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Movement Material: Camera/Dance Works by Jeremy Moss & Pamela Vail and BEING 17 (on CINE-FILE Chicago)

Over at CINE-FILE Chicago, I wrote about a couple of this week's recommended film-going prospects. I've reproduced my writeups below. 

Movement Material: Camera/Dance Works by Jeremy Moss & Pamela Vail (New Experimental)
The Nightingale (1084 N. Milwaukee Ave.) - Wednesday, 7pm

A collaboration between filmmaker Jeremy Moss and dancer Pamela Vail, this exciting 60-minute program of non-narrative, abstract films upholds the fine tradition in experimental cinema of exploring the role of the camera. In approaching Vail's moving body, Moss uses the camera (and montage) to play with time, space and motion, much as his avowed influence, and inventor of "chore-cinema," Maya Deren did in works like A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA. If film's strength is its ability to transcend the limitations of performance on the stage, which must take place in real time and space, and its weakness the lack of the physical presence of the dancer, then this program gives us the best of both worlds: Vail will be performing live. (Moss will be there, too.) THE SIGHT (2012) vibrates and speeds over shifting lines, forms and colors, a decomposing Abstract Expressionist painting in flux. We catch fleeting glimpses of "the real world"—forest meadows—amidst eerie, distorted choral music. The dazzling, kinetic CHROMA (2012), silent, is a strobing full-color light show, using flickering cutting to manically manipulate the structure and tempo of Vail's dancing. Chromium (2012) is Vail's six-minute live performance. CENTRE (2013) shows Vail dancing in a warehouse, as Moss' camera repeats and cuts across her movements from differing angles and distances. In THAT DIZZYING CREST (2014), Vail dances through shadows to Chopin preludes. Her body becomes a figure in a nocturnal zoetrope of the soul. Tinting and weathering his 16mm images, Moss plays with grain, negatives, and contrast. DUET TESTS (2016) is made up of ten short films born of a five-day improvisation between the artists. In this program's best moments, the ancient art (dance) and the modern one (film) electrify each other, creating a kind of visual music. (2012-16, 60 min total, 16mm and Digital Projection) SP
More info at

André Téchiné's BEING 17 (New French)
Gene Siskel Film Center – Check Venue website for showtimes

Septuagenarian André Téchiné, co-writing with Céline Sciamma (GIRLHOOD), has made an elegiac, honest coming-of-age film about two gay teenagers, set amidst the splendid changing seasons of the French Pyrenees. I can scarcely imagine an American film being this explicit and natural about teen gay sexuality. At first, though, the boys are at war at school, masking their fear of their own desire with hatred. Thomas (Corentin Fila) is a loner living on a farm in the mountains; the insecure Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) lives in the town below with his mom, a doctor (Sandrine Kiberlain, kind, frank, and merry). His father, an army pilot, is often away. On a house call, mom meets the farm boy's family and prescribes his pregnant mother a stay in the hospital in town. She invites Thomas to stay with herself and Damien in town, so he can be closer to his mother and to save him the two-hour walk to school through the valley, which he actually rather likes. (The valley is blue-white on a wintry eve, verdant in the summer sun.) As housemates, the volatile adolescents pummel each other while struggling to find the freedom to drop their defenses. The passionate young leads rarely hit a false note. Kiberlain brings to this film the same direct, very French matter-of-factness and humane compassion that made her such a memorable part of the ensemble in Alain Resnais' final film, LIFE OF RILEY. Precisely observant, getting physical with his characters' bodies, Téchiné at 73 still resonates with the life force and its joys and heartaches. (2016, 116 min, DCP Digital) SP

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Reader Comments (1)

Sound like two unusual, excellent films. Your reviews are always well written and so informative.

December 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Pfeiffer

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