Doc Films kicks off its summer season tomorrow

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City Girl
  • City Girl
Tomorrow night City Girl, whose documentary images of LaSalle Street circa 1929 should hold special interest for local viewers. But the film is worth seeing simply for having been directed by F.W. Murnau, one of the most imaginative filmmakers who ever lived. In an ideal world, this past spring would have seen a Chicago revival of his Tabu to coincide with the local premiere of the Miguel Gomes film of the same name. (Alas, the film is currently tied up in rights issues, which makes a revival almost impossible.) In lieu of that, any Murnau title other than Nosferatu or Sunrise—which get screened fairly regularly—is most welcome indeed.

Doc tends to take a grab bag approach to its summer programming, but this year is a little different. The calendar contains two films each by Kenji Mizoguchi (The Life of Oharu and Sisters of Gion), Jean-Luc Godard (Masculine-Feminine and Vivre Sa Vie), and Andy Warhol (Kiss and Lupe); and Thursday nights will be devoted to the work of local filmmakers. Organized by local filmmaker J.B. Mabe (whose work will be featured in this week's shorts program), the series leans towards experimental work, with programs devoted to Melika Bass, Jim Trainor, and Mike Gibisser. Even Silver Bullets, the Joe Swanberg feature screening on July 11 (alongside Empire Builder, directed by his wife Kris Swanberg), represents that director's most experimental work to date.

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Other highlights include: Satyajit Ray's Charulata (hopefully screening from the gorgeous new 35-millimeter print that played at Block Cinema last year) on July 13; Luis Buñuel's Mexican Bus Ride on July 24; Correction Please! Or, How We Got Into Pictures, an essayistic work about early cinema by noted film historian Noel Burch, on August 14; and Expose Me, Lovely, an only-in-the-70s mix of film noir and hard-core pornography, on August 16.

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