The mystery and wonder of the young growing brain are at the core of this engaging documentary, the first of its kind in linking early childhood education with the science and the proof that lifelong success builds critically on the quality of stimulation received between the ages of one and six. No dry study, this film goes where change happens, from the vibrant “Yellow Room” in Highland Park, Illinois, where Ms. Giannini leads her small and eager charges in an exciting search for outdoor bugs, to a free program for working parents in Waco, Texas, where a Hispanic mom joyfully discovers that the simple act of reading to her kids results in a wealth of emotional and intellectual benefits. Bringing animation, humor, scientific research, and a performance by the Cookie Monster into the mix, the award-winning filmmakers (LOUDER THAN A BOMB) delve into the nation’s crisis in early childhood education with positive look to the future. Narrated by Alfre Woodard. ProRes digital. (BS)
No Small Matter
2018, Daniel Alpert, Greg Jacobs, and Jon Siskel, USA, 74 min.
"A powerful and enlightening film."—Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
"Effectively makes the case for why America needs to be treating early childhood education as a bigger issue than it has been."—Marissa De La Cerda, Chicago Reader
Co-directors Alpert, Jacobs, and Siskel, plus additional guests, are scheduled to be present for audience discussion on Sat., Sun., Wed., and Thu.
Cooked: Survival by Zip Code
2018, Judith Helfand, USA, 82 min.
Inspired by Eric Klineberg’s book, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Helfand (BLUE VINYL) takes a hard, personal, and often quirky look at the inequity of natural disaster, beginning with her family’s own experience of Hurricane Sandy. She ultimately zeroes in on Chicago’s shockingly inadequate response to the deadly July 1995 heatwave, during which the city morgue overflowed with the sudden deaths of 726 citizens, largely the elderly and people of color from the city’s impoverished South and West Side. This audacious look at natural disaster American-style starts with the stark premise that a zip code can be an accurate predictor of life or death when nature unleashes its worst. With increasing frequency and force, climate change sets the agenda for hurricanes, floods, heat waves, and such, but systemic neglect, deep poverty, and political expediency have already drawn the line between the survivors and the doomed, even before disaster strikes. DCP digital. (BS)
Bessie Coleman, First Black Aviatrix
2018, Olivier Sarrazin, France, 53 min.
Pioneer aviatrix Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to receive a pilot's license. This classy French production uses excerpts from Coleman's journals and sweeping aerial views of the sites where she learned to fly to accompany commentary by experts centered in France and Chicago—the two most important venues in her flying career. Born to a family of Texas sharecroppers, in 1916 the 24-year-old Coleman moved to Chicago, where she embraced the dream of becoming a flier. American aviation schools were closed to both Blacks and women, but Chicago Defender publisher Robert S. Abbott encouraged her ambitions and helped sponsor a trip to France, where she learned to fly. Returning to the U.S., Coleman gained fame as a barnstorming pilot, until her life was cut short by an aviation accident at age 34. Buried in Chicago's Lincoln Cemetery, she remains an inspiration for African American aviators (including astronaut Mae Jemison, who carried a picture of Coleman on her first space mission). In English and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR) FF
The following guests are scheduled to appear for audience discussion:
Gigi Coleman Brooms, great-niece of Bessie Coleman and CEO/President of Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars;
Dr. Christopher Reed, Professor Emeritus of History at Roosevelt University and Resident Historian at the DuSable Museum;
Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, CEO/President of Chicago Defender Charities and great-grand-niece of Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender;
Jean-Marc Giboux, director of photography for BESSIE COLEMAN, FIRST BLACK AVIATRIX (Saturday only);
Tammera Holmes, President/CEO of the AeroStar Consulting Corporation and winner of the Bessie Coleman Aviation Award (Saturday only).
VeeLa Gonzales, Archivist/Curator for the Robert Sengstacke Abbott Foundation (Tuesday only).
