Another Year, Another Superb Calendar

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As Doc Films prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, it offers up another typically eclectic fall calendar.

Hyde Park this fall will again be the epicenter of the most diverse film programming in Chicago. Post-Nouvelle Vage Godard sits alongside the hardboiled noir of John Garfield and Robert Ryan; the mean streets of 70s American Cinema next to the meaner bedrooms/campgrounds of 70s American horror; early Hollywood films starring, directed or scripted by women flank a survey of jazz music in films and films about jazz music.

Standard histories of Hollywood often overlook the great contribution made by powerful women in the positions of directors, screenwriters and actor-auteurs. “The Women of Early Hollywood: Writers, Directors, Stars” features rare pictures with stars like Lillian Gish (The Wind), Clara Bow (Mantrap), Greta Garbo (The Kiss), Mary Pickford (Sparrows), and showcases outstanding and unrecognized work from some of the best women screenwriters of the day: Marian Fremont (Griffith’s True Heart Susie), Agnes Christie Johnson (King Vidor’s The Patsy), Anita Loos (Wild and Woolly), as well as work by women-directors, like The Blot (Lois Weber), Speed Limit (Alice Guy Blache), The Red Kimono (Dorothy Davenport) and Her Defiance (Cleo Madison). This series presents a compelling argument for the place of women writers, directors and stars in the early Hollywood canon.

The second part of Doc’s Jean-Luc Godard retrospective offers a generous sampling of his work post-Weekend. His stints as dogmatic Maoist, aesthete (as part of the Dziga Vertov group) and video artist will be explored. This series will give Chicagoans a chance to appraise his aesthetic and political development, and to view rare and controversial works – from Sympathy for the Devil (certainly the only concert film of the Rolling Stones to include political murder and Marxist rants) to Godard’s self-conscious masterpiece about filmmaking, 1982’s Passion. The super-rare 1990 film, Nouvelle Vage will be screened in Chicago for the first time in at least a decade. As a special treat, each screening will be accompanied by rare DVD screenings of video shorts, many unavailable in any format in North America.

The 1970s in America were a ripe time for horror. This genre doesn’t get nearly the amount of respect it deserves, and hasn’t gotten much respect from Doc lately. But “Revisiting the ‘American Nightmare” will rectify all that. Films with taglines that just drag you to the theater (Deadbed… “the bed that eats”) mix with frightening favorites, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and John Carpenter’s Halloween. The modern gore that audiences flock to today (Saw, Hostel, etc.) wouldn’t be the same without these lovably terrifying flicks. As a special treat, Halloween will screen twice on its eponymous night, with a costume contest at the midnight screening.    

American filmmaking from the 60s to the 80s saw the reinvention of genres and the entrance of “antiheroes” into mainstream Hollywood. The gritty realism of the period (Scorces’s Raging Bull, Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, etc.) has influenced scores of today’s filmmakers – from Michael Mann to Quentin Tarantino. This series is a chance for film buffs everywhere to watch movies they love on their intended medium, crisp 35mm.    

John Garfield and Robert Ryan have more in common than the films they made about boxing – “1-2 Punch: The Films of John Garfield & Robert Ryan” explores this affinity. The series offers a look at the overlooked American noir hero in various roles. In terrific films by some of the great auteurs (Max Ophul’s Caught, Nicholas Ray’s On Dangerous Ground and Anthony Mann’s Men in War) each showcases the actors’ particular skills. A pioneer of method acting, John Garfield made a mere 32 films before the Red Scare put him into early retirement. But this series offers a great taste of his superb talent – from a wounded WWII hero in Delmer Daves’ Pride of the Marines to his most famous role as a mob-lawyer in Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil. Robert Ryan had a longer career and avoided HUAC (although they were an omnipresent threat). He turned out great performances in Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (as a washed up boxer) and Ophul’s Caught (opposite James Mason and Barbara Del Geddes). It’s an intense series of some of the great B-pictures of the period, acted by two of the best genre actors of the period.

Jazz, and its development as an “outsider art” alongside the movies, is the subject of the “Jazz Cinema” series. The series features films not only about jazz (Let’s Get Lost, Bruce Weber’s astounding doc about tragic vocalist and trumpet-player Chet Baker) but also featuring great jazz soundtracks (Miles Davis’s Elevator to the Gallows). Favorites, like Bertrand Travernier’s ‘Round Midnight straddle rare gems, like Minnie the Moocher (featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra) and Dudley Murphy’s St. Louis Blues, featuring the inimitable Bessie Smith.    

The weekend offerings are just as interesting. Richard Linklater’s experimental animated film (adapted from a Phillip K. Dick novel) A Scanner Darkly and Al Gore’s consciousness-raising agitprop An Inconvenient Truth are only two of the twenty weekend films. Others include the already cult-classic Snakes on a Plane, Robert Altman’s elegiac A Prairie Home Companion and the latest from the Dardenne brothers, L’enfant. Popular favorites, Little Miss Sunshine, Nacho Libre, Superman Returns Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Thank you For Smoking, fill out the diverse weekend calendar.    

