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Blissfully Indoors

By chicago_chris in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 13, 2004 5:41PM

2004_07_movies_blissfully.bmp As we reported yesterday, the 5th annual Chicago Outdoor Film Festival begins tonight with Howard Hawks' great screwball comedy and Chicagoist favorite His Girl Friday. As any of the 30,000 attendees of the legendary Radiohead show at Hutchinson Field in 2001 will tell, the beautiful Chicago skyline is an ideal backdrop to any summertime cultural event. But if you don't want to deal with the mosquitoes, the people, or trying to discern the tipping protocol for free bike valet parking (?), head down to Facets to see a movie the old-fashioned way: inside. And, ironically, the movie to see there is about the great outdoors.

That movie is Blissfully Yours, a Thai film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (spell that three times fast) or, as he's more casually known, Joe W. Of local interest, Joe – like Hong Sang-Soo, another masterful Asian director – went to film school at the Art Institute. And along with the born-again Gus Van Sant, he is a leader of the so-called Avant-Pop (thanks to J. Hoberman for that one) movement of filmmaking, incorporating personal idiosyncrasies with avant-garde touches. For example, the credits for Blissfully Yours don't appear until 50 minutes into the movie – a move that's earned rapturous applause from several adventurous festival audiences.

Chicagoist has been dying to see this movie ever since it won a prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival (Joe's follow-up, Tropical Malady, did the same thing this year) and was voted one of the best undistributed films two years running in the Village Voice’s fabulous year-end critics poll. Banned in Thailand, the movie is steamy in both temperature and sexual content. Film Comment says that Blissfully Yours collapses "barriers between documentary and fiction… and between art and porn." Awesome. The good people at Facets have brought Chicago the world theatrical premiere, but it's only playing through Wednesday night. So catch it while you can tonight and rent His Girl Friday tomorrow, which you can watch in the comfort of your own home.