• Kuchar in 2008

As the short video Hot Spell (which plays tonight at the Gene Siskel Film Center) demonstrates, the recently departed George Kuchar died exactly as he lived: by making proudly amateurish movies that spared the audience no details of his private life. It’s one of Kuchar’s “Weather Diaries,” a series depicting his annual visits to an Oklahoma trailer park during tornado season. Kuchar had a lifelong interest in meteorology—Paul Vitello’s New York Times obituary mentions that as a young man he briefly worked for a TV meteorologist drawing weather maps—so it’s not surprising this would make its way into the work. For this director, filmmaking was part of life, if not the system that gave it meaning. It’s worth noting, too, that his movies can be ridiculously self-effacing: the emotional climax of Hot Spell, in which Kuchar reflects on how great it is to be alive, takes place at a Mexican restaurant in a mall food court.