Here’s the real “Whiteout” across living snow: Paul Devlin’s documentary following his astrophysicist brother, Dr. Mark Devlin, for five years, along with his team of scientists who want to know how galaxies formed. They’ll find out by placing a telescope in a high-altitude balloon, launched in the clear skies of the Arctic and Antarctica. The device’s name gives the film’s title: Balloon-borne, Large-Aperture, Submillimeter Telescope. These guys talk a great game, but the advanced technology gleaming across the empty white expanses is equally memorable and endlessly suggestive. The constant endangerment of the delicate equipment provides another layer. The intelligence on screen thrills rather than bewilders, a tribute to both Devlin brothers. 74m. (Ray Pride)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.