The Illinois Parables

Director: Deborah Stratman
Screenwriters: Deborah Stratman

Institute History

  • 2016 Sundance Film Festival


From dreamy aerial opening shots, we are sent on an expedition through the storied land of our fifth most populous state, Illinois, often called a miniature version of America. Deborah Stratman’s experimental documentary explores how physical landscapes and human politics can each re-interpret historical events. Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism, and resistance. Who gets to write history—physical monuments, official news accounts, or personal spoken-word memories?
Over the last 25 years, Stratman has built an impressive career in experimental cinema. She has documented the edges of the human race with her distinctive vision lending subtle commentary. Building on past films like In Order Not to Be Here and O’er the Land, she now deftly observes the social scars on Illinois with her trademark stunning cinematography and intricate sound design.

Screens with YúYú
Beekeeper Shé Zu? B?n performs a "rite of spring," in which queen bees are placed on his body and then summon worker bees. He stands still, covered by bees, allowing the buzzing to dominate all and become a protective shield.

— Mike Plante

Screening Details

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