Monthly Archives: February 2019

Cinema or Civic Duty? – See Castle’s Mr. Sardonicus in 35mm and Vote in the Punishment Poll – Feb. 27 @ NEIU

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

Wednesday, February 27 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by William Castle • 1961
With all due respect to Roger Ebert, you have to wonder how he can see cinema as an “empathy machine” when the transcendently cruel Mr. Sardonicus exists. In the remote, fictional Eastern European province of Gorslava, horrific tales of the masked Baron Sardonicus proliferate as a parade of young peasant women enter his manor, never to be seen again. Enter Sir Robert Cargrave, invited to Castle Sardonicus by his old flame (who happens to now be the Baron’s wife) to cure the Baron of the mysterious, gruesome ailment driving his fatal experiments on the local maidenry. A salacious, sadistic gothic horror show that plays like the missing link between Browning and Bava, Mr. Sardonicus is also as ghoulishly pleasurable a film as director William Castle ever made, a barrage of Addams Family-caliber antisocial humor guaranteed to leave a grotesque rictus grin plastered across your face. Never one to turn down a gimmick, Castle ends the film with a “Punishment Poll,” ostensibly ceding to the audience whether or not the villainous Sardonicus will be granted benevolent mercy in the film’s final minutes. Given the wickedness of the preceding 87, we’re pretty sure we know how the vote will go. (CW)
90 min • Columbia Pictures • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory
Preceded by: William Castle Trailer Reel – 10 min – 35mm

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

Saturday, March 2 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by John Hanson and Rob Nilsson • 1977 – 1980
With 21st century politics forged along a highly polarized, seemingly intractable red state-blue state divide, it’s easy to believe that American society is static and organizing futile. But coalitions, parties, ideologies, and loyalties continually shift, decouple, and evolve, as demonstrated by the oft-neglected radical history of North Dakota, site of the Nonpartisan League, established as a farmers’ counterweight to eastern monopolies and trusts in 1922. John Hanson and Rob Nilsson’s trilogy of documentaries, funded by the North Dakota Humanities Council and the North Dakota AFL-CIO, is a lively act of recovered history on 16mm. A companion to Hanson and Nilsson’s remarkable feature Northern Lights (1978), the Prairie Trilogy pivots on the memories of 97-year-old League veteran and self-described optimistic socialist Henry Martinson, who maintains, “You can’t find a better color than red. It’s like the blood flowing in all the people’s veins and we’re all alike in that respect. That eventually will become the universal flag.” In Prairie Fire(1977, 30 min), Martinson’s reminiscences are interspersed with contemporaneous footage of North Dakota shot by Nilsson’s grandfather, Frithjof Holmboe. In Rebel Earth (1980, 49 min), Martinson tours the sites of his youth and comments on the state of stagflation-era America. Survivor (1980, 28 min) finds Martinson still working and opining as recording secretary for the Fargo-Moorhead Trades and Labor Assembly. (KW)
107 min • CineManifest / New Front Films • 16mm from Citizen Cinema, Northern Pictures, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota, permission from The Metrograph

Check of the rest of the season here!

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