• Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon in Bug

In preparation for director William Friedkin’s forthcoming appearance to promote his new memoir, The Friedkin Connection, Harold Washington Library Center (400 S. State) is screening The Exorcist at 6 PM on Tue 4/9 in the Pritzker Auditorium. Prior to reviewing Killer Joe for the Reader last summer, I wasn’t all that familiar with Friedkin’s work. I knew the basics, of course, but as with many worthwhile filmmakers, his truest virtues were hidden in some of his lesser-known movies. He’s not for every taste, but for every instance of sex, violence, and cynicism in his work, there are just as many moments of sheer artistry, indicative of a filmmaker with a keen understanding of how audiences watch, relate to, and process cinema. He’s fully aware of the comforts people seek in movies, but rather than honor those comforts, he challenges, distorts, and otherwise exploits them, forcing the audience to find other avenues of connectivity to the work, almost like a puzzle.

Friedkin’s appearance at Harold Washington, in which he’ll be joined by Filmspotting‘s Adam Kempenaar, is set for 6 PM on Tue 4/16. In the meantime, catch my five favorite Friedkin films are after the jump.