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Inquiring Nuns

Nov 23 — Dec 2, 2018

First ever theatrical release of the newly restored film on its 50th anniversary

A fascinating work of cinema verite by Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner, co-founders of Kartemquin Films, Inquiring Nuns (1968, 66 mins.) follows two young nuns as they crisscross Chicago, approaching strangers on the street, as well as in parking lots, the Art Institute, and churches, asking the simple question, “Are you happy?” They meet a lonely girl, a happy mother, young lovers, hippie musicians, a sociologist, and even the actor Lincoln Perry, better known as Stepin Fetchit, now on hard times. The interviewees are sometimes taken aback, nervous, or clamoring to get into view of the camera. Each interview is a complete and thoughtful piece of the person’s life, with no intercutting. The humor and sadness of these honest encounters lift the film beyond its experimental conceit into a serious and moving inquiry into contemporary society and the circumstances under which people examine their lives. Inquiring Nuns features the first credited film score by Philip Glass. A Kartemquin Films and Argot Pictures release. View trailer.

Inquiring Nuns is the closest thing to a ‘pure’ documentary that I have ever seen.” — William Routt, Film Quarterly, 1968

“A lovely, weirdly potent time capsule… a single, polyphonic ode to late ’67 Chicago and what was on the mind of its collective citizenry.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2016

Alongside Inquiring Nuns, the Museum will present other groundbreaking “man on the street” films from the 1960s: Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer (1961) and Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s Le Joli Mai (1963).