Weeklong Runs & Special Events
First Chicago run!
- HUMAN CAPITAL
- (IL CAPITALE UMANO)
- 2014, Paolo Virzì, Italy, 110 min.
- With Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Fabrizio Bentivoglio
“Sharply observed...social commentary, introspective drama and gripping whodunit.” — Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
The film of the year in Italy, HUMAN CAPITAL triumphed at the box office, dominated the Donatello Awards, and was Italy’s official Oscar submission. This trenchant drama incisively captures the mood of crisis-wracked Italy, but its critique of the prerogatives of class and wealth is far from local. Beginning with a fatal hit-and-run accident, the ingeniously constructed narrative divides into three overlapping chapters, each from the perspective of a different character: Dino (Bentivoglio), a craven social climber who sinks his fortune into a hedge fund masterminded by the suave plutocrat Giovanni; Giovanni’s insecure wife Clare (Bruni-Tedeschi), who seeks to anchor her drifting life by sponsoring a local theater company; and Dino’s teenage daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli in a striking debut), who brings the strands together with a compassion lacking in her elders. In Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
Back by popular demand!
- A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
- 2014, Ana Lily Amirpour, USA, 99 min.
- With Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi
This spookily sumptuous neo-noir shot in velvety black-and-white is the American indie discovery of the year, possibly of the decade. Iranian American director Amirpour, a former rock band diva, emerges from the shadows a full-blown cinema auteur with a cryptic vampire tale set in a dusty ghost town somewhere left of Spaghetti Western territory and frozen in a Fifties time capsule. Imaginary Bad City sits at the foot of an oil refinery and crawls with low-life losers who just happen to speak Persian. James Dean-styled hunk Arash (Marandi) has a cat for a sidekick and the hottest wheels in town until the drug dealer takes the keys. The Girl (Vand), a nocturnal specter in a long black chador, considers her options. Love bites. In Persian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
Directors in person!
- NELSON ALGREN:
- THE END IS NOTHING, THE ROAD IS ALL
- 2015, Denis Mueller, Mark Blottner, and Ilko Davidov, USA, 86 min.
Nelson Algren has been called “the quintessential Chicago writer” (Achy Obejas), “the bard of losers” (Studs Terkel), and (by Algren himself) “the pennywhistle of American literature.” The author of “The Man with the Golden Arm” is profiled in this definitive documentary portrait that was 25 years in the making, with a foundation of interviews filmed in the 1990s while the memories of Algren’s acquaintances were still fresh. Friends (notably Terkel and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.), witnesses, and scholars guide us through a stormy life marked by many battles--with the law, the blacklist, depression, the Depression, wives, lovers (most famously Simone de Beauvoir), unappreciative critics, Hollywood, writer’s block, and the city that Algren loved, lambasted, and finally left. DCP digital. (MR)
Co-director Denis Mueller and co-producer/director Mark Blottner will be present for audience discussion.
Bill Plympton in person!
- 2014, Bill Plympton, USA, 75 min.
Called “God” by Matt Groening, Bill Plympton (I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON) continues his reign as the king of indie animation with his wildly imaginative seventh feature, entirely hand-drawn and funded by Kickstarter. Accurately described by Plympton as “my most beautiful film,” CHEATIN’ uses slinky forms and pastel colors (but not a word of dialogue) to tell a tawdry but touching tale of love, marriage, infidelity, bumper cars, and bodily transmigration. Sashaying through a carnival, eye-catching Ella is rescued from lechery and electricity by hunky Jake. Marriage is quickly followed by suspicion and adultery, but Ella discovers an unusual way to turn Jake’s extramarital adventures into bed-busting bouts of connubial bliss. DCP digital. (MR)
Filmmaker Bill Plympton will be present for audience discussion at the Sunday screening.
First Chicago run!
- BELOVED SISTERS
- (DIE GELIEBTEN SCHWESTERN)
- 2014, Dominik Graf, Germany, 170 min.
- With Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter, Henriette Confurius
Europe, 1787. The Enlightenment is blazing, and revolution is in the air. It is a time of upheaval, in love as well as art and politics, and they all come together in the fact-based three-sided romance among Friedrich Schiller (Stetter) and the Lengefeld sisters, Caroline (Herzsprung) and Charlotte (Confurius). The relationship is truly three-sided, with the close bond between the two sisters expanding to include their shared and fully reciprocated passion for the progressive playwright/philosopher, until social and emotional pressures take their toll. Germany’s official Oscar candidate, BELOVED SISTERS uses a literate script, a lively style, and a keen grasp of historical authenticity to convey the complexities of a remarkable liaison, the characters involved (with Herzsprung especially impressive as the restless Caroline), and the tumultuous period whose spirit they embodied. In German and French with English subtitles. Unabridged director’s cut. DCP digital. (MR)
- WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
- 2014, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, New Zealand, 85 min.
