Films by Howard Alk | Chicago Reader

Films by Howard Alk

The Chicago Film Archives' retrospective on documentarian Howard Alk concludes with two arresting time capsules. My Friend Vince (1975, 42 min.) reveals more about director David Rothberg than about his interview subject, a Toronto con man whose laid-back demeanor barely masks his hollow core. At one point Alk, who shot and edited the film, steps into the frame to fault Rothberg for his leftist rhetoric and excessive sincererity. Alk also edited And This Is Free (1964, 50 min.), Mike Shea?s cinema verite celebration of the old Maxwell Street outdoor market. Merchants and corner preachers try to entice wary shoppers, blues musicians perform for rhapsodic dancers, a bird's-eye angle catches a man in a trench coat slipping into a doorway, and neighborhood sages reflect on how this too shall pass.

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