Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River | Chicago Reader

Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River

Dave Carlson spent over two years on this hour-long documentary, in which he interviewed a dozen-odd “Chicago filmmakers” while sailing the Chicago River. He's rounded up the usual locals (Tom Palazzolo, Heather McAdams, the Kartemquin founders), indie mavericks (John McNaughton), celebrity expatriates (Michael Mann, John Landis, Andrew Davis), academics (Zeinabu Irene Davis), and onlookers (Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert), asking them what role the city plays in the movies, but few of them have anything new to say. In fact, few of the clips from the filmmakers' work were even shot in Chicago, though they're supposed to illustrate the dubious proposition that there's a “Chicago sensibility.” But Carlson's footage is skillfully shot and assembled, and in the film's frequent cutaways the river emerges as the main attraction, a presence more splendid and riveting than any of the talking heads. Maybe someday it will provide a backdrop as evocative as the Seine in French cinema.

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