Soundings: Films by James Herbert

Directed by: James Herbert

Admission: $8

For The National Pastime Theater’s "Naked July: Art Stripped Down" summer festival, Chicago Filmmakers is presenting a retrospective of work by filmmaker James Herbert. Although he was better known for the music videos he directed for R.E.M. (It’s The End of The World As We Know It), Herbert made a series of amazing short films and a few acclaimed features. Each of these films is a highly stylized nude study of beautiful young heterosexual couples in decayed settings in the American south (Herbert is based in Athens, Georgia) that suggest new beginnings from old ruins: Automan (1988, 20 min.) takes place in the back seat of a broken down car, Piano (1988, 20 min.) in a crumbling theater, Soundings (1986, 20 min.) in an old prairie house. Unlike the others, Frontiers (1984, 20 min.) is shot in a studio, but the juxtaposition of sexual contact with the audio recording of a recent argument conveys a similar interest in cycles of struggle and evolution. (1984 – 88, 80 min., 16mm)

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