Tag Archives: White City Cinema

Fright School Spooks Chicago Beginning October 4th

Once again, the award-winning Night School makes its way to the screen here in Chicago starting October 4 at Facets Multimedia. There’s a great variety of spine-tingling goodness with films from around the world ready to scare the hell out of you. Each film will be presented with a lecture prior to screening and a Q&A after most of the presentations.

This will be our final gig at Facets Multimedia so come on down for some spooky thrills! Night School will be traveling on to new venues TBD.

You Are Who You Eat!: Fruit Chan’s Delicious, Disturbing Dumplings
October 4, 2013
Presented by Michael Smith

Fruit Chan (MADE IN HONG KONG, DURIAN DURIAN) became internationally famous for a series of gritty, naturalistic dramas tackling important social issues in the turbulent Hong Kong of the 1990s. With 2004′s DUMPLINGS he drastically shifted registers, crafting an elegant and beautifully photographed horror film (the exquisite color cinematography is courtesy of the great Christopher Doyle) that successfully translates his trademark social criticism to the confines of the more genre-oriented filmmaking for which Hong Kong is best known. The result expertly balances visceral shocks with intellectual provocation, and deservedly became one of the most acclaimed Hong Kong films of the post-”handover” era, winning numerous accolades along the way (including a Film of Merit Award from the Hong Kong Film Critics Society and many Best Supporting Actress trophies for Bai Ling). Come on out to see this director-preferred expanded version of DUMPLINGS and find out what all the fuss is about — though you may want to hold off on eating before you come!

Michael Smith is an independent filmmaker whose most recent short films, At Last, Okemah!! (2009) and The Catastrophe (2011), have won multiple awards at film festivals across the United States. Since 2009, he has taught film history and aesthetics at Chicago-area colleges including Oakton Community College, the College of Lake County, and Harold Washington College. His first book, Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry, a non-fiction account of early film production in Chicago, will be released by KWS Publishers, Inc. in late 2013. He is also the creator and sole author of the film studies blog WhiteCityCinema.com. He has previously taught many Facets Night School sessions including “Drilling Into The Slumber Party Massacre”  and “Eat the Rich: Manoel de Oliveira’s Unlikely Cannibals Musical.”

One Roll of Flesh, No More No Less: The Mad World of Suicide Club
October 5, 2013
Presented by Dominick Suzanne-Mayer

Lecture description: Writer-director Shion Sono’s 2002 film Suicide Club came out during a time when worldwide interest in J-horror was at an all-time high, and stands as both one of that subgenre’s crowning achievements and one of its strangest films. Suicide Club begins with an unforgettable mass suicide committed by teenagers in a Tokyo subway tunnel, and descends into a complex web of madness involving butterfly tattoos, a roll of human skin, a teen-friendly pop group and a man named Genesis who does atrocious things to animals in empty bowling alleys. Night School lecturer Dominick Suzanne-Mayer will attempt to unravel the mysteries of Sono’s film, and further discuss its connections to one of latter-day Japanese cinema’s most prevalent questions: what to do with all the youth?
Dominick Suzanne-Mayer is a regular at Facets Night School, having presented on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Frighteners, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and many more. He recently received his graduate degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, and is the features editor at HEAVEmedia, a Chicago-based pop culture website. You can regularly find him in various drinking establishments that show professional wrestling for free.

Guru, The Mad Monk in 35MM!
October 11, 2013
Presented by Jason Coffman and The Chicago Cinema Society

Andy Milligan was the quintessential grindhouse filmmaker, shooting movies for next to nothing and, legend has it, occasionally editing with his teeth and some scotch tape! Milligan was a control freak on a level that made Stanley Kubrick look positively relaxed: he built sets, sewed costumes, wrote, directed, edited, and basically did everything a person can do on a film set. There’s no mistaking an Andy Milligan film for the work of any other director. His period pieces are particularly interesting, one of the best being “Guru, the Mad Monk,” in which Milligan regular Neil Flanagan plays the titular insane “holy man” who uses his position to cover up his evil deeds.
The Chicago Cinema Society and Facets Night School present a rare 35mm screening of Andy Milligan’s “Guru, The Mad Monk” as part of this year’s Fright School!This screening takes place Friday night, October 11th at Midnight at Facets Multi-Media! Presented by CCS programmer Jason Coffman with a brief talk about Andy Milligan before the show and Q&A after.

