No Jokers In This Deck: New 35mm Restoration of Nina Menkes’s Queen of Diamonds Screens Oct. 9 at NEIU

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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