Journalism Conducts a Tour | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Journalism Conducts a Tour 

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Laurie Dunphy's Journalism Conducts a Tour takes as its subject "news" as delivered by television and movie newsreels and the effect on us of the media labyrinth we live in. The short film combines found footage and images filmed off television in a staccato rhythm that assaults the viewer, denying understanding or even entry. Early in the film, we see short clips of various TV newsmen looking out at the viewer. Dunphy's editing of this sequence underlines the aggressiveness inherent in their gazes as they tell us the news, an aggressiveness that reflects a deep truth about our mass media. Soon after, movie newsreel footage of the "world's fattest man" is accompanied by sound and image fragments--we hear the phrase "the biggest merger ever," and the words "strongest" and "tallest" flash on-screen--parodying the way our culture often reduces the value of things to a simple question of size. Finally an agonized man delivers a performance piece that is a partial attempt at an answer, but, in a fine bit of ambiguity, he can barely speak coherently. Journalism Conducts a Tour is an incisive probe into questions of control and victimization, identity and obliteration, sense and nonsense. It's part of two programs of short films this weekend. ("Experimental Films," Randolph St. Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee, Friday, September 21, 8:00, 274-1845; "Chicago Independent Shorts," Hot House, 1559 N. Milwaukee, Saturday, September 22, 6:00, and Sunday, September 23, 2:00, 738-2767)

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