Monthly Archives: May 2019

They Had Faces Then: John Cassavetes’s Scalding Classic Faces Screens in 35mm – June 5 @ NEIU

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

Wednesday, June 5 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by John Cassavetes • 1968
After being stung by a couple of personally disappointing studio outings, up-and-coming director John Cassavetes began work on a tiny project with a small group of friends, shot in his own home on grungy black-and-white 16mm film, financed with paychecks from acting jobs in studio pictures, and ultimately self-distributed, entirely circumventing the churn of the Hollywood film industry. The result of three years of production, Faces would turn out to be a breakthrough for Cassavetes, a refinement of the jagged, rough-hewn style his name would become synonymous with and a blueprint for the string of classics he would crank out in the ensuing decade. John Marley and Lynn Carlin play a married couple who, after a heated argument, spend one long night drinking and looking for new love. Husband Richard rushes off to Jeannie (Gena Rowlands), the prostitute who seems to be the only person capable of receiving his affection. Meanwhile, wife Maria picks up aspiring gigolo Chet (the recently departed Seymour Cassel, in his only Academy Award-nominated performance) while on the town with her girlfriends, taking him home for an encounter that runs the gamut on all emotions unutterable. Coupled with his trademark close-ups and willingness to let scenes play long enough to morph before our eyes, Cassavetes proves here that all that’s needed to make a masterpiece is a heaping dose of feeling and a handful of good faces. (CW)
130 min • Continental Film Distributors • 35mm from American Genre Film Archive
Short: “Optical Printer Test” (2014) – 2 min – 16mm

“… It remains one of the only American films to take the middle class seriously, depicting the compulsive, embarrassed laughter of people facing their own sexual longing and some of the emotional devastation brought about by the so-called sexual revolution…this is one of the most powerful and influential American films of the 60s” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“Cassavetes showed it was possible to make a great movie with just a 16mm Bolex, a group of dedicated friends and an insatiable curiosity about the human condition.” Oliver Lunn, BFI

Watch the trailer here!

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: $11

Saturday, June 8 @ 11:30 AM
Directed by Mauritz Stiller • 1927
Live organ accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott
“Out of the riotous welter of war, love, and empire-shaking intrigue, roars this great melodrama—Hotel Imperial! Pola Negri’s greatest by far!” bellowed Paramount, emphasizing the salability of a film they likely feared exhibitors would be too quick to dismiss as a specialty item. The height of Hollywood’s polyglot cosmopolitanism from the most continental of studios, Hotel Imperial was based on a 1917 play from Hungarian writer Lajos Biro, directed by Swedish pioneer Mauritz Stiller, produced by German UFA exile Erich Pommer, and built around the peculiar glow of Polish star Pola Negri. The titular hotel stands as a bygone luxury in war-torn Galicia, with the Russian army advancing on Austro-Hungarian forces. An escaped Hussar (James Hall) finds refuge in the Hotel Imperial and poses as the establishment’s butler with the help of housekeeper Anna (Negri), who must fend off the amorous advances of a Russian general (George Siegmann) and keep her eyes on an infamous spy (Michael Vavitch). Stiller had achieved immense success in Sweden with films such as Sir Arne’s Treasure and The Saga of Gosta Berling, but it was seemingly only his involvement with the latter’s breakthrough star, Greta Garbo, that brought him to the attention of M-G-M. His stateside career was a series of false starts, pilfered projects, and studio clashes; within a year of Hotel Imperial, he would return to Sweden and die at age 45. This, his only extant American feature, is a rare glimpse of a cinema too fragile to last. (KW)
85 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Paramount
Short: “Cartoons in the Hotel” (Raoul Barre, 1915) – 10 min – 16mm

“[A] beautifully directed film that contains [Pola Negri’s] last role of substance.” — Village Voice

Check out the rest of the new season here!

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