Fragments: Jerusalem | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Fragments: Jerusalem 

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Photographer, archivist, and filmmaker Ron Havilio views his family history through multiple lenses: the political history of Jerusalem, where he was born in 1950 and where his family has lived for centuries, and the history of photography and the art of documentation. His 358-minute documentary (seven chapters split into two cycles of 164 and 194 minutes) is a collage of archival imagery and texts and a decade of "home movies" that show his daughters growing up in front of the camera. The associations between the archival and the personal aren't so much metaphoric as poetic--evocative codas to some of the chapters seem at once totally unexpected and artistically inevitable. Havilio's thoughtful voice-over is punctuated with excerpts from the diaries of famous travelers to the region and with interviews that have an intriguing ambiguity. During these segments the movie's ideological perspective becomes almost frustratingly neutral; Havilio's father, an Israeli diplomat, tells self-congratulatory stories that demonstrate personality more than power of recall. Another relative speaks of his own memoir, saying, "I included only things I was sure happened. What I wasn't certain about I didn't write down." Yet nothing is privileged or dismissed in this boldly expansive history of a city, a family, and many modes of remembering--complex combinations of the ephemeral and the concrete that create a sense of the past. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, parts one through three: Friday, May 12, 6:30; Saturday, May 13, 4:45; Sunday, May 14, 1:00 and 7:30; and Tuesday and Thursday, May 16 and 18, 6:30; parts four through seven: Saturday, May 13, 1:00 and 7:45; Sunday, May 14, 4:00; and Monday and Wednesday, May 15 and 17, 6:30; 773-281-4114. --Lisa Alspector

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