Everyone likes to talk about movies, so let’s keep the conversation going! The Gene Siskel Film Center will get everyone talking with monthly film conversations. Audiences are invited to informal conversations led by—but not monopolized by—carefully selected facilitators.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
2016, Matt Tyrnauer, USA, 92 min.
"The movie just about pulses with contemporary resonance. It has moments of uncanny overlap with this week’s election, and it explores the scope and meaning of that overly familiar thing — the city — in ways that will box open your thinking. It’s a finely woven tapestry that feels as relevant and alive as the place you live." — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
No one revolutionized the way we think about cities more than Jane Jacobs. The self-educated author of the 1961 masterpiece "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" entered the fray at a time when urban planning was dominated by top-down utopian schemes based on "slum" clearance, high-rise projects, and neighborhood-rupturing expressways. These establishment orthodoxies were lucidly challenged by Jacobs, an outsider and a woman to boot (scorned by her opponents as a "housewife" and "crazy dame"), who discerned that cities were diverse ecosystems based on human interactions, not buildings, and that the most effective changes evolved from the bottom up. The centerpieces of this invigorating documentary are Jacobs's thrilling David-Goliath battles with almighty New York building czar Robert Moses, but director Tyrnauer (VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR) skillfully gives weight to Jacobs's ideas and places them in a larger context of civic protest and grass-roots dissent. Jane Jacobs championed diversity, exposed the arrogance of power, and showed how aroused citizens could successfully stand up to big capital. We need to listen to her voice more than ever today. DCP digital. (MR)
Thursday, May 18 at 6:00 PM: This screening is a Movie Club event. Discussion will be led by Janet Smith, PhD, Co-Director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the UIC Chicago College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs.
Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened...
2016, Lonny Price, USA, 95 min.
"A beautiful Broadway memoir... fond, swift, bittersweet." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“Should be catnip for Sondheim aficionados, musical theater geeks, and anyone who loves a how-did-you-get-there-from-here story.” — Robert Abele, The Wrap
In this personal behind the scenes tale of one of Broadway’s legendary flops, director/actor Price chronicles the strange, exhilarating and career-changing experience of being cast as a lead in Stephen Sondheim’s short-lived "Merrily We Roll Along." In 1981, fresh from a string of hits including "Sweeney Todd," the duo of Sondheim and Hal Prince geared up to stage their next show, hiring a cast of young unknowns. Dreams of stardom are dashed when, amid scathing reviews, the show closes after only sixteen performances. Price, now a renowned Broadway director in his own right (he also played a supporting role in DIRTY DANCING), pieces together the musical’s rise, fall, and reemergence as a classic through rediscovered audition and rehearsal videos, footage of a 2002 original cast reunion concert with Sondheim and Prince in attendance, and an insightful look at how the experience impacted the careers of a clutch devastated young actors. DCP digital. (BS)
Wednesday, April 5 at 6 pm: This screening is a Movie Club event with a discussion led by original Broadway cast member Marc Moritz. The discussion will be held at Rosebud Prime, 1 S. Dearborn St.