Weeklong Runs & Special Events
Two Week run!
- IS THE MAN WHO IS
- TALL HAPPY?:
- AN ANIMATED CONVERSATION
- WITH NOAM CHOMSKY
- 2013, Michel Gondry, France, 89 min.
"Entrancing, vibrant...This is a movie that celebrates the life of a great mind."
—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A documentary-like dazzler...This is a film to see and then see again, to soak in and marvel at."
—Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Philosopher, linguist, logician and political activist Noam Chomsky would seem an unlikely subject for an animated film, which is what makes this imaginative and ultimately profound gem such a delightful and thoroughly entertaining surprise. Oscar-winning director Gondry (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) plays the naïve layman to Chomsky’s erudite but patient professor, posing a series of questions that wander through the labyrinth of ideas and theory, of life, work, love and afterlife, their conversation animated in hand-drawn interpretive doodles which spark with the vitality of colorfully firing synapses. DCP digital. (BS)
- 2012, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia, 98 min.
- With Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah
“A stunningly assured debut, a slyly subversive delight, and one of my favorite movies of the year so far."
—Dana Stevens, Slate
“A must-see…a groundbreaking film in more ways than one.”
—Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times
This gently rebellious movie has broken down barriers and is winning hearts worldwide, and just may be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. The first-ever film made in Saudi Arabia (a country with no movie theaters), and directed by a woman to boot, WADJDA tells the tale of a spunky ten-year-old girl whose desire for a gleaming green bicycle sparks an entrepreneurial spirit that brings her into conflict with the plethora of rules by which her culture limits women. With everyone in her life telling her no, independent-minded Wadjda is blithely and boldly sly in working the system. In Arabic with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- WHITE REINDEER
- 2013, Zach Clark, USA, 82 min.
- With Anna Margaret Hollyman, Laura Lemar-Goldsborough
“Among the most striking and original American films to emerge in some time…charts its own strange course toward the sublime.”
—Calum Marsh, Village Voice
“Full of laughs and full of heart…a star-making performance from Hollyman.”
—Ryland Aldrich, Twitch.com
This poignant comedy is subversive to its core, as real estate agent Suzanne (Hollyman), gearing up for her annual fix of holiday cheer, has her ordered life run off the rails by an unexpected stroke of fate. Director Clark (VACATION!) has a knack for the kinky mix of hilarious suburban camp and heart-tugging drama with a startlingly dark underbelly. Suzanne seeks relief from her woes in sex, drugs, binge-shopping, and strangely-motivated friendships with a stripper named Fantasia and the swingers down the block (the husband played with bare-all élan by Chicago’s own Joe Swanberg). DCP digital. (BS)
Q&A with John Sayles via Skype!
- GO FOR SISTERS
- 2013, John Sayles, USA, 123 min.
- With LisaGay Hamilton, Yolanda Ross, Edward James Olmos
“A return to form for John Sayles…arthouse appeal is solid.”
—John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“Classical, involving human drama...Sayles gives us vibrant, complex characters inhabited by actors who burrow deep.”
—Scott Foundas, Village Voice
John Sayles (AMIGO, LONE STAR) brings a neo-noir edge to this tale of a missing son, an unsolved murder, and human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. In an intriguingly dark take on the buddy movie, Bernice (Hamilton), a tough L.A. parole officer, renews an old friendship while leveraging a favor from Fontayne (Ross), a new parolee determined to go straight. Dangerously risking career and freedom, respectively, the two embark on an off-the-grid search for Bernice’s missing son, a murder suspect, in the underworld haunts of Tijuana and Mexicali, with Suarez (Olmos), a disgraced L.A. cop, as their guide. DCP digital. (BS)
Director John Sayles will participate in an audience Q&A via Skype, moderated by Newcity film critic Ray Pride following the Friday show.
Two week run!
- FOLLOWING THE NINTH:
- IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF
- BEETHOVEN’S FINAL SYMPHONY
- 2013, Kerry Candaele, Germany/USA/UK, 78 min.
“A majestic sonic travelogue... Each anecdote builds upon the next to create that rarest of films: a documentary as ineffable and transformative in its reach as it sets out to be."
—John Oursler, Village Voice
“Thrilling... all the film’s segments are smartly assembled and gracefully paced. Oh, and the score’s pretty good, too.”
—Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times
In the more than 180 years since Beethoven completed his Ninth Symphony, written in 1824 when he was completely deaf, the hauntingly uplifting “Ode to Joy” choral finale has transcended its place in the world’s concert halls to become the rallying anthem of struggling and oppressed people around the globe. Director Candaele follows the artistic, cultural, and political impact of the Ninth across five continents and ten countries, from Tiananmen Square to the Berlin Wall to the prisons of Pinochet’s Chile and the townships of South Africa, tracing the ways in which its grand, soaring melody and inspiring words of peace, tolerance, and love have sustained hope in a manner that few works of art have ever achieved. DCP digital. (BS)
Back by popular demand!
- ANTONIO GAUDÍ
- 1985, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan, 72 min.
Our holiday tradition, we bring back the ever-popular cult film by Hiroshi Teshigahara (WOMAN OF THE DUNES), inspired by the wild, undulating, joyously erupting forms of Barcelona architect Antonio Gaudí. Teshigahara's eye for texture, shape and sensual detail meets Gaudí's whimsy in the cinematic exploration of such masterpieces of visionary architecture as the cathedral of the Sagrada Familia. The contemporary of artists such as Picasso and Joan Miró, Gaudí drew on Barcelona's medieval Romanesque architecture and ancient Arab culture for his inspiration. This film reveals the intricacy and hallucinatory richness of his concepts through camerawork alone. Forgoing narration, Teshigahara accompanies his images with a brilliantly eclectic selection of music, ranging from baroque harpsichord to glass orchestra. 35mm. (BS)
- THE GRANDMASTER
- (YI DAI ZONG SHI)
- 2013, Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong/China, 108 min.
- With Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi
“May well be the definitive illustration of kung fu in all its arcane schools and intricate styles...There's never been anything like it--a seemingly endless flow of spectacular images.”
—Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
“Venturing into fresh creative terrain…boasting one of the most propulsive yet ethereal realizations of authentic martial arts onscreen.”
—Maggie Lee, Variety
Arthouse favorite Wong Kar-wai (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) long dreamed of reinventing the martial arts film. Framed as a biopic of Bruce Lee’s master Ip Man (Leung), THE GRANDMASTER boasts the visual daring of ASHES OF TIME, the director’s 1994 venture into kung fu territory, but with accelerated speed and sweep and a new emphasis on technique and lore. Fans of Wong’s mood-drenched style won’t be disappointed with this alluring mix of historical tragedy and unrequited passion, featuring a ravishing Zhang Ziyi as the young fighter Gong Er. The martial arts choreography is by the great Yuen Woo-ping (THE MATRIX; CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON). In Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
- I’M SO EXCITED!
- (LOS AMANTES PASAJEROS)
- 2013, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 90 min.
- Javier Cámara, Pepe Charro
“Buoyant and bawdy…the mix of the absurd and the acerbic is often sublime.”
—Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
“It’s a hoot...a pleasant reminder of the joyfully kinky comedies that made Almodóvar famous.”
—Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times
After hits pairing comedy with deep pathos (ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, VOLVER, the Oscar-winning TALK TO HER), Almodóvar throws caution to the winds, literally, with this frothily airborne farce. Three high-spirited gay airline stewards in business class enliven a wackily jinxed flight from Madrid to Mexico City with shenanigans that include sex, drugs, and musical numbers. The roster of passengers includes a psychic, a dominatrix, a hit man, an aging Lothario, a banker on the run, and a pair of woozy newlyweds. Cameos by Almodóvar superstars Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- INSIDE THE MIND OF LEONARDO
- 2013, Julian Jones, UK/Canada, 85 min.
- With Peter Capaldi
“An atmospheric, gripping and beautifully dramatized documentary...wonderful and unmissable.”
—Julia Raeside, The Guardian
“Visually stunning...the artist’s thoughts, imaginings and irreverences are brought to life via animation and, particularly, superb cinematography.”
