Daily Archives: March 20, 1998

Inside Pitches

This appeared in the March 20, 1998 issue of the Chicago Reader. —J.R.

 

Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life

Rating ** Worth seeing

Directed and written by Michael Paxton

Narrated by Sharon Gless.

Primary Colors

Rating *** A must see

Directed by Mike Nichols

Written by Elaine May

With John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Adrian Lester, Kathy Bates, Billy Bob Thornton, Larry Hagman, and Maura Tierney.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

Two highly partisan political movies are opening this week, a right-wing independent documentary and a left-wing Hollywood feature — though it’s not clear that the filmmakers of either would categorize their work in this way. Certainly it wouldn’t be any exaggeration to call both films the efforts of special interest groups — a movie about Bill Clinton put together by people who mainly qualify as his supporters and friends and a sincere hagiography of novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand fashioned by many of her disciples and acolytes. How far they actually carry their respective loyalties is a different matter, however. Ultimately both movies flounder as well as triumph because of their insider points of view, though not always for the same reasons.

Whenever Ayn Rand’s name comes up, I have an impulse to scoff, an impulse I think is shared by many others.… Read more »

Automatic Writing

Automatic Writing

Canadian filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, a child of Chinese and Australian parents, directed this intriguing and original 1996 film about her Chinese great-great-grandfather. An orphan in 19th-century Hong Kong, he was kidnapped, put to work in a brothel, and taken to San Francisco; there he converted to Christianity, worked as a servant to a Jewish family, and returned to Hong Kong, where he worked for a doctor and eventually became a surgeon. Fleming’s approach to this colorful material is extremely playful and ironic, mixing fiction and documentary as she uses both actors (including Kwok Wing Leung, George Chiang) and herself to recount the story in a highly stylized manner. Fleming will attend the screening. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, March 20, 8:00, 312-443-3737. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.… Read more »