The Days of Our Lives | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Days of Our Lives 

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This program includes seven autobiographical videos by six Chicago women, all students or recent graduates of Columbia College or the School of the Art Institute. In six of the tapes a voice-over narrates a personal story. In Karen Christopher's Scar Dance we hear about a near-fatal childhood injury and get too many views of the current scar. In Danielle Beverly's Scary Stories we hear mostly about men sexually harassing women. Though protesting things that should be protested, some of the filmmakers too often cast themselves in the role of the passive victim seeking sympathy. Still, their stories have an emotional honesty, and the offhand way the images connect--sometimes directly illustrating the stories, sometimes making metaphors--creates a relatively loose form, allowing the viewer some interpretive freedom. The one tape that eschews voice-over, Marie-Joelle Rizk's Tabbouleh, tells its story through printed titles; its editing, far more precise than that of the others, is matched to a jaunty sound track of circus music. Rizk, who fled her native Lebanon's civil war, could make a case for herself as victim as well; but despite images of a devastated Beirut, this work is humorous, rhythmically upbeat, and full of life. Rizk intercuts autobiographical footage with a person making tabbouleh. The completion of the salad becomes a metaphor for the completion of her story, while the intercutting also makes the feminist point that "mundane" domestic tasks are as important as life's grand events. Also on the program are videos by Liz Sandler, Cathleen O'Farrell, and Mira Gelley. Kino-Eye Cinema at Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, Saturday, April 20, 8:00, 384-5533. --Fred Camper

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