Onion City Film Festival | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Onion City Film Festival

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Now in its sixth year, this festival of experimental films will be screening its prizewinners on two consecutive nights. Only two films will be shown both nights, the special jurors' award winner (Fred Marx's Dreams From China, a pungent, ambivalent personal essay about his two years in that country) and one of the first-prize winners (Sal Giammona's Wall in the Woods, a densely compacted reverie about a cosmic eggbeater, featuring lots of special effects and imaginative graphics). My other favorites in the Friday show include Phillip Roth's Boy's/Life, an unfashionably joyous celebration of safe sex (group masturbation parties) and affection (fondling in public places) among gay men; the spirited and literally dotty J. P. Somersaulter's Dot to Dot Cartoon; and two bits of wacky Dada from Heather McAdams (Mr. Glen W. Turner and Fetal Pig Anatomy), made mainly with found footage. Among the other Saturday selections that I previewed, I especially liked Jay Rosenblatt's Paris X 2 (a dreamy love story filmed in San Francisco and Paris, throbbing with remembered movie moments and ambiguous street and studio photography), David Stoff's delightfully color-splashed My Electric Coloring Book, Francois Miron's Dismal Universal Hiss (full of aggressive optical printing and flicker effects), and Amy Kravitz's brooding black-and-white animation The Trap. The jurors this year were filmmakers Trinh T. Minh-ha and Peter Thompson, and their tastes seem to have run more toward narrative works than previous years' selections, although festival director Laurie Dunphy has picked two additional nonnarrative works to round out the programs the aforementioned Dismal Universal Hiss and Charlotte Pryce's X (a lyrical look at portrayals of women in art interspersed with the moves of dancer Annie Morrad, to be shown on Friday). A presentation of the Experimental Film Coalition. (Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee, Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11, 8:00, 666-7737)

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