This Sunday sees one of the most important Chicago film events of the year as Beguiled Cinema (the programming endeavor of critics Ben and Kat Sachs) plays host to Frederick Wiseman’s 1989 masterpiece Near Death at Chicago Filmmakers. This mammoth 6-hour documentary about the intensive-care unit at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital is one of the greatest documentaries I’ve ever seen and one that’s not a minute too short. Chicago cinephiles should jump at the rare chance to see it projected on 16mm (in its local celluloid debut). I reviewed it for Cine-File Chicago here.
On Monday evening, I’ll be introducing a book club discussion of one of my favorite memoirs of the 21st century, Bob Dylan’s Chronicles Vol. 1, at the Wilmette Public Library. I’ll be showing clips from various Dylan-related films, including Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home, that correspond to passages in the book. I wrote this description of the event for the WPL website:
Musical legend Bob Dylan surprised many longtime admirers with the 2004 release of his memoir Chronicles Vol. 1. A critical and commercial success, the book eschews a linear approach to the troubadour’s life and instead hopscotches around in time — focusing primarily on his first arrival in New York City in the winter of 1961, his seclusion from public life and ill-fated collaboration with poet Archibald MacLeish in 1970 and his recommitment to live touring and the recording of his comeback album Oh Mercy in the late 1980s.
For more info, check out the WPL’s Off the Shelf newsletter.
June 19th, 2015 at 8:23 pm
Frederick Wiseman’s documentary Near Death is quite an experience as you said and I love that it is introduced by Ben and Kat Sachs (truly awesome people) 🙂 Tomorrow evening I might see the animated film Inside Out and the reason I mention that to you is because the director (Pete Docter) is the same one who directed UP which is an animated film that you love:) Keep up the great work as always:)
June 22nd, 2015 at 1:17 pm
Thanks, John. I got your e-mail about INSIDE OUT and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m going to try and see it soon (before I compile my “20 Best Films of the Year So Far” list).
June 22nd, 2015 at 3:16 am
I love Dylan’s Chronicles vol.1 so much. One of my favourite non-fiction books I think. Out of interest, what other Dylan films did you play clips from/do you recommend.
Sounds like a great event you put on. Would have been great to have been there.
June 22nd, 2015 at 1:15 pm
I too love this book, probably my favorite memoir of the 21st century. The book talk isn’t until tonight but I think I’ve decided not to play film clips. Instead I’m just going to play songs that correspond to the different eras covered in the book (i.e., “I Was Young When I Left Home” for 1961, “New Morning” for 1970 and “Man in the Long Black Coat” for 1989).