When It Rains | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The U.S. premiere of a beautifully inflected 12-minute jazz fable by Charles Burnett. It's distinctly different from his recent The Glass Shield and closer to the feeling of Killer of Sheep, his first feature, though the poetic narration represents a real departure. This is one of those rare movies in which jazz forms directly influence film narrative: set in Los Angeles, the slender plot involves a good Samaritan trying to raise money from ghetto neighbors for a young mother who's about to be evicted, and each person he goes to see registers like a separate solo chorus in a 12-bar blues. On the same program, two half-hour narrative films by local independents that I haven't seen: Zeinabu Irene Davis's Mother of the River, a children's film that reworks an African folk tale, setting it in the American south during the 1850s, and Katherine Nero's Wedding Bell Blues, which follows the machinations of a young woman who wants to get married. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, 8:30, 443-3737.


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