Category Archives: News

“He had only one thing on his mind . . . but so did she!”
Jane Campion’s Holy Smoke in 35mm – Sept. 20

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

Wednesday, September 20 @ 7:30 PM
HOLY SMOKE
Directed by Jane Campion • 1999
“‘Why do people believe in God? Why do people believe in love? Why do I tell myself every day, ‘You’re fat, mate?’” These age-old questions are the backbone of director Jane Campion’s disorienting fifth feature film. When Ruth Barron (a luminous Kate Winslet) joins up with a guru in India, her concerned family lures her back home to Sydney, Australia, hoping to reclaim her body and soul with some outside help. Enter P. J. Waters, “exit counselor,” a.k.a. religious cult devotee exorcist. Played with balls and heart by Harvey Keitel, his onscreen entrance feels like Winston Wolfe got lost on the way home from Pulp Fiction and wandered into a Jane Campion film. Rest assured he will not exit as he entered. P. J. attempts his three-day de-brainwashing technique on Ruth in an isolated cabin in the outback where their debates on faith quickly devolve (or evolve) into sexual power games. While not without its flaws (may the last two minutes of the film be forgiven and forgotten), Holy Smoke is a disorienting, funny, and rarely-told type of love story. As Fincina Hopgood wrote for Senses of Cinema, ‘‘Romance’ never looked so ridiculous, nor have its power relations been so cruelly exposed.” Cinematographer Dion Beebe (Collateral, Miami Vice) brings a radiant, saturated style to the film while long-time David Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti fills in between Neil Diamond cuts. (RL)
115 min • Miramax • 35mm from Chicago Film Society collections, permission Park Circus
Co-presented with Cine-File Chicago. Introduced by C-F Associate Editor Kat Sachs

Preceded by: Popeye the Sailor in “Never Kick a Woman” (Fleischer Studios, 1936) – 16mm – 7 min

And check out the rest of the season here.

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Jane Campion’s Holy Smoke in 35mm – Sept. 20

The Buzzzz is Back: Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in 35mm – One Nite Only – R. I. P.

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

Wednesday, September 13 @ 7:30 PM
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2
Directed by Tobe Hooper • 1986
A decade-plus-removed diptych predicated on the sublime spectacle of big men engaged in landscaping equipment balletics, Tobe Hooper’s two Chainsaw Massacre entries stand as perhaps the most audacious, subversive American franchise horror films of the late 20th century, blood-and-filth-caked dispatches from a country in which mechanized death has run rampant. Shedding the arty cubism and lizard-brain terror of his landmark 1974 original, Hooper opted to emphasize the bad taste comedy of his scenario for its Reagan-era, Cannon Group-financed follow-up, calling on fellow Texan L. M. Kit Carson (who had just prior worked on screenplays for Paris, Texas and the 1983 Breathless remake) for a script that sharpened the original’s jaundiced take on family life in the era of industrial capitalism and came packed with some of the funniest, most quotable dialog of the ’80s (“Look what you did to my Sonny Bono wig!”). Dennis Hopper (who later in the year would go on to give career-defining comeback performances in River’s Edge, Blue Velvet, and Hoosiers) takes the lead this time around as Lefty, a disgraced Texas Ranger on the trail of the original film’s central chainsaw-massacring cannibal family, who have monetized their hobby of murdering, cooking, and eating young people by opening a lucrative catering business. Dressed up with squicky effects work courtesy of Tom Savini and production design to rival Blade Runner for massive, alien beauty, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 plays like a Marx Brothers comedy in an abattoir, choking out laughs amidst the viscera. (CW)
101 min • The Cannon Group • 35mm from Park Circus

Preceded by: Trailer Reel II: Sequels of the ’80s and Afterwards  

And check out the rest of the season here.

