Emma and Elvis | Chicago Reader

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This entertaining first fiction feature of Julia Reichert (Union Maids) is at least 25 times better than Paul Mazursky's The Pickle at making a filmmaker's creative/midlife crisis meaningful, engaging, and interesting. The filmmaker is a married woman (Kathryn Walker) in Dayton, Ohio, who's bogged down in finishing a documentary about the 60s counterculture. She becomes involved with a bitter, disaffected cable-access video artist (Jason Duchin) in his 20s, which creates an ongoing dialogue between 60s and contemporary approaches to political protest—particularly when both join an anticensorship protest involving a gay activist with AIDS. The story is set in spring 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests, and all the characters are fresh and unpredictable. The film-within-a-film features interviews about the 60s with Angela Davis, Tom Hayden, David Horowitz, Greil Marcus, and Holly Near. Mark Blum is effective as the filmmaker's neglected husband; Steven Bognar and Martin M. Goldstein collaborated with Reichert on the lively script.

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