Weeklong Runs & Special Events
- ROME OPEN CITY
- (ROMA, CITTÀ APERTA)
- (aka OPEN CITY)
- 1945, Roberto Rossellini, Italy, 100 min.
- With Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani
“Remains a film of electric drama and high emotion, as well as a major turning point in film history.”
–Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
“Cinema as testimony and resistance, its ‘realism’ so hallucinatory as to border on the Hitchcockian…a galvanic document of human and filmic regeneration.”
–Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
As the opening salvo of the ever-influential Italian neorealist movement, ROME OPEN CITY initiated a new era in film history–as Jean-Luc Godard said, "All roads lead to ROME OPEN CITY." Rossellini’s portrait of Rome under the German occupation centers on the manhunt for a resistance leader and its effect upon several characters, including a partisan priest, a corrupt actress, a Gestapo major, a gang of street kids, and a feisty pregnant woman (Magnani) about to celebrate her long-deferred wedding. Although praised at the time for the purity of its realism, ROME OPEN CITY now seems most impressive for its vigorous, complex mixture of documentary, melodrama, humor, and brutality. In Italian with English subtitles. This new 4K DCP digital restoration far surpasses any previous versions of the film, particularly the soft, poorly-subtitled prints that have long been available in the U.S. (MR)
- THE TRIP TO ITALY
- 2013, Michael Winterbottom, UK, 106 min.
- With Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan
“***1/2 A comic breeze of a movie...unusually astute in its depiction of male companionship.”
–Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“The GODFATHER 2 of road movies…As funny as the first go-round, more beautiful to look at, and better conceived”
–John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
2010’s THE TRIP was a unique delight; this more successful sequel brings back bantering buddies Coogan and Brydon (playing indeterminately fictionalized versions of themselves) for a culinary tour of Italy. The second trip is more cinephiliac than the first, supplementing the virtuoso impersonations (Sicily brings out the Pacino in Brydon) with visits to the locations of JOURNEY TO ITALY, CONTEMPT, ROMAN HOLIDAY, and others. On the literary side, Byron’s and Shelley’s footsteps are followed; the senses are served with gorgeous scenery and mouth-watering pastas; and it’s all deepened with touches of guilt-ridden infidelity and midlife melancholy. DCP
Michael M. Bilandic in person!
- 2013, Michael M. Bilandic, USA, 73 min.
- With Keith Poulson, Sophia Takal
“A very funny slice of art world satire.”
–Katie Walsh, The Playlist
“A trippy, occasionally hilarious and oddly poignant American odyssey…with a sting in its tail.”
–Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
A comic satire on the conventions and pretensions of the New York gallery scene, HELLAWARE is shamelessly goofy in its gotcha saga of millennial hipster aspiration, and spot-on in its outrageous stereotypes, from the jaded curator to the fickle art groupies. Bad art meets worse intentions when wannabe photographer Nate (Poulson) shoots for transgression à la Larry Clark by stalking a no-talent teen goth band, purveyor of the dubious viral sensation “I’ll Cut Yo’ Dick Off.” Director Bilandic (son of Chicago’s former mayor) lets the abundant black humor rip in this straight-faced send-up. DCP digital. (BS)
Director Michael M. Bilandic will be present for audience discussion on Friday and (tentatively) Saturday.
Come in costume on October 31 and pay $7 admission!
- BIRD PEOPLE
- 2014, Pascale Ferran, France, 127 min.
- With Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier
“Entrancing and surprising…audacious and idiosyncratic.”
–A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Magnificently goofy…confident enough to take captivating detours.”
–Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club
Breaking the bonds of a regimented world in search of freedom is a theme BIRD PEOPLE unfolds through an extraordinary flight of fancy. The paths of a shy student working as a chambermaid and an AWOL Silicon Valley engineer intersect in a Paris airport hotel, but not in the way of romance. Magic realism and the supernatural come to bear on a unique story in which flight, both metaphorical and real, provides soaring release and makes way for tentative steps into the future. The film’s wondrous and touching special effects cast an unforgettable spell. In French, English, and Japanese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- CAMP X-RAY
- 2014, Peter Sattler, USA, 117 min.
