Experimental cinema is still thriving! Who knew? Chicago Filmmakers is presenting our fine city with the 25th anniversary of the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival. There will be sixty to seventy films from all over the world being screened over four days. It’s September 5th-8th, so if you’re a fan of this offbeat movement - lace up your Asics and slip on your Crocs!
What little insight I can give to the unfamiliar about this genre is via a class I took my junior year of college. I viewed some incredibly thought provoking gems like Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s groundbreaking, Un Chien Andalou (1929). Ugh, there are also Andy Warhol’s factory films, titled Eat (1963) and Sleep (1963). They’re both long cuts of one person eating and sleeping. I found them to be so goddamn pointless. He should have stuck to painting soup cans.
I also remember Window Water Baby Moving (1959), which was essentially quick cuts of director Stan Brakhage’s wife giving birth to their daughter in a tub. That image is burned into my memory. Some found it beautiful; I almost puked in my mouth. Although this experimental style is not as popular as other movements, it’s nice to see it advance in the 21st century.
I’m anxious to see films that provoke the same emotions I felt back in school and am eager to see if these filmmakers rise to the occasion. If you’ve never seen an experimental film, it’s totally worth checking out. The people-watching should be awesome too. That’s half the reason I’m attending.
The festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Columbia College and the Music Box Theater. Click here for the schedule and ticket prices.
For your viewing pleasure.