The Emerald Forest | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Emerald Forest

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Powers Boothe as an American engineer who spends ten years looking for his son kidnapped by a tribe of Amazon Indians. John Boorman's film was conventionally faulted for its lack of fidelity to ethnographic realism, but it seems pretty clear that Boorman was more interested in mythological resonances than scientific exactitude. There's a Manichaean wrangle going on here (the oppositional pairings ought to please the structuralists: civilization against the primitive, materialism versus the mystical, tribal darkness against tribal light, with the fate of paradise hanging in the balance) that follows the archetypal logic of the director's earlier Excalibur and Exorcist II, and the images Boorman creates are as impossibly lush and dreamlike as the pre-Edenic world they embrace. Not Boorman's best, but the visionary metaphor runs deeper than most critics have been willing to allow. With Charley Boorman and Meg Foster. (Public Library Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, Thursday, January 15, 5:00, 346-3278)

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