The Tuesday screening is a Movie Club event.
Where is the Friend's House?
Khaneh-ye dust kojast?
1987, Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 84 min.
With Babak Ahmadpour, Ahmad Ahmadpour
“As refreshing and exciting as discovering an Orson Welles or Jean Renoir film for the first time. He’s that good.”—Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
Set in the mountain village of Koker in northern Iran, WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE? is a tale of two boys and a problem. Eight-year-old Ahmad discovers that he has accidentally taken home the notebook of his friend, who risks expulsion if he comes to school without having done his homework. Refining a model of the narrative quest that resonates through Iranian cinema to this day, Kiarostami follows the boy in a frantic trek through a neighboring village in search of his friend’s home. In Ahmad’s small world, narrowly defined by his harried mother, his rigidly authoritarian teacher, and adult villagers dismissive of a child’s dilemma, the little boy becomes the film’s moral center as he earnestly pursues his mission undeterred. In Persian with English subtitles. New DCP digital restoration. (BS)
The Thursday, Sept. 12, screening is a Movie Club event, featuring a discussion facilitated by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, co-authors of the definitive monograph Abbas Kiarostami.
Between the Lines
1977, Joan Micklin Silver, USA, 101 min.
With John Heard, Lindsay Crouse, Jeff Goldblum
"More timely than ever. A zippy, lived-in dramedy."--Kate Erbland, Indiewire
"An American independent film classic...Micklin Silver's expertise at balancing humor and heartbreak in this adult coming-of-age story keeps the vibrant '70s portrait timeless."--Maya Montañez Smukler, Women and Hollywood
In the 1970s, Joan Micklin Silver established herself as one of leaders of an emerging group of independent women filmmakers, with a special aptitude for capturing subcultures and gender tensions in changing times. BETWEEN THE LINES, her second film (following the sleeper hit HESTER STREET), functions as both a time-capsule snapshot of the pre-Internet era and a prescient barometer of cultural trends that are still relevant today. This lively ensemble comedy-drama traces the workplace and bedroom conflicts among the staff of a Boston alt-weekly newspaper as it faces a corporate takeover. Silver provides a nuanced view of the declining counterculture, with an astute take on its marginalization of women who balk at being camp-followers in their boyfriend's career arcs. The film boasts a dazzling cast of up-and-comers about to make marks of varying duration, including Jeff Goldblum as a flakey rock critic, John Heard as a disillusioned star reporter, Lindsay Crouse as the talented photographer who is his off-and-on girlfriend, Stephen Collins as an arrogant would-be novelist, Marilu Henner as a stripper with substance, and Bruno Kirby as an over-eager cub reporter pursuing a dangerous story. New 2K DCP digital restoration. (MR);
The Wednesday screening is a Movie Club event where Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader newspaper, will be facilitating conversation.
Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus
Vom Bauen der Zukunft - 100 Jahre Bauhaus
2018, Niels Bolbrinker and Thomas Tielsch, Germany, 90 min.
The most comprehensive film on the subject to date, BAUHAUS SPIRIT celebrates the 100th anniversary of the German art school whose fusion of utopianism and functionalism has had an enormous influence on modern life. The history of Bauhaus is
explored--from its founding in 1919 by Walter Gropius through its relocations in Dessau and Berlin to its closure in 1933 under pressure from the Nazi regime--but the film's primary focus is on the Bauhaus's methods and principles. Although associated mainly with architecture, the Bauhaus approach was radically interdisciplinary, with architects and designers instructed in dance and theater in order to understand how space is created by movement. Bauhaus is shown to be more than a museum, and much of the film is set in the present day, where its principles continue to impact housing, design, and urban planning, from a "school without classrooms" in Stockholm to a barrio in Medellin. In German, English, and Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Icarus Films. (MR)
The Wednesday, March 27 screening is a Movie Club event, with a conversation led by Michelangelo Sabatino, Professor and Dean, College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology.