08/15/1999 – Ain't It Cool News (AICN) at CUFF

The Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF)                                                                      back to main

Ain’t It Cool News (AICN)

Capone takes a look at the Chicago Underground Film Fest! Hey folks, Harry here with Capone… one of our regular agents in Chi-town. He seems a bit distracted, but when you see what all he has at his disposal to be watching… well… you’ll understand. In addition, he still has all that illegal alcohol to bring down from Canada… (Pssst… don’t tell him it’s legal… it only angers him and his baseball bat!)

Hey Harry, Capone here with the REAL report from the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Anyway, the festival is set to run all this week at the urine-soaked Village Theatre, and I saw a couple of films over this past weekend that are worth mentioning. (I’ll have Part 2 of this round-up by week’s end.)

The first is one I know a lot of your readers will want to see, “The Acid House,” based on the book of three short stories by Irvine Welsh (who also wrote the screenplay). For those who don’t know, Welsh wrote another little book a few year’s back called “Trainspotting,” and I believe this is his first screenplay. In fact, Ewan Bremmer (“Trainspotting”‘s shit-covered Spud) stars in one of the three stories. Without going into too much detail, each story gets successively more outrageous, disgusting, perverse, and loud. This film makes “Trainspotting” seem like a Peanuts cartoon, and I loved it. I never thought I’d see a film in which the “C”-word is used more than the “F”-word.

It’s subtitled (thank Christ!), because the Scottish accents are nearly impenetrable. The film had a free-wheeling, balls out, almost punk quality to it that made me love it. At the core of each tale is a mostly likeable (or at least sympathetic) character who takes you on his our personal journey through hell with varying results.

This is definitely the kind of film that will play in theatres that cater to “Not-Rated” films, but it’s worth checking out. I believe Zeitgeist (sp?) is the distributor.

The other film I saw at CUFF this weekend was the latest from Jon Jost called “London Brief.” Back in 1990, I saw probably Jost’s most famous film “All the Vermeers in New York,” and for some reason it just got under my skin and I still remember it vividly. His follow-up film three year’s later was “Sure Fire,” a very different but still exceptional work. Later that same year came “Frame Up” and “The Bed You Sleep In” both dark yet humorous films that continued my love of this filmmaker. Well, apparently Jost got sick of living in the U.S. and he packed his shit and moved to Europe, where I haven’t heard from him since…until now.

“London Brief” is what people call “experimental.” There’s nothing close to a story or characters, yet the cumulative affect of these views of London (shot on digital video, which I guess has become Jost’s medium of choice) is disturbing. These are essentially home movie of London, but Jost has an eye for seeking out both the absurd and the mundane, and he makes them both feel connected and depressing as hell. The film is probably too long (nearly 2 hours) and very repetitive, but it’s good to know that Jost is still kicking.

I’ve got four more CUFF films lined up this week; it would be more but there’s a Chabrol retrospect and a Truffaut retrospect in town this week, so it’s tough.

–Capone

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