Posted inFilm

Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer

One of the best essay films ever made on a cinematic subject, Thom Andersen’s remarkable and sadly neglected hour-long documentary (1974) adroitly combines biography, history, film theory, and philosophical reflection. Muybridge’s photographic studies of animal locomotion in the 1870s were a major forerunner of movies; even more interesting are his subsequent studies of diverse people, […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Straight-To-Video Film Festival

Straight-to-Video film festival Flashback Produced and directed by the members of Engine No. 100, Chicago Fire Department Distributed by the African-American Firefighters League A riveting docudrama takes us inside a Chicago firehouse where drunken firefighters perform a mock fire run, compare genitals, and use racial epithets. This low-budget piece was filmed in 1990 but sat […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Cow

A watershed in Iranian cinema, Dariush Mehrjui’s 1969 second feature follows the example of the Italian neorealists with its stark, sympathetic depiction of an impoverished village that’s suspicious of outsiders but glued together by kinship, religion, and compassion. Based on a short story that was first adapted into a TV play, it has the simplicity […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Background Check

herwitt.qxd Dear editors: I read the article about Nelson Algren in the issue of November 20 with interest. I question the statement that he “was the son of a poor Swedish father and a stern German-Jewish mother.” My source for every statement that I make about Algren is my late father, who attended Roosevelt High […]

Posted inFilm

Down in the Delta

A woman sends her self-destructive daughter and grandchildren, whom the daughter neglects, to spend the summer in the Mississippi Delta, hoping their self-esteem will be nurtured by a sense of family and history that’s absent from their lives in Chicago. The idea of the small town as an antidote to the city is advanced without […]

Posted inMusic

DJ Q-Bert

DJ Q-BERT Q-Bert is the most celebrated member of the celebrated Bay Area DJ crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and his streamlined but lightning-quick performance in the recent DJ documentary Battle Sounds shows why. He might not have thought to do what he does without pioneers like Grandmaster Flash or D.St, but he makes their work […]

Posted inFilm

Hack Job

Psycho Rating — Worthless Directed by Gus Van Sant Written by Joseph Stefano With Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy, Robert Forster, Philip Baker Hall, Ann Haney, and Chad Everett. By Jonathan Rosenbaum Psycho has never been one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock pictures. The first time I saw it, […]

Posted inMusic

Robbie Fulks

ROBBIE FULKS I’ve never completely understood why people celebrate the passing of another year by surrounding themselves with obnoxious, anonymous drunks, but if overlubricated artificial camaraderie is your bag, you won’t find a better sound track for it than Robbie Fulks’s Let’s Kill Saturday Night (Geffen). In fact, the sentiments of the title track–a raucous […]