- With Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
This hilarious low-budget sleeper from the creators of the cult HBO series “Flight of the Conchords” is already being touted by critics as the comedy to beat in 2015. It takes two overworked genres--vampire tales and reality TV--and turns their mash-up into risen-from-the-grave comic gold. Four long-undead housemates in Wellington, New Zealand, share their experiences with a documentary crew as they adjust to the addition of a new member to their monstrous ménage. Extending the nimble blend of deadpan and sweetness that characterized “Conchords,” the film derives much of its humor from the collision of supernatural powers with the banalities of everyday coping--such as, how do you groom yourself without a mirror image, or clean up the mess after a nice splattery blood feast? DCP digital. (MR)
- TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
- (DEUX JOURS, UNE NUIT)
- 2014, Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium/France, 95 min.
- With Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione
Nominated for an Academy Award for this role, Oscar-winning star Cotillard (LA VIE EN ROSE) proves her mettle by blending seamlessly into the social realist fabric of this Dardenne brothers (THE KID WITH A BIKE, THE CHILD) story of a working wife and mother’s desperate bid to save her small-town factory job. Sandra (Cotillard), just returning to work from a four-month sick leave, has only a weekend to convince each of her sixteen co-workers to forego a hefty bonus and vote for their own pay cuts in order to forestall downsizing. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Filmmakers in person!
- PILOT ERROR
- 2014, Joe Anderson, USA, 113 min.
- With Kate Thomsen, Larry Herron
This investigative mystery around the crash of a fictional French airliner is based in part on real events, and it incorporates some astonishing information and theories concerning the safety of air travel. Journalist Nicola Wilson (Thomsen), who has a morbid fear of flying, is devastated when her best friend is lost on a jet that disappears over the Atlantic without a trace. Nicola puts her job, her reputation, and her personal savings on the line to investigate, meeting with a suspicious tangle of cover-ups and lies, from U.S. and French officials on down. DCP digital. (BS)
At the Friday showing, producer Roger Rapoport will be present for audience discussion, joined by director Joe Anderson, actress Kate Thomsen and technical advisor Captain Robert Hesselbein, chair of the Security Committee of the Airline Pilots Association, International.
At the Monday showing, producer Roger Rapoport will be present with Captain Robert Hesselbein.
- WELCOME TO NEW YORK
- 2014, Abel Ferrara, USA, 108 min.
- With Gérard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset
“A Nietzschean digi-horror…a monstrously skewed King Lear for the 21st century.” — Craig Williams, CineVue
“Racy and at times uproarious…toes the line between performance piece and soft-core porn before transforming into an auto-biopic where actor and character meld into the same massive body.”
— Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
American maverick Ferrara (BAD LIEUTENANT, MS. 45) cuts loose with the rutting madness of wall-to-wall orgies mediated by the detail of a police procedural in this libidinous fictionalized account of the downfall of French economist Dominique Strauss-Kahn, charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid. Depardieu’s Strauss-Khan is a rip-roaring caricature, a corpulent wheezing peasant with an insatiable appetite for sex and booze and a filthy-rich not-amused wife (Bisset) in his back pocket. Note: contains nudity and explicit depictions of sexual activity. In English and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
The Tuesday screening is a Movie Club event, facilitated by Gerard Charles, Director of Artistic Operations, and Nicolas Blanc, Ballet Master and Principal Coach, of The Joffrey Ballet.
- BALLET 422
- 2014, Jody Lee Lipes, USA, 75 min.
A corrective to pop-culture portraits of ballet as an overheated arena of backstage psychodramas presided over by sadistic taskmasters, BALLET 422 finds more than enough drama in the nuts and bolts of the creative process. The film focuses on Justin Peck, a low-ranking but conspicuously talented 25-year-old dancer in the New York City Ballet who is given the extraordinary opportunity to create a new ballet--the 422nd in the company’s fabled history. Using the classic cinéma-vérité approach of direct observation without narration or interviews, director Lipes draws upon his skills as a top indie cinematographer (TINY FURNITURE, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE) to provide an authentic and often visually stunning step-by-step account of the painstaking collaborative effort that goes into producing a ballet. DCP digital. (MR)
- MR. TURNER
- 2014, Mike Leigh, UK, 149 min.
- With Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson
Realist Mike Leigh (ANOTHER YEAR, HAPPY-GO-LUCKY) brings exceptional life and spirit to the staggering visual authenticity of this chronicle of the last twenty-five years in the life of British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall’s Billy Turner is a mesmerizing creation, fascinating and repellant, crude and brutish: a monstrously talented artist who brings all his physical faculties to his work, with a dark disdain for all of humankind to his personal life. Leigh’s evocation of the early Victorian period, circa 1826-51, is unrivaled in its detail, including a wondrous recreation of the gallery of the Royal Academy. Spall won Best Actor at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for the role. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)