Two by Bruce Baillie | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Two by Bruce Baillie

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One of the masterpieces of the American avant-garde, unseen here for decades, Bruce Baillie's Quick Billy (1970) is a rare "synoptic" film that tries to construct an entire cosmos. Inspired by his own near-fatal case of hepatitis and The Tibetan Book of the Dead, it immerses viewers in a timeless flow of indistinct forms that nearly obliterates self and place--the clarity of an erotic encounter ends when the woman leans forward into darkness. The finale is a parody western in which Baillie satirizes the aggression the rest of his film abjures; the six beautifully delicate unedited reels that customarily accompany the film follow. Also showing is the greatest of Baillie's short films, Valentin de las Sierras (1967). 82 min. 16 mm. Sun 2/26, 8 PM, Chicago Filmmakers.

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