Despite the provocative title of X-Film Chicago's latest program, these four shorts are gentle, brooding, evocative mood pieces. The longest, Mong-hong Chung's 30-minute Escape, is quirky and somewhat disjointed. The Taiwanese filmmaker made it while a student in Chicago, and he conveys his feeling of dislocation with real emotional impact. In one section a man is in love with a chair and carries it around, placing it in different outdoor environments. Other parts show footage of the Chicago skyline becoming blurry, as if the film were skipping in the gate of the projector. Fragments of landscape and city are shown from the viewpoint of a traveler in a moving car. Unifying the film's apparently disjointed moments is the theme of deflected affection--we don't really connect with the landscapes; the man (fortunately) never gets it on with the chair. Reade Scott Whinnen's Doppelganger is based on video footage of Senator Joseph McCarthy's 1950s communist witch-hunt hearings, with interspersed sections on the contemporaneous execution of the Rosenbergs, convicted of spying for the USSR. Whinnen blurs and colors the footage in various ways, simultaneously distancing it from us while, through his painterly manipulations, involving us in it more: strange blue spark patterns created by applying ink to the film give the Rosenberg scenes particular poignancy. Also on the program are David Simpson's two-minute Paradiso and his elusive, poetic Dante's Dream. Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, Sunday, September 29, 8:00, 327-6666.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Escape photo by Fischmick.