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Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival

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The 18th edition of the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival continues through Sunday, June 18, at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark. Tickets are $8, $7 for students, $4 for CF members. For more information call 773-293-1447 or check www.chicagofilmmakers.org.

The remaining eight programs of this festival are excellent. In "Program 2: Looking Outside, Looking Inside" (72 min.) Marcellvs L.'s man.road.river. (2004) has a wonderful simplicity: a single long take of a Brazilian river respectfully observes figures wading slowly across. The lush random marks in David Gatten's What the Water Said, No. 4, made by submersing raw emulsion, are similarly respectful. Luther Price's Nice Biscotts #2 (2005) sympathetically presents the lives of the institutionalized elderly by repeating shots to capture their boredom. a Fri 6/16, 7 PM

"Program 3: The Death of Cinema--Long Live Cinema!" (71 min.) includes Gregg Biermann's Spherical Coordinates (2005), which warps faces and landscapes in the highway-cop scene in Psycho, making the images even more claustrophobic. In Detroit Park (2005) Julie Murray brings the ceiling details of a ruined movie palace to life, but Wago Kreider's Between 2 Deaths adds little to the graveyard scene from Vertigo it's based on. a Fri 6/16, 9 PM

The longer of the two works in "Program 4: Roadtripping" (70 min.), Bill Brown's The Other Side, continues his reading of landscape as text: voice-overs accompanying shots of barren borderlands tell us about Mexican immigration, a reminder that understanding an image requires knowledge. a Sat 6/17, 5 PM

In the great work comprising Program 5, Ontic Antics Starring Laurel and Hardy: Bye, Molly (89 min., 2005), Ken Jacobs reworks a 1929 Laurel and Hardy short, freezing and superimposing images and introducing flicker. Alternating between two nearby frames creates an unresolved tension between two poses, and when the film appears in its original form the viewer has learned to see it in new ways. a Sat 6/17, 7 PM

Nature can be really creepy in several of the works in "Program 6: Blinded by Science 2.0" (79 min.), the best of which, Pawel Wojtasik's Naked (2005), shows mole rats fighting for space in captivity--wrinkly grotesques that become disturbingly appealing. Seoungho Cho's crowd of fish feeding openmouthed in a pond in Show Your Tongue is similar. The melting colors and expanding bubbles of burning plastic in Bradley Eros's Rite of the Black Sun (2005) are strangely beautiful, though the trippy music is superfluous. a Sat 6/17, 9:15 PM

Among three text-inspired videos in "Program 7: The Literati" (60 min.) is James Fotopoulos's The Hard-Boiled Egg, from an unproduced script by Eugene Ionesco, which achieves an ironic distance by imitating a straight instructional film on eggs but with a deadpan or singsong delivery and digital alterations. Frederic Moffet imagines Genet at the '68 protests in Jean Genet in Chicago, which has peculiarly Genet-like contradictions: he sympathizes with the kids but also meditates on the cops' thighs. a Sun 6/18, 5 PM

In "Program 8: Outer and Inner Spaces" (91 min.) familiar images of water are revivified through complex, asymmetrical compositions in Nicky Hamlyn's gentle Water Water (2004), and in Black and White Trypps Number Two Ben Russell turns ordinary images of trees in negative into a weirdly labyrinthine environment. a Sun 6/18, 6:30 PM

In the best of "Program 9: Animation and Other Odd Things" (98 min.), Amy Lockhart's Walk for Walk (2005), a complex, elusive narrative makes some appealing critters mysterious rather than cute. The schematic rabbit-human in Asa Mori's Usagi (2004) suggests a needy self that "desires" a calligraphic character (inserted in its briefs) and to drink its own milk (pumped from a machine). a Sun 6/18, 8:45 PM

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