Masterpieces including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper have their place in this visually sumptuous documentary, but they take a back seat to the most revealing work of Leonardo da Vinci’s career: the 6,000 wondrous pages of his private journals. The discoveries, the musings, the grudges and gripes, the frustrations and troubles of this self-educated bastard son of a peasant woman leap into life, as award-winning actor Capaldi (IN THE LOOP) shifts between characterization and narration of Da Vinci’s own words. The film is set against the distinctive landscape of Tuscany, with eye-popping graphics and animations of the master’s drawings and inventions. DCP digital. (BS)
UPDATE: November 21, 2013
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the previously scheduled shows of INSIDE THE MIND OF LEONARDO on Saturday at 6:30, Sunday at 4:45, Monday at 7:45 and Thursday at 6:00, have ben cancelled. We deeply regret this and apologize for any inconvenience.
We will be adding shows of FOLLOWING THE NINTH: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BEETHOVEN'S FINAL SYMPHONY in place of the cancelled shows.
- COLD TURKEY
- 2013, Will Slocombe, USA, 84 min.
- With Alicia Witt, Peter Bogdanovich
“A solid cast, led by a wry and heartbreaking Peter Bogdanovich…most affecting.”
—Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
A major holiday is only the excuse for the long-simmering black-comic implosion of a high-living Pasadena clan headed by government-policy wonk Poppy (Bogdanovich in an impressively nuanced performance) and his trophy wife (Cheryl Hines). The sins come home to roost and all the ugly secrets come out to play when married daughter Lindsay, her half-brother Jacob, and hellion-on-wheels sister Nina (Witt) and her truck-driver boyfriend show up for Thanksgiving, dishing up a mélange of troubles that range from overdue interest on a juice loan to a needy love-child. DCP digital. (BS)
First Chicago run!
- AT BERKELEY
- 2013, Frederick Wiseman, USA, 244 min.
“I can’t think of another film portrait of higher education that matches this one for comprehensiveness, intellectual depth, and hope. “
—David Denby, The New Yorker
“Terrific...one of the vérité godfather's richest features yet.”
—Aaron Hillis, Village Voice
The 39th film by master documentarian Wiseman has been one of his most acclaimed. As always, he focuses on a particular institution, and this one is especially rich and fascinating: the University of California at Berkeley, cross-sectioned as it finds itself at a crossroads, its status as a great public institution threatened by massive state budget cuts. From the highest-level policy meetings to the campus’s lone lawnmower, from debates on diversity to a classroom analysis of a John Donne poem, from student protests to football rallies, Wiseman fashions a multifaceted canvas that resonates on several levels: as an in-depth portrait of a particular university with a distinctive legacy, as an example of the tough choices currently facing all educational institutions, and as a microcosm of America itself in an era of multicultural expansion and economic downsizing. DCP digital. (MR)
TWO WEEK RUN!
- SPINNING PLATES
- 2012, Joseph Levy, USA, 93 min.
“A foodie phantasmagoria and something more…an involving look at personal dramas that go well beyond the kitchen.”
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Splendid and engrossing…the undisputed star is renowned chef Grant Achatz, owner of Chicago’s Alinea.”
—Inkoo Kang, Village Voice
Three behind-the-scenes stories link three very different restaurants: Chicago’s three-star Michelin-ranked Alinea; generations-old Breitbach’s Country Dining in Iowa; and the humble mom-and-pop La Cocina de Gabby in Tucson, demonstrating that excellence and drive to succeed are not limited by budget. Mouth-watering imagery details Grant Achatz’s innovative molecular creations, Cindy Breitbach’s pies, and Gabby Martinez’s Mexican fare from family recipes. Challenges differ, but these unique establishments share a passion for food and a platter full of dreams. DCP digital. (BS)
- BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS
- 2012, Laura Colella, USA, 84 min.
- With Jonah Parker, Theo Green
“Delightfully quirky…beautifully executed and packs a big emotional wallop.”
—Danny Miller, MSN Movies
“Magical…Colella has created an incredibly enjoyable place to visit, and damn if I'm not dying to move in.”
—Ryland Aldrich, Twitch.com
BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS brings to life one idyllic summer in a rambling Victorian house in Providence, where Syd, a cranky blowhard bookseller, lords it over an equally eccentric clutch of tenants, squabbles with the neighbors, and holds a bizarre grudge against reclusive 14-year-old Curtis. The old-fashioned garden bursts with color, wine glasses are never empty, and peace, love, and understanding somehow come to reign in this whimsical coming-of-age tale when Syd buries the hatchet with his nemesis by means of a wacky video diary. DCP digital. (BS)
- LIV & INGMAR
- 2012, Dheeraj Akolkar, Norway, 89 min.
