Mapping the Obscure: James Fotopoulos | Facets Cinémathèque | July 28-30

mapping-obscure

 

“James Fotopoulos is one of the most brilliant, idiosyncratic and stubbornly independent filmmakers at work today” – Senses of Cinema

July 28–30, 2017
Facets Cinémathèque
1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

Mapping the Obscure: James Fotopoulos

The films of James Fotopoulos are hard to categorize, define, and—more importantly—hard to forget. Fotopoulos has been making films since his teens, often with little or no budget, but never without intensity. He has produced over 100 films in his 20 year career, spanning experimental narrative, non-narrative, and video installation. The varied, yet distinct, forms his films take are both jarring and fresh, especially in a moment when even indie films fail to approach transgression and abject desire in an interesting way.

Mapping the Obscure presents three early Fotopoulos features, Zero (1997), Migrating Forms (1999), and Back Against the Wall (2000), works he self-described as films of necessity made from “pure instinct, pure emotion” (full interview here). Fotopoulos will be present after each screening for a Q&A.

We also have two very special events accompanying the screenings, an intimate Conversation in Film between the filmmaker and Patrick Friel and an exclusive dinner before the final screening.

The series is presented in conjunction with screenings of Fotopoulos’s work at The Nightingale.

Fotopoulos interview

Director site

Experimental Film Society

Filmmaker Magazine

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Endurance Pass: $35
$31 for Facets Members
Admission to all 3 screenings and Conversation in Film with James Fotopoulos.

Order now

Ultimate Endurance Pass: $65
$58 for Facets Members
Exclusive dinner with James Fotopoulos, admission to all 3 screenings and Conversation in Film.

Order now

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Schedule Overview

Friday, July 28

  • 11:00 pm – Zero

Saturday, July 29

  • 9:00pm – Conversation in Film: James Fotopoulos
  • 11:00pm – Migrating Forms

Sunday, July 30

  • 7:00pm – An Evening with James Fotopoulos
  • 9:00pm– Back Against the Wall

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Zero

zero

 

“Heartfelt and creepy as hell” —Shock Cinema

James Fotopoulos’ deeply disturbing experimental film paints a grim portrait of the psychological collapse of a young man drifting further and further into total isolation. In his solitude, primal fantasies of sex and violence transform into frightening visions and insanity, while a cyst growing on his arm suggests a physical manifestation of his mental breakdown. A shocking debut feature, told entirely through one character.

The director describes Zero as “a two-and-a-half-hour endurance test,” but for better or worse, that might be an overstatement: Zero is as hideous as it is riveting in its rhythm and pacing. Yet it is by no stretch appropriate for the easily offended.

Directed by James Fotopoulos, 1997, USA, 142 mins.

A Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

Showtime
Friday, July 28 at 11 pm

Tickets
$10 general admission

Buy tickets

$5 for Facets Members

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Conversation in Film: James Fotopoulos

conversations-in-film

“James Fotopoulos is one of the most brilliant, idiosyncratic and stubbornly independent filmmakers at work today” —Maximilian Le Cain, critic for Senses of Cinema

“Balanced precariously on the edge of fact and fiction, James Fotopoulos provokes viewers with his expansive, transgressive body of films and videos” —Screen Slate

Get inside the brain of James Fotopoulos at this intimate, one-on-one conversation with Patrick Friel. They will discuss Fotopoulos’s career as a radically independent filmmaker, his unique approach to narrative, affinity for minimalism and graphic imagery, and much more. This extremely rare event is a chance to learn more about the artist behind some of the most challenging, exciting, and important film work in recent history.

Tickets for Conversation in Film include entry to the 11:00 pm screening of Migrating Forms.

Patrick Friel is one of Chicago’s great educators, critics, and curators of experimental cinema. He currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is the Managing Editor of Cine-File, the Chicago resource for independent film and video screenings. For 11 years Patrick was the Program Director at Chicago Filmmakers, for 15 years he was the Festival Director and Programmer of the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, and in 2008 he founded White Light Cinema.

Event time
Saturday, July 29, 9:00–10:30 pm

Tickets
$15 general admission

Buy tickets

$10 for Facets Members

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Migrating Forms

migrating-forms
“Fotopoulos is the most important new director I’ve seen in many years, creating distinctive visions seething with ontological unease” —Ed Halter, New York Press

“A kind of stripped down EraserheadMigrating Forms has a formal purity and obsessive power that’s all too rare these days” —Amy Taubin, Village Voice

A Best Feature award winner at the New York Underground Film Festival, Migrating Forms is a masterful, minimalist exploration of empty sexuality and its psychic and physical consequences. In a stark, nearly empty room, a man and a woman meet for passionless sex. A growth on the woman’s back infects the man, but the implications of the infection, like the characters themselves, remain elusive.

Directed by James Fotopoulos, 1999, USA, 80 mins.

A Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

Showtime
Saturday, July 29 at 11 pm

Tickets

$10 general admission

Buy tickets

$5 for Facets Members

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An Evening with James Fotopoulos

fotopoulos-dinner
Join us for an exclusive dinner and conversation with James Fotopoulos before the screening of Back Against the Wall. Tickets for the dinner include entry to the screening. Limited to 40.

Event time
Sunday, July 30, 7:00–8:30 pm

Tickets
$40 general admission

Buy tickets

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Back Against the Wall

back-against-the-wall

“The term ‘noir’ only begins to describe the malignant atmosphere that seeps like a poison gas through James Fotopoulos’s grimy, clanging film” —Stephen Holden, The New York Times

In this “Lynch-like vision of the rotting underbelly of Middle America” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times), the downfall of a lingerie model is portrayed against the depressing, menacing milieus of the men she caters to, including an angry, jealous, middle-aged failure and his strange, no-necked friend. James Fotopoulos presents this dark, sinister story as a three-part feature in the unnerving, highly original style that has made him a major figure of the underground cinema.

Directed by James Fotopoulos, 2000, USA, 94 mins.

A Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

Showtime
Sunday, July 30 at 9 pm

$10 general admission

Buy tickets

$5 for Facets Members

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Original Facets Release