Thursdays (1)

The Interrator: The Documentary Work of Errol Morris

This series is sponsored by the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.


2014-10-02 @ 7:00 PM

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control

(Errol Morris, 1997) · Eschewing the conventions of the normal talking head documentary, Errol Morris turns his attention to four vastly different men: a lion tamer, a topiary gardener, a mad scientist at MIT who studies robotics, and finally, Ray Mendez, a man who has dedicated a majority of his life to the study of a breed of blind hairless mole rats in Africa. The transience and timelessness of these men's lines of work unite them, despite a lack of interaction.

runtime: 82 min format: 35mm


2014-10-09 @ 7:00 PM

FREE SCREENING: The Unknown Known

(Errol Morris, 2013) · Morris reconceives history from the inside out using his own take on "enhanced interrogation techniques." Morris interviewed Donald Rumsfeld for over 30 hours, and yet Rumsfeld does not reflect, regret, or apologize. As the title contends, Rumsfeld may not be the man everyone thinks they know from his years of service under Ford and George W. Bush. Ultimately, The Unknown Known is about what Donald Rumsfeld thinks about Donald Rumsfeld.

Starting at 6:30pm, Professor Robert Pape will give a special lecture before the film.

runtime: 105 min format: DCP
Presented in partnership with the Institute of Politics.


2014-10-16 @ 7:00 PM


(Errol Morris, 2010) · A beauty pageant winner since birth, Joyce McKinney was a tabloid story twice over: first, in 1977 as the kidnapper in the "Mormon Sex in Chains" case, then, almost thirty years later, as the former kidnapper turned sex maniac who cloned her dog. Morris tunes out the noise of the media to focus on his subject so acutely that it becomes irrelevant to the audience if she's "barking mad" or not. Instead, he manages to connect the dots and humanize a headline.

runtime: 87 min format: 35mm


2014-10-23 @ 7:00 PM

The Fog of War

(Errol Morris, 2003) · Morris' no-frills examination of former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara is downright chilling. Utilizing a seamless blend of archival footage and interview snippets, McNamara lists his eleven tenets to live by. In doing so, he reveals not only his personal glories and failures, but also shows us those of America throughout the 20th century. A timely release at the onset of the 2003 invasion of Iraq helped propel Morris to his first Oscar win.

runtime: 107 min format: 35mm
Presented in partnership with the Institute of Politics.


2014-10-30 @ 7:00 PM

Standard Operating Procedure

(Errol Morris, 2008) · In this 2008 examination of human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Morris gradually constructs and recreates the events from the entire body of photographic evidence. He succeeds in illustrating both the reductive and obscuring power of photography and the failure to adequately assign broad responsibility for the abuse of prisoners. His thematic concerns here predate his later work on photography, most notably his book Believing is Seeing.

runtime: 111 min format: 35mm
Presented in partnership with the Institute of Politics.


2014-11-06 @ 7:00 PM

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.

(Errol Morris, 1999) · Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. made his living designing improvements to electrical chairs and other instruments of capital punishment, but it wasn't until he testified in defense of Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel in 1988 that the world came to know his name. Here, Morris depicts a man who claims to believe that the mechanics of the gas chambers used in the Holocaust made mass genocide impossible, even as he admits that he has little to no knowledge of them.

runtime: 91 min format: 35mm
Presented in partnership with the Institute of Politics.


2014-11-13 @ 7:00 PM

The Act of Killing

(Joshua Oppenheimer, 2013) · Much like executive producer Morris has done before, Oppenheimer manages to reinvent the documentary form. Oppenheimer, a recently anointed MacArthur Genius, examines the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-1966 to jaw-dropping effect. His genius lies not only in his uncanny ability to identify the men behind these killings, but also in his ability to convince them to reenact the crimes 45 years later. The Act of Killing requires repeat viewings and serves as the perfect companion piece to The Fog of War.

runtime: 122 min format: DCP


2014-11-20 @ 6:00 PM

FREE SCREENING: Vernon, Florida & Gates of Heaven

(Errol Morris, 1981 & 1978) · Originally setting out to make a film called Nub City about the notorious Vernon residents who cut off their own limbs for the insurance money, Morris turned his eyes to the town's population at large after one of the so-called "nubbies" tried to run over cinematographer Ned Burgess with a truck. / Famously reviewed by Siskel and Ebert three times on their show, Gates of Heaven launched Errol Morris' career. While its subject is certainly compelling, more interesting is Morris' approach to it, which works as a complex examination of love.

runtime: 55 + 85 min format: DVD


2014-12-04 @ 7:00 PM

The Thin Blue Line

(Errol Morris, 1988) · Morris transitions from true detective to documentarian in this expose of the faults of the criminal justice system. The film works on two levels: on one as a did-he/didn't-he regarding the 1976 murder of a police officer and on the other as an essay film on false histories. The Thin Blue Line was instrumental in releasing Randall Dale Adams from death row and clarifiying the blurred lines of reality and fiction when life and death is at stake.

runtime: 103 min format: Digital
Presented in partnership with the Institute of Politics.


back to the calendar

Facebook Twitter Instagram