Displaced Person | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Displaced Person 

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Daniel Eisenberg's 11-minute Displaced Person uses footage from Marcel Ophuls's The Sorrow and the Pity, but his approach is far from that of a documentary maker. Repeated images of Nazi-occupied France, with music by Beethoven and an interview with Claude Levi-Strauss on the sound track, remind us that there's no single historical truth, that everything depends on context. The two boys on a bicycle in the opening images are presumably as carefree as they look, but when the shots are repeated after we've seen titles like "defeat of France" they become images of loss; we wonder if the boys suffered, if they or their loved ones were killed. The image of women waving admiringly at Hitler becomes increasingly malevolent when repeated. Paris monuments are seen mostly through Nazi eyes, real or implied, and meanings shift according to who's doing the observing. Levi-Strauss speaks of trying to find "an order behind the apparent disorder," but the film is about the impossibility of finding such order. History is presented as a network of unresolvable contradictions, and the film's overall mood is troubled, restless, powerfully agitated. It's being shown with six other films--by Elise Hurwitz, Ya-shan Kuo, Phil Weisman, Mark Wilson, Matt Heffelfinger, and Nino Pezzella--as the first program in a new series presented by X-Film Chicago. Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln, Thursday, November 30, 8:00, 327-6666.

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