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Lives:Visible lesbian film at Siskel June 23, 28
2017-06-07

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The new film by Chicagoan Michelle Citron, Lives:Visible, is an elegy for two cultures—the working-class butch/fem world of pre-Stonewall Chicago, and the once ubiquitous film-based snapshot that recorded everyday 20th Century American life.

The film screens twice during Pride month at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Friday, June 23, 8 p.m. and Wed., June 28, 8:15 p.m. The filmmaker will be at both screenings. See genesiskelfilmcenter.pfestore.com/capacity/events/1b285c6e-4267-48b7-8ee9-da3fe34eaed0.aspx .

Citron, whose 1984 meta-documentary Daughter Rite is a classic of feminist cinema, centers her latest film on a box of more than 2,000 snapshots that had belonged to Norma and Virginia, a lesbian couple who lived together for nearly 50 years in East Rogers Park. These artifacts provide a fascinating window into the Chicago lesbian community of the pre-Stonewall era—a vanished world of bars, dances, parties and beach outings which was hidden from mainstream society and later disdained by many post-Stonewall lesbians, but which Citron, in her first-person narration, seeks to decode and reclaim as a vital, neglected part of her own history and the history of all lesbians.

The film will be followed by Leftovers ( 2014, Michelle Citron, USA, 23 min. ), described by Citron as an experimental documentary, which uses a paint-by-numbers motif to recount the last years of Norma and Virginia, nearly completely isolated save for a neighbor who cared for them and, after their deaths, discovered the photographs that inspired these two films. Both in DCP digital. ( MR )


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