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Select Media Festival 3

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This third annual "exploration of international movements in the digital underground of electronic media" runs Saturday through Thursday, October 16 through 21, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Admission is $9, $5 for Film Center members; for more information call 312-846-2600.

Alterations of Everyday Life

Shorts from Japan and the U.S. 75 min. a Saturday, October 16, 4:30 PM

Animation Warriors

Short digital animations from the Netherlands and the U.S. 75 min. a Sunday, October 17, 3:30 PM; Wednesday, October 20, 6:15 PM

Bush Family Fortunes

Greg Palast conducts a muckraking probe of the Bush dynasty, but most of the muck has been common knowledge for some time (e.g., Prescott Bush had business interests in Nazi Germany, the Bush fortune is tied up in Saudi oil, and George W. Bush used his father's connections to avoid service in Vietnam). An investigative reporter for the BBC, Palast significantly undermines his 2003 video with tedious gumshoe shtick--trench coats, fedoras, etc. 70 min. (Cliff Doerksen) a Monday, October 18, 6:30 PM

Cultural Counter Intelligence

Shorts from around the world. 95 min. a Friday, October 15, 6:15 PM; Wednesday, October 20, 8 PM

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y

Belgian video maker Johan Grimonperez randomly strings together archival footage of hijackings and plane crashes, syncing it to portentous readings from Don DeLillo's novels and the cheery strains of Van McCoy's 1975 disco hit "The Hustle." This 1997 video is supposed to say something profound about our bleak postmodern world, but it's really just the art-house equivalent of Faces of Death. 70 min. (Cliff Doerksen) a Saturday, October 16, 6:15 PM; Tuesday, October 19, 6:15 PM

Liberty Bound

Christine Rose's meandering, staggeringly inept documentary is enough to give Bush-bashing a bad name: in one of its more lucid moments it equates 9/11 with the Reichstag fire and President Bush with Adolf Hitler (noting, however, that Hitler came from a humble background and served with distinction as a soldier). Fahrenheit 9/11 fans should be advised that the Michael Moore in Rose's video is not the tubby Michigan director but a gaunt navy veteran whose clash with the Secret Service is not very clearly explained. 90 min. (Cliff Doerksen) a Tuesday, October 19, 7:45 PM; Thursday, October 21, 6 PM

Spectres of the Spectrum

This 1999 video by Craig Baldwin is a ragtag fabric of sci-fi and conspiracy-theory tropes, most of it woven out of found footage from vintage scientific and instructional films. It might have made for an interesting short, but at 99 minutes it long overstays its welcome. (Cliff Doerksen) a Monday, October 18, 8 PM

Unconstitutional

RA focused, intelligent, and alarming look at the erosion of civil rights under the Patriot Act and at blameless immigrants and American Muslims detained without due process in the Justice Department's indiscriminate antiterror dragnet. In the Michael Moore age, the video's stylistic plainness comes as a relief: video maker Nonny de la Pena actually stays behind the camera, marshaling a persuasive roster of talking heads that includes not just ACLU spokespersons but military lawyers, Republican politicians, and former CIA section heads. 60 min. (Cliff Doerksen) a Friday and Wednesday, October 15 and 20, 8:15 PM

Warp Vision: The Videos 1989-2004

Since its inception 15 years ago, the British label Warp Records has remained in the vanguard of electronic music, and this anthology of 30 digital videos by its roster is equally visionary. Sitting through them may not always be enjoyable, but their wild animation and collage are rarely less than a total assault on the senses, from the grotesque imagery of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" (by Chris Cunningham) to the fractured imagery that accompanies the noise and stuttering beats of Autechre's "Gantz_Graf" (by Alex Rutterford). Among the other musical artists featured are Jimi Tenor, Plaid, Antipop Consortium, LFO, Squarepusher, and Jamie Lidell. 133 min. (Peter Margasak) a Sunday, October 17, 5:15 PM

Weapons of Mass Deception

RVeteran independent media analyst Danny Schechter presents a comprehensive and devastating critique of the TV news networks' complacency and complicity in the war on Iraq. The video begins with a parody of Apocalypse Now that's as funny as anything by Michael Moore, but Schechter means business, and this quickly turns to a rigorous dissection of economic and political factors that have turned our major media outlets into conduits for Pentagon "mili-tainment." Toward the end Schechter veers off into vague theories about U.S. ground forces targeting critical journalists (in particular the still-unexplained shelling of the Palestine Hotel) and the networks exchanging friendly war coverage for favorable treatment in the FCC's media conglomeration hearings. But most of this is brilliantly argued and scrupulously documented, proving beyond a doubt that the Bush administration's retailing of its "master narrative" was a carefully orchestrated element of the war. A must-see. (JJ) a Saturday and Thursday, October 16 and 21, 7:45 PM

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