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The Siskel's Sizzling Summer

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2011 3:40PM

2011_6_15siskelsizzles.jpg Lame-brained megaplex blockbusters be damned: the Siskel has a solid lineup coming down the pike. It really doesn't matter what kinds of movies you're into either because there's something for everyone. Here's what we mean:

The term "experimental film" often gives people the creeps, triggering visions of dull, pretentious head-trips. Balderdash. You know that cool "Floating Chicago" video you just watched on Vimeo? It's an experimental film. And The Onion City Film Festival, running June 23-26, showcases some of the best out there. The Opening Night program alone, which will be held at the Siskel, boasts new work from Thom Anderson, the guy behind one of our favorite "cine-essays," Los Angeles Plays Itself; The Quay Brothers (with their Stanislaw Lem adaptation); and Mati Dop, who starred in Claire Denis' masterpiece 35 Shots of Rum. After Opening Night the festival shifts to Chicago Filmmakers in Andersonville; check out what else is in store here.

Since we last chatted with him, actor/writer/director Stephen Cone has only gotten busier. He's currently performing in the ensemble cast of The Homosexuals, running at About Face Theatre through July 24. His film The Wise Kids was recently accepted into the prestigious festival Outfest. Another film of his, In Memoriam, settles in for a run at the Siskel on June 24. The oddly moving tale centers on an improv actor who becomes obsessed with a news story he comes across, about two college kids who fall to their deaths after attempting to have sex on the roof of their dorm. We were lucky enough to watch a rough cut of the film some time ago, and came away impressed: "It starts off a bit like [Fran├žois Ozon's] Under the Sand, and then just goes completely its own way." We're looking forward to seeing how further refinement has sharpened the story.

Speaking of Ozon, his latest movie Potiche (July 1-7) is only one of the great films getting a special run at the Siskel next month. There are far too many to list here, but highlights include second chances to see Meek's Cutoff (July 1-7) and Certified Copy (July 15-21), both of which will surely end up on our Best of 2011 list; the new Martin Scorsese documentary Public Speaking (July 15-21), a portrait of author Fran Lebowitz; and Kon Ichikawa's exquisite period piece The Makioka Sisters. Perhaps most excellent of all is the rare screening of a specially-imported print of Tarkovsky's mind-blowing sc-fi whatsit Stalker (July 29-August 2).

In a few weeks we'll be presenting the fruits of an interview with Marty Rubin, Associate Director of Programming at the Siskel, so keep your eyes peeled.