Best June film festivals and movie events in Chicago
Gene Siskel Film Center’s Date with the ’80s Aren't the ’90s supposed to be the nostalgia decade of the moment? (See: New York’s New Museum show “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.”) Yet the Cure and New Order are headlining Lollapalooza; the Museum of Broadcast Communications is mounting a summer Gary Coleman exhibit; and through July 4, the Gene Siskel Film Center steals a little TBS steez, screening a collection of popular ’80s movies. Among the 11 films, John Hughes makes two appearances (The Breakfast Club, which plays tomorrow at 6pm, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which finished its run yesterday), as does Arnold (Terminator, Conan the Barbarian). Yeah, you’ve seen all of these before, or perhaps you still have the VHS tapes in a closet somewhere. But think of this as an opportunity to watch some of your faves—Back to the Future, They Live, Repo Man, The Right Stuff—as they were shown back in the day, in 35mm. Gene Siskel Film Center. Through Jul 4. Various times. $11, students $7, members $6, School of the Art Institute students and faculty $4.
As Above, So Below and Passing Through with Larry Clark The last two events in the 12-part series L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema sees director Larry Clark—not the Larry Clark who directed Kids—in town for screenings of two of his early features. As Above, So Below (1973, 16mm, 52mins), showing June 6 at Northwestern’s Block Cinema, trails a radicalized Chicago-born Marine vet. On June 7, the Logan Center of the Arts screens Clark’s UCLA master thesis Passing Through (1977, 16mm, 111mins), a portrait of an ex-con saxophonist’s rediscovery of jazz, punctuated by a soundtrack featuring Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Sun Ra. Block Cinema, Northwestern University. Jun 6, 7pm. Free. Film Studies Center, Logan Center for the Arts. Jun 7, 7pm. Free.
African Diaspora Film Festival The fest opens at Alliance Francaise on June 13 with The Pirogue (2012, 87mins), in which a fishing captain leads a group of African migrants on dangerous journey aboard a small boat. University of Chicago grad Tukufu Zuberi's talking-heads doc African Independence (2013, 120mins) takes a broad look at the continent's distinct countries and their relationship with the world. Here We Drown Algerians (2011, 90mins) examines one of the darkest days in the war for Algergian independence, October 17, 1961, in which Paris police killed dozens of demonstrators. Facets’ annual festival, in its 11th year, encompasses titles from the U.S., Canada, France, Madagascar, Malawi, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland and Venezuela. Alliance Francaise Chicago and Facets Cinémathèque. Jun 13–20. Various times. $7 at Alliance Francaise; $9, opening night at Facets $15, weekend pass $50.
Rare Baseball Films Long before ridonkulous DIRECTV packages beamed every game in baseball into fans’ living rooms, "SportsCenter" amounted to watching newsreels of Hack Wilson batting in runs for the Cubs at a movie theater before a feature. Showcasing reels from the Hearst Metrotone News Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive, this approximately 100-minute program, in its 9th year, promises World Series clips of both the White Sox and Cubs (proof the lovable losers made it), footage from the Negro and Japanese leagues and snippets featuring stars such as Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. Jun 14, 7:30pm. Block Cinema, Northwestern University. $6, members and students $4.
Music Box Summer Music Film Festival 2013 As summer fest season heats up, Music Box Theatre offers a music festival fix in air-conditioned environs. A dozen films are on the rock-doc–centric lineup, including the intimate artist portraits ”Approximately Nels Cline” (2011, 27mins), In Search of Blind Joe Death (2012, 58mins) and Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm (2010, 83mins). That last film will be discussed afterward by Sound Opinions hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. A pair of kindred docs about epic tours on rails also screen: The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Band travel by train on a 1970 tour in Festival Express (2003, 90mins); in Big Easy Express (2012, 67mins), it’s the same concept except with Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The camera pulls back to focus on the music industry in Alex Winter’s Downloaded (2013), about the rise and fall of Napster and the impact of file-sharing sites. Scheduled to make an appearance at the fest, Winter is best known for playing Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which also screens. Excellent! Music Box. Jun 28–Jul 2. Various times. $10, select double features $15, festival passes $70.