- With Liv Ullmann
“Cinephiles will lap it up.”
—John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
“Poignant and compassionate.”
—Kurt Brokaw, The Independent
One of the most important director/actor partnerships in film history is illuminated in this moving recollection. Rather than shuffling through an assortment of talking heads, the film concentrates on an in-depth interview with Liv Ullmann, illustrated with excerpts and on-the-set footage. A superb, heartfelt storyteller, the actress-director traces her long personal and working relationship with Ingmar Bergman, from their intense love affair during the filming of PERSONA through break-up, reconciliation, friendship, and a touching farewell on the eve of Bergman’s death in 2007. Ullmann is remarkably candid and insightful in her account of their passionate/painful relationship and its direct influence on the masterworks they created together. In English and Swedish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
Note: Two Bergman/Ullmann classics, PERSONA and CRIES AND WHISPERS, will be shown during the week of Jan. 10-16; see the Repertory section for details.
LIV & INGMAR DISCOUNT!
Buy a ticket at our regular prices for any screening of LIV & INGMAR, and get a ticket to any screening of PERSONA and/or CRIES AND WHISPERS at this discount rate (tickets must be purchased at the same time in person at the Film Center box office): General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second and third films only.)
- BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
- (LA VIE D’ADÈLE)
- 2013, Abdellatif Kechiche, France/Belgium/Spain, 179 min.
- With Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos
“Strong and honest…one of the necessary films of 2013.”
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“The first great love story of the 21st century that could belong only to this century... Sofian El Fani’s gorgeous, fluid, up-close cinematography deserves to be seen on the big screen, if at all possible”
—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
The trajectory of a tumultuous love affair between two women, young working-class Adèle (Exarchopoulos) and twenty-something artist Emma (Seydoux), is grounded in the normalcy of the ordinary. The Cannes Palme d’Or winner’s notoriously explicit sex takes a backseat to the visceral connections made by sumptuous, bordering on lewd scenes of food and eating, and to director Kechiche’s strategy of placing his camera quite literally in the faces of his characters, where much drama plays out in the intimate relationship of eyes and mouths. In French and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- Greek Film Fest Chicago Opening Night!
- PAPADOPOULOS & SONS
- 2012, Marcus Markou, UK, 105 min.
- With Stephen Dillane, Georges Corraface
“Tasty and inviting…audiences won’t be sorry they spent time with the Papadopoulos family.”
—Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter
“Hard to resist.”
—Philip Kemp, Total Film
This riches-to-rags tale finds happiness in its own back yard, which happens to be picturesque London, from a posh estate on the outskirts to the ethnic neighborhood where the Greeks and the Turks still battle it out via rival carryout joints. High-roller entrepreneur and seasoned jerk George Papadopoulos (Dillane of GAME OF THRONES) loses it all in a bank crash and is forced to make peace with wild and crazy estranged brother Spiros (Corraface) to make a go of the family’s long-abandoned fish-and-chips shop. HDCAM video.
Preceded by the short film
(2013, George Angeludis ,Greece, 11 min.)
A martial arts instructor teaches her young students a lesson in life. Digital video. (BS)
For more information on Greek Film Fest Chicago, go to greekfilmfestchicago.org.
- THE BEST OFFER
- (LA MIGLIORE OFFERTA)
- 2013, Giuseppe Tornatore, Italy, 131 min.
- With Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess
“Geoffrey Rush brings striking depth of character to a classic Old World mystery set in Europe’s high-rolling art world.”
—Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
“A stunning performance by Geoffrey Rush elevates this beguiling tale that explores authenticity and all its priceless facets...The film is a character study, love story, mystery and thriller with devastating twists and turns that constantly surprise.”
—Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile
Dominating Italy’s Oscar-equivalent Donatello Awards with six wins including Best Picture and Best Director, THE BEST OFFER has been hailed as Tornatore’s best film since CINEMA PARADISO. A grandly stylized romance-cum-mystery with echoes of VERTIGO and DEATH IN VENICE, the film is built around a powerful performance by Geoffrey Rush as a fastidious art auctioneer who prefers to keep life and love at an aesthetic distance. Then he falls under the spell of a beautiful recluse (Sylvia Hoeks) confined by agoraphobia to her musty mansion. By coaxing her out of her self-imposed prison, he might free himself from his own--but can emotions, like works of art, be forged? The film’s amenities include a lush score by Ennio Morricone, an antique automaton that tops the one in HUGO, and memorable supporting performances by Donald Sutherland as the protagonist’s shady accomplice and Kurina Stamell as a dwarf whose photographic memory carries a crucial plot twist. In English. DCP digital. (MR)
- THE SQUARE
- (AL MIDAN)
- 2013, Jehane Noujaim, Egypt/USA, 104 min.
