Monthly Archives: July 2016

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Chinese Roulette:
Karina, Kraftwerk, and More in 35mm

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

09 Chinese Roulette 600

Wednesday, August 3 @ 7:30 PM
CHINESE ROULETTE
Directed by R. W. Fassbinder • 1976
In German with English subtitles
A woman, her husband, their respective lovers, and a cadre of domestic workers all find themselves inconveniently in the couple’s country home for the weekend. It is quickly revealed that all have been brought there via the machinations of the couple’s disabled teenage daughter Angela, initiating a game with unknown and potentially deadly consequences. Perhaps the strangest, most misunderstood and bleakly hilarious film in a career packed with cinematic feints, Chinese Roulette found Rainer Werner Fassbinder at the height of his powers as a stylist and an observer of human beings struggling to maintain control in the face of their own powerlessness. Working with the internationally renowned actresses Anna Karina and Macha Meril (both well known for their work with Jean-Luc Godard) and his highest budget to date, Fassbinder makes every second of this tense and wildly eccentric chamber thriller count, sending master cinematographer Michael Ballhaus’s unmoored camera careening across rooms, carving up screen space with doorways and reflections, pinning characters under panes of glass, moving in and out of close-ups to find the best vantage point to watch them squirm, finding time for snatches of political intrigue, a creepy doll collection, and a dance on crutches to Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity. (CW)
86 min • Albatros Filmproduktion/Les Films du Losange • 35mm from Janus
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2003)
Preceded by: “Schlitz Playhouse: I Shot a Prowler” (Arthur Hiller, 1958) – 35mm – 30 min

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Karina, Kraftwerk, and More in 35mm

James Whale’s Anti-War Saga The Road Back
New 35mm Restoration from the Library of Congress

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

08 Road Back 600

Wednesday, July 27 @ 7:30 PM
THE ROAD BACK
Directed by James Whale • 1937
The most prestigious and improbable sequel this side of The Godfather Part II, this follow-up to Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front found itself on Universal’s production schedule as soon as it was a gleam in the eye of novelist Erich Maria Remarque. With production constantly pushed back due to budgetary and political considerations, the film finally went before the cameras after the 1936 ouster of Carl Laemmle, Jr., the producer who had shepherded All Quiet to the screen. The story focuses on the Great War’s unruly aftermath for the soldiers themselves and German society at large. Under the versatile direction of James Whale and the questionable supervision of production chief Charles R. Rogers, The Road Back marshalled a cast of unknowns and comic relief bit players to put across a bracingly anti-militarist message. Targeted by the German consul for being “detrimental to German prestige,” the film was recut both before and during its 1937 run, and further altered for a 1939 reissue. Practically unseen for eight decades, this new restoration brings The Road Back as close as possible to its original form. Preserved by the Library of Congress with funding provided by NBCUniversal and The Film Foundation. (KW)
100 min • Universal Studios • 35mm from Library of Congress
Film Stock: ORWO

Preceded by: “A.W.O.L.” (Charley Bowers, 1918) – 16mm – 5 min

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New 35mm Restoration from the Library of Congress

Silent Mystery, She Wrote: de Mille and Beranger’s The Bedroom Window – Live Accompaniment from Jay Warren

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

07 Bedroom Window 600

Wednesday, July 20 @ 7:30 PM
THE BEDROOM WINDOW
Directed by William C. de Mille • 1924
Before Miss Marple and Murder, She Wrote, there was Matilda Jones, the crime-solving senior citizen and mystery writer (pen name: Rufus Rome) with “a brain like a man.”  When Robert Delano (Ricardo Cortez) discovers the corpse of his future father-in-law, it’s up to his fiancée (May McAvoy) and her spinster aunt Matilda (Ethel Wales) to find the real killer. This superbly entertaining whodunit is a prime example of the long-standing collaboration between director William C. de Mille and screenwriter Clara S. Beranger. William had a lighter touch than his brother Cecil, and the handful of his films that survive (Conrad in Quest of His Youth, Miss Lulu Bett) suggests a refined and cosmopolitan talent. Beranger, author of nearly eighty silent film scenarios, is an equally forgotten talent who retired shortly after the talkies arrived and took up teaching at USC. A staunch feminist, Beranger frequently celebrated the contributions of women screenwriters and averred that certain subjects like “the heart throb, the human interest note, child life, domestic scenes and even the eternal triangle is more ably handled by women than men.” (KW)
70 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress
Live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren
Film Stock: Eastman B+W (1976)

Preceded by: “The Thieving Hand” (J. Stuart Blackton, 1908) – 35mm – 5 min

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“Baby, You’re So Good to Me!” – Gerry & the Pacemakers in Ferry Cross the Mersey – Rare 35mm Screening

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

06 Ferry Cross the Mersey 600

Wednesday, July 13 @ 7:30 PM
FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY
Directed by Jeremy Summers • 1965
After the success and critical adulation that greeted A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles manager Brian Epstein masterminded a film project to showcase Liverpool, the Merseybeat community that fostered the Fab Four, and the scene’s second most famous act, Gerry & the Pacemakers. Ferry Cross the Mersey, the resulting film, turned out to be a strange mixture of classic rock ‘n’ roll teensploitation and the formal dynamism of A Hard Day’s Night, with numerous exterior sequences and live numbers shot off the cuff and on the fly in the streets and clubs of Liverpool. Gerry Marsden and the rest of the Pacemakers form a band, play some shows, meet some ladies, and win a climactic talent show. In between are musical numbers, including rough-and-tumble sequences shot in the legendary Cavern Club and Locarno Ballroom (the latter of which contains a real brawl between extras that occurred during filming) and the title song performed on a ferry, Mack Sennett homages, and scooter rides along the Mersey river. Never issued on video and very rarely screened, Ferry Cross the Mersey is an essential opportunity to immerse oneself in a music scene that was more than just the Beatles. (CW)
88 min • Subafilms/United Artists • 35mm from NWCFS Collections
Film Stock: Gevaert Belgium

Preceded by: “Light on East Anglia” (British Pathe/British Motor Corporation, 1966) – 35mm – 20 min

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