Monthly Archives: June 2016

Shirtless but Not Burt-less: Hunky Lancaster in Jules Dassin’s Crackling Prison Drama Brute Force – 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

05 Brute Force 600
Wednesday, July 6 @ 7:30 PM
BRUTE FORCE
Directed by Jules Dassin • 1947
Is America a nation of laws or a fragile society held together by little more than brute force? The elemental prison backdrop of Brute Force serves as a springboard for an incendiary examination of the postwar American psyche in this grisly thriller. The work of newspaperman-turned-producer Mark Hellinger and a raft of Communists and leftist fellow travelers (director Jules Dassin, screenwriter Richard Brooks, one-man Calypsonian chorus Sir Lancelot, supporting players Art Smith and Roman Bohnen), Brute Force drills down to sociological basics: exploited prisoners, a quasi-fascist jailer, ineffectual civilian control, a none-too-subtle drainpipe to nowhere.  Sweaty, frequently shirtless prole Burt Lancaster and the other inmates of Cell R17 plot an improbable escape, their efforts legitimized by the participation of model prisoner Charles Bickford and punched up by patriotic memories of wartime exploits. Standing in their way is Hume Cronyn, a politically ambitious enforcer who cleans his gun with a t-shirt and stages Wagner-scored torture sessions like a Nazi wannabe. Scarcely softened by the domestic flashbacks transparently inserted to make the movie more palatable to women, Brute Force still packs a wallop. (KW)
98 min • Mark Hellinger Productions • 35mm from NWCFS Collections, permission Upcoast Film
Film Stock: Eastman (1956)

Preceded by:  Jules Dassin trailer reel

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“What I Do with My Body Is My Business!” – Stephanie Rothman’s The Student Nurses – New 35mm Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

04 Student Nurses 600
Tuesday, June 28 @ 7:30 PM
THE STUDENT NURSES
Directed by Stephanie Rothman • 1970
One of the earliest films produced during Roger Corman’s legendary run with New World Pictures and the progenitor of Corman’s lucrative “Nurses” cycle, Stephanie Rothman’s The Student Nurses was a socially conscious and explicitly feminist anomaly in the world of early ’70s exploitation filmmaking. Centered on a group of four young nursing students who live together, Rothman reenvisioned a rote scenario that could simply have been a vehicle for delivering copious nudity as an exploration of the diversity of experiences particular to young women at the dawn of the ’70s. Speaking on the freedom working independently in a disreputable genre afforded her, Rothman said, “It allowed me to have a dramatized discussion about issues that were then being ignored in big-budget major studio films: for example […] a discussion about a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion when, at the time, abortion was still illegal in America.” A film of great energy, with a clear head and a racing pulse, The Student Nurses stands the test of time, simultaneously of its moment and more relevant than ever. (CW)
89 min • New World Pictures • 35mm from Academy Film Archive, permission Criterion Pictures, USA
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2016) • Lab: Fotokem

Preceded by: “A Visit from the Incubus” (Anna Biller, 2001) – 16mm – 26 min

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C’est si bon! Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

03 Love in the Afternoon 600
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON
Directed by Billy Wilder • 1957
The first collaboration between Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond plays like a spiritual sequel to the pre-Code romantic comedies of Wilder’s mentor, Ernst Lubitsch. Maurice Chevalier returns to the American screen after a decade-long absence to play bedroom detective Claude Chavasse, who may as well be a grayer version of his character in One Hour with You. (The film inaugurated the second act of Chevalier’s career, which saw him playing similar roués in Gigi and Can-Can and performing the delightful theme song of The Aristocats.) When Chavasse’s daughter Ariane (Audrey Hepburn) intervenes to save an American playboy (Gary Cooper) from the bullets of a cuckold’s gun, a grand romance is born. The age difference between Hepburn and Cooper is considerable, but the scenario never tips over into squick territory because the masterful screenplay continually emphasizes Ariane’s agency and wit, as well as her “certain quelque chose, as they say on the Left Bank.” (KW)
130 min • Allied Artists • 35mm from RCFA, permission Swank
Film Stock: Eastman (1957)

Preceded by: Cartoon TBA

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“This Bitter Earth”: Charles Burnett’s Groundbreaking
Debut Feature Killer of Sheep – Restored 35mm Print

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $5 • NEIU Students: $2

Tuesday, June 14 @ 7:30 PM
KILLER OF SHEEP
Directed by Charles Burnett • 1977
“I ain’t poor. I give things away to Salvation Army.” Spoken by Stan, the central figure in Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, these words are the closest this towering masterwork of American independent cinema comes to vocalizing a structuring philosophy, refusing to define the community it documents by its marginality and instead celebrating the vibrancy of black life in Watts, Los Angeles. Stan works days in a slaughterhouse (he’s the titular killer) and is kept up nights by bouts of chronic insomnia that are left unexplained. Meanwhile, his kids occupy their time playing in empty lots and on vacant rooftops that litter the outskirts of their neighborhood and singing along to the family’s record collection (the depth and diversity of African American recorded music is one of the throughlines in the film). Nothing like a plot coalesces to distract from the neighborhood reveries and quiet nights of introspection, and while a heavy air of melancholy suffuses much of the film, it’s a melancholy that remains tempered with the sweetness of family, community, and joy. (CW)
81 min • 35mm from Milestone Films
Film Stock: Kodak (2005) • Lab: UCLA

Preceded by: “Felicia” (Bob Dickson, Alan Gorg, & Trevor Greenwood, 1965) – Archival 16mm print courtesy of USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive – 13 min

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Debut Feature Killer of Sheep – Restored 35mm Print