Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Short Updates

Busy, busy. Between working forty hours a week and going to events and whatever else, I haven't had time to write about events. I'm hoping to publish shorter, more casual updates more often, so I'm not always recommending a play that closed two weeks ago.

I've been seeing attending the Robert Bresson series at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I missed out on The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962) in late January due to the flu, but I've since managed to catch Les Anges du péché (1943), Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945), A Man Escaped (1956), Pickpocket (1959), Mouchette (1967), Une femme douce (1969), and Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971). So far I've liked everything -- especially Anges, Escaped, and Dreamer -- but I have yet to emerge from the theatre with my head spinning, as I have in the last couple years with, say, Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Godard's Sauve qui peut (la vie) (aka Every Man for Himself), and Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad. Tonight is Au hasard Balthazar (1966), which I've never seen -- I tend to be timid about watching mistreated animals -- but understand to be his masterpiece, so I'm eager to experience it. I'm also interested to read more about Bresson's methods, then go back and watch some of these films again to get a better sense of his approach and influence.

Speaking of the Siskel, tickets for their always outstanding and always crowded European Union Film Festival go on sale Friday. I'm excited to  check out The Dreileben Trilogy, which the program describes as a cross between Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy and Twin Peaks. 'Nuff said.

In current movie news, I checked out Man on Ledge, which was exactly what I expected and wanted on a frigid February afternoon: a silly, implausible, entertaining popcorn movie. I also saw The Grey, which was much more than I expected from a late January release starring Liam Neeson. It's a stunning movie, tense and gritty and effective, and surprisingly contemplative. I hope to catch it again before it leaves the theatres.

I very much enjoyed A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, playing through April 18. Hoping to write about that one here soon.

Finally, Theatre Oobleck's The Hunchback Variations Opera, which I highly recommend, has extended its run at Victory Gardens Theatre through March 11, so check it out if you can.

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