Facets Cinémathèque

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December 11–17, 2015

Chicago Premiere

Stinking Heaven

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Film still: Stinking Heaven Film still: Stinking Heaven
"A small frame belies weighty content in Nathan Silver's compelling, abrasive study of a crumbling commune"
"Never a banal depiction of dysfunctional group dynamics, Stinking Heaven...remains consistently absorbing: The actors' agile reflexes keep scenes unpredictable as their characters react to passive-aggressive slights or terrifying paroxysms of rage"
  —Village Voice
"As in the work of John Cassavetes, where the dramatic exorcism of personal trauma helps create a dialogue on the relationship between performance and pain, Silver's increasingly complex films imagine society as a shared space fraught with potential complications, one where inner turmoil finds ample room to fester and develop"
  —Slant Magazine
"It's a searing ensemble piece with an array of striking faces and open emotional wounds"

This ultra-dark comedy looks at a communal home for sober living run by Jim (Keith Poulson, Listen Up Philip) and Lucy (Deragh Campbell, I Used to Be Darker) out of their suburban home in 1990s New Jersey. The members eat, bathe, and bicker together, financing their lifestyle by selling "health tea" out of a van. They play games and bathe in the rain and their collective fashion sense might be described as "Manson Family couture." They also take turns reenacting the worst moments in their addictions, purging their respective rock bottoms to the reward of limp applause. It's Short Term 12 by way of the Marquis de Sade. But when outsider Ann (Hannah Gross, Christmas, Again) arrives on the scene and refuses to play by the rules, the community's fragile stability shatters.

Stinking Heaven's outstanding ensemble cast, which also includes Eléonore Hendricks (Daddy Longlegs) and filmmaker/street photographer Jay Giampietro, developed their characters in collaboration with Silver and co-writer Jack Dunphy. This latest American ensemble piece from eclectic micro-budget filmmaker Nathan Silver (Exit Elena, Uncertain Terms) offers a grimy yet utterly authentic and compassionate character study. His elliptical narrative weaves around its inhabitants with raw energy and ease, while capturing the chaos of getting clean, creating a mesmerizing portrait of people on the margins.

Directed by Nathan Silver, U.S.A., 2015, 70 mins.


  • Fri., Dec. 11 at 7:45 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Dec. 12 –13 at 5:30 & 7:30 pm
  • Tues.–Thurs., Dec. 15–17 at 7:45 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation