A reflection on last year’s riot in Los Angeles put together for the grass-roots TV series Not Channel Zero–The Revolution, Televised and produced by Black Planet Productions, an inventive New York media collective with an afrocentric perspective and a refreshing way of combining aesthetic imagination with political savvy. However incendiary it may sound, its “Top 11 Reasons to Loot or Riot” is actually a model of reasoned analysis, which can also be said of many of the other discourses featured. A member of the Black Planet collective will be present for a discussion. Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, Friday, April 30, 8:00, 281-8788.
A four-hour film about modern China made in 1972 by Michelangelo Antonioni. Though I’ve only been able to sample it, I believe it’s one of the very few comprehensive and serious Western documentaries on the subject. (The only other one that I’m aware of is Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan’s equally scarce six-part, 12-hour How Yukong Moved the Mountains, made four years later.) While the Chinese government invited Antonioni to make this film, and Western viewers at the time regarded it as a sympathetic portrayal, the results was widely denounced by the Chinese when it first appeared–a fascinating instance of radically divergent interpretations of the same images and camera angles. It now appears that the denunciation was partially dictated by government policies that had relatively little to do with Antonioni, and it’s worth pointing out that the Chinese offered a public apology to the filmmaker in 1980. For the past two decades or so this work has been completely unavailable in the U.S., and it still has no distributor, so this may well be your only chance to see it. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, May 2, 1:30, and Thursday, May 6, 6:00, 443-3737.
Astrong documentary by Dean Bushala and Deirdre Heaslip about gay bashing in Chicago, alternately terrifying and empowering in its matter-of-fact instructiveness about the extent of the problem and the response of local activists–including the Pink Angels street patrol, the Coalition Against Bashing, and Horizon’s antiviolence counseling and court advocacy program. Following many individual cases of violence against gay men and lesbians, the film makes effective use of several local talents: two videos by Charles Christensen, a song by the duo Ellen Rosner & Camille, and black-and-white photographs by Allen Nepomuceno, Paul Vosdic, and Paul Roesch. The title, if you’re wondering, originally referred to the 19th-century practice of gay men wearing green ties to work on Thursdays to identify themselves to each other; today it raises the issue of how much being “out” means being a target for a sociopath. The film deals only glancingly with the reasons for homophobic violence, but has a lot to say about the possible responses to it. A panel discussion with the filmmakers, film participants, and representatives from the Chicago Police Department and the mayor’s office will follow the Sunday screening. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 7:00 and 9:00; Sunday, April 25, 5:30; and Monday through Thursday, April 26 through 29, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114.