Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Gender Question/Questioning Gender

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The masterpiece among the six 60s films on this program is Ron Rice's Chumlum (1964), a playful orgy of swinging fabric and hammocks and multiple superimpositions of androgynous figures that seem to rub up against the cloth as often as each other. This overheated utopian dream has a bit of the cluttered, faintly fetishistic aesthetic of Jack Smith, one of the performers, but it's even lusher than Smith's 1963 Flaming Creatures. Also included are Nikolai Ursin's effective early documentary on a drag queen, Behind Every Good Man (1965), and two fascinating if uneven films from the virtually unknown Edward Owens, Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts (date unknown) and Tomorrow's Promise (1967), in which images of characters in static poses are edited and superimposed so that their forms seem to merge with one another. 137 min. Fri 2/3, 7 PM, Univ. of Chicago Film Studies Center, 5811 S. Ellis, 773-702-8596.

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