Around the Coyote Curators' Choice: 4 Chicago Directors | Chicago Reader

Around the Coyote Curators' Choice: 4 Chicago Directors

My favorite film in this year's fall festival is Bruce Terris's Flying, a beautifully written scene for Marc Vann, as an anguished businessman awaiting a flight in a blue and ghostly airport, and Mike Nussbaum, as the old stranger who befriends him. Montage punctuates the measured silence between their remarks as the businessman rakes over memories of his wife and child, and in one masterful shot cinematographer David Blood tracks around Vann as he surveys the deserted airport, the focus shifting to sweep across the empty corridor. John Mossman's Jell-Ohh Lady is equally slick but less interesting, a spoof of early-60s ennui in which a young, pregnant housewife (Laura Lee), pressured by her husband, reluctantly undertakes to defend her long-running title as champion of the local Jell-O sculpture contest. Amy Firtz is a knockout as the wife's neurotic rival, though the husband (Kenneth Alan Williams) gets the best line in the film (“You remember what Pastor Olsen was saying on Sunday, about Job and the boils and all that? And he kept going”). Woven among these two narratives are Eric Hamilton's clever digital video Blue and Tim Bieber's brief, funny 16-millimeter profiles of Alabama good ol' boys whooping it up at the local tractor races, a North Carolina man who's unhealthily attached to his robotic dog, the aging RAF veterans who make up Britain's Handlebar Moustache Club, and Chicago's own Wesley Willis, who performs a country tune about Osama bin Laden. 50 min.

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