Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Chicago's Own: The Space of the City

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The midwest's great cities can be alienating, and these two urban essays articulate disturbed relationships between people and landscapes through imagery and editing. In the hour-long black-and-white film Still/Here (2000), Christopher Harris suffuses the blighted north side of Saint Louis with a powerful melancholy, lingering on rubble-strewn lots, decrepit buildings, and empty streets, while footsteps and a continually ringing phone on the sound track suggest lives interrupted by the devastation. Holes in a movie theater marquee are powerfully evocative, but even more impressive is the film's sprawling, almost chaotic form: its calculated incompleteness truly matches the subject, and Harris's long takes imply--not without a hint of anger--that the ruins of his hometown are eternal. In contrast, Klaus W. Eisenlohr's 27-minute video Slow Space--The Interviews centers on people: various Chicago artists, outdoors or in their homes, talk about the concept of space in the big city while the camera pivots around them, separating them from the settings. Eisenlohr will attend the screening. Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, Saturday, December 15, 8:00, 773-293-1447.

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