Daily Archives: October 16, 1992

This Week at the Chicago Film Festival

The 28th Chicago International Film Festival moves into its top-heavy second week, with a disproportionate number of high points scheduled for this weekend. The first four features that I cited last week as my favorites among the festival selections I’d seen so far–Actress, Angel of Fire, Hyenas, and Reservoir Dogs–will all be showing simultaneously this Friday night. Admittedly, all except Hyenas will be screened again, and two (including Hyenas) have been screened already, but a few more scheduling conflicts crop up again later, e.g., Actress and Angel of Fire overlap a second time on Saturday, and another of my favorites, Another Girl, Another Planet overlaps with Angel of Fire when the latter shows for the third and last time on Sunday. A certain number of such conflicts is no doubt unavoidable, and the Chicago Festival is certainly not alone–some of the conflicts at the Toronto Festival of Festivals over the last couple of years have been equally acute. But I do hope that in the future more effort can be made to distribute the goodies more evenly throughout the week rather than pile them together like the ingredients in a banana split.

On the basis of what I’ve seen, I can offer only one minor recommendation after the weekend–In the Soup–although some of the reviews that follow will offer others.… Read more »

Close-Up

Much acclaimed in France for its fascinating take on the cinematic apparatus, this masterpiece from Iran by the highly talented Abbas Kiarostami (And Life Goes On…) combines fiction with nonfiction in novel and provocative ways. It starts with the real-life trial in Tehran of an unemployed film buff who impersonated the celebrated filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (The Peddler, Marriage of the Blessed). His charade included becoming intimate with a well-to-do family while pretending to prepare for a film that was to feature them. To complicate matters, Kiarostami persuaded the major players to reenact what happened, finally bringing the real Makhmalbaf together with his impersonator for a highly emotional exchange. Much comedy is derived from the ways “the cinema” changes and inflects the value and nature of everything taking place–the scam, the trial, Kiarostami’s documentary, and so on (1990). (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, October 18, 4:15, 443-3737)… Read more »