In Comparison


filmfront presents Harun Farocki's IN COMPARISON (2009) at Microlights, another vital neighborhood cinema space in Milwaukee, WI. Microlights specializes in the presentation of contemporary film and video art. Since 2013 Microlights has hosted a diverse range of film/video artists in Milwaukee.

Supported by Video Data Bank.

Microlights is one of many small cinemas across the country that platform independent film and video artists. Our vision is on the pursuit of critical and non-conventional modes of the moving image arts. What Microlights offers our community is a space to seek out movies that are made with artistic intention and that provide critical and socially productive insight into our contemporary media ecology. This project was founded in 2013 by Ben Balcom and Josh Weissbach. Microlights continues to be programmed collaboratively by Ben Balcom and Jesse McLean.

"Bricks are the resonating fundamentals of society. Bricks are layers of clay that sound like records, just simply too thick. Like records they appear in series, but every brick is slightly different – not just another brick in the wall. Bricks create spaces, organize social relations and store knowledge on social structures. They resonate in a way that tells us if they are good enough or not. Bricks form the fundamental sound of our societies, but we haven't learned to listen to them.

Through different traditions of brick production, Farocki's film has our eyes and ears consider them in comparison—and not in competition, not as a clash of cultures. Farocki shows us various brick production sites in their colours, movements and sounds. Brick burning, brick carrying, brick laying, bricks on bricks, no off-commentary. 20 inter-titles in 60 minutes tell us something about the temporality of working processes. The film shows us that certain production modes require their own duration, and that cultures differentiate around the time of the brick" —Ute Holl

by Harun Farocki
2009, 61 min, digital projection

Sunday, April 7 at 8:00PM


Dust In The Wind



In March and April, we present a selection of three films from the New Taiwan Cinema of the 1980s. Featuring acclaimed filmmakers Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the movement represents a moment when Taiwan sought to define itself from the dominant influence of Hong Kong cinema in the previous decades. With government sponsorship, Yang, Hou, and their collaborators crafted work that dwelt on the relationship between urban and rural spaces, responding to a period of rapid industrialization that threatened the latter. The series begins with GROWING UP, the first feature to attract attention to the New Taiwan Cinema, and continues with two films from Yang and Hou, ending with DUST IN THE WIND.

"Hou’s tale of a dissolving first love is imbued with a melancholy that was new to his work with this film. Lacking the money to continue their education, teen-age sweethearts Wan and Huen travel to Taipei seeking jobs. He finds back-breaking work in a print shop, and she becomes a seamstress. They begin to live together in makeshift quarters behind a movie theater. Wan joins the army and Huen agrees to wait for him. Hou’s film is no rant on poverty or dead-end youth, but rather a deep and bittersweet narrative of the rhythms of life and the price of change."—(BS) Gene Siskel Film Center

Programmed with Brian Belak from Chicago Film Archives. 16mm prints from Chicago Film Archives.

by Hou Hsiao-hsien
1986, 110 min, 16mm

Saturday, April 13 at 7:00PM


NANG Magazine Presents: Hana-Bi


We are excited to host Davide Cazzaro, the publisher and editor-in-chief of NANG Magazine, an ambitious publishing project with a focus on cinema in Asia. Davide will discuss NANG and present the film HANA-BI by Takeshi Kitano, which is featured in NANG 5: INSPIRATION.

"NANG is an English-language 10-issue magazine which covers cinema and cinema cultures in the Asian world with passion and insight. Published twice a year over a period of five years, NANG’s ambition is to build a wonderfully rich and profound collection of words and images on cinema, for knowledge, inspiration, and enjoyment."—NANG

From an introduction to NANG in it's first issue: "These are, as it so happens, most interesting times for both publishing and cinema (however we come to define them); what I love most about the former is also what I love about the latter: the giving-shape to things, the bringing-together of skills and ideas, the intersection of craft, creativity and technology, and the attempt to establish a “contact,” a moment of interaction and exchange."

Copies of NANG will be available to purchase at the event via Inga, a forthcoming bookshop.

Takeshi Kitano
1997, digital projection, 103 mins

Thursday, April 18
7:00-7:45PM Davide Cazzaro introduces NANG
8PM HANA-BI screening


Perpetual Motion And The Control Grid: A Nokiawave Primer


A boxy, European sports car races through the medieval street-layout of Paris in pursuit of ‘THE PACKAGE’. A hacker using a black, plastic-heavy Thinkpad laptop connects to ‘THE UPLINK’ via cellular phone while sitting on a Eurostar train speeding from London to Brussels. A puffy-jacketed secret agent trying to look inconspicuous exchanges grainy photographs of ‘THE TARGET’ with their ‘HANDLER’ in Berlin’s bustling Alexanderplatz square. Meanwhile, in some non-descript control center, green dots mark everyone’s position on an oversized map.

PERPETUAL MOTION AND THE CONTROL GRID: A NOKIAWAVE PRIMER attempts to frame and present ’Nokiawave’ as a sub-genre within a larger framework of late 90s and early 00s US-produced mass-budget action movies, which are characterized by their depiction of state-surveillance, espionage, network technologies, and above all, perpetual motion. Post-Cold War Europe, and in particular the “Schengen Zone“-defined EU, simultaneously becomes setting and character in these silver-screen narratives about the existential angst of Empire losing control in a world of dissolved dichotomies and the struggle to reclaim dominance via establishing a system of interconnected surveillance. Moving within, through, and against the infrastructure of a borderless Europe, the protagonists of these movies manage to briefly lift the veil on the “control grid“, the new order of maintaining control and administrating power, that has replaced the old East-West oppositionality.

In a non-conclusive set of films––amongst them GoldenEye (1995), Mission Impossible (1996), Ronin (1998), and the first three movies of the Bourne series (2002-2007)––this lecture speculatively attempts to define a canon by investigating common motifs and interests, such as borders and motion, espionage and paranoia, city grids and network infrastructures, technology, and the role of administration.

PERPETUAL MOTION AND THE CONTROL GRID: A NOKIAWAVE PRIMER is a clip-lecture presented by Jacob Lindgren and Till Wittwer.

Total run time: ~90 minutes

Jacob Lindgren is a graphic designer in Chicago with an interest in publishing—sometimes on printed paper in books, sometimes via lectures, writing, websites, or learning groups.

Till Wittwer is an artist, writer and researcher living and working between Berlin and Hanover. He creates research-based narratives exploring the ways in which reality is constructed. These narratives come in the form of essays, publications, lectures, and performances. As an extension of his artistic work, Till is interested in forms of education and the subjects they create.

Jacob and Till have previously collaborated on publishing projects, in founding Open-End-Ed, a Chicago-based learning group investigating self-education, as well as on a performative lecture series connected to Jacob's book Extra-curricular.

Saturday, April 20 at 7:00PM


UIC MFA Thesis Screening


A selection of film and video shorts by graduating MFA students Leticia Bernaus, Danny Carroll, Kylie Renee Clark, and Tamara Becerra Valdez from the School of Art and Art History at University of Illinois at Chicago. These works will be paired with shorts by UIC alums Mary Helena Clark, Mike Gibisser, and Zachary Hutchinson.

This hour long program is organized in conjunction with the UIC MFA Thesis Exhibitions, NOW & THERE and A NAMELESS FAMILIAR, at Gallery 400.

Total run time: ~51 mins

Organized by Tamara Becerra Valdez and Danny Carroll

Sunday, April 28 at 7:00PM