Special Events

Chicago premiere!
2009, Megumi Sasaki, USA, 91 min.

“As much as it is a tribute to the Vogels’ devotion to the arts, HERB AND DOROTHY also fascinates in how it explores the art of seeing...And that speaks to the film’s overriding theme: that how we see beauty is as mysterious and mystifying a phenomenon as how we create it.”--Jay Antani, Slant Magazine

Like the journey of a thousand miles that began with a single step, the amassing of one of the most important collections of contemporary art in history began in the 1960s with one modest purchase by a couple with little cash but an earnest interest in art. For over 30 years, Herb and Dorothy Vogel lived on her librarian’s salary in order to spend his on their growing passion for the Minimalist and Conceptual work of artists including Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Lynda Benglis, and Lawrence Weiner. The result is a tiny apartment crammed with more than 2000 priceless pieces, and the elite of the art world beating a path to their door. Filmmaker Megumi captures the unique story as the unfazed couple, who live with their cat and fish, complete the donation of their vast collection to the National Gallery of Art. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Friday, July 3, 6:00 pm
Sunday, July 5, 5:30 pm
Tuesday, July 7, 6:00 pm

Chicago premiere!
2008, Stephen Kijak, USA/UK, 95 min.

“Like the best music documentaries, SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN blends grace and mystery. It should delight longtime Walker fans and introduce him to new ones.”--Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com

He was nearly as popular as the Beatles and nearly as enigmatic as Thomas Pynchon. Born in Ohio, Scott Walker became a British teen idol with the Walker Brothers in the 1960s (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”), went solo, lost his fan base, retreated into “Garboesque seclusion,” and pursued his muse in infrequently released albums whose unique combination of emotional intensity and relentless experimentation is worshipped by the likes of David Bowie (who exec-produced this film), Brian Eno, Sting, Jarvis Cocker, Alison Goldfrapp, and Radiohead. Recently ranked #13 on Time Out London’s list of the 50 Greatest Music Films Ever, this haunting portrait is less concerned with gossip than with tracking the coherence and constant evolution of Walker’s vision into the outermost limits of personal expression--as one admirer says, “They aren’t songs anymore. We don’t know what they are.” 35mm. (MR)

Saturday, July 4, 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 5, 8:00 pm
Thursday, July 9, 8:30 pm

New restored 35mm print!
1951, Albert Lewin, UK, 122 min.
With Ava Gardner, James Mason

“Masterpiece...the supreme encounter between Surrealism and Hollywood. By contrast, the dream sequence designed by Dali in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND is fairly drab and pedestrian.”--Jonathan Rosenbaum

Adored by the French, overlooked by the Americans, the cultured Lewin has recently been championed by critics who liken his eccentric and exotic style to those of Joseph von Sternberg, Val Lewton, and Powell & Pressburger. One of the most extravagantly romantic films ever made, PANDORA is set among a colony of Costa Brava expatriates who orbit around the beautiful Pandora (Gardner at her most alluring). She breaks men’s hearts until her own is captured by a mysterious mariner (Mason) who bridges the worlds of reality and myth. The literate, self-reflexive screenplay is counterpointed by spectacular action scenes involving two of Pandora’s lovers, an auto racer and a bullfighter. Showcased in this new restoration, Jack Cardiff’s stunning color cinematography rivals his work in BLACK NARCISSUS and THE RED SHOES. 35mm. (MR)

Sunday, July 5, 3:00 pm
Tuesday, July 7, 7:45 pm
Thursday, July 9, 6:00 pm

Chicago premiere!
Susan Morgan Cooper in person!
2008, Susan Morgan Cooper, USA, 85 min.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams covered 13 wars including Korea and Vietnam, won more than 500 awards, and had his portraits of presidents, politicians, and personages from Mother Theresa to Clint Eastwood published around the world. Just one photo of the unceremonious street execution of a Vietcong prisoner by a Saigon police chief made him notorious. The iconic shot, which altered the course of Adams’s career, was credited with changing the course of the Vietnam War by bringing home its graphic horror to the American public like no other image. AN UNLIKELY WEAPON searches behind the myth of the hard-living, hard-drinking war photographer for the artist with moral qualms over the repercussions of his work. 35mm. (BS)

Director Susan Morgan Cooper will be present on Friday and Sunday for audience discussion.

Friday, July 17, 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 19, 4:15 pm
Tuesday, July 21, 8:00 pm
Thursday, July 23, 6:15 pm

Special encore presentation!
2006, Phil Grabsky, UK, 128 min.

