The Illinois Parables
Using reenactment, archival footage and audio, observational shooting, intertitles, voiceover, and the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jacques Marquette, and Alexis de Tocqueville, Deborah Stratman’s widely acclaimed essay film The Illinois Parables covers a couple of millennia of history in Illinois as a microcosm of the entire country. Organized into eleven chapters (or “parables”), this timely and affecting film pushes the limits of collage to address some of the state’s most pressing social and political realities, from the expulsion of the Cherokee and other Native American tribes along the Trail of Tears in the 1830s and the anti-Mormon violence in Nauvoo in the 1840s, to the World Word II Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago and the murder of Black Panther party leader Fred Hampton.
Curated by Zain Jamshaid (CMS) as part of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Student Curatorial Program.
(Deborah Stratman, USA, 2016, 60 min., 16mm)
Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, and faith. She has exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Mercer Union, Witte de With, and the Whitney Biennial, and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, CPH/DOX, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame, Rotterdam, and the Berlinale. Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim, and USA Collins fellowships, a Creative Capital grant, and an Alpert Award. She teaches at the University of Illinois.