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“He Was So Young … So Eager … And I Was So Lonely” – Robert Aldrich’s Autumn Leaves in 35mm – September 6

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

Wednesday, September 6 @ 7:30 PM
AUTUMN LEAVES
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1956
Robert Aldrich’s iconic noir Kiss Me Deadly ends with an atomic detonation, so it’s only appropriate that his masterfully stark follow-up, Autumn Leaves, feels chilly as nuclear winter. Los Angeles has never looked so empty on screen, a succession of sad little bungalows and grocery stores inhabited by damaged people like Joan Crawford’s spinster stenographer Milly Weatherby, who counts her landlady (Ruth Donnelly) as her only friend. So Milly is especially vulnerable when Burt (Cliff Robertson), a smooth-talking young man with a defensive cloak of overconfidence, shares a booth with her at their local watering hole one night. Milly urges Burt to pursue women closer to his own age, but within a month the puppy dog is back on bended knee. Is her sensitive boy a cynical con artist, a heaven-sent lover, a deeply traumatized soul, or some combination of the three? Lurid but never without emotional nuance, Autumn Leaves offers Crawford the finest role of her career. After so many grandiloquent movies that treat Crawford’s everyday travails as world-historic catastrophes, Autumn Leaves plays like a bucket of cold water, a weepie thoroughly grounded in the loneliness of working class life. (KW)
107 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: Mr. Magoo in “Destination Magoo” (Pete Burness, 1954) – 35mm IB Tech – 7 min

Introduced by Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader and Cine-File Chicago contributor

And check out the rest of the season here.

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New Season Begins September 4 at the Music Box with Alain Corneau’s Série noire – Imported 35mm Print

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $7

Monday, September 4 @ 7:00 PM
SÉRIE NOIRE
Directed by Alain Corneau • 1979
In French with English subtitles
What do you get when French avant-garde novelist Georges Perec (La disparition, a 300-page book without the letter ‘e’) adapts a work of red-blooded American crime literature like Jim Thompson’s A Hell of a Woman? From one angle Alain Corneau’s Série noire, named for an infamous series of French paperback pulps, is simply an exemplary neo-noir — but that’s almost too timid. With its archetypally spare characters cruising through a brutalist concrete landscape, this movie is proudly post-noir, post-punk, post-everything. Patrick Dewære (Hôtel des Amériques, Préparez vos mouchoirs) stars as hapless door-to-door salesman Franck Poupart, just the type of schmuck to be drawn into a murder plot by an old widow’s mute niece (Marie Trintignant). “Without a second thought,” writes Pacific Film Archive curator emeritus Steve Seid, “you buy his worn-out, deranged lowlife toying with oblivion.” In an era when classic American crime fiction was being re-interpreted as a haven for ex-hippies and burnt-out head shop denizens, this Transatlantic translation is surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the original. (KW)
111 min • Prospectacle/Gaumont • 35mm from Institut français, Permission Rialto Pictures
Special thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York
Preceded by: Trailer Reel: ’70s Neo-Noir and Not-Noir

—-

But that’s not all!

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

Wednesday, September 6 @ 7:30 PM
AUTUMN LEAVES
Directed by Robert Aldrich • 1956
Robert Aldrich’s iconic noir Kiss Me Deadly ends with an atomic detonation, so it’s only appropriate that his masterfully stark follow-up, Autumn Leaves, feels chilly as nuclear winter. Los Angeles has never looked so empty on screen, a succession of sad little bungalows and grocery stores inhabited by damaged people like Joan Crawford’s spinster stenographer Milly Weatherby, who counts her landlady (Ruth Donnelly) as her only friend. So Milly is especially vulnerable when Burt (Cliff Robertson), a smooth-talking young man with a defensive cloak of overconfidence, shares a booth with her at their local watering hole one night. Milly urges Burt to pursue women closer to his own age, but within a month the puppy dog is back on bended knee. Is her sensitive boy a cynical con artist, a heaven-sent lover, a deeply traumatized soul, or some combination of the three? Lurid but never without emotional nuance, Autumn Leaves offers Crawford the finest role of her career. After so many grandiloquent movies that treat Crawford’s everyday travails as world-historic catastrophes, Autumn Leaves plays like a bucket of cold water, a weepie thoroughly grounded in the loneliness of working class life. (KW)
107 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: Mr. Magoo in “Destination Magoo” (Pete Burness, 1954) – 35mm IB Tech – 7 min

Introduced by Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader and Cine-File Chicago contributor

And check out the rest of the season here.

