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Thursday, August 13

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Film Wed May 23 2012

Film Around Town: Or, The Best Films to See this Weekend

by Harrison Sherrod

Richter 7.jpeg

Gerhard Richter Painting, weeklong run at the Gene Siskel Film Center (ends Friday!)

In Gerhard Richter Painting, documentarian Corinna Belz trains her lens on one of today's most celebrated contemporary artists. Richter, who has long held a reputation for being withdrawn and reserved, allows the cameras full access as he labors in his studio on a new series of abstract works. A rare opportunity to see Richter in his natural habitat, the film captures his signature process, which involves using an oversized squeegee to apply thick coats of paint that he later wears away to achieve a unique texturized look. Richter's meathod is simultaneously spontaneous and calculated, and it's unclear (even to his assistants) why he favors one brushstroke over another. Despite Belz's attempts to prompt rumination on Richter's part, specifically about the meaning of his paintings, he is no less of an enigma at the film's conclusion. Interestingly, memory and the passage of time, themes commonly attributed to Richter's work, are equally central to both his abstract and photorealistic paintings.

One would be hard-pressed to think of a contemporary artist whose early and late periods are so aesthetically divergent, yet thematically interconnected. Belz displays this diversity with handheld tracking shots of Richter's paintings that function as a physical timeline of his oeuvre. A trip to the Modern Wing is required prior to all screenings. Find more info here.

Thief.jpeg

Chicago on the silver screen: Thief

Saturday & Sunday, May 26 & 27 @ The Music Box

Filmed on the wet streets of Chicago, Michael Mann's neo(n)-noir Thief is an
underappreciated hometown gem and an impressive directorial debut from one of the most skillful action directors working today. James Caan plays Frank, the titular thief, who is determined to quit the trade and retire to quiet suburban existence. Approached by the mafia to do one final mega heist in Los Angeles, Frank sees the opportunity as a way out. Mann went to great lengths to depict the meticulous technical aspects of the thieving process, hiring bona fide safe-crackers to act as advisors on set to ensure authenticity. Despite being his first feature, Thief displays Mann's masterful manipulation of light as he distorts and warps Chicago's illuminated cityscape into an abstract, chromatic blur. There are brief moments at which, if you paused Thief, the image would look more like a still from an experimental film than a mainstream crime movie. A synthesizer-driven soundtrack courtesy of Tangerine Dream (also responsible for the score of Mann's supernatural Nazi thriller The Keep) provides the film with a quintessentially '80s vibe. Ultimately, when his deal with the mob goes awry, Frank embraces the nihilism of the archetypal neo-noir character for whom love and domesticity are no longer viable escape routes: "You've got to get to where nothing means nothing." Thief also features a supporting performance by native son Jim Belushi. Additionally, the Green Mill is blown to smithereens. Find more info here.

 
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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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