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Notes From The Underground

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 16, 2005 4:49PM

Independent film festivals are often a hit-and-miss affair. For every film that combines humor, insight, or drama with the visual excitement that is the medium of film, there are usually two or three works that sap your will to live just by watching them. Moreover, August is usually the month when major film studios start dumping the lesser lights in their summer release schedule. 2005_08_16_cuff.jpgOh save us, Chicago Underground Film Festival!

This is CUFF’s 12th year of offering a full slate of interesting, provocative films in the short and full-length varieties that don’t leave you, the viewer, at the whims of a director who’s using a digital video camera as a cheap form of therapy. The fest starts this Thursday with Firecracker, a film that evokes thoughts of In Cold Blood with its story of murder in the heartland. Tickets are $15 and include a pre-film reception at the theater and a post-film party at The Elbo Room with the bands Plastic Crimewave Sound and Spires That In Sunset Rise.

Running through August 25th at the Music Box Theater, the fest has several films that qualify as appointment viewing. You can plot your week using this schedule (with full synopses available for each film) and purchase tickets at Ticketweb for $8 a pop. Ever since we heard that Rosario Dawson was arrested during filming, we’ve been waiting for This Generation, which was filmed Medium Cool-style against the backdrop of last year’s Republican National Convention. Other highlights include a 20th Anniversary screening of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Code 33, and Late Breaking News.

The final film of the week features more rock star cameos than the Homerpalooza episode of the Simpsons. Live Freaky! Die Freaky! is a claymation take on the Manson family and features the voices of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, X’s John Doe, the Go-Gos Jane Wiedlin and TV's Kelly Osbourne. Ridiculous exploitation in glorious air-conditioned comfort? We’re so there.