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Doc Films' Best Season Ever?

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 4, 2012 4:20PM

poster via IMP Awards
We always hesitate to use the adjective "best" when describing something. After all, how can we declare knowledge of everything that's come before as well as psychically predict what's to come? Nevertheless, even as an institution that routinely offers up some of the most creative cinema programming in Chicago, Doc Films has outdone themselves with their Winter 2012 calendar.

Running through March 10, the lineup unspooling at the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall features unburied treasures and classics stuffed into practically every day of the week. Saturdays at Doc give us another chance to see some of the best recent releases. 13 Assassins, Take Shelter, World on a Wire, and Drive are just a few. Sundays are "Always Crashing in the Same Car: The Best of the British Cinema After the New Wave," including films by Lindsay Anderson, Ken Loach, Jerzy Skolimowski, Michael Powell, and many others. Especially exciting is The Go-Between, Joseph Losey's underseen drama which stars Julie Christie and features a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Mondays are a 360 turnaround: "Naruse & Takamine: Of an Auteur and an Actress." Highlighting the careers of filmmaker Mikio Naruse and actress Hideko Takamine, these nine films move with an uncommon grace and elegance.

Tuesdays through Thursdays are all about good dirty fun, cycling through the best of Humphrey Bogart, spaghetti westerns (with several of Sergio Leone's classics), heist movies, and "roxploitation." The latter series is sponsored by WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago, and includes movies ranging from A Hard Day's Night and The Harder They Come to Jack Nicholson's infamous acid flick The Trip and minor cult classic Josie and the Pussycats.

The inspired pairing of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson will make Friday nights at Doc a true pleasure. Although ostensibly they share little more than a last name, seeing their work on alternate weeks should prove illuminating. Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Boogie Nights, Hard Eight, Magnolia; Owen Wilson on the one hand and Philip Baker Hall on the other.

What's not to like?

General admission is $5; Doc Films is located in the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall at The University of Chicago (1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637)