Phil Karlson Takes You From Hell to Eternity — And Back! Rare 35mm Print from CFS Collections – Oct. 2 at NEIU

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

Wednesday, October 2 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Phil Karlson • 1960
With considerable distance from its subject material, the World War II epic Hell to Eternity, directed by Chicago-born Phil Karlson (The Phenix City Story), marries a frank look at anti-Japanese hate in the United States with a patriotic “true” story. Based on the life of real soldier Guy Gabaldon (Jeffrey Hunter), whose own Mexican American heritage is eliminated from the film, Hell to Eternity divides evenly into two halves. The first part focuses on Gabaldon’s experience growing up with a Japanese American adoptive family in the years leading up to World War II. The second depicts a gruesome campaign in which Gabaldon’s ability to speak Japanese results in surrender. The film is one of remarkably few Hollywood films concerned with Japanese American life during WWII, and one of even fewer to address Japanese American internment camps. A brief, frank, scene in which Gabaldon sees his family carted away to concentration camps is especially shocking to watch in 2019. Indeed, Karlson spoke of his attempts to get his “little pieces of truth” into films, sneaking past a conservative studio, and he considered Hell to Eternity to be “one of his most important pictures.” This was also the final film for silent era actress Tsuri Aoki, who plays Gabaldon’s mother, as well as the final film featuring both her and her husband Sessue Hayakawa. (VM)
131 min • Allied Artists Pictures •  35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Swank
Short:  Frank Sinatra in “The House I Live In” (Mervyn LeRoy, 1945) – 11 min – 16mm

Coming Soon

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

Wednesday, October 9 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Nina Menkes • 1991
While the Sundance brand is most closely associated with churning out Academy Award also-rans these days, Nina Menkes’s Queen of Diamonds, which premiered at the film festival in 1991, is a reminder that the American independent cinema can be a lot of things outside of “quirky,” namely “challenging” and “intensely personal.” Made for the craft services budget of a film like Little Miss Sunshine, Menkes’s first 35mm film and breakout feature found the director drawing on the work of Chantal Akerman to explore the rhythms of the life of a woman at work. Following the daily grind of Las Vegas blackjack dealer Firdaus, Menkes observes as Firdaus’s life reaches a zenith of surreal, despairing nonchalance in the desolation of a Nevada desert dotted with cheaply furnished, linoleum-lined apartments, burned-out mobile homes, and dried-up lakes. Shot in a series of long takes with little of the connective ligature commercial cinema typically relies on, Queen of Diamonds piles on plot detours and unresolved mysteries with each new scene, wallowing in all the gaudy allure and sunburnt drudgery of life in the margins of Sin City. (CW) Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
77 min •  New 35mm Print from Academy Film Archive, permission Arbelos
Short: “Babobilicons” (Daina Krumins, 1982) – 16 min – 16mm from Canyon Cinema

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