The 17th annual Women in the Director’s Chair International Film & Video Festival, featuring narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental works by women, runs Friday through Sunday, March 20 through 22, and next weekend. Screenings are at DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl.; Hothouse, 31 E. Balbo; Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson; and Calles y Sue–os, 1900 S. Carpenter. Tickets are $7, $5 for students, seniors with a valid ID, and members of Women in the Director’s Chair; festival passes are also available. For more information call 773-281-4988.



Curtain of Eyes (1997), a striking black-and-white dance film composed for the camera by Daniele Wilmouth, is the product of a six-month collaboration with four Japanese dancers from Kyoto’s Saltimbanques Butoh troupe. The dancers move in an abstract space, mainly in close-ups and medium shots, and Wilmouth’s textured imagery is every bit as detailed as the dancing. On the same program, Catherine Crouch’s Vanilla Lament (see Critic’s Choice) and films and videos by Gina Hopp, Alexandra Halkin, Angela Kates, Hajira Majid, Yesica Barrera, Dima El-Horr, and the Latino Alternative High School. (JR) (Hothouse, 7:00)

I Stare at You

Susan Mogul’s hour-long 1997 video I Stare at You and Dream is a personal documentary about her friends in Highland Park, a mostly Latino neighborhood in LA. On the same program, videos by Meredith E. Holch and Kathleen O’Shea. (Hothouse, 9:00)


Separation Anxiety

Beverly Peterson’s 1997 video The Andre Show documents the experiences of an 11-year-old boy infected with HIV who came to live with Peterson after his mother died of AIDS. On the same program, films by Wendy Bednarz, Natasha Maidoff, Nettie Marquez, and Dawn Suggs, and videos by Sharon Aaron and Leann Erickson. (Hothouse, 2:00)

Living History

To Walk Naked, a 1995 film by Jacqueline Maingard, Sheila Meintjes, and Heather Thompson, documents a July 1990 incident in which Soweto women shed their clothes to protest the Afrikaner national government’s destruction of their squatter homes; the filmmakers capture the event in black and white, with later interview sequences in color. On the same program, Harriet Hirshorn’s 1997 video documentary The Disappearance of Tisoeur: Haiti After Duvalier. (DuSable Museum, 2:00)

Where It Will Be Possible

Jeanne Hallacy’s 1997 video Burma Diary documents human rights abuses in Myanmar, formerly the socialist republic of Burma. On the same program, Lisl Ponger’s Passages (1996), a short film from Austria. (Hothouse, 4:00)


Helena Appio’s piquant 1997 short, A Portrait of Mr. Pink, encourages its subject, Brenton Samuel Pink, to contradict himself when he observes that youth is the best time of life. At 73 he projects an expansive enjoyment while showing us around his spectacularly idiosyncratic home in Britain, demonstrating how he’s lovingly crafted the environment to evoke his native Jamaica. An early scene showing another man offering to buy the house is gently humorous; because it occurs before we know the extent of Pink’s commitment to the place, its meaning resonates retroactively. Yuko Edwards’s Politics From a Black Woman’s Insides (1997) emphasizes personal narratives as it scrutinizes cultural iconography and examines the experiences of women who’ve struggled with the health-care system. Jane C. Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio’s Two or Three Things but Nothing for Sure (1996) is a portrait of writer Dorothy Allison. In Lydia Ann Douglas’s Nappy (1997), 14 women who’ve decided to stop straightening their hair discuss the criticism that act inspired. In Kimberly Saree Tomes’s Looking for Wendy (1997) interracial adoption and biotechnology are elements in an exploration of notions of culture and identity. (LA) (DuSable Museum, 4:00)

Doing the Dirty Work

A program of mostly humorous films and videos on the subject of working women. In Dirty Fingernails (1996) Sarah Kennedy’s use of fast motion to show a woman rebuilding her motorcycle is a bit cliched, though her narration, about the troubles she’s had asking males for help, rings true. Amara Baumgarten’s Total Raw Power Protection (1997) ironically pairs a woman with an old, underpowered Macintosh computer. More poetic is Laura Purdy’s ¹ (1997), an edgy, sexual view of a cherry pie being cut, while Susan Hinnum’s Woman’s Gotta Have It (1996) includes a pleasantly ridiculous episode with an inflatable male doll. Sandra Sheffield’s Watershed Keeper (1997) is a sensitive documentary portrait of Gail Ciardi, a fourth-generation water manager who helps maintain the lands that provide water for San Francisco. Sheffield combines black-and-white with color imagery and still photographs with moving shots, evoking the mutability of nature. Also on the program are Michele Mahoney’s Acrobats and Sword-Swallowers (1997), Jessica Wilson’s Ferry (1997), and Fiona Cochrane’s Gorilla Girls (1996). (FC) (Hothouse, 6:00)


Guadalupe Miranda and Maria Ines Roque’s 1995 video Zapatista Women focuses on Mexican women active in the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Interviewed shortly after the 1994 uprising, their faces masked, the women discuss their lives and their struggle; later they’re seen doing some of their daily chores. One of the male leaders delivers a poetic political speech, and another speaks about the women’s bravery. On the same program, videos by the Latino Alternative High School, Cecilia Navarro Herrera, and Robin Lloyd. (JR) (Calles y Sue–os, 7:00)

Quests: New Lesbian Work, Part I

See Critic’s Choice. (Hothouse, 8:00)

Out of This World: New Animation

Last Summer Fight, a 1997 film by Shuntaye Moore with Street-Level Youth Media, succinctly recounts and illustrates a racial incident among kids. Sara Varon’s 1997 parable The Tongue recalls Saul Steinberg’s drawings in its graphic incorporation of words. And Holly du Rivage’s Out of This World (1996) is an eclectic, freewheeling piece of cosmic meditation that’s literally all over the place. On the same program, Catherine Crouch’s Vanilla Lament (see Critic’s Choice); short films by Julie Goldstein, Lisa Barcy, Ellie Lee, and Allyson Mitchell; and short videos by Amanda Hoeltke, Cecilia Navarro Herrera, and Janet Perlman. (JR) (Hothouse, 10:00)


Journeys Home

Marcia Jarmel’s hour-long The Return of Sarah’s Daughters is a 1997 essay film about feminism and lesbianism as they relate to Orthodox Judaism. On the same program, Deborah Stratman’s From Hetty to Nancy, a 1997 U.S. film with an Icelandic setting, and Kara Lynch’s 1997 video set in Africa, Me–Ba . . . I’m Coming: A Travelogue. (Hothouse, 2:00)

Media of the Moment: Documenting Communities in Action

This panel discussion will include screenings of Jacqueline Maingard, Sheila Meintjes, and Heather Thompson’s To Walk Naked (see “Living History,” Saturday, March 21); Guadalupe Miranda and Maria Ines Roque’s Zapatista Women (see “Translate,” Saturday, March 21); Malinda M. Maynor’s Sounds of Faith; and excerpts from Salome Chasnoff’s Beyond Beijing. (Hothouse, 4:00)

The Scar

Amber Films, a 30-year-old media collective, created this feature-length documentary about an English mining strike. (Hothouse, 6:00)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Virgin of the Sea film still.