Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Onion City Film Festival

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The opening-night program of this experimental film and video bash is unusually star-studded, with short works by Kenneth Anger, Peter Kubelka, Jonas Mekas, Michael Snow, Ken Jacobs, and Ernie Gehr. Anger's Mouse Heaven (2004) does for Disney creatures what his Scorpio Rising did for bikers. In Poetry and Truth (2003), Kubelka plays with the phoniness of advertising footage. Mekas's Williamsburg, Brooklyn (2003) works with sorrowful and pungent home movies from two distant periods. And in Sshtoorrty, Snow repeatedly superimposes the first and second halves of one long take that records a lively narrative in subtitled Farsi. But of the works available for preview, the real gem was superficially the most conventional: Michelangelo Antonioni's 35-millimeter Michelangelo Eye to Eye (2004). The Italian filmmaker was incapacitated by a stroke in 1985, but through digital magic he's restored to his old self, entering San Pietro church in Rome to admire and caress Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses--one magnificently restored Michelangelo confronting another. In its deceptive simplicity and enduring mystery, this could be Antonioni's most arresting tour de force since the 1960s. The festival continues June 17 through 19 at Chicago Filmmakers; see next week's issue for details. Thu 6/16, 8 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center.

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