I’ve always assumed it would be impossible to photograph such a glorious and mysterious sight as the northern lights, but Canadian experimental filmmaker Peter Mettler has done it. His fascinating, beautiful, and evocative documentary feature (1994) about his trip to the Canadian arctic is a mixture of science and poetry that indirectly recalls Michael Snow’s La region centrale, though it’s much easier to watch. Mettler and the Chicago-based composer of his score, Jim O’Rourke, will be present for a discussion, and O’Rourke will give a concert afterward. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, March 19, 7:00, 443-3737.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Still.… Read more »
A dynamite program. Happiness is the most famous and probably best film by the late, neglected Russian pioneer Alexander Medvedkin, “the last bolshevik” in Chris Marker’s recent video of that title (see separate listing). This late silent film (1934) with a music track was only recently made available in this country on video (which is unfortunately the only way Chicago Filmmakers can show it, though it’s a good transfer). It’s a hilarious and daring surrealist masterpiece that combines some of the pie-eyed “magical realism” of a Gogol with what might be described as a mordant communist folk wisdom. On the same bill, one of Marker’s earliest essay films, Letter From Siberia (1957), which provides an excellent introduction to his thoughtful, ironic style. Each picture is about an hour long; both are rarely screened and well worth seeing. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Saturday, March 18, 8:00, 384-5533.… Read more »