SCREEN SCENE BY ROBERT K. ELDER
August 22, 2008
Facets Cinematheque gears up for an entire week of programming called
"40 Years After: Filming the '68 Revolution."
Movies on the schedule, which begins Friday, include 1971's "The
Murder of Fred Hampton" and Norman Mailer's third film, "Maidstone."
With the tumultuous Democratic National Convention, 1968 was
certainly a time of upheaval in Chicago, but is calling it a
Not at all, says filmmaker Judy Hoffman ("Labor Stories"), who will
speak on a panel during the program.
"I think it's appropriate for a couple of reasons," says Hoffman. "It
looks back at the civil rights movement, the American Indian
movement. ... We have to look back, really, at late '50s and early
'60s with the free speech movement and civil rights movement. That
kind of revolutionary thought continues throughout the Vietnam War."
But, Hoffman says, focusing on 1968 "is probably a fallacy."
"The kinds of revolutionary ideas certainly preceded 1968. It didn't
just all of the sudden fall out of the sky. But somehow we look at
'68 because it in some way captures the zeitgeist and politics of the
time," she says. "We fixate on 1968 because it was a point, globally,
when people took to the streets in France, Czechoslovakia ... and
clearly with the convention here."
Hoffman, who comes out of guerrilla and alternative television
movements of the early 1970s, says the impact of Sony's portable
video system in 1968 often gets overlooked.
"Technology and cultural upheaval came together and began to change
things," she says. "People who didn't normally have access to the
media suddenly had it with portable video. That started to shift who
controlled the media, what stories were told, how they were told and
how people can see them."
Hoffman, whose credits include work as a camera assistant on Ken
Burns' " Frank Lloyd Wright" documentary, is currently updating her
documentary "Cabrini," about the demolition of Chicago's public housing.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, she will speak on a panel titled "Facets Film
Seminar: Filming the Revolution," with producer Bill Cottle ("
American Revolution II," "The Murder of Fred Hampton"), filmmaker
Jill Godmilow ("Far From Poland"), Heartland Journal publisher Mike
James, cinematographer Peter Kuttner and Kartemquin Films co-founder
Gordon Quinn. Ray Pride, film critic for New City, will moderate.
Other films to be screened include "Medium Cool," "The War at Home"
and "At the River I Stand." Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton
Ave., hosts all events. Tickets are $9, $5 members. For a full list
of events and more information, call 773-281-4114 or visit www.facets.org.