There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
From Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin: Symphony of a Big City to Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera, the “city symphony” was a mainstay of silent-era art cinema. Dan Eisenberg’s 2003 film Something More Than Night is too choppy to be called a symphony, and it’s not silent, although it is essentially without dialogue. But it fits loosely in the tradition of ’20s films that tried to capture the sweep and pulse of major metropolises. Eisenberg never shows the sign or landmark that would definitely specify the city he’s filming, but there are a number of locations that are easily identified as Chicago, including Union Station, O’Hare Airport, and a CTA stop in a highway median. (That could be the Sears Tower, too, although the structure is largely obscured by clouds.) Yet the movie is less concerned with any particular city than with nighttime, distance, and voyeurism. Eisenberg provides a series of fixed-position shots—one per setup—that are mostly from the outside looking in. (One intimate interior scene, although entirely benign, comes as a shock.) The action begins as offices shut down for the evening, with people putting on coats and turning off lights. This is not a day in the life: Sometimes it’s a warm evening, but in one shot snow falls. Everything feels detached, but that’s hardly surprising in a society where a billboard advertises a DNA testing service to determine your child’s father. Eisenberg will attend the screening at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 1, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)