The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival runs through Sunday, April 21 at theaters scattered throughout the north side. The key films are playing tonight.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, a documentary about the Memphis rock band Big Star. Their only album, release in 1972, was an unusually adventurous example of post-Beatles rock. Critics loved their music, but their record company, the great soul label Stax, never figured out how to transfer rock critics' praise into an effective marketing and distribution plan, and the band went defunct after their first album. Big Star has become a cult band, but one of its key members died in a car crash in 1978–he was working in a fast food restaurant at the time–and the film asks the question: Was their brief moment of fame worth it?
A similar tale is told in Sacrificial Youth, about a band of skateboard punks who attract the interest of a major label, much to their chagrin. The band embraces a number of low-fi genres, none of which you will recognize. The director Joe Losurdo has only a vague notion himself, but his camera sorts through the sub-subcultures for memorable images, if not narrative coherence.