This touring program of international digital films continues Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, at the Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln. Tickets are $10; a $55 pass (available to the first 150, and $65 thereafter) admits you to all festival events. For more information call 866-737-3378 or 773-348-4123.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Shorts from Sweden, France, and the U.S. In Helicopter (2000), Ari Gold juxtaposes newsreel footage, live action, and scale-model sequences to examine how he and his siblings responded to the death of their mother, a victim of the helicopter crash that also claimed rock impresario Bill Graham. The chronology is perplexing and the tone morbid (now adults, the children still yearn for their mother's advice, while Gold wonders about reincarnation), yet the recollections are urgent and heartfelt. 78 min. (TS) (8:00)
Music videos for various electronic pop bands, including Mouse on Mars, Daft Punk, Super Furry Animals, Gorillaz, Orbital, Radiohead, Etienne de Crecy, Red Snapper, and Fatboy Slim. Traktor, the Swedish collective best known for its MTV and Miller Lite commercials, directed the Fatboy Slim video Ya Mama, in which a hick vacationing in the Caribbean finds a cassette tape that chants "push the tempo" and sets off a feverish dance at a native bazaar. The catchy tune almost surmounts the absurdity of a beer-bellied American bringing rhythm to the islands. Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland's 19-2000 imagines the happy-go-lucky Gorillaz tune as an anime highway journey (complete with Japanese subtitles), during which the band's Mad Max car careens through a series of death-defying obstacles. Other filmmakers include Shynola, Floria Sigismondi, Paul Donnellon, Ben Stokes, and Spike Jonze. 67 min. (TS) (10:00)
Blood: The Last Vampire
On the eve of American involvement in Vietnam, teenage vampire slayer Saya (given the voice of Mystery Train's Youki Kudoh) hunts for bloodthirsty demons on a U.S. military base in Japan. This 2000 anime feature, conceived by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) and directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo, is long on gore and stunning visual effects but short on story sense, and while the seedy milieu and mood of military paranoia are excellent, they never quite mesh with the supernatural adventure. The anime is followed by informative interviews with the creative team. 85 min. (TS) On the same program, two anime music videos: Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, directed by Leiji Matsumoto, and Ken Ishi's Extra, directed by Koji Morimoto. (Midnight)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Mind-expanding shorts from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the UK, and the U.S. In Virgil Widrich's Copy Shop a meek store clerk accidentally photocopies his palm, and the mistake leads to a Kafkaesque nightmare in which a growing number of clones repeat his daily routines. Widrich belabors his point about the oppressive sameness of life, but his harsh visuals, ingenious optical effects, and minimalist sound loops effectively convey the clerk's fright and despair. In the animated What Is That, Run Wrake mixes photos and hand-drawn images to create a futuristic city populated by bugs with human heads, a man with a two-dimensional profile, and other surreal beings. 82 min. (TS) (2:30)
Openers 01: The State of the Art of Film Titles
High-tech title sequences for 24 commercial features, including Bedazzled, Hollow Man, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Along Came a Spider, Big Momma's House, Shaft, Hannibal, and Final Destination. (4:00)
Short films that blur the line between narrative and graphic design, from Germany, the UK, and the U.S. Among them, Johnny Hardstaff's The Future of Gaming revives pop-art imagery to convey the allure of video games; it's clever but never rises above the level of an art-school exercise. 87 min. (TS) (6:00)
Short films by past contributors to
the "Cinema Electronica" program, from France, Canada, the U.S., and the UK.
83 min. (8:00)
Doug Pray (Hype!) directed this fond look at hip-hop DJs and their followers, who've turned the fringe turntablist movement into a major force in pop music. Included are funny, energetic, slang-laden interviews with DJ Q-Bert (who talks about being in "the zone"), pioneer Afrika Bambaataa (who explains breakbeats and "popping and locking"), Rob Swift (who demonstrates beat juggling), DJ Premier, and Invisbl Skratch Piklz. Pray mixes it up himself by intercutting their dexterous performances, yet the frequent close-ups of rotating vinyl and hands working toggle switches do get boring after a while. 90 min. (TS) (10:00)