The Blue Mountains | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Blue Mountains

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Soviet Georgian filmmaker Eldar Shengelaya's sharp antibureaucratic satire, about a young author whose efforts to get a manuscript read at a government publishing house are stymied by official procrastination and indifference. The deft carousel styling (the author makes the same round of offices month after month, always encountering the same Kafkaesque excuses) owes a lot to fellow Georgian Otar Iosseliani (Favorites of the Moon), though Shengelaya's addiction to wall-to-wall conversation (his characters are forever nattering on) is diametrically opposed to Iosseliani's sphinxlike relation to language (if Iosseliani suggests the mating of Rohmer and Tati, Shengelaya is a cross between Rohmer and Hawks: The Blue Mountains doesn't have overlapping dialogue exactly, but the ensemble rhythms are tight enough to make comparisons with His Girl Friday not entirely inapt). The roundelay format takes some getting used to (and it almost comes apart in a too frenetic ending), but there's enough formal assurance and quirkiness to give everything a nice ironic spin. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, January 23, 8:00, and Sunday, January 25, 2:00, 443-3737.)

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