Big Screen Research: Best of X-Film | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Big Screen Research: Best of X-Film

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Wwen avant-garde filmmakers burst on the scene in the 60s, they were full of grand ambitions, arguing for alternative ways of seeing and living. Young filmmakers today produce challenging work but offer their art as tentative, provisional, incomplete--many prefer the appellation "experimental." The films in this program combine diverse imagery without purporting to reach conclusions. In Detached Americans, Gregg Biermann pans a San Francisco landscape with the camera tilted sideways and adds the voice of a boy who witnessed the LA riots to create a displaced feeling--leaving issues unresolved. Mary Slaughter's Selenology is a more extreme collage. With images of a microphone stand rotated to resemble a spaceship, women dancing almost weightlessly, and a flight over the moon, the movie has an exotic, otherworldly feel--the viewer isn't quite sure where he has been. Ariana Gerstein's Cycles combines full-frame images with shots in which the screen is divided into small rectangles, each containing a branch or a bird. In one shot, two fingers hold a frame of celluloid with a bird's image, as if trying to capture the uncapturable. Gerstein's elusive, ever-changing film invests the idea of cinema as incomplete and impermanent with a poetic and emotional dimension. Also showing are films by Atsuhiko Mori, Nino Pezzella, Anton Herbert, Heather McAdams, Ulrike Reichhold, Jim Seibert, Francis Schmidt, and Scott Trotter. University of Chicago, 1212 E. 59th St., Monday, March 25, 7:00, 702-8574. --Fred Camper

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