The Block Museum hosts a screening of films about Chicago

Jonah Elkowitz/The North West Daily

Audience members attend a short film at Block by Block: Short Films About Chicago on Friday night. A round table with some filmmakers followed the screening.

In her short film “Some Thingz Never Change: Monologues from a Stoop in Bronzeville”, artist Jazmine. look for a way for people to listen to other people’s stories. In this case, the stories were of her friends and family in the Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville where she grew up.

Jasmin. was one of three filmmakers at the Block Museum on Friday night for Block by Block: Short Films about Chicago. The museum screened five short documentaries about Chicago neighborhoods and issues such as police presence, public school closures and community dynamics.

Jazmine’s short film, which premiered in 2019 but is an ongoing project, features actors reading monologues on a three-step stoop. Their faces are intentionally never shown, nor any identifying features, Jazmine. mentioned.

“Black bodies are always studied and try to be understood”, Jazmine. mentioned. “How can you just listen to people, and how can people be very present and speak for themselves?”

Joining Jazmine are Italian and comparative literature professor Domietta Torlasco and Indiana-based filmmaker Kristin Reeves. for discussion after the film screening, local artist Joyy Norris moderated the conversation. Michael Metzger, the Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at The Block, introduced the panelists and their films.

Torlasco’s film “Garfield Park, USA” chronicles life in this community and its relationship with crime. After approaching the Block with his film, Metzger compiled a collection of other thematically related works to create Block by Block.

All of the films shown at Block by Block could be categorized as “hybrid documentaries,” according to Metzger, because the filmmakers use a variety of documentary and artistic techniques to tell true stories.

“Filmmakers use techniques like interviews in very different ways and subvert some of those conventions to invent new ways of responding to the communities they document,” he said.

Metzger mentioned Reeves as an example of this practice due to his unique non-digital process. Reeves said she shot part of her ‘CPS Closures & Delays’ project on 16mm film, which she manipulated with bleach and laser etching to express the loss communities are experiencing. school closures.

Other parts of his film spontaneously took shape on location: the final product includes audio of impromptu conversations with passers-by and clips of a group of children grabbing their digital camera.

“After shooting the film, I felt a sense of urgency,” Reeves said. “That’s when I went through the video footage hoping I captured some of those conversations that took place.”

The screening also featured “Dreams Under Confinement” by Christopher Harris and “Hail Mary” by Sasha Phyars-Burgess.

Nostalgia and thoughtfulness are common themes across the films, Norris said. Jasmin. said his work was inspired by reflections on how community influences memory and perspective.

“We’re all sitting in this room,” Jazmine. said during the panel, “but how did you experience the different videos because of our different backgrounds, or things in our inner lives that even our close friends will never really understand?”

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @AlexaCrowder

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