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Peggy and Fred in Hell: The Complete Cycle

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Leslie Thornton's remarkable, mind-boggling experimental feature-length cycle of short films which she's been working on and releasing in episodes since 1981 is a postapocalyptic narrative about two children feeling their way through the refuse of late-20th-century consumer culture; the films employ a wide array of found footage as well as peculiar, unpredictable, and often funny performances from two "found" actors. Apart from one startling and beautiful color shot in the penultimate episode, Whirling, the whole cycle is in black and white. (Episodes that have been added since an earlier version of the cycle showed in Chicago six years ago include Introduction to the So-Called Duck Factory and The Problem So Far.) Highly idiosyncratic and deeply creepy, this series as a whole - which includes passages in both film and video, sometimes shown concurrently - represents the most exciting recent work in the American avant-garde, a saga that raises questions about everything while making everything seem very strange. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Friday, October 18, 8:00, 773-384-5533.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo still.

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