A Glimpse of Chicago Film Archives | Chicago Reader

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This selection of seven short films from the new Chicago Film Archives contains no masterpieces, but several are still wonderful. Sparky Greene's American Shoeshine (1976), a documentary on African-American shoe shiners, beautifully juxtaposes their diverse voices—one is pleased he can work from his wheelchair, another is happy that he works for himself, a third would prefer a “better job.” Julien Bryan's Siege (1939), filmed when the Germans were attacking Warsaw, is a truly searing war documentary; in one section we see the hungry survivors of an air raid in which seven women have been killed while digging potatoes returning to their digging. And Republic Steel's The New World of Stainless Steel (1960) is a marvelously extravagant industrial film, complete with a delirious montage paean to the many uses of stainless and a surreal elevator ride to the clouds. 102 min.

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