The Scenic Route and Exterior Night | Chicago Reader

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Two remarkable movies by American independent Mark Rappaport that might be said to offer ultimate statements about urban movie decor in two very different contexts. His 1978 feature The Scenic Route—an ironic and sometimes hilarious melodrama about a love triangle involving two sisters in New York—offers a concise summary of his work in 16-millimeter narrative in the 70s and early 80s, achieving lush and dazzling tableau effects with minimal resources. The 36-minute Exterior Night (1994)—shot in Germany in high-definition video and transferred to 35-millimeter, the most lavish production Rappaport has ever done—has contemporary actors in color moving through the black-and-white settings of Warners noirs while reliving and ruminating on various aspects of noir mythology in a provocative manner. As a haunting tale about destiny and time loops, this is even better than 12 Monkeys, and the movie's original theme song, “Deja Vu,” may run through your head for weeks. Rappaport will discuss his films at the Saturday screening.

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