Women in the Director's Chair Film and Video Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

Women in the Director's Chair Film and Video Festival 

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The last three days of a four-day festival, now in its tenth year, that highlights film and video shorts as well as features by women, including documentaries, ant, mation, narrative, and experimental works. Tickets for individual programs are $6, $5 for WIDC members, students, and senior citizens with a valid ID; Film Center programs are $5, $3 for Film Center members; festival passes are also available. Screenings will be held at Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, and the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. For further information call 281-4988

FRIDAY, MARCH 8

PRIVILEGE The sixth feature of experimental, intellectual filmmaker Yvonne Rainer, her most accessible work to date, stages a kind of shotgun marriage between two volatile issues, menopause and racism. A black filmmaker (Novella Nelson) experiencing menopause decides to make a film about it, and interviews a white friend named Jenny (Alice Spivak), a former dancer who recounts a long story involving her own unconscious racism when she was in her 20s. Rainer interrupts and interweaves this story with a great many other elements--archival footage, interviews with women about menopause, quotations from diverse sources, clips (including one of a Lenny Bruce stand-up routine), and fantasy interludes--and in many ways her film works more as a multifaceted essay than as a straightforward narrative. Cantankerous, witty, caustic, and often deliberately unsettling in its modernist structure, the film mounts a complex argument about the privileges and effects of being white, male, young, and well-to-do. It's the sort of film that compels one to have a dialogue with it, and Rainer's anger and courage in dealing with the taboo subject of menopause are never less than energizing. One may quarrel with certain aspects of this film, but one can't deny the potency of the brew. With Blaire Baron, Rico Elias, Gabriella Farrar, Dan Berkey, and Rainer herself (1990). (Film Center, 6:15 and 8:00)

OUT A video and film program that includes Ada Griffin and Michelle Parkerson's Litany--The Audre Lorde Film Project (an excerpt from a work in progress), Catherine Saalfield and Zoe Leonard's Keep Your Laws Off My Body (1990), Melissa Chang's You Thrive on Mistaken Identity (1989), Sadie Benning's Jollies (1990), Jocelyn Taylor's Father Knows Best (1990), and Su Friedrichs Sink or Swim (1990). (Chicago Filmmakers, 6:30)

WOMEN RESIST Five films and videos: Michelle Crenshaw's Skin Deep (1990), Carol Leigh and Dee Russell's Yes Means Yes, No Means No (1990), Barbara Trent's Invasion in Panama, Mitra Tabrizian's The Third Woman (1990), and Nina Rosenblum's powerful and disturbing documentary about the treatment of American political prisoners in Lexington, Kentucky, Through the Wire (1990), to be shown on video. (Chicago Filmmakers, 9:00)

SATURDAY , MARCH 9

EIGHT TAELS OF GOLD Cheung Yueng-tine's comedy from Hong Kong, written by Alex Law, chronicles the return to mainland China of the hero (Samo Hung) after 16 years of driving a cab in New York; with Sylvia Chang (1990). (Film Center, 4:00)

NATIVE AMERICAN A program of films and videos on Native American culture and history: Barbara Kristaponis's House (1990), Mona Smith's Honored by the Moon (1990), Janis Schmidt's Wounded Knee (1989), and Bushra Azzouz, Marlene Farnum, and Nettie Kuneki's ...And Women Wove It in a Basket (1990). (Chicago Filmmakers, 5:00)

ANIMATION & IN VISIBLE COLORS An animation program that includes Gita Saxena's Wall Flower (1990) and Sherann E. Johnson's Middle Grays (1990), both from Canada; Kayla Parker's remarkable We're Not a Nuclear (1990) from the United Kingdom, which strikingly combines animation with live action and still photos; Eileen O'Meara's Agnes Escapes From the Nursing Home (1988); Rose Bond's Mallacht Macha (Macha's Curse) (1990); and Maureen Nappi's Beat Plus One (1982). The remaining works all come from the Los Angeles organization In Visible Colors, which is devoted to films and videos by people of color: O. Funmilayo Makarah's Define (1988) and Creating a Different Image: Portrait of Alile Sharon Larkin (1989), Cheng-sim Lim's My American Friends (1990), Melody Ramirez's Jezebel Spirit (1988), and an excerpt from Barbara McCullough's Water Ritual (1988). (Chicago Filmmakers, 7:15)

EXPERIMENTAL A program of experimental films and videos: Jeri Lawson's Insight (1990), Jill Petzall's November Nine (1990), Kate Mapes's Performances (1990) from the United Kingdom, Marie-France Alderman's Prayer Flags (1989), Diane Teramana's Teramana's Chin (1990), Steina's In the Land of Elevator Girls (1989), Margot Starr Kernan's Cold Stories (1990), Mary Ann Toman's Island of Symmetry (1990), Meg Ojala's Quickening (1990), and Sadie Benning's If Every Girl Had a Diary (1990). (Chicago Filmmakers, 9:30)

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

THE AESTHETICS OF COMMUNITY-BASED VIDEO A panel discussion that will include the screening of two videos: Meryl Perlson's Shelter Stories (1990) and Alexandra Juhasz's We Care: A Video for Care-Providers of People Affected by AIDS (1990). (Chicago Filmmakers, noon)

STUDENT WORK A program of films and videos that includes Emily K. Ballou and Patrick Grandaw's Trois heures dix (1989), Molly Madden's Despicable Clown (1989), Mina Shum's Shortchanged (1990) from Canada, Caroline Blair's Urban Steal (1990), Leora R. Forstein's Ordinary Goddesses (1990), Suzanne Griffen's Secret Voices (1990), Jennifer Ricciardi's No (1990), Lia Prewitt's In Search of Myself (1989), Kate Wrobel's Salt Babies: An Exercise in Teen Parenting (1990), and Wendy Jo Carlton's Coney Island (1990). (Chicago Filmmakers, 2:30)

PRIVILEGE See review under Friday, March 8. (Film Center, 4:00)

MEDIA Four videos: Patricia Diaz's My Filmmaking, My Life: Matilde Landeta (1990), Shu Lea Cheang's How History Was Wounded (an analysis of the Taiwan media's coverage of the Tiananmen Square massacre, from Paper Tiger Television, 1989), Jyoti Jumani's Video SEWA: A People's Alternative (1990) from India, and Lisa Marie Russo's Homegirl (1988). (Chicago Filmmakers, 5:00)

OUTLAWS Three videos: Carol Jacobsen's Who's Going to Take My Word? (1990), Jane Gillooly's So Sad, So Sorry, So What (1990), and Lynn Hershman's Longshot (1989). (Chicago Filmmakers, 7:15)

COMEDY Karen Ingham's Salvation Guaranteed (1990), coproduced by the British Film Institute and Channel Four, offers an odd, flaky, semiautobiographical account of a girl who leaves England with her mother and her mother's lover for his home in Bible Belt Texas, where the mother's boredom and desperation finally drive her to offer contributions over the phone to TV evangelists. Filmed in black and white, and rather funny in a deadpan sort of way, this short falters only in its assumption that the Texas Bible Belt is located in the midwest. On the same program, Francine Rzeznik's Jesus Christ Is Alive and Well and Living on Castle Hill (1990), Barbara Freeman's Law of Averages (1989), and Susanne Franzel and Jochen Ehmann's Sister Groucho (1989) from Germany. (Chicago Filmmakers, 9:30)

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