- With Kristen Stewart, Peyman Moaadi
“Riveting…there’s not a moment Stewart’s onscreen here where she isn’t completely transfixing.”
–David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Two mesmerizing performances anchor this story of a psychological cat-and-mouse game set in the unlikely confines of Gitmo, the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay. Amy (Stewart), a recent Army recruit uneasily finding her footing among male fellow soldiers, is on suicide watch guarding Middle Eastern detainees in solitary confinement. Among them is English-speaking Ali (Moaadi of A SEPARATION), an immigrant picked up in New York in the wake of 9/11. Although they are technically enemies, both their lives are shaped by loneliness and fear, factors that create a climate in which respect and an odd sort of friendship take root. DCP digital. (BS)
Jeff Barnaby in person!
- *RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS
- 2013, Jeff Barnaby, Canada, 88 min.
- With Devery Jacobs, Glen Gould
“Richly imaginative…a movie that, in many ways, represents a milestone.”
–Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
“Explosive…told with a mix of lyricism and kicks to the gut.”
–Jason Gorber, Twitch
Native American director Barnaby makes an audacious debut with this eerie revenge drama steeped in raw poetry and set in motion by the violent meeting of tribal myth with pop culture iconography. The story is set in 1976 on the fictional Red Crow Reservation, where 15-year-old Alia (newcomer Jacobs in a riveting performance), a wily truant from the government’s residential school, is a virtual orphan in the wake of her alcoholic mother’s suicide and her father’s imprisonment. Powerful as the tribe’s self-made pot-dealing drug queen, she draws the white-hot rage of the community’s corrupt Indian Agent. DCP digital. (BS)
Director Jeff Barnaby will be present for audience discussion on Friday.
- THE OVERNIGHTERS
- 2014, Jesse Moss, USA, 90 min.
“A shattering experience; a masterwork of unbridled honesty.”
–Jason Gorber, Twitch
“It will leave you stunned...an indelible American documentary.”
–Katie Walsh, The Playlist
Growing tensions in a small oil-rich North Dakota boomtown come to a head when a Lutheran pastor offers his church as shelter to hordes of men who arrive broke and homeless to seek employment in the fracking industry. Increasingly under fire from the City Council and his own parishioners, the clergyman stands his ground, but his do-unto-others mindset meets new challenges when these desperately hard-up new neighbors are perceived as a threat. Moral imperative meets the pitfalls of personal psychology in a wrenching finale that colors the most honorable of intentions with unanticipated shades of meaning. Winner of the Special Jury Award at Sundance. DCP digital. (BS)
- BURROUGHS: THE MOVIE
- 1983, Howard Brookner, USA, 86 min.
“Rarely is a documentary so well attuned to its subject...demonstrates an unusual degree of liveliness and curiosity.”
–Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Will William S. Burroughs, who died in 1997 and whose centennial is celebrated this year, ever NOT be cool? An icon for the Beats, the Beatles (yes, he’s on the Sgt. Pepper cover), ‘60s counterculture, queer culture, punk, splatterpunk, cyberpunk, Grunge, indie-pop (e.g., the xx), and points beyond, the innovative author and mordantly charismatic personality could write like Joyce and crack wise like W.C. Fields. Howard Brookner’s 1983 labor-of-love BURROUGHS: THE MOVIE, made with WSB’s close and enthusiastic participation, has long been unavailable outside of old VHS copies. Then Aaron Brookner discovered the only surviving print in his long-deceased uncle’s archives and launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally restore it. Now we can savor this definitive film portrait, with the master himself leading us through the scenes of his youth, performing readings and skits, and showing off his memorabilia and weapons collection, while acquaintances and admirers (Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, et al.) comment candidly on both the highs and lows of his astonishing life and work. New DCP digital restoration. (MR)
- 2014, Ron Mann, USA, 95 min. (Total program: 122 min.)
“An absorbing, marvelous film that manages to squeeze a wildly prolific career into 90 minutes and paint a portrait of a true original.”
