Dreaming in the Dark: Recent Films From the Avant-Garde

Most of the films on this program make creative use of some form of manipulated imagery–home processing, optical printing, or animation–to create synthetic fantasy worlds. Scott Stark’s I’ll Walk With God gives an eerie view of an airline stewardess. Dervish Machine, by Bradley Eros and Jeanne Liotta, begins with an abstract whirling wheel; soon we see projector reels, and the title’s reference to whirling dervishes becomes conflated with cinema. The Girl’s Nervy, by Jennifer Reeves, lives up to its lighthearted title with a collage of brightly colored, highly textured abstract images that gradually begin to include recognizable fragments of natural objects, such as flowers and water. The sensuous images shift in sync with the music, playing with but never quite sinking into the overly obvious or cute effects of earlier animation. Phil Solomon’s The Snowman, which the filmmaker describes as “a belated kaddish for my father,” is more somber. Home-movie footage of a family with a child is seen through myriad cracks that form a kind of distancing scrim and suggest memory and decay. The family drama that’s almost buried beneath this layer of abstraction becomes mysteriously suggestive and moving because we see it only in fragments. Also on the program are films by Janie Geiser, Julie Murray, David Sherman, and Silt. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Friday, March 14, 8:00, 773-384-5533. –Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): The Snowman/ film still.