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Come along and listen to the Lullaby of Broadway in Gold Diggers of 1935 – 35mm Screening – August 30

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


Wednesday, August 30 @ 7:30 PM
GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935
Directed by Busby Berkeley • 1935
Though he often received top billing on anything he touched, Gold Diggers of 1935 was the first feature directed entirely by Busby Berkeley, “Doctor Buzz, the Show Fixer.” The plot is a slight departure from previous backstage musicals, but similarly irrelevant: Dick Powell is a male escort for Gloria Stuart, Adolphe Menjou pulls his hair out trying to put on a show, and it’s all to support the Milk Fund. Then, out of nowhere, the most fantastic extended dance sequence you’ve ever seen: running nearly 15 minutes, “Lullaby of Broadway,” is widely regarded as Berkeley’s best set piece, both technically complex (in addition to the insane choreography, many effects were produced in camera) and breathtaking. Pre-Code purists need not fear, this one is still plenty sexy. A tragic and scandalous car accident shortly after the release of the film led to Berkeley being unofficially blacklisted, and he wouldn’t have this level of control over a film again until his The Gang’s All Here (1943). (JA)
95 min • Warner Bros. • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, Permission Swank
Film Stock: AGFA
Cartoon: “Honeymoon Hotel” (Earl Duvall, 1934) – 16mm – 8 min

——

But wait — that’s not all! Our new season begins on Monday, September 4. Check it out here.

 

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Andre de Toth’s Technicolor Western Last of the Comanches – 35mm Vault Print – August 23

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

Wednesday, August 23 @ 7:30 PM
LAST OF THE COMANCHES
Directed by Andre de Toth • 1953
When the small town of Dry Buttes is burned to the ground by a group of Comanches, six Cavalry survivors retreat to their base at Fort Macklin with very little water, and even less of a chance of surviving the 100-mile stretch of desert. A remake of Zoltan Korda’s great 1943 WWII film Sahara, Last of the Comanches is a smaller, tenser film, which makes the underlying sense of desperation all the more effective, and its moments of kindness all the more humbling. Best known for his gruesome 3-D masterpiece House of Wax, Andre de Toth, a “Hungarian-born, one-eyed American cowboy from Texas” (his words) was responsible for some of the the bleakest and most unusual westerns in the genre (Ramrod, The Bounty Hunter, Day of the Outlaw). They’re also searingly beautiful—in particular Comanches’ use of sunlight, which is so bright you can feel your skin cracking. (It’s worth noting de Toth worked as second unit director on the equally blistering Lawrence of Arabia). With Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Hale, and sometime Schlitz Playhouse star Broderick Crawford. (JA)
85 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (1999) Lab: Consolidated Film Ind.
Preceded bySylvester and Tweety in “Tom Tom Tomcat” (Friz Freleng, 1953) – 16mm – 7 min

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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Alan Arkin’s Little Murders – Funny in a New and Frightening Way – Rare 35mm Screening – August 16

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

Wednesday, August 16 @ 7:30 PM
LITTLE MURDERS
Directed by Alan Arkin • 1971
It’s 1970s New York City, a world of blackouts and senseless violence where every phone call is just another heavy breather. Slump-shouldered, self-proclaimed “apathist” Alfred (Elliott Gould) meets his match in Patsy (Marcia Rodd), an eternal optimist who rescues him from a street beating, woos him with recreational sports, and brings him home to meet her family. It’s an absurd, dark trip downhill from there, ably guided along by Alan Arkin in his feature directorial debut. Satirist and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, who adapted his own play for the screen (he also penned the screenplay for Robert Altman’s Popeye), described Little Murders as an essay on post-JFK assassination America, “a country in the process of having an unstated and unacknowledged nervous breakdown.” It’s often unsettling, but just as often brutally funny, and riddled with glorious monologues, notably Donald Sutherland’s as a hippie minister presiding over one of the greatest wedding scenes in film: “Of the 200 marriages that I have performed, all but seven have failed. So the odds are … not good.” A tar-black comedy where most of the time you’re not sure whether you’re covering your eyes in despair or to wipe away tears of laughter, Little Murders demands to be seen with an audience, though you might want to leave an empty seat between you and your neighbor. (RL)
110 min • 20th Century Fox • 35mm from 20th Century Fox
Film Stock: Eastman LPP (1983)
Preceded byBetty Boop in “Ha! Ha! Ha!” (Dave Fleischer, 1934) – 16mm – 7 min

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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Step Right Up and See the Great McGonigle: W. C. Fields in The Old-Fashioned Way – 35mm Screening, Aug. 8

