Films by Howard Alk | Chicago Reader

Films by Howard Alk

Screening as part of Chicago Film Archives' retrospective on filmmaker Howard Alk, these two documentaries both explore aspects of the counterculture during the Vietnam era. As editor of Seasons Change (1968, 45 min.), William Jersey's film about the protests surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Alk sifted through dozens of hours of footage and gave shape and momentum to a narrative that rebutted the city's official version of events, What Trees Do They Plant? Alk directed Luxman Baul's Movie (1971, 53 min.), an impressionistic travelogue that follows itinerant folk singers through West Bengal, India. Their serenity and ecstatic performances seem to defy their extreme poverty and help explain why so many westerners sought this same spirituality in pilgrimages to the East.

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