The 51st annual Chicago International Film Festival (CIIF) opens Thursday night with director Nanni Moretti’s Italian feature “Mia Madre” at the Auditorium Theatre.
The fest goes into full gear Friday, October 18 through Thursday, October 29.
For the lucky few that can take 13 days off and immerse themselves in the world of film, there will be 144 full-length films from 58 countries, shorts, programs, events, panels and more.
For the rest of us mortals, we’ll have to pick and choose. So much to see…so little time.
For horror fans…
CIIF has a bloody good line up of films for horror fans–shown as part of their After Dark, Sci Fi/Horror programming. Many start as late as 11:55pm. just to add a little more edge. Here’s two:
THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE
“They Look Like People” promises to make your skin crawl with mysterious forces inhabiting the bodies of everyone. Saturday, October 17, 10:45pm. and Friday, October 23, 3:00pm.
“Bite,” part of the After Dark, Sci Fi/Horror programming, from Canada, directed by Chad Archibald uses body horror to uncover the true terror of humanity’s mating rituals.
For architecture buffs…
In conjunction with Chicago’s Architecture Biennial, the CIIF is spotlighting architecture this year with the Festival’s Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design program.
CONCRETE LOVE: THE BOHM FAMILY
Foodies have a full menu of films, including a look a Chicago’s world class culinary scene, plus a special Taste of Cinema will showcase films along with restaurant pairings. Here’s two of the films in the tasty line-up of food related offerings:
BREAKFAST AT INA’S
Chicago’s beloved breakfast queen, known for her Heavenly Hots and her equally heavenly hospitality reflects on her 33 years in the restaurant biz. “Breakfast at Ina’s,” directed by Mercedes Kane makes its World Premiere at CIIF, October 18 (3:30pm.); October 22 (12:00pm.) and October 23 (4:00pm.). The film, part of the Taste of Cinema culinary experience will be paired with Chef Weliver of Local Roots (601 N. McClurg Ct.) where you will be able to get a taste of Ina’s iconic menu with a twist on October 18. The pairing is $50 including your ticket to the film.
Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Pang along with Mark Helenowski directed “For Grace”–a comprehensive documentary about famed Chicago Chef Curtis Duffy as he sets out to design and open his own ambitious restaurant. The film follows Duffy while telling his complex story as he pushes forward in a quest to overcome his traumatic past. That restaurant, Grace–as you may know is now one of the world’s greatest eateries. October 18, (8:15pm); October 22 (3:30pm.); October 26 (5:30pm).
BIG BUZZ FILMS…
If the previews that I have screened are any indication of what lies ahead, it looks like 2015 may be a banner year for CIFF films. Here are a few of my favorites along with the shows that seem to be getting the biggest buzz. Some, including “Carol” are already sold out.
“Carol” directed by Todd Haynes is period piece that takes place in NCY in the 1950s with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara–two women from very different backgrounds–in an unlikely and complicated love affair. October 28 (7:30pm.)
A PERFECT DAY
A M*A*S*H*-like black comedy out of Spain, “A Perfect Day,” directed by Fernando León de Aranoa follows Benicio del Toro and Tim Robbins as part of a motley crew of aid workers stumbling through the Balkan War in 1995 struggling to do good in bad places. October 25 (8:00pm.); October 27 (7:45).
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
Michael Moore is at it again within an hilarious romp as through a host of nations to learn how the U.S. could improve its own prospects in “Where To Invade Next” The creator of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine has put together an eye-opening call to arms–that should have us rethinking our priorities.
Newly added to the CIIF line-up is “Anomalisa,” the story of a man crippled by the mundanity of his life who finds a possible escape on a business trip to Cincinnati. Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman direct this stop-motion animation wonder featuring the vocal cast of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a stirring strings-based score by Carter Burwell. October 21, (7:00pm.).
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay 45 years together spins out of control at their anniversary party when a buried secret from the husbands past rears its ugly head. October 17 (3:30pm) October 20 (6:15pm.).
HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
“Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’– A coming-of-age drama by Chicago-based filmmaker Stephen Cone tells the heartbreaking story of a 17-year-old boy struggling with his sexual preferences. October 22 (3:00pm.); October 23 (8:00pm.); October 24 (11:30am.).
In 1962, Francois Truffaut persuaded Alfred Hitchcock to sit with him for a week-long interview to share the secrets of his cinema. The result: “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” based on the original recordings from this meeting. These are the words of the man responsible for the creation of films including Psycho, The Birds and Vertigo. October 24 (5:00pm.) October 26; (6:00pm.).
“Spotlight,” closes out the festival. The powerful story explores the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse among its ranks. October 29 (7pm.).
TICKETS AND INFORMATION
The 51st Chicago International Film Festival, October 15 through October 29, AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., For more information, click here.
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