- Manuscripts Don’t Burn
Spike Lee reaches back to the 70s heyday of blaxploitation for his latest project, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, a remake of Bill Gunn’s low-budget cult item Ganja & Hess. Also in this week’s issue, I recommend Manuscripts Don’t Burn, an uncompromising drama about government censorship, repression, and murder from Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof (Iron Island).
Check out our capsule reviews of: Fifty Shades of Grey, the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling porn novel; Love Hunter, about a Serbian rock star now driving a cab in New York City; Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, a subjective but affecting documentary about the gay college student whose 1998 bludgeoning death became one of the most notorious hate crimes of the 20th century; Seventh Son, a Lord of the Rings knockoff with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore; Timbuktu, a story of rampaging jihadists from director Abderrahmane Sissako (Bamako); Today, an Iranian drama about a cab driver who helps a pregnant woman; White Rabbit, an indie southern gothic about a boy driven to violence to prove his manhood; and Young Bodies Heal Quickly, a low-budget picaresque about two brothers who hit the road after the younger one kills a teenage girl.
Best bets for repertory: Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965), on Saturday, and Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966), Saturday and Monday, at Gene Siskel Film Center; Buster Keaton in The Cameraman (1927), Saturday at Saint John Cantius Church with live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren; Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942), Saturday at Music Box; Don Siegel’s Escape From Alcatraz (1979), next Thursday at University of Chicago Doc Films; Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I (2000), Friday and Tuesday at Film Center; Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), Saturday and Sunday at Doc; Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), Friday and Sunday at Doc; Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride (1987), Friday and Saturday at Music Box, and Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy (1986), presented by Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis of WBEZ’s Sound Opinions.
Special events out the wazoo this week: Marcel Carne’s The Adultress (1953), an adaptation of Emile Zola’s melodramatic novel Therese Raquin, screening at Facets Cinematheque with live highlights from the Chicago Opera Theater production; Films by Jennifer Reeder, a program by the local artist at Museum of Contemporary Art; Remembering Harold Washington, a program of short works about the Chicago mayor; and White Scripts and Black Supermen, a documentary about African-America comic book heros, screening at Chatham 14 as part of Black History Month.