The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
Mercury in Retrograde
2017, Michael Glover Smith, USA, 105 min. With Najarra Townsend, Roxane Mesquida.
“A remarkable film.” — Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com
“Beautifully filmed…laser-like scrutiny coupled with artistic sensitivity.” — Debra Davy, Splash Magazines
Three Chicago couples at various stages of their relationships — veteran marrieds Jack and Golda, recently hooked-up Peggy and Wyatt, and longer-term but still uncommitted Isabelle and Richard — come together for a weekend at a woodsy Michigan cabin. The group soon teams up along gender lines, with the men and the women engaging in separate activities, most tellingly on the final evening when, loosened by booze and rain, the women repair to a local bar while the men smokescreen their anxieties behind a discussion of Dashiell Hammett’s mystery novel "The Glass Key." The temporary separation from their respective partners shakes each of the sextet out of their familiar perspectives, accelerating below-the-surface shifts that will have a lasting impact on all of their lives. Chicago-based film critic Smith (White City Cinema) improves upon his impressive first film COOL APOCALYPSE with more polished camerawork and acting (including Alana Arenas of Steppenwolf and French star Roxane Mesquida of FAT GIRL), sharpening his already formidable skills for supremely observant relationship drama. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
2017, Kyle Henry, USA, 87 min. With Sara Sevigny, Jonny Mars.
"Does what a no-budget indie should do and burrows deeply into the minutiae of ordinary life." — Scott Tobias, Variety
“Achieves a vibrance that is rare among domestic dramas…draws its crackling energy and joy not from watching its characters reach definitive conclusions, but keeping up the passion to carry on.” — Stephen Saito, The Moveable Feast
“Sympathetic performances, understated direction…reminded me of British filmmaker Mike Leigh.” — Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
In the emotional rollercoaster of a third feature by Chicago-based director Henry (FOURPLAY), two urban couples, both middle-aged, come to a relationship crisis exacerbated by infidelity, concealed career downturns, and the fact that two of the people are siblings. A tenth anniversary party for real estate broker Zeke (Antoine McKay) and his preschool teacher wife Grace (Sevigny) begins as a hearty tribute to a seemingly strong and happy marriage, until the unexpected arrival of Grace’s troubled younger brother Chris (Mars) and his increasingly restless girlfriend Deena (Christine Horn). Daring no-holds-barred performances push this story into dangerous territory over a period of weeks, as secrets and longtime grudges surface with devastating consequences. DCP digital. (BS)