film of an artist on the ropes, but instead a finely calibrated, highly personal, and intellectually rigorous work to stand beside Tourneur’s best. Written by Hitchcock’s go-to scripter Charles Bennett, Night of the Demon dramatizes the conflict between scientific rationalism and ancient superstition with uncommon nuance and sensitivity. Dana Andrews stars as self-styled American myth-buster John Holden, who journeys to England to investigate and debunk rumors of a demon loose in the countryside. When a colleague turns up dead, Holden finds himself drawn into the occult underworld of magician, hypnotist, and occasional birthday clown Niall MacGinnis, who remains one of the most simultaneously sinister and sympathetic villains the genre has yet bequeathed. The producer showed more of the demon than Tourneur considered strictly necessary and lopped off thirteen minutes for the retitled American version, Curse of the Demon, but nothing can diminish the satanic majesty conjured in the marsh. (KW)
95 min • Associated British Picture Corp. • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: 1950s Horror Trailer Reel

 Check out the full schedule here!

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