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BACK AGAINST THE WALL
In this "Lynch-like vision of the rotting underbelly of Middle America" (Stephen Holden,
The New York Times
), the downfall of a lingerie model is portrayed against the depressing, menacing milieus of the men she caters to, including an angry, jealous, middle-aged failure and his strange, no-necked friend. James Fotopoulos presents this dark, sinister story as a three-part feature in the unnerving, highly original style that has made him a major figure of the underground cinema. James Fotopoulos---USA---2000---94 mins.
The feature film debut of talented director Philip Kaufman (
The Right Stuff
), this early example of American independent filmmaking is a fable about an old man with an odd effect on those he encounters. Veteran character actor Lou Gilbert (
) stars alongside Ben Carruthers (
) in a film that makes use of Chicago locations and appearances by notable cultural figures of the city, including author Nelson Algren, Second City founder Del Close, and original cast member Severn Darden. "The best American film I have seen in 20 years" (Jean Renoir).
Philip Kaufman---USA---1964---79 mins.
NOMADS AND NO-ZONES
An album of radical diaries and personal documentaries from two of the West's bravest filmmakers: Greta Snider and Vanessa Renwick. Drawn from the raw materials of their drifts and detours, offering gritty glimpses of edgy experience in marginalized cultures, their authentic film stories afford rare access and insight into the lived poetry of a dozen-plus autonomous zones. Greta Snider/Vanessa Renwick---USA---1989-2003---91 mins.
PEOPLE VS. PAUL CRUMP, THE
The French Connection, The Exorcist
, William Friedkin made one of the most powerful documentaries you’ve never seen. On March 20, 1953, five black men robbed a meatpacking plant in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. Their getaway went awry, and a security guard was shot and killed. Within a week, all five men were arrested. Four received jail sentences and were eventually paroled. The fifth, Paul Crump, then 22, confessed under questionable interrogation tactics, then retracted, only to be convicted and sentenced to the electric chair. After 14 stays of execution, Crump met Friedkin, then a local TV director, in the Cook County Jail. Friedkin so believed in Crump’s innocence and his worth as a human being that he and his cinematographer Bill Butler (
) took to the streets with lightweight cameras to appeal for Crump’s return to society. The resulting film contributed to the commutation of Crump’s sentence and launched Friedkin’s Hollywood career.
“Crude, rude, and bursting with 'tude,
is historically a kind of verite-era prophecy of Errol Morris's
The Thin Blue Line
--both in its focus on an unjustly convicted death-row convict and in its brazen chop-shop approach to the precepts of documentary filmmaking” (
). Winner of the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
William Friedkin---USA---1962---60 mins.
1,000 years ago, an alien race called the Quetzals came to earth and inhabited its hollow center until fallout from A-bombs mutated their genitals to the point that they were forced to mate with snakes for survival. This experimental montage uses phony tabloid headlines and a frenetic juxtaposition of clips from the press and B-movies to criticize U.S. policy in Latin America since World War II. Seriously cerebral fun daring to emerge out of our conservative times. "One of the most exhilarating underground movies in recent years...A relentlessly lurid agitprop for the cyberpunk generation" (J. Craig Baldwin---USA---1991---96 mins.
James Fotopoulos' deeply disturbing experimental film paints a grim portrait of the psychological collapse of a young man drifting further and further into total isolation. In his solitude, primal fantasies of sex and violence transform into frightening visions and insanity, while a cyst growing on his arm suggests a physical manifestation of his mental breakdown. A shocking debut feature, told entirely through one character. "Heartfelt and creepy as hell" (
James Fotopoulos---USA---1997---142 mins.
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