“Stunning…feels like a revelation.”
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“A remarkable portrait…worthy of its Oscar buzz.”
—Ishaan Tharoor, Time Magazine
Shortlisted for an Oscar nomination and winner of the audience award at both the 2013 Sundance and Toronto film festivals, THE SQUARE is a uniquely immersive experience that sizzles with the energy, danger, and spirit of history in the making. This thrillingly chaotic chronicle filmed at street level in Tahrir Square carries Egypt’s revolution from the heady days of the overthrow of a dictator through the crackdown of martial law and to the deposing of a president. Enemies become friends, friends become rivals, and the will of the people is seen vividly as a seething, breathing force. In Arabic and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- 2013, Jillian Schlesinger and Laura Dekker, USA, 82 min.
“Fascinating and beautifully moving...a compelling portrait of an extraordinary human being.”
—Ryland Aldrich, Twitch
A sleeper hit at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto and winner of the Visions Audience Award at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, MAIDENTRIP is the true first-person account of an extraordinary journey and the remarkable person who braved it. At age 14, New Zealand-born, Dutch-raised Laura Dekker sought to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. After winning a 10-month legal battle in the Dutch courts, Dekker set out alone in the 40-foot sailboat “Guppy” on a two-year journey that began in Gibraltar and ended nearly two years later in St. Maarten. The bulk of the film is a video diary filmed by Dekker herself, and the photogenic, independent-minded teenager proves more than interesting enough to hold the screen, as she faces down storms and loneliness, and negotiates a parallel voyage of self-discovery that includes working out issues with her divorced parents, switching her identity from Dutch to New Zealander, and even making room for a boyfriend. In English and Dutch with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
- 2 AUTUMNS, 3 WINTERS
- (2 AUTOMNES 3 HIVERS)
- 2013, Sébastien Betbeder, France, 90 min.
- With Vincent Macaigne, Maud Wyler
“A quintessential example of mélancomédie...For soon-to-break-out talents, I’m betting on Betbeder.”
—Gavin Smith, Film Comment
Following his critically praised, little-seen debut NIGHTS WITH THEODORE, the more audience-friendly 2 AUTUMNS, 3 WINTERS confirms Sébastien Betbeder as one of French cinema’s hottest new talents. Freely mixing dialogue and direct address, third-person and first-person narration, this dazzlingly prismatic dramedy shifts among the points of view of some half-a-dozen characters. All are hovering around the big three-oh as they negotiate the slippery slope from youth to maturity, with an emphasis on Arman, an easygoing ex-art student played with scruffy charm by rising star Vincent Macaigne. Fate throws him--twice--into the path of Amélie (Wyler), the second time almost fatally. The narrative centers on the ups and downs of their romance, digressing periodically to incorporate best friends, siblings, and ex-lovers, as well as a wealth of deftly integrated cultural touchstones, ranging from Judd Apatow and Reality TV to Alain Tanner and Edvard Munch. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
- A TOUCH OF SIN
- (TIAN ZHU DING)
- 2013, Jia Zhangke, China/Japan, 133 min.
- With Wu Jiang, Vivien Li
“A beautifully eloquent panorama of modern China…beautiful and fluid filmmaking.”
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“Blistering...it has the urgency of a screaming headline but one inscribed with visual lyricism, emotional weight and a belief in individual rights.”
—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Uncharacteristically aiming for shock and awe, director Jia (24 CITY, STILL LIFE) fashions four brutal stories of over-the-top payback for real and imagined wrongs, set in the provincial hinterlands where the gap between the working poor and the swaggering newly rich yawns wide. The old West has nothing on the dog-eat-dog ethos of the new China, scathingly depicted with lashings of the blackest humor and raucous scenarios of street life, or on the violent course of vigilante justice meted out by Jia’s little people absurdly pushed over the edge. In Mandarin, Cantonese, and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)