I spoke with Webb yesterday about Reeling's evolution. She was enthusiastic about the future of the festival but remained realistic about the challenges it faces. "It's become really tough for independent filmmakers," she said. "A lot of the old model—launching your movie at a film festival, getting a distributor, getting a theatrical run, going to DVD—has changed. . . . In terms of LGBT films, festivals around the world have come to be seen as the main theatrical opportunity; there are fewer and fewer opportunities to get a theatrical run. That changes the nature of a festival from exposing work to supporting work.
Speaking of Chicago Film Archives, a week from tonight the organization will present another free outdoor screening, this one on the lawn next to Logan Square's Comfort Station. The movie will be Burden of Dreams, a documentary about the infamous production of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo by the recently deceased filmmaker Les Blank. (And speaking of Fitzcarraldo, that movie screens a week from tomorrow in Doc Films's ongoing Herzog series.) It'll be projected from a 16-millimeter print from the Chicago Public Library's collection.
That could be a headline ripped from today's pages, as students join parents and teachers to protest Mayor Emanuel's decision to close 54 public schools.
But in this case the protesting students were teenagers from 1963, and the mayor was Richard J. Daley.
They were protesting the segregation policy of cramming hundreds of students from city's then-burgeoning black population into rickety trailers rather than putting them in white schools with plenty of room.
Most of the protests were directed at school superintendent Benjamin Willis—the trailers were nicknamed Willis Wagons—but the power behind Willis was the first Mayor Daley.
In that regard nothing except the name has changed in 50 years. Today's CPS officials and board members are rubber stamps for Mayor Emanuel.
Gun Crazy is obviously his foremost masterwork—Dave Kehr eloquently called it "One of the most distinguished works of art to emerge from the B movie swamp"—but his filmography features many exuberant and highly personal films. You can catch my five favorite after the jump.
Re: Lakeview, 1977