The Living End | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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Shot with camera equipment and film stock furnished by Jon Jost, the third feature from radical independent writer-director-cinematographer-editor Gregg Araki--after the award-winning Three Bewildered People in the Night and The Long Weekend (O'Despair)--is a talky but potent doomed-couple-on-the-run picture in which both leads are desperate young men who recently tested HIV positive. Jon (Craig Gilmore) is a sometime film critic who lives in LA, and Luke (Mike Dytri) is a cop killer on the run; in a rough parallel to Godard's Breathless, Gilmore plays Jean Seberg to Dytri's Jean-Paul Belmondo. After beginning with episodes involving Luke in flight from murderous women (including Mary Woronov) that seem more misogynistic than satirical, the film settles down to something more serious and affecting, though not always more lucid. The main postmodernist references Araki has in mind are plainly Godard and Antonioni, and the sincerity and purity of his rage often gives this film more bite than its verbose and raw dialogue; a sharp sense of camera and editing rhythm helps (1991). (Music Box, Friday through Thursday, August 14 through 20)

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