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This Week at the Film Festival

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As the Chicago International Film Festival moves into its second week, there are still a lot of interesting and exciting movies to be seen. I feel compelled to note that none of the 16 features on this week's program that I'm familiar with are as beautiful or as potent as Jean-Luc Godard's Nouvelle vague--one of the 39 films shown in Toronto last month that Chicago festival director Michael Kutza boasted to the press about having rejected. (Among the other 38 "rejected" titles are a charming minimalist comedy, A Little Stiff, shown at the Film Center last month, and a fascinating documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, which premiered on cable last weekend.) So though, as always, Kutza's selection is a mixed bag, there are nonetheless several titles included that are worth anyone's time.

I especially recommend Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique, Jocelyn Moorhouse's Proof, Jan Oxenberg's Thank You and Goodnight, George Cukor's 1960 Let's Make Love (mainly for Marilyn Monroe's performance), Otto Preminger's 1954 River of No Return (mainly for Preminger's direction), Barbara Kopple's American Dream, and Victor Erice's The South (1982) on the basis of my own experience, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's Delicatessen and Raul Ruiz's Treasure Island on the basis of what I've heard. Among the other weekend offerings, I'd call Beeban Kidron's Antonia and Jane watchable, Kurt Neumann's 1958 The Fly marginally watchable, and Walter Lang's 1956 The King and I extremely dull.

High points after this weekend include Chantal Akerman's winsome Night and Day, John Greyson's hilarious and pointed The Making of Monsters in the Wednesday-night program of shorts, and, in the CinemaScope retrospective, Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns (1957), Robert Rossen's The Hustler (1961), and Frank Tashlin's Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957); foremost among my colleagues' recommendations are Kon Ichikawa's Noh Mask Murderers and Tsai Yang-Ming's Fraternity. Additional recommendations and information can be found in the reviews and descriptions below; check marks appear next to some of the more promising titles.

Among the recommended new films, I've heard The Double Life of Veronique, Delicatessen, and Antonia and Jane will be opening commercially in Chicago at some point. One possible advantage to attending a festival screening is that the filmmaker may be present; but unfortunately the festival never issued a list of attending filmmakers.

Screenings are at the Fine Arts, 418 S. Michigan, the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, and the Esquire, 58 E. Oak. Tickets can be purchased at the theater box office the day of the screening starting one hour in advance or at the film festival store, 828 N. State; they are also available by phone at 644-3456 or 902-1500. General admission to each program, with some exceptions, is $7, $6 for Cinema/Chicago members; the first shows of the day before 6 PM at each theater are two dollars cheaper. "Best of the Festival" programs cost $10, $9 for Cinema/Chicago members. For further information, call 644-3456.

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