Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moving On Up/ to the WEST Side


On Sunday, just five short days from now, I'm making the arduous move from one west-side Chicago neighborhood (safe, quiet Roscoe Village) to another (the livelier Logan Square). I've spent three years in my current apartment and current neighborhood. The change of scenery will be nice, as will be the easier access to a CTA train station and the new crop of restaurants and bars to sample/frequent. I'm perhaps most excited, though, by my imminent proximity to one of Chicago's best (but least frequented) movie houses: the Facets Cinémathèque.

A one stop shop for Chicago movie fanatics, Facets houses not just an auditorium, but also a night-class film school and a video store/DVD outlet with literally thousands upon thousands of hard-to-find flicks from around the world. As far as design and presentation go, the theater is nothing to write home about. The seats are a bit uncomfortable (even more so than those in the Music Box's larger house, if you ask me) and the sound/picture quality is comparable to that of your average university screening room. It's the programming at Facets that saves the day: an eclectic mix of first run fare (the real art-house variety, not IndieWood fluff), midnight movie fodder, lost-and-found obscurities, micro-budget oddities, rare imports, and retrospectives. More so than even the Gene Siskel, this is a movie house that caters to the hungry and curious cinephile.

Last Friday, YOU, THE LIVING opened at Facets for a two week run. I saw the film, Roy Andersson's follow-up to Songs From the Second Floor, two years ago at the Chicago International Film Festival. (I wrote about it here.) Though I found it at the time to be rather smugly misanthropic, I'm somewhat eager to revisit it, if only to revel in its astounding formal gestures. It's a busy week, so I might not make it out. But it's nice to know that stranger and more obscure cinematic transmissions are now playing in a theater near me. Like, really near me. Just down the street, in fact.