SAIC faculty member Chris Sullivan’s first feature is a haunting, organic, decades-long accumulation of fearsome animation of fearful dreams. “Consuming Spirits” weaves together hand-drawn, cutout, stop-motion and clay techniques with the gossamer gloom of moldering nightmare. His Rustbelt Appalachia isn’t a a wholly forbidding place, but it’s intensely detailed in a way that makes you glad you don’t live there. Comparisons to Sullivan’s Gothic imagination have been made to Cassavetes and the memory pieces of Terence Davies like “Distant Voices/Still Lives,” and those comparisons may not be far of the mark. Both reverie and fugue, this is rich, singular, Southern work. Winner of the Chicago Award at the 2012 Chicago International Film Festival. DCP video. 129m. (Ray Pride)
“Consuming Spirits” opens Friday at Siskel. Sullivan will appear Friday and Thursday. A trailer is below.
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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.