Films of a higher tier, those stamped with the seal of Art, usually accrue a more serious following than many of the movies being made on a supposedly lower-tier – those branded with the scalding mark of the “mainstream”. As we create and bolster these tiers, in the shadow of a class system curiously similar in construction, the public risks being further and further from our desire for liberation, for enlightenment, and for pure, unadulterated entertainment. Cinema was born to fulfill the needs of spectacle for the working classes – the mainstream. Yet, as time pressed on, and the cinematic form grew, so did the separation of cinema from its origins, from the people and their governing reality.
As Walter Benjamin put it, higher art sought “concentration” while lower art fostered “distraction”, an idea so preposterous to the German-Jewish philosopher, that he went on to say: “…all of this to distort and corrupt the original and justified interest of the masses in the film – an interest in them understanding themselves and therefore their class.”
It is with this thought that Music Box Chicago presents, ‘Highs & Lows’: a mini-film fest questioning, bridging, and destroying the gap between the idea of bad vs good, high vs low, and art vs pleasure.
‘Highs & Lows‘ is an experiment in coupling mainstream pop culture with canonical arthouse classics. Each of the films being presented is made-to-order for every persuasion of the modern-moviegoing scene steered towards a horizon hellbent on canonical and hierarchical obliteration.
This series illuminates the often surprising thematic connections and motifs between supposedly antithetical films. From the homoerotic threads running through male friendship in Dumb & Dumber & Y Tu Mama Tambien to the obsessive studies of guilt, loneliness, and regret woven throughout Peggy Sue Got Married & The Last Temptation of Christ, all the way to the surrealist, comedic-escapism rooted in the painful truths of human experience showcased in Billy Madison & The Phantom of Liberty; Highs & Lows is a series designed to highlight the spectacle of the cinema.
Click here to purchase tickets to the remaining shows in this series!