Masterclass: New Films by Brakhage, Breer, Hutton, and Dorsky | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Masterclass: New Films by Brakhage, Breer, Hutton, and Dorsky 

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Five new films by established masters of the avant-garde, three of which are so finely made that they require the viewer's attentiveness to every frame. Robert Breer's deceptively simple ATOZ (2000) files through the alphabet, following each letter with a brief burst of animation or photographic images. Ecstatically beautiful, these minimovies use rapid changes in color and shape and edit together colliding representations of an object to create afterimages and illusions of depth, rivaling anything Breer has done in his 50 years of filmmaking. The same can be said of Stan Brakhage's Lovesong and Micro Garden (both 2001), hand-painted abstractions in which color patterns interweave with an almost erotic intensity, setting up and then undercutting expectations. (Micro Garden, for instance, progresses from relatively flat designs to transparent colors to strange relief effects.) The other two films on the program ramble somewhat, but they're still lovely: Peter Hutton's landscape film Time and Tide (2000) references paintings of the Hudson River school, and the diverse images of Nathaniel Dorsky's Arbor Vitae (2000) have an almost mystical delicacy. 84 min. Presented by Chicago Filmmakers. Columbia College Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan, Friday, March 22, 8:00, 773-293-1447.

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