Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Experiencing the Carpenters in a whole new way at Chicago Film Archives

Posted By on 08.08.12 at 04:06 PM

A still from David Strutzels film Close to You
  • A still from David Strutzel's film Close to You
The Chicago Film Archives was created in 2003 to save from destruction the film collection once owned by the Chicago Public Library, and since then it's worked to catalog and preserve not only those 5,000 films but also a growing number of collections donated by other local institutions and collectors. (Full disclosure: my wife works part-time for CFA, which is a nonprofit.) A few weeks ago CFA launched a website that details its huge and growing holdings for the first time, offering a fully searchable database.

Most folks probably won't have much use for that database, but the CFA has started doing something else that almost anybody can appreciate—it's streaming selected videos from these collections, and some of them are pretty hard to resist. High school student David Strutzel made one of my favorites, which you can watch here, in 1971, and it was a winning entry in the Young Chicago Filmmakers Festival that same year. Using stop-action animation, Strutzel created a quirky, homemade video for the Carpenters hit "Close to You"—written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David—and thanks to his use of two in-love piggy banks and an obedient brood of, um, piglets (or whatever they are), you might never hear the tune the same way if you watch his film enough times.

CFA is holding a benefit they're calling the CFA Media Mixer at the Hideout on August 17 18. Part of the evening will be devoted to screenings by Chicago artists. Three filmmakers were invited to borrow footage from the archives to create new works, and three different musical partners were enlisted to create soundtracks for those new works. Cave are creating the score for a film by Kent Lambert, Joshua Abrams is doing the same for a film by Ellen Castleberry and Andy Resek, and Tim Kinsella is making the soundtrack for a film by Jessica Bardsley.

Today's playlist:

Cliffie Swan, Memories Come True (Drag City)
Monomono, Give the Beggar a Chance (Tummy Touch/Soundway)
Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet, Hôtel de Nord (Intakt)
The Psychic Paramount, II (No Quarter)
Rufus Thomas, Do the Funky Chicken (Stax)

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