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Chicago, My Town: Selections from the Chicago Film Archives

Friday, May 30, 2008 ,  7:30PM

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10003

Ranging from portraits of the city of Chicago to documents of radical political and social upheaval, and from amateur productions to the work of industry professionals, this program from the Chicago Film Archives showcases films that are both personal and political, and which portray, in a variety of different ways, a city and people in conflict.

Total running time 92 minutes.

Chicago: The City To See In ’63
(Margaret Conneely, 1962, 16mm preservation print, sound, color, 12min)
Produced and exhibited to encourage members of the Photographic Society of America to visit Chicago for the society’s annual conference in 1963, award-winning amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely’s portrait of Chicago is one in which the city is both an omniscient narrator and a living, breathing, speaking organism.

(Don B. Klugman, 1965, 16mm, sound, color, 22min)
Winner of the Coupe Kodak-Pathe prize at the Cannes Film Festival and a top-ten finalist in the 1964 Amateur Cinema League and American International Film & Video Festival, Nightsong features probably the only extant performance footage of long-forgotten African-American folk sensation Willie Wright.

Super Up
(Kenji Kanesaka, 1966, 16mm, sound, color, 14min)
Kenji Kanesaka, one of the founding members of the “Film Independent” group and the Japan Filmmakers Co-op in Tokyo, was commissioned by Chicago producer Marv Gold to direct Super Up in 1965. The film is an exceptional and striking critique of structures of racial and class segregation, consumerism and lust, sexual energy and desire, and the domination of (and link between) advertising, consumption, sexuality, and the police.

(Jeff Kreines, 1971, 16mm, sound, b/w, 9min)
Ratamata was shot by filmmaker Jeff Kreines on Veterans Day in 1970 when he was only 16 years old. In 1971, the film showed at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and was selected as a “Young Chicago Filmmakers Festival” award winner; Kreines left high school not long after its completion to focus on making films full-time.

8 Flags For 99 Cents
(Chuck Olin, 1970, 16mm, sound, color, 35min)
Commissioned by Gordon Sherman to make a film that would be broadcast on local television to counter the conservative and prowar bent of the news media, Chuck Olin’s 8 Flags For 99 Cents was originally conceived as a propaganda film which would juxtapose horrific news footage of the violence and destruction in Vietnam with conservative, pro-war interviews of suburban Chicagoans. To Olin’s surprise, the middle-American working people he interviewed (dubbed by Spiro Agnew the “silent majority”) were reflective, conflicted, and resolutely against the United States’ continued involvement in Vietnam. 8 Flags For 99 Cents serves as a terrifying reminder that the current disaster in Iraq is just the latest chapter in a history of self-serving US military invasions under the guise of liberation and democracy.

Program and notes by Michelle Puetz

Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10003