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

Tuesday, August 8 @ 7:30 PM
THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
Directed by William Beaudine • 1934
Swept into the town of Bellefontaine amidst a wave of debt notices and middling press, The Great McGonigle (W. C. Fields) and his theatrical troupe brave hostile authorities and the affections of wealthy patron and aspiring singer Cleopatra Pepperday (Jan Duggan) as they prepare for an imminent sold-out show. One of William Claude Dukenfield’s most indelible creations, The Great McGonigle is the type of charming, work-averse huckster Fields was born to play, a snake oil salesman with the soul of an artist. Taking up the back half of the film, the group’s production of The Drunkard; or, The Fallen Saved (an actual temperance play that was a staple of a good many 19th-century repertory theater companies like the one in The Old Fashioned Way) is a straight-faced send-up of the original play’s creaky and prudish morality that utilizes much of its actual text, predicting Alain Resnais’s late-career theatrical adaptations and demonstrating that there are limits to the nostalgia that an old standard can stir. It also climaxes with a tremendous demonstration of the Great Man’s juggling abilities, impressive by any means but especially coming from one so swollen with drink. Godfrey Daniel! (CW)
71 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Film Stock: Kodak (2005) Lab: Triage
Preceded byFox Movietone News (1934) – 35mm – 8 min

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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Experience America in Jonathan Demme’s Melvin and Howard – 35mm Screening on August 2 @ 7:30pm

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

Wednesday, August 2 @ 7:30 PM
MELVIN AND HOWARD
Directed by Jonathan Demme • 1980
Milkman, aspiring country-western singer, and perennial loser Melvin Dummar is the unlikeliest personage ever to see his life turned into a movie but Jonathan Demme’s Melvin and Howard isn’t a particularly likely film to begin with: a dusty and sun-blasted, meandering and downbeat comedy defined as much by its low stakes as by its irrepressibly sweet and egalitarian worldview, arriving as ambivalence and anti-heroics were going out of fashion with the crumbling New Hollywood. In a life chock-full of colorful anecdotes, the time Dummar (played by a perpetually flummoxed Paul Le Mat) gave a ride to a hitchhiking Howard Hughes (an appealingly sour Jason Robards)—an event that would bring him into the public eye when a will naming him the recipient of 156 million dollars from the Hughes estate would surface a decade later—is perhaps the most extraordinary and least believable. While Dummar came to be widely defined by the incident and ensuing legal battle, Melvin and Howard spends relatively little time on Hughes, relegating him mostly to the film’s first reel. Instead, Melvin and Howard chooses to focus on Melvin’s repeated marriages to and divorces from his wife Lynda (Mary Steenburgen, who won an Academy Award for her performance), his struggles to win and maintain the title of “Milkman of the Month,” and the persistent money troubles that hound him and his family. Demme does the best work of his career here, vividly rendering Melvin and Howard‘s world of polyester, formica, and bologna sandwiches with inestimable love and respect. (CW)
95 min • Universal • 35mm from Universal
Film Stock: Eastman SP (1980)
Preceded byThe Three Stooges in “Busy Buddies” (Del Lord, 1944) – 35mm – 17 min

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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No Match for Warren William in The Match King – Pre-Code Drama in 35mm Print from Library of Congress – July 26

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

Wednesday, July 26 @ 7:30 PM
THE MATCH KING
Directed by Howard Bretherton and William Keighley • 1932
Warner Bros.-First National made its share of risqué and radical films during the pre-Production Code era, but none is so crammed with topical incident as The Match King. Based on the life of Ivar Kreuger, the Swedish con artist who popularized the superstition that “three on a match” brought bad luck (and boosted sales volume accordingly), The Match King chronicles Warren William’s rise from lowly Chicago Cubs sanitation worker to continental matchstick magnate. (Talk about efficiency: Kreuger killed himself in March 1932, and his life story reached the screen before year’s end.) A man capable of bluffing from the heart, leveraging assets out of thin air, and outright stealing whatever he needs to stay one step ahead of his creditors and competitors, William’s Paul Kroll is a tycoon only Ayn Rand could love. (Indeed, Rand brought her own version of Kreuger’s death to the stage as Night of January 16th, which naturally presented the so-called criminal as a victim of a mediocre, conformist society.) Like the best pre-Code films, The Match King subsists on a simple moral imperative, but ultimately stands apart from its brethren on the basis of its globe-trotting scope, ruthless forward momentum, and ever-timely warning against trusting a dealmaker in sheep’s clothing. (KW)
78 min • First National Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Swank

Preceded by: Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam in “Buccaneer Bunny” (Friz Freleng, 1948) – 16mm – 8 min

Photo courtesy of Museum of Modern Art/Film Stills Archive

For the full schedule of our classic film screenings, please click here.

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