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.
Alfred P. Sloan Prize Sundance Film Fest
"An elegant debut feature" -Film Comment
"A movie of ideas that does an exemplary job of translating scientific speculation into layman's language" -New York Times
In his stunning feature film debut, renowned opera director Chen Shi-Zheng (The Peony Pavilion) follows the passionate ambition of Liu Xing, a brilliant and talented Chinese student, who immigrates to Valley State University to pursue his Ph.D. in cosmology. Initially, Liu seems to live a charmed life in America: he works for the research team of the famous cosmologist Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn) and earns recognition for his ability to grasp difficult scholarship, while also finding favor of a wealthy university patron and Chinese culture enthusiast Joanna Silver (Meryl Streep). He relishes the freedoms of American life: unadulterated television, flirting with a woman at the coffee shop, and being considered a peer of his academic advisor. But as Liu's obsession with uncovering the mysteries of "dark matter" challenges his mentor's life work, his seeming success comes crashing down as Reiser casts him as a pariah. Liu's need for recognition runs deep, and as he is pushed to the margins and his relationships around him sour, he is driven to desperate measures. "Dark matter" becomes a compelling metaphor for the gulf between what director Chen has called "the idea of America and the America [that is] experienced." The black hole of desire, success, and recognition can become impossible when we strike out on our own -— contrary to the tenets of the American dream.
Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, U.S.A., 2007, 35mm, 90 mins.