About Brian Belak

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Nov. 10 at Doc Films: “The Red Balloon” and “White Mane”

Nov. 10 at Doc Films: “The Red Balloon” and “White Mane”

On every Monday night until December, Doc Films shows another film in their Cinema of Childhood series. While the programming so far has been full of great films, it is the double bill showing on Monday, November 10, that showcases some of the purest and simplest expression of childhood on film: Albert Lamorisse’s two short(…)

August 27 at Doc Films: “History is Made at Night”

August 27 at Doc Films: “History is Made at Night”

The story of a transcontinental love triangle set aboard decadent ocean liners from a past era, History is Made at Night (1937), showing at Doc Films on Wednesday, August 27, features a rather convoluted plot, but with just enough charm and romance to save itself from ultimately crashing headfirst to its own Titanic-like doom. To(…)

August 21 at Doc Films: “Suzhou River”

August 21 at Doc Films: “Suzhou River”

Turning its back on the rapidly developing, booming face of Shanghai at the turn of the century, Lou Ye’s Suzhou River, showing at Doc Films on Thursday, August 21, is a gritty portrayal of tragic love in the underbelly of the world’s largest city. An unnamed, faceless videographer walks along the titular Suzhou River, spray-painting signs(…)

August 15 at Doc Films: “Japanese Summer: Double Suicide”

August 15 at Doc Films: “Japanese Summer: Double Suicide”

Even today, when classic Japanese cinema is discussed, three names immediately come up: Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu. But by the 1960s, a new set of filmmakers had grown tired of their revered predecessors. In part led by Nagisa Oshima, whose Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967) shows at Doc Films on Friday, August 15, the Japanese(…)

August 2 at Doc Films: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

August 2 at Doc Films: “Jodorowsky’s Dune”

BY BRIAN BELAK The 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, showing at Doc Films at the University of Chicago on Saturday, August 2, is an account of the greatest sci-fi movie never made, or at least, that’s what it wants you to come out believing. The story goes that in 1973, fresh off the success of surrealist(…)

July 25 at Doc Films: “Mysterious Skin”

July 25 at Doc Films: “Mysterious Skin”

BY BRIAN BELAK HeraldBlog Contributor In between his child actor days of the ‘90s and his return to stardom in the late ‘00s, Joseph Gordon-Levitt took a break from acting full time to instead study at Columbia University. This break afforded him the time to take on smaller, more interesting projects than before, playing a(…)

July 17 at Doc Films: “T-Men”

July 17 at Doc Films: “T-Men”

BY BRIAN BELAK From the depiction of a gritty crime underworld to the fast dialogue and dark, shadowy sets, director Anthony Mann’s 1947 film T-Men, showing at Doc Films at the University of Chicago on Thursday, July 17, is a quintessential film noir in every way. The eponymous T-Men (short for Treasury-Men) are two U.S.(…)

July 5 at Doc Films: “An American Werewolf in London”

July 5 at Doc Films: “An American Werewolf in London”

BY BRIAN BELAK When making An American Werewolf in London, showing at Doc Films at the University of Chicago on Saturday, July 5, writer/director John Landis (of Animal House and Blues Brothers fame) drew upon his comedic background to inform his take on the horrors of lycanthropy. The resulting film, at times hilarious and frightening,(…)

June 28 at Doc Films: “My Man Godfrey”

June 28 at Doc Films: “My Man Godfrey”

BY BRIAN BELAK The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt only began in 1987, but the history of scavenger hunts traces back much farther than that, developing out of the tradition of ancient folk games. In the 1930s, scavenger hunts became popular at parties of the New York elite, a phenomenon at the core of 1936’s(…)

June 5 at Doc Films: “The House of the Devil”

June 5 at Doc Films: “The House of the Devil”

BY BRIAN BELAK Borrowing heavily from ‘70s and ‘80s slasher films, The House of the Devil (2009), showing at Doc Films at the University of Chicago on Thursday, June 5, is a classic horror film in style, though its actual substance remains a little lacking. Set in the early ‘80s, the film focuses on broke(…)