This week Facets Multimedia Center kicks off a monthlong retrospective of work by the talented Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai (who will attend selected screenings Friday through Sunday). Pineapple (1983, 78 min.), a fascinating social history of the growing and processing of pineapple, extends back to 1898, when Sanford Dole became the first governor of Hawaii, and leaps geographically between the Dole headquarters in San Francisco, plantations in the Philippines, processing plants in Hawaii, and a wholly automated label-printing plant in Tokyo, contrasting the very different perceptions of management and workers. As in the subsequent Bangkok Bahrain, Gitai experiments with the sound track; here he concentrates on mixing discourses (particularly using a whispered chant and other kinds of music behind the various interviews), which reach a climactic cacophony in the final sequence. It’s an interesting and suggestive technique, though there are times when it becomes more distracting than illuminating. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Tuesday, July 10, 7:00 and 9:00, 773-281-4114.
–Jonathan Rosenbaum… Read more »
From the Chicago Reader (July 6, 2001). — J.R.
A collaboration between the living Steven Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick seems entirely appropriate to a project that reflects profoundly on the differences between life and nonlife, not to mention the human and the nonhuman. It’s easy to say that Kubrick thought about questions that Spielberg only knows how to approach emotionally, but that surely oversimplifies the range of both filmmakers. A more accurate way of putting it would be to say that Kubrick started this picture and came up with the idea that Spielberg should direct it, and after inheriting a 90-page treatment Kubrick had prepared with Ian Watson and 600 drawings he’d done with Chris Baker, Spielberg finished it in so much his own manner that it may be his most personal film, as well as his most thoughtful. It nonetheless delivers more of a posthumous statement from Kubrick than I would have believed possible, a sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey and even Eyes Wide Shut (with an equally offbeat view of New York) as well as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. A film that might make you cry, it’s just as likely to give you the creeps afterward, which is as it should be.… Read more »