Presented by Performing Arts Chicago, this festival celebrating dance on film runs Friday through Thursday, May 3 through 9, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets are $8, $4 for Film Center members. For more information, call 312-846-2800.


Enter Achilles

See Critic’s Choice. (6:15)


Dances by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

De Keersmaeker was the choreographer of Drumming, an hour-long piece that her Belgian troupe, Rosas, performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999. Stunningly musical, it used the Steve Reich score of the same name to weave a breathless web of movement and barely suggested stories. This program features Achterland (1994, 84 min.), which De Keersmaeker adapted from her 1990 stage work of the same name, and Wolfgang Kolb’s 16-millimeter Hoppla! (1989, 52 min.), which documents another of De Keersmaeker’s dances. (Laura Molzahn) (6:00)

Enter Achilles

See Critic’s Choice. Also on the bill: Hoppla! (see “Dances by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker” this date above). (8:30)


La mentira and Roseland

Wim Vandekeybus, the Belgian artist whose nervy, athletic 7 for a Secret Never to Be Told was performed here in 1998, seems to be a better choreographer than filmmaker. La mentira (1992, 49 min.), directed with Walter Verdin, alternates between Super-8 footage of an interview with 89-year-old German performer Carlo Verano and sequences from a Vandekeybus dance, some of them filmed onstage, some outdoors, and some in nonstage indoor settings. Verano has a muddled Ozzy Osbourne charm, but his musings on boiling an egg or marrying a millionairess so he can buy a yacht do nothing for the dancing, and the hyperactive editing renders the film obscure and pretentious. More successful is Vandekeybus, Verdin, and Octavio Iturbe’s Roseland (1990, 46 min.), which incorporates bits from three earlier dances. Aggressive and erotic, it features one powerful sequence in an abandoned cinema, in which three women standing with their legs apart are searched by their male partners. A brief close-up of one woman’s shoulder blades moving from side to side captures the physicality of dance better than anything in La mentira. (Laura Molzahn) Both works will be shown by video projection. (3:30)

The Last Words

Wim Vandekeybus created this 20-minute film (1990) to be shown as part of his dance-theater piece In Spite of Wishing and Wanting, which is set to music by David Byrne. Based on two short stories by Julio Cortazar, the film follows the adventures of a “scream seller” who peddles words to his fellow townspeople and finally to a rather comical despot. Episodic and expressionistic, it has no dancing whatsoever but eventually reveals the layered realities of a dream. There are a few good lines: When a woman wants to buy a scream for an orgasm, the peddler asks, “Fake or real?” “Fake,” she says. “It’s for my husband.” (Laura Molzahn) A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Also on the program, La mentira and Roseland (see listing this date above). (5:30)



An 80-minute anthology of short dance films by directors Alain Platel, Roxane Huilmand, Michele-Anne De Mey, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Wim Vandekeybus, and Steve Paxton. Also on the program, Peter Greenaway and De Keersmaeker’s Rosa (1992, 20 min.), showing in 35-millimeter, and Lucy Baldwyn and Lin Hixson’s It’s Aching Like Birds (2001, 10 min.), to be shown by video projection. (6:15)

Films by Wim Vandekeybus

Two films: In Spite of Wishing and Wanting and The Last Words (see listing for Sunday, May 5). (8:30)


Films by Walter Verdin

The filmmaker will screen excerpts from his works and lead a discussion. (6:15)


Films by David Hinson and Lloyd Newson

Two films: Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men and Strange Fish, both to be shown by video projection. Festival curator John Cook will introduce the screening. (6:15)


The Dormitory

Performed at Centre East in 1992 by the Canadian group Carbone 14, Gilles Maheu’s Le dortoir took place in the dormitory of a Catholic boarding school. Its set used realistic elements in dreamlike fashion: dancers seemed to fly through windows high off the floor or to give their institutional beds new life by vaulting over or writhing atop them. Francois Girard directed this 43-minute film version (1989). (Laura Molzahn) Also on the program: Thierry De Mey’s Belgian film Rosas Dances Rosas (1997, 57 min.), showing in 35-millimeter, and Bernar Hebert and Edouard Lock’s Canadian video Velazquez’s Little Museum (1994, 40 min.). (6:15)