Feb. 4 - March 6, 2008
STRANGER THAN TRUTH:
The Hybrid Documentary (A Review)
Feb. 4 - March 10
Films screened and discussed:
The Kid Stays in the Picture
(Nanette Burstein & Brett Morgan, 2002
Touching the Void
(Kevin Macdonald, 2003)
In the Realms of the Unreal
(Jessica Yu, 2004)
(Jem Cohen, 2004)
House of the Tiger King
(David Flamholc, 2004)
Wild Blue Yonder
(Werner Herzog, 2005)
Since Haskell Wexler flipped cinema verité on its side to make Medium Cool, documentary filmmakers have been experimenting with different means of blending reality and fiction into engaging movies. Over the past fifty years, in response to ever more media-conscious audiences, doc makers have found new ways to keep truth elusive, seductive and entertaining. The early 2000's witnessed the rise of the documentary titles in theatrical distribution, encouraging an even greater departure from traditional documentary tactics. Hybrid documentaries reach past capturing the bare documentation of their subject matter and use tactics from the fiction and non-fiction worlds of filmmaking to realize stories that inhabit spaces between reality and imagination. By mashing-up methods of traditional documentary filmmaking with more narrative devices, these films keep verifiable truth just out of reach and sometimes push the boundaries of technology to create poetic nonfiction palates. Playing on audiences' desire for reality, hybrid docs put actual stories in hyper fictional forms and nestle fictional stories among documentary footage. This course will explore some of the many techniques used to fictionalize "truth" in film and our constant need to keep truth close even though we understand that it is being mitigated by the camera.
Christy LeMaster worked as the Assistant Director of the True/False Film Festival, a celebration of experimental and hybrid documentary film. In 2005 she spent six weeks on the road, traveling from Novia Scotia to St. Louis with the Free Form Film Festival. Currently she co-directs Chicago Cinema Forum an organization dedicated to presenting rare films in neighborhoods throughout the city and is a regular contributor to CINE-FILE.info, a weekly on-line guide to independent and underground cinema in Chicago.
WHAT I TELL YOU THREE TIMES IS TRUE:
The Provocative and Fantastic World of Raúl Ruiz
Feb. 5 - March 11
Films screened and discussed:
Three Crowns of the Sailor (1983)
Life is a Dream (1986)
Dog's Dialogue (1977)
Genealogies of a Crime (1997)
Love Torn in a Dream (2000)
Comedy of Innocence (2000)
Raúl Ruiz was already a well-known young director in his native Chile when he was forced to flee the Pinochet coup in 1973. Ending up in France, like many of his countrymen, he reinvented himself as a fantasist, cinema's answer to Italo Calvino or Jorge Luis Borges, turning from the playful social commentary that had made his name at home to an unclassifiable mix of impish intellectualism and pure B-movie poetry. Ruiz's films are filled with baroque visuals, goofy puns, secret societies, bizarre rituals, and storytelling run amok. This class will offer a succinct introduction to his enormous body of work, beginning with a brief foray into his earlier, odder, low-budget films, and moving then into Ruiz's more recent incarnation as a maker of lush and hallucinatory star vehicles, working with such icons as Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert. With his lush parody-biopic on the life of painter Gustave Klimt -- starring John Malkovich -- having recently finished its run in American theaters, this course offers an opportunity to discover the past work of a true master of world cinema: one of a discouraging number of film giants whose work is almost wholly unavailable in the States, and the maker of some of the most purely pleasurable art films (or B-movies) you’re ever likely to see.
Jeremy M. Davies is a writer, reviewer and freelance editor. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and has worked as an editor at Dalkey Archive Press. He is a regular review contributor to the Review of Contemporary Fiction, as well as a weekly contributor to Cine-File Chicago, "Chicago's Guide to Independent and Underground Cinema."
ARROWS OF DESIRE:
The Films of Powell & Pressburger During WWII
Feb. 7 - March 6 & March 20
(no class meeting on March 13)
Films screened and discussed:
One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1941)
The 49th Parallel (1941)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
A Canterbury Tale (1944)
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger came into the British film industry as that rare species, writers/producers/directors who actually worked together over two decades to make films during the golden period of British cinema in the late 1940's. Forming their own company, The Archers, an achievement that enabled them to create such later masterpieces as Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. But their early career is just as fascinating for showing how Britain reacted to the onset, outbreak, and horror of World War II. Here we see the filmmakers going through films that featured German characters as the leads, in The Spy in Black and The 49th Parallel, to films about the cost of the war in Europe, One of Our Aircraft is Missing, and on the home front, A Canterbury Tale. Finally we see the cost that the war has had in England as it tries to rebuild in the most personal of terms in Stairway to Heaven. Their extraordinary collaboration was not aligned with the British cinematic tradition, more concerned with a more realistic approach, and they produced films replete with magic, humor, tenderness, passion and miraculous beauty.
Brandon Linden is a filmmaker, educator, and sound artist whose latest film, Bootleg Wisconsin, is making the rounds at independent festivals. He owns a day school on the West Side and is a DJ at WNUR-FM. He is a graduate of DePaul and has taught several courses in the Facets Film School including Declaration of Independence: Dawn of the American Independent, New Freedoms: Old Obligations: The Studio Director of the 1970's and Guns in the Shadows: The Westerns of Jacques Tourneur.
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