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CFA Receives Avant-Garde Masters Grant to Preserve Tom Palazzolo’s Caligari’s Cure

October 13, 2023
Caligaris Cure Title Card Gif Web

We are delighted to announce that the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Film Foundation have awarded Chicago Film Archives an Avant-Garde Masters Grant to photochemically preserve Tom Palazzolo’s first feature film, Caligari’s Cure (1982). Working from the original negatives and sound mix in CFA’s Tom Palazzolo Collection, we will collaborate with Colorlab to strike new polyester internegatives, soundtracks, and prints of the film. The funding for this project is generously provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. 

Most well-known for his darkly comedic documentaries about Chicago oddballs, Palazzolo produced, wrote, directed, and edited this semi-autobiographical take on Robert Weine’s 1919 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while he was an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Set in a bizarro St. Louis and populated with characters from Palazzolo’s boyhood memories, Caligari’s Cure is an irreverent retelling of Palazzolo’s youth that is both absurd and tender. Heavily inspired by Palazzolo’s new-found interest in performance art, the film features burgeoning talents Carmela Rago, Andy Somma, and Ellen Fisher; Palazzolo filled the rest of the cast with non-actors, including his SAIC students and Chicago art scene stalwarts like Heather McAdams. After premiering in Chicago, it received high praise at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and enjoyed a one-week run at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of their New American Filmmakers series in 1983.

Since 2005, CFA has photochemically preserved more than 40 films from our collection thanks to Basic Preservation Grants from the NFPF, a nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. You can read more about other films CFA has photochemically preserved on our Preservation Projects page. Many thanks to the NFPF for their continued support!


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