The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
with Claire Pentecost
"Younger filmmakers should be looking to Hershman Leeson for lessons on how to reinvent old forms while at the same time telling an urgently topical story" -Variety
"Strange Culture is an important heads-up to what is going on in our country right now in the name of national security, and a brilliant statement on artistic freedom and the dangers it faces" -Film Threat
"With disarming directness and intriguing indirectness, Hershman-Leeson has made a document...that speaks volumes about where free expression stands today" -Hollywood Reporter
Tip of the Week! "Lynn Hershman Leeson's urgent, provocative, activist, needfully paranoid documentary, Strange Culture, is one of the more innovative in memory" -New City Chicago
Critic's Choice! -Chicago Reader
Strange Culture chronicles the breathtaking miscarriage of justice that has befallen Steve Kurtz, a college professor, artist, and member of the politically charged Critical Art Ensemble. As Kurtz was preparing for an exhibition, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2004, which would allow participants to test food and find out if it has been genetically modified, when, days before the opening his wife tragically died from heart failure. Distraught, Kurtz called 911, but when the medics arrived and saw the scientific materials for the exhibition-all legally purchased-they called the FBI. Dozens of agents in haz-mat suits searched his home, impounded his computers, books, cat, and even his wife's body, and held Kurtz as a suspected bio-terrorist. Three years later, Kurtz has been released, but he still faces up to 20 years in prison on mail and wire fraud charges relating to his acquisition of materials for the art exhibit. Leeson creatively enlists actors Tilda Swinton, Josh Kornbluth and Peter Coyote to dramatize the parts of the story that Kurtz cannot legally discuss, while skillfully interweaving news footage, animation, testimonials and footage of Kurtz himself to create a fascinating, highly provocative documentary about post-9/11 paranoia and the risks artists face when their work questions government policies. (Film Society of the Lincoln Center) Directed by Lynn Hershman Leeson, U.S.A, 2006, BetaSP, 76 mins.
CLAIRE PENTECOST will be here in person for a Q&A after the 7 & 9 p.m. screenings on Fri., Aug. 24 and the 7 p.m. showing on Sat., Aug. 25
Tickets for this CineChat event are $9, $5 for members.
Claire Pentecost is an artist, writer and Associate Professor in the Photography Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was detained along with Steve Kurtz by the FBI on May 12, 2004 and has been a spokesperson for Steve Kurtz's defense team since then. Her articles on the case are available at CAEdefensefund.org.