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Preview Wed Feb 22 2012

"Reel People" Midnight Film Screenings

Facets_Head.jpgTrue stories are often the most compelling in film. People are drawn to the stunning realities revealed in a grass roots documentary, or the retelling of a series of fantastic and awe-inspiring events that lead to either personal accomplishment or demise. As moving as these films can be, is there an irreconcilable disconnect between the silver screen and the life it portrays? Can cinema ever really depict the "truth"?

This is the question the Night School offshoot of Facets Film School poses in its 10th series, "Reel People." Midnight screenings, lectures and discussions will take place every Saturday from February 25 to April 21 at Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.

The nine-week session will focus on films that portray the lives of real people. Each event includes a lecture from an experienced speaker and a post-screening discussion. Students will also view grindhouse/cult trailers, receive giveaways and take home an extensive educational pack for the films complete with notes, essays, articles, a bibliography for further reading and more.

The session is open to documentary buffs and curious moviegoers alike. The featured films tell the stories that can be gritty, thought provoking, and at times humorous -- even if in the "is this adult seriously having a fit over a King Kong record?" way. Each takes a voyeuristic look into a life that is far from typical or a setting that may be unimaginable.

Tickets are $5 or free for Facets Patron Circle members and can be accessed through Facets Night School.

Screenings will include:

Amin, The Rise and Fall (Feb. 25) Join trash movie historian Lew Ojeda as he dissects the grindhouse popularity of one of the most insane biopics ever filmed -- chocked full of more murders, stabbings, decapitations, torture, cannibalism, and insane rants than most horror films you'll ever see.

I'm Not There (March 3) Film teacher Michael Smith will present Todd Haynes' ambitious "anti-biopic" of Bob Dylan -- one of the most formally audacious films to ever receive distribution in commercial American movie theaters.

Barfly (March 10) Known for hard drinking, betting on the ponies, and a gritty lifestyle, writer Charles Bukowski has had his work adapted for the screen in at least three different films, all based on his life. Chris Damen will discuss what these films get correct -- and why no one really nails it.

Three Came Home (March 17) Oak Park native Agnes Newton Keith, who was imprisoned on the island of Borneo by the Japanese during WWII, is the subject of this classic biopic starring Claudette Colbert and directed by Jean Negulesco.

Shadow of the Vampire (March 25) A fictionalized look at the filming of F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire offers portrayals of not one, but two actual figures: Max Schreck and his very convincing "method acting," as well as Murnau himself and his characteristic obsession with psychological realism and the expressive use of the moving camera.

The Bengali Detective (March 31) This original Sundance and Berlin film festival hit documentary follows an intrepid Kolkata detective, Rajesh Ji, and his motley band of misfits, all across India as they investigate crimes ranging from counterfeiting to adultery to triple homicide. Neil Calderone, director of the Chicago Cinema Society, presents the film in its Chicago premiere.

The Beaver Trilogy (April 7) Trent Harris's The Beaver Trilogy began as a chance meeting between a fledgling filmmaker and a celebrity impersonator which inspired a deeper examination of what it means to pay tribute to those that touch our lives... and how not to do that. Joseph Lewis asks the question: "Is impersonation a form of flattery or tragedy?"

The King of Kong (April 14) When Steve Wiebe lost his job at Boeing, he decided to spend his un-employment mastering the original Donkey Kong. This drew the attention of Billy Mitchell, the world record holder on Donkey Kong and a world-class jerk who sets out to usurp Wiebe's dreams of a Guinness World Record at all costs. DePaul graduate student Dominick Mayer will explore how a documentary this strange could possibly happen.

Head (April 21) The Monkees were an act full of contradictions: a fake band that became real, a made-for-TV Beatles knockoff whose members were befriended by The Beatles themselves, and an enterprise devoted to churning out bubble gum teen music that ended up producing pop music of sometimes surprising sophistication. Their lone feature film is a movie equally contradictory.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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