The Ocular Loci calendar lists Chicago-area screenings of films and videos in the following categories:

  1. "classics" and other non-contemporary works of aesthetic merit;
  2. "avant-garde" or "experimental" works, encompassing the wide variety of alternative ways of organizing basic cinematic elements (light/shadow, time/space, sometimes sound), beyond the narrow realm of character/plot-driven, synch-sound narrative; and
  3. other works I believe are important or otherwise interesting (e.g., documentaries that tackle issues ignored by our corporate media).

As a rule, new releases with a regular run (those which screen daily for a week or more) are not listed. While there are certainly many "arthouse" releases worth checking out, Ocular Loci is focused on the rarer opportunities:  not films which have six screenings a day, but those which may have six screenings a decade -- with the hope that expanding the audience for these films will make these opportunities less rare.  To further cultivate appreciation and critical thought, links are provided to online texts about particular films or directors.

Though advances in home-viewing technologies have greatly improved access to reproductions of neglected films, if cinema is to be fully appreciated as the unique artform that it is, then it is essential for films -- as it is with most artworks -- to be seen in the form and context for which they were created, i.e., theatrical screenings of light projected through a celluloid strip which bounces off a screen into the eyeballs.  Or, as Stan Brakhage put it, "on-off illumination of individual still images in sequence."

Recommendations are based on personal viewings or on a film's reputation among cinephiles who have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of cinema and the broad range of its aesthetic possibilities.

BACK TO THE CALENDAR

PS:  the use of "selected/unselected" is in acknowledgment of master percussionist Paul Lovens