One thing I like about watching movies at Chicago Filmmakers in Andersonville is that they try to keep the screening room as dark as possible. There are no emergency lights, a thick black curtain prevents any illumination from sneaking in through the foyer, and it’s common practice during shows to keep the door to the back hallway shut. You watch movies there as if you were entombed with them. Afterwards, when the curtain opens and you return to the world of the living, it takes longer than usual to adjust your eyes.
On Friday night at Filmmakers, a projector issue occurred during one of the Stan Brakhage shorts in the Cat Film Festival, holding up the program for several minutes. Some patrons took out their cell phones to pass the time; they looked fantastic in the darkness with bluish light casting upwards from their laps. From the back of the room, they seemed to form a constellation—or, rather, the sort of state-of-the-art facsimile of a constellation you might see at the Adler Planetarium. I think Brakhage himself may have appreciated the spectacle.