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At the top of my wish list for next week is a one-off screening of Michael Almereyda's Paradise Thursday night at Nightingale. Described by its creator as a video "work in progress" despite having played at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles last month, the film comprises a diary of cities of Almereyda's rapturous acquaintance—approximately two dozen in 33 shots, including New York, Los Angeles, and post-Katrina New Orleans as well as overseas unfamiliars like Seoul and Esfahan. My favorites among Almereyda's features—Another Girl, Another Planet and Nadja, though not so much the Ethan Hawke Hamlet—like to flirt with the elusive and uncanny, but this one evidently sends him over the edge of literal definition, finding "paradisiacal moments" in the transitory before they evanesce completely. Some Almereyda quotes to put you in a receptive mood, as they already have me—from a recent AFI interview:
No matter how mundane or minimal some of the episodes may be. I only included things I considered amazing, surprising, unrepeatable, and unforgettable ...
If you have a camera and keep your eyes open, you stand a chance of capturing and sharing a certain wealth of experience before you slip off into oblivion. The episodes in this movie are my mundane versions of C-beams glittering in the dark near Tannhauser Gate ...
I happen to think this life is the only paradise we've got. And if it isn't, it'll do for now.
Which may be only a sucker-punch fantasy, but how can anyone resist?
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Paradise screens Thursday, December 11, at 8 PM at Nightingale, 1084 N. Milwaukee, and Almereyda will be present for a postfilm discussion. Call 773-289-4329 for more info.