F for Femdetta! Midnight Movie Birthday Screening of 36 Pasos
U.S. Premiere!
October 12, 2013
Presented by Demetra Materis
Six women, three rules, one reason to watch 36 Pasos- pure originality. It’s just so hard to be pretty and popular these days. It’s so hard, you’ll have to fight to survive! The fourth feature from indie director Adrian Garcia Bogliano of Argentina, this energetic, sexy and sadistic movie will stick with you forever. This presentation will include a pre-recorded Q&A from presenter Demetra Materis and director Adrian Garcia Bogliano.Best part is… it’s Demetra’s birthday! You are all invited to celebrate and watch a kick ass movie with her.
Demetra Materis is a huge horror movie fan. When she’s not behind the counter at Facets Videotheque, she’s on set working with veteran horror film director Ricardo Islas on projects- currently Bachelor’s Grove: The Movie and previously Frankenstein: Day of the Beast. She’s also currently the unit production manager for a documentary series about a legendary Chicago marionette puppeteer. This is her first Night School session and it coincides with her birthday so make sure you leave room for cake! (Gifts accepted.)

Curse of the Demon
October 18, 2013
Presented by Phil Morehart
Jacques Tourneur directs a spooky supernatural thriller based on the M. R. James story “Casting the Runes.” Dana Andrews plays an American skeptic with a lot of blah, blah, blah about occultist nonsense in English until a sorcerer whips up some first-rate evil. After shitting his pants, the skeptic then must find a way to counter that goofy bastard.
Phil Morehart was a programmer for the Cincinnati Film Society. He also wrote on film, theater, music and visual arts for Chicago Journal Newspaper and Cincinnati CityBeat Newspaper, and is a contributor to the book, The Armchair Reader Guide Goes Hollywood.  He’s currently an editor at ALA and a marathon runner. Previous Night School classes taught include There’s No More Room in Hell, So Let’s Go Shopping: A Look at George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl: Sleepaway Camp and the Punishing Nature of Horror
Saturday October 19, 2013
Presented by Lauren Whalen
“She’s a real carpenter’s dream – flat as a board and needs a screw!” – Judy (Karen Fields), Sleepaway Camp

In the summer of 1975, Camp Arawak is a great place for summer vacation – unless you aren’t nice. Shy Angela is sent to Arawak with her cousin after her immediate family’s demise in a boating accident. Before long, campers and staff with less than pure motives start turning up dead, in increasingly bizarre and violent ways. What twisted individual is behind the body count? What exactly is Angela hiding? And really, is it that big a deal to lose such terrible people?

Weird, offensive and brilliant, Sleepaway Camp has attracted a cult following since its 1985 release. But why are so many horror movies intent on punishment – other than the utter coolness of fake blood? Dig up your awesome short shorts and join Lauren Whalen as she explores why in the horror genre, cruel intentions can get you the boot (or knife).

Lauren Whalen is a freelance writer for Chicago Theater Beat and The Film Yap. Previous Night School presentations include Brick, Mulholland Dr., Donnie Darko and Drop Dead Gorgeous. Lauren’s had an 11-year relationship with Facets as an intern, subtitle reader, full-time employee and volunteer. There are many who would call her a bad, bad girl.

Full Metal Frankenstein!
October 25, 2013
Presented by Bruce Neal

The 1931 James Whale/ Boris Karloff/ Dwight Frye classic, Frankenstein, presented with a live score by Dysfunctio Cerebri, a new ensemble featuring members of On You, Czar, Get Up with the Get Downs and The Crippled Masters. Guitars will crack like plasma filaments emanating from a Tesla coil! The villagers will march! Bring your lighters! With secret surprise second short feature! It’s Alive!!

Bruce Neal is a projectionist at Facets and has worked in film, music, underground theater, performance art and stand-up comedy. He was creative and story consultant on Dream Havana, which won Best Documentary at the Chicago, Orlando and Lyon Latino Film Festivals. His previous Night School classes covered such films as Street Trash and God Told Me To. Bruce also co-created original soundtracks to A Page of Madness, Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, The Fall of the House of Usher, Alucarda and the shorts of Bettie Page as a member of The Cursed Bird Ensemble (among many other aliases). Currently, he’s performing in the Death-Folk band  The Crippled Masters with fellow soundtrack alum Matt Silcock.