“Gives a much better and balanced sense of Mozart the person than any other work aimed at a general audience.”--Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

“A far more accurate, complete and endearingly human portrait of Mozart than any documentary has ever painted. . . It’s a must for tyros and cognoscenti alike.”--John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

One of the biggest hits in Film Center history, IN SEARCH OF MOZART is easily the most comprehensive and credible film ever made about the composer, serving as a corrective to the myths perpetrated by AMADEUS. Narration (by Juliet Stevenson), illustrations, present-day locales, excerpts from letters, and commentary from a host of historians (but no reenactments!) fluidly illuminate every aspect of Mozart’s life, including his stormy relationship with his father, his ardent marriage, his financial worries, his political infighting, and much more. The biography is seamlessly interwoven with the music, brought to life through the insights of celebrated performers and through a constant flow of selections from over 70 works performed by distinguished orchestras, ensembles, and opera companies. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Saturday, July 25, 5:30 pm
Monday, July 27, 5:30 pm
Wednesday, July 29, 5:30 pm
Saturday, August 1, 5:30 pm

World premiere!
Filmmakers in person!
2009, Todd Looby, USA, 93 min.
With Thomas Madden, Carrie Norris, Billy Phelan

Homecoming, home-wrecking, and home team are all themes in a wry drama set deep in the heart of Chicago’s Irish American subculture. Prodigal son Danny Malone (Madden) comes home to his indulgent mother and bullying father after an absence of thirteen years as his best friend Fudd (Phelan) arrives home from Iraq. Danny, harboring a potentially fatal secret, and Fudd, with his dark memories, are pulled back into the boozy embrace of the old neighborhood, where the bonds of schoolyard loyalties have been loosened by adult failures, jealousy, and infidelity. Director Looby evokes the South Side milieu with the accuracy and affection of an insider, including the adrenalin-rush chaos of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. DigiBeta video. (BS)

Director Todd Looby and selected members of the cast and crew will be present for audience discussion at all screenings.

Friday, July 24, 8:15 pm
Tuesday, July 28, 8:15 pm
Thursday, July 30, 8:15 pm

Chicago premiere!
Filmmakers in person!
2008, Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, USA, 93 min.

“As richly compelling and artfully shot as rock docs get.”--Aaron Hillis, LA Weekly

This riveting documentary is not a music movie but a clear-sighted investigation into the murky subculture of Norwegian black metal music, whose history, though distorted and sensationalized by the press, is still pretty sensational even in the undistorted version, strewn with the ashes of torched churches and the blood of murder and suicide victims. As the filmmakers note, black metal “blurs the line between music, art, activism and terror...there’s really no other art or music or ideological movement like it.” Focusing on three figures--self-destructive pioneer Dead (of the group Mayhem), convicted murderer Varg Vikernes (of Burzum), and the relatively moderate Gylve Nagell (of Darkthrone)--UNTIL THE LIGHT draws a deeply, disturbingly ambivalent portrait of a contradictory movement that is too complex either to endorse or to dismiss. In English and Norwegian with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (MR)

Directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell will be present for audience discussion.

Saturday, July 25, 8:00 pm

Chicago premiere!
2008, Alexander Olch, USA, 82 min.
With Wallace Shawn, Bob Balaban
1970, Richard P. Rogers, USA, 12 min.

“The most moving documentary of the year…beautiful and heartbreaking.”--Anthem Magazine

“A gorgeously constructed emotional portrait of a man grappling with the deepest of artistic and personal issues.”--Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine

A faux autobiography, an open-ended diary, a documentary that assembles the disparate pieces of a man’s life: THE WINDMILL MOVIE is all of these and more. Filmmaker and Harvard film teacher Dick Rogers died at 57, leaving more than 150 hours of footage from a long-unfinished work documenting his relationships and romantic perfidy, his domineering mother and childhood milieu of WASP privilege, and most of all, the soul-searching conflict of a man who believed that he had never realized his potential. Merging Rogers’s wealth of material with its rare glimpse of an insular upper-crust world with reenactments in which actor Wallace Shawn plays Rogers, director Olch creates a haunting and poignant portrait of a fascinating life.

The program opens with Rogers’s early experimental short QUARRY, an impressionist time capsule evoking a summer day at a swimming-hole. Both in 35mm. (BS)

Sunday, August 2, 3:00 pm
Monday, August 3, 7:30 pm
Tuesday, August 4, 6:00 pm