–Allan Tong, Filmmaker Magazine
Robert Altman was arguably the greatest American filmmaker of the post-classical era--a technical innovator, compelling storyteller, and peerless chronicler of the times he lived through. Ron Mann’s ALTMAN is, by design, not a definitive portrait, but it is an essential one. It provides a uniquely intimate and moving perspective on Altman’s life and work, told mainly in the director’s own words (culled from numerous interviews), with occasional assists from his wife and children, and illustrated with film excerpts and rare home-movie and production footage. Many of Altman’s collaborators are on hand, not to provide the standard talking-head anecdotes, but a single terse definition of the word “Altmanesque” (Bruce Willis: “Kicking Hollywood’s ass,” Paul Thomas Anderson: “Inspiration”). Altman’s life was as copious and iconoclastic as his movies, and this exuberant overview conveys its richness, from World War II combat flying to apprenticeship in industrial films and network TV to triumphs and disasters as he doggedly defied convention to carve out an indelibly original body of work.
Also included in the program are three never-released short films by Altman: THE KATHRYN REED STORY (1965, 15 min.), POT AU FEU (1965, 9 min.), and THE PARTY (1966, 3 min.). All in DCP digital. (MR)
First Chicago run!
- NATIONAL GALLERY
- 2014, Frederick Wiseman, USA/France, 181 min.
“Refined and blissfully pure…truly inspiring.”
–Tim Tobey, The Telegraph
“The most nourishing example of cinematic brain food you’ll have all year.”
–Oliver Lyttelton, Indiewire
Acclaimed documentary master Wiseman (AT BERKELEY, CRAZY HORSE, LA DANSE) turns his all-seeing camera on yet another institution: London’s venerable National Gallery. Going behind the scenes is Wiseman’s trademark modus operandi, but this expansive portrait makes getting under the skin of the art on the walls its foremost mission. With the museum’s erudite and sometimes eccentric curators and docents as the engaging storytellers, treasured works by Da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Holbein, Turner, and more star in all their sumptuous glory, enhanced by gripping tales of restorations and of artists’ secrets revealed. DCP digital. (BS)
Back by popular demand!
Filmmakers in person!
- THE HOMESTRETCH
- 2014, Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly, USA, 90 min.
"THE HOMESTRETCH invites you to empathize with its subjects, to worry with them, to laugh with them, to worry about them. It's engaging and compelling viewing.”
–Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
“Directors Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly persuasively indict America's failure to assist homeless teenagers...Yet the stories they present are genuinely uplifting...It's an impressive balancing act.”
–Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
Three homeless Chicago teenagers seasoned by rejection and life on the streets defy the odds to create a future, finding sympathy and support in surprising places. The filmmakers follow aspiring actor Roque, poet/painter Kasey, and Anthony, a rapper, poet and entrepreneur, into the haunting underworld of children cast off by broken or unfit families and left alone to navigate the perils of poverty and predation. As the three tenaciously fight for an education and eventual independence, the film powerfully explores surrounding issues of race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. A new production from Chicago’s renowned Kartemquin Films, creators of HOOP DREAMS and THE INTERRUPTERS. DCP digital. (BS)
Filmmakers, subjects, and representatives from Chicago homeless services organizations will be present for multiple shows. More information coming soon.
Jon Jost in person!
- COMING TO TERMS
- 2013, Jon Jost, USA, 85 min.
- With James Benning, Ryan Harper Gray
“Relentlessly strips the narrative to its bare
essentials…thought-provoking visual artistry and poetry.”
–Matt Micucci, Cinecola
Legendary avant-garde filmmaker Jon Jost (ALL THE VERMEERS IN NEW YORK) makes a rare return to his native Chicago with a new film of subtle power and striking depth. The aging father (filmmaker James Benning) of a dysfunctional family summons his two long-estranged adult sons and their mothers in order to reveal his plan for assisted suicide. No ordinary narrative, COMING TO TERMS evokes the slow rhythm of an evolving life and the emotional landscape of a divided family’s perilous journey in all its beauty, pain, and meaning. DCP digital. (BS)
Director Jon Jost will be present for audience discussion at both screenings.
HAPPY VALLEY is also screening Wednesday, December 3, as part of the Gene Siskel FIlm Center Movie Club, with an informal conversation facilitated by Daniel Bernstein, WSCR Afternoon Co-Host and Senior Columnist for CBSChicago.com.
- HAPPY VