James Fotopoulos Retrospective | Nightingale Cinema | August 4-6

Friday, August 4th – 6th, $7-10
The Nightingale Cinema
1084 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642

This August the Nightingale Cinema is happy to present a three night retrospective of Chicago native James Fotopoulos. Featuring past and new video works. Some of these pieces have not been screened in Chicago in over 10 years.

 

christabel

August 4th at 7:30pm

CHRISTABEL

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2001

USA, 74 min. 16mm/video.

“Christabel is an abstract interpretation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s unfinished Gothic poem about female possession. Adhering to the poem’s structure the film is presented in four parts – Two digital video half hour segments and then two short 16mm conclusions. The contemporary relevance of the poem’s symbols and themes is underlined using performance combined with heavy image and sound layering.” —JF

 

Dignity

Dignity

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2012

USA, 82min Video

Agents Mr. Rainbow and Mr. Lamb are sent to an alien planet fighting a civil war. Their mission to destroy a perpetual motion machine is interrupted by their capture. While their interrogations proceed the two men struggle to come to terms with their suffering and pending death.

Dignity uses the minimal structure of a sci-fi B-film, the high artifice of painted backdrops, prosthetic horror effects, psychedelic noise soundtrack and early digital techniques to flesh out the philosophical ideas ranging from the stoic writings Marcus Aurelius to the fantasy prison drawings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

 

families

August 5th 5pm

FAMILIES

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2002

USA, 97 min. 16mm.

A hybrid film that intentionally clashes techniques and syntaxes, FAMILIES is a series docufictional vignettes in a rural industrial town as portrayed through Fotopoulous’ singular eye.

“Life in a rural industrial town: a teenage boy, his family, friends and failed attempt at love are investigated through stark black-and-white photography and static long takes. Filmed in a fusion of authentic and staged documentation, with robotic performances by actors and non-actors, the piece meditates on the mundane existence of human and animal life.” —JF

 

there

There

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2014

USA, 103min Video

Lamb is a troubled veteran and his girlfriend, M, is tormented as well. When he’s not working as a security guard in an old warehouse with other unstable vets, Lamb haunts a nightclub frequented by wounded and traumatized ex-soldiers. There he meets a one-armed vet, Thrill, who starts a strange story about the effects of his post-traumatic stress, which unsettles Lamb.

While walking though a forest, Lamb discovers a humanoid carcass and hides it in his basement. At the club he meets an older woman and begins an affair. Soon otherworldly events start to occur and his girlfriend is attacked inside their apartment by mysterious beings.

In the middle of the night the older woman comes over traumatized. She believes she was brought to an underground compound in the forest inhabited by creatures similar to the one Lamb discovered. She insists these aliens are waiting for a signal to attack. Lamb and M build a truck bomb to destroy the compound before it’s too late. As they drive it to the nuclear power plant the story Thrill told seems about to end.

 

the nest

August 6th 5pm

The Nest

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2003

USA, 78 min. 16mm.

“Filmed in saturated colors on out-of-date film stocks with an aggressive soundtrack, the story of The Nest is told – The marriage of two young professionals unravels after an unnamed accident physically and emotional traumatizes the wife. Government agents, shadowy investigators and transgender beings appear, trying to solve the nervous-breakdown-mystery of secret alien forces that chose the couple as their target. In-camera tricks, drawings, derelict optical printing, miniatures, puppets and prosthetic makeup effects convey the dual collapse of the protagonists’ lives and the film structure as one unified entity.” —JF

 

the given

The Given

Dir. James Fotopoulos, 2015

USA, 75min,video

An actress living in New York performs an audition, then goes to meditation and winds up at a party of artists viewing a film. At home, she and her girlfriend explore buried memories and later nightmares trigger sleepwalking. Finally, the actress enacts a childlike performance inspired by a Frank Wedekind play.

 

Mr Fotopoulos will be in attendance for all the screenings.

James Fotopoulos is a filmmaker who began production on his first feature-length film, ZERO (1997), in 1995. In 1998, he founded Fantasma for the production of his second feature, Migrating Forms (1999), and would continue to create a number of critically acclaimed narrative feature films, such as Back Against the Wall (2000), Families (2002), The Nest (2003) and Dignity (2012).

There will be an 15 minute intermission between films.

Programmed by Raul Benitez.

Original Nightingale Cinema Release