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Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

Chained for Life

2018, Aaron Schimberg, USA, 91 min.
With Adam Pearson, Jess Weixler

Show Times

  • Fri, Dec 20th 4:00pm
  • Fri, Dec 20th 6:00pm
  • Sat, Dec 21st 8:00pm
  • Sun, Dec 22nd 5:30pm
  • Mon, Dec 23rd 6:00pm
  • Thu, Dec 26th 8:00pm
First Chicago run! New 35mm print!

"The best movie playing Chicago this week...Slyly comic, cinematically fluid and cleverly disorienting."—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

"An inventive hall of mirrors...odd, darkly funny and—when it means to be—a little frightening."—Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

On one of its many levels, this critically acclaimed film is a radical reworking of Tod Browning's 1932 horror classic FREAKS. The story concerns the making of a mad-doctor horror film on the grounds of an abandoned hospital. The cast contains several non-normative performers (just as Browning's film did), led by the wary but personable Rosenthal (Adam Pearson, an actor with neurofibromatosis who had a memorable scene as the last of Scarlett Johansen's pick-ups in UNDER THE SKIN). Rosenthal is befriended by the film's well-meaning lead actress Mabel (Weixler of The Good Wife), but, before CHAINED FOR LIFE can turn into a patronizing heart-warmer, it spins off into unexpected, more challenging directions, with agency being transferred to the "freaks." The film aims to challenge our perceptions of the normal, the beautiful, and the real, but, rather than waxing didactic, it foregrounds sharp wit and dazzling meta maneuvers, flipping us between film, reality, and dream with mind-bending mastery. Shot on film, CHAINED FOR LIFE is presented for the first time in Chicago in a 35mm print. (MR)

On Sunday, Dec. 22: Writer-director Aaron Schimberg and Producer Vanessa McDonnell are scheduled to appear via Skype for an audience discussion, moderated by film critic David J. Fowlie (Keeping it Reel).

Play Trailer