Unnatural Order of Things | Chicago Reader

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An assortment of recent shorts whose goofiness and low-rent production values meet the selective criteria of the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Amy Hicks's Hatching Beauty is a bewildering melange of found footage, live-action clips, and optical effects that ostensibly has something to say about the hazards of biotechnology. The Reach of an Arm by Nancy Andrews employs puppets, found footage, and intertitles to tell the story of a misshapen couple heading west by wagon train, in a manner reminiscent of Czech animator Jan Svankmajer. Three video journal entries by the irrepressible Ximena Cuevas—Natural Instincts, Staying Alive, and Alma Gemela—are sublimely ridiculous takes on beauty ideals, the Frankenstein myth, and schizoid behavior. Also on the program: works by Jennet Thomas, Julia Sarcone-Roach, Meredith Root, and Abigail Child.

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