“Are You Happy?,” is the question asked by two young nuns roving the streets of Chicago in 1968, followed by a camera, in our classic cinema verite documentary Inquiring Nuns.
Inquiring Nuns screens for free at the Millennium Park Summer Film Series on July 26, 6:30pm, as the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Millennium Park Foundation celebrate 50 years of Kartemquin Films with Kartemquin Night at Millennium Park.
The evening begins with a discussion about filmmaking and Chicago’s history and present social issues with Kartemquin Films’ Founder and Artistic Director Gordon Quinn and Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago's Professor in Cinema and Media Studies and the interim director (2015-16) of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry) interviewed by journalist Ray Pride (Newcity’s Film Editor).
Quinn will also showcase a clip of his forthcoming film and web project ‘63 Boycott, which uses original archival footage of 200,000 Chicagoans protesting racial segregation in 1963 to encourage discussion of the past and present of the city's struggles around racial equality and the education system.
Inquiring Nuns is one of Kartemquin’s most iconic films. As the two nuns explore the sites of Chicago (from a supermarket, to the Art Institute of Chicago, to Bronzeville churches, to Hyde Park Co-Op, and more) they ask the same question to each of the city’s citizens - "Are you happy?" The answers vary: "Happiness is the absence of fear," "Avoiding people," "Raspberries," "Joy in knowing Christ." They meet a lonely girl, a happy mother, young lovers, hippie musicians, a sociologist and even character actor Stepin Fetchit.
The film is notable as a distinctly American response to the pioneering French documentary Chronicle of a Summer (1960), and as the first ever soundtrack recording by Philip Glass, who was a friend of Directors Gordon Quinn and Jerry Temaner's at University of Chicago. The microphone used in the film can also be seen at the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events exhibit, "Kartemquin Films: 50 Years of Democracy Through Documentary," which runs until August 20th at Expo 72 (72 E. Randolph St.)
With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 50 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Guidestar
© 2017 Kartemquin Educational Films
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