We are the Strange: Video Games vs. Movies
October 26, 2013
Presented by Joseph R. Lewis
No film better illustrates the maniacal effects that video games have had on the psyche of American moviemaking than this one. An animated film like no other, We Are the Strange incorporates stop-motion, CG, and video game board layout designs to create a dark fantasy world unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Joseph R. Lewis, co-founder of The Underground Multiplex, presents this Chicago premiere.
Joseph R. Lewis is the co-founder of The Underground Multiplex, a Chicago-based arts collective producing live theatrical events, Internet films and podcasts. Lewis has completed several features, including the award-winning ScumbabiesTyler B Nice, and Sci-Fi SOL. He’s also the creator of the Emmy-nominated TV show Elephant and Worm TV. Previous Facets Night School presentations include Killer Klowns from Outer Space and the debut of Sisters of No Mercy 3D.
All shows begin at Midnight Friday or Saturday nights as listed.
1517 W Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: $5. FREE for Facets members. Find out how to be a member here.
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Arias with Your Mouth Full: Legendary Lew Interviews Michael Smith on Manoel de Oliveira’s “The Cannibals”

Cannibals1

This Saturday night at midnight, indie filmmaker and instructor Michael Smith will present Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira’s very rarely seen and incredibly strange opera, The Cannibals (Os Canibais), for Facets Night School. Straddling between the two cinematic worlds of art house finesse and grind house excess (think Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe), The Cannibals promises to blow your mind (if you don’t blow your chunks in the process).

LL:  The Cannibals has been rarely shown in The United States. Could you tell us a little about the film?

MS:  The Cannibals is one of the very best films of Manoel de Oliveira who iscannibals3 one of the world’s greatest living directors. Oliveira is best known in America not for any specific films but rather for having a freakishly long career. He directed his first film in 1931 (in what was still the silent era in his native Portugal) and he is currently in pre-production on a new film at the age of 104. But the movies themselves, which are made in conscious opposition to Hollywood conventions and have not been widely distributed in America, are great: they tend to be rigorous, deliberately paced literary or theatrical adaptations centered on the theme of doomed love. I think The Cannibals is an ideal introduction to Oliveira’s work because it shows off his playful side: it’s funny, surreal and very subversive. It shows the strong influence of Luis Bunuel.

LL: How is The Cannibals a bridge between art house cinema and midnight movies?

MS: I would describe it as a midnight movie disguised as an art film. I think it was brilliant of Oliveira to tell this particular story as an opera. It’s an adaptation of a 19th century novel but he hired a contemporary composer, Joao Paes, to write an original operatic score and libretto. Literally every line of dialogue in the movie is sung and the score is excellent. However, the film becomes weirder and weirder as it goes along until it reaches the climax, which is totally insane. I think Oliveira chose to work with the form of opera because no other artistic medium is so closely identified with the upper class — the true subject of his satire. He’s making fun of his target audience! Without giving anything away, I would say he wanted to cloak his movie in the semblance of respectability and “high art” in order to deliver a kind of sucker punch at the end. I almost want to compare The Cannibals to Takashi Miike’s Audition in terms of how it works. (If you’ve seen that film you know that it lulls you into a state of near-boredom before presenting a mind-fuck of an ending that is effective precisely because of what comes before.) I also hasten to add that it’s not necessary to understand anything about opera to appreciate this film. I myself know little about opera.

LL: Were there any other operas commissioned directly to cinema?

MS: I’m not aware of any. It’s very rare to have any kind of musical film in which all of the dialogue is sung. Les Miserables is an obvious example but that’s, of course, an adaptation of a well-known musical play and had a built-in fanbase. The only other film I can think of that comes close to fitting the bill is The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Jacques Demy commissioned Michel Legrand to write the original score and Demy himself wrote the dialogue, all of which is sung, but the style of the music is not that of an opera. So I think Oliveira’s achievement is singular and highly innovative.

LL: What do you wish to accomplish by presenting The Cannibals to a crowd accustomed to exploitation, sexploitation and violent trashy films?

 MS: I’m glad that you asked. I hope to broaden viewers’ horizons as to what their perceptions of a midnight movie is. The Cannibals is not exploitative or trashy and yet, in a lot of ways, it’s far weirder than many of the movies to which those labels are often attached. This film is so odd, in fact, that I myself don’t even know how to fully process it! This is also a big part of the reason why I want to show it: presenting it to an audience will hopefully inspire everyone present to work together in making sense of it in our discussion afterwards.

My thanks to Michael Smith for the interview. You can read his posts on the blog White City Cinema. It’s definitely worth your time.
Come feast your eyes and ears on The Cannibals at Facets Night School.
Saturday night April 27, 2013 at midnight
Facets Multimedia
1517 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: $5, FREE for Facets members! Become one here.