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The Neon Demon

Nicolas Winding Refn's latest provocation is often productively brash, even if it is ultimately more preposterous than it is satisfying.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Bill Stamets

Bill Stamets


Bill Stamets is a film lecturer at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. He posts at billstamets.com. Previously he freelanced at the Chicago Sun-Times, Newcity and Chicago Reader; and taught film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a Super-8 filmmaker too.

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A Place at the Table

(2013)

Black Venus: A study in exploitation

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"Black Venus" screens twice in the 15th Annual European Union Film Festival: Saturday, March 3, 2:15 pm; Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 pm. At the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 North State Street, Chicago. Admission: $11; $7 students. (312) 846-2600. In English, French, Afrikaans, Dutch, with English subtitles.

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The Keystone Chaplin on DVD

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How did Charles Chaplin get his start on the screen? In 1913 the English comic was on a U.S. tour with a vaudeville troupe when the Keystone Film Company offered him $150 per week. Chaplin signed a contract and took the train to Los Angeles. He acted on camera for the first time in "Making a Living." A critic at The Moving Picture World gushed that the newcomer was "a comedian of the first water, who acts like one of Nature's own naturals."

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