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If you have any questions about Doc’s upcoming season, contact: Aaron Greenberg call 818 451-9034

Autumn 2006 Calendar (All films begin at 7:00pm unless otherwise noted. All prints are 35mm unless otherwise noted.)

Sunday – The Women of Early Hollywood: Writers, Directors, Stars

Mondays – Godard: The Later Films

Tuesdays – Revisiting the American Nightmare: American Horror in the 1970s

Wednesdays – Antiheros

Thursday 1 – 1-2 Punch: The Films of John Garfield & Robert Ryan

Thursday 2 – Jazz Cinema (varying times)

Sympathy for the Devil – 9/25 (16mm)

The Killing Kind – 9/26

HUD – 9/27

Four Daughters – 9/28

I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You and Stormy Weather – 9/28 (9:15pm)

Nacho Libre – 9/29 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

V for Vendetta – 9/30 (6:15, 9:00, 11:45)

The Blot and A House Divided and Matrimony’s Speed Limit – 10/1 (both 16mm)

Tout va bien – 10/2 (DVD)

Willard – 10/3

Midnight Cowboy – 10/4

Pride of the Marines – 10/5 (16mm)

St. Louis Blues (Dudley Murphy, 16mm) and St. Louis Blues (Allen Reisner) – 10/5 (9:45)

Brick – 10/6 (6:30, 9:00, 11:30)

Thank You For Smoking – 10/7 (7:00, 9:00, 11:00)

The Red Kimono and Caught in a Cabaret and Her Defiance – 10/8

Suave qui Peut (la vie) – 10/9 (16mm)

The Exorcist – 10/10

The French Connection – 10/11

Body and Soul (archival 35mm print) – 10/12

Boogie Doodle (16mm) and The Sweet Smell of Success – 10/12 (9:30)

Art School Confidential – 10/13 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

Dave Chapelle’s Block Party – 10/14 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

Male and Female – 10/15 (16mm)

Passion – 10/16 (16mm)

Last House on Dead End Street – 10/17

Shaft – 10/18

Force of Evil (archival 35mm print) – 10/19

Short and Sweet (16mm) and Elevator to the Gallows –10/19 (9:00)

Tsotsi – 10/20 (7:00, 9:00, 11:00)

Superman Returns – 10/21 (5:30, 8:30, 11:30)

True Heart Susie – 10/22 (16mm)

Detective – 10/23 (16mm)

Shivers – 10/24

The Godfather – 10/25

The Set-Up – 10/26 (16mm)

Begone Dull Care (16mm) and Shadows (16mm) – 10/26 (9:00)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – 10/27 (5:30, 8:30, 11:30)

Cars – 10/28 (6:30, 9:00, 11:30)

Sparrows – 10/29

Prenom: Carmen – 10/30

Halloween (on Halloween!) – 10/31 (7pm and Midnight + costume contest judged by programmer Kian Bergstrom)

The Godfather Part II – 11/1

Caught (archival 35mm print) – 11/2

Round Midnight (16mm) – 11/2 (9:15)

Death of Mr. Lazersecu – 11/3 (5:30, 8:30, 11:30)

A Prairie Home Companion – 11/4 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

Mantrap (archival 35mm print) and Orchids and Ermine (16mm) – 11/5

Hail Mary – 11/6

Deathbed – 11/7

Bananas – 11/8

No screenings on 11/9: Presidential Art Scholar Event, Atom Egoyan

Who Killed the Electric Car? – 11/10 (7:00, 9:00, 11:00)

A Scanner Darkly – 11/11 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

The Wind – 11/12

Hellas por Moi – 11/13

Last House on the Left – 11/14

Chinatown – 11/15

On Dangerous Ground – 11/16 (16mm)

Let’s Get Lost – 11/16 (9:15)

An Inconvenient Truth – 11/17 (7:00, 9:00, 11:00)

Little Miss Sunshine – 11/18 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

Wild and Wooly (16mm) and The Patsy – 11/19

Nouvelle Vague (rare 35mm print from France) – 11/20

The Driller Killer – 11/21

Serpico – 11/22

Thanksgiving – 11/23

Thanksgiving – 11/24

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – 11/24 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

L’enfant – 11/25 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

The Kiss (archival 35mm print) – 11/26

JLG/JLG (35mm) and Germany: Year 90 Nine Zero (16mm) – 11/27

Phantasm – 11/28

Raging Bull – 11/29

Men in War – 11/30 (16mm)

Minnie the Moocher (16mm) and The Old Man and the Mountains and Snow White and A Great Day in Harlem (DVD) – 11/30 (9:30)

Snakes on a Plane – 12/1 (6:45, 9:00, 11:15)

Wordplay – 12/2 (7:00, 9:0


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