Presented by the Chicago-based documentary production and distribution company Terra Nova Films, the eighth annual Silver Images Film Festival runs Saturday, April 28, through Friday, May 18, at Bethany Hospital, 3435 W. Van Buren; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division, River Forest; Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbus Drive at Jackson; Good Shepherd Hospital, 450 W. Highway 22, Barrington; Loyola Univ. Rubloff Auditorium, 25 E. Pearson; Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 145 N. Milwaukee, Vernon Hills; Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 251 E. Huron; Ravenswood Medical Center, 4450 N. Winchester; South Suburban Hospital, 17800 S. Kedzie, Hazelcrest; and Trinity Hospital, 2320 E. 93rd St. Unless otherwise noted, admission is free and films will be shown on video. For more information call 773-881-6940.



Todd Robinson wrote and directed this lavish 2000 documentary about Marta Becket, who gave up her life as a moderately successful dancer and artist in New York City in the early 1960s to renovate and reopen a small theater in the old borax-mining town of Death Valley Junction (population ten). Stung by a difficult youth, she made the theater a shrine to an imaginary past, covering the walls and ceilings with elaborate and whimsical murals featuring a Renaissance-era audience; thousands of people have since visited the structure, where Becket, now in her 70s, continues to perform and create with the help of the town’s eccentric residents. Robinson portrays Becket as a fiercely independent visionary, though it’s hard to tell whether the afterimage of a woman pathetically unable to relinquish her past was intentional. Becket’s work is well served by Curt Apduhan’s lovely cinematography, the story ill served by some dreadfully pretentious narration. 93 min. (Reece Pendleton) A 35-millimeter print will be shown. Producer Sidney Sherman will attend the screening; tickets are $7, $3 for Film Center members. (Gene Siskel Film Center, 8:00)


Short films, program one

In A Window That Opens (2000, 19 min.) James J. Agazzi tells the story of a woman who may be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Steen Moller Rasmussen’s Danish film 2000 (1999, 29 min.) features 20 different encounters between young people and old people whose ages add up to 100. Agazzi will attend the screening. (Loyola Univ. Rubloff Auditorium, 2:30)


Short films, program two

Holly O’Mara’s Mick and Helen (2000, 32 min.), about a couple approaching their 65th wedding anniversary, is the usual mix of talking heads, old photos, and old film footage. They’re admirably energetic, and their stories give a good sense of their ordinary midwestern lives. (FC) On the same program: Aging in Chicago: Love and Loss (2000, 32 min.) features interviews with Harry Caray’s widow, Dutchie, and with former DePaul University basketball coach Ray Meyer, who lost his wife after 39 years. In Beryl Gets Younger by the Day (2000, 25 min.), Carroll Baker follows a 68-year-old woman as she takes part in a six-week program to increase longevity. (Good Shepherd Hospital, 9:00 am)


Short films, program three

Charlotte Metcalf’s Life: The Silver Age (2000, 24 min.) is an interesting if unremarkable segment from a British TV series, examining the lives of seniors in Japan, India, and Tunisia, and how they have (or haven’t) coped with the challenges posed to their traditional ways of life by modern Western culture. (Reece Pendleton) Charlene Crandall’s Something Else (1989, 19 min.) tells the story of an eccentric old man who covered the entire exterior of his house with beer cans. On the same program: Beryl Gets Younger by the Day. Crandall will attend the screening. (Dominican Univ., 9:30 am)

Short films, program four

In the satisfying documentary The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story (1999, 25 min.), W.J. Hardiman interviews a group of pioneering black residents from Buffalo, New York, whose informal neighborhood socials, begun in the 1940s, paved the way for the city’s blossoming black middle class. (Reece Pendleton) On the same program: Aging in Chicago: Love and Loss. (Bethany Hospital, 12:30)

Short films, program two

See listing for Tuesday, May 1. (Ravenswood Medical Center, 3:00)

My Mother, My Father

James Vanden Bosch directed this 1984 documentary about four families trying to care for aging parents. 33 min. (Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 7:00)


Short films, program five

Julie Harris narrates The Traveling Brushes (1999, 29 min.), a documentary about five senior women who paint landscapes on the eastern shore of Maryland. On the same program: Aging in Chicago: Love and Loss, Mick and Helen, and Beryl Gets Younger by the Day. (South Suburban Hospital, 9:30 am)

Short films, program six

In Lisa Kaufman’s Packing for Two (1999, 13 min.) a widow who still sees and talks to her dead husband prepares for a vacation; it’s conventional in tone and full of Jewish cliches, though the glossy cinematography makes it watchable. (TS) On the same program: Aging in Chicago: Love and Loss and The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story. (Trinity Hospital, 10:00 am)

Short films, program seven

Two films: The Traveling Brushes and Holly O’Mara’s Mick and Helen. 61 min. O’Mara will attend the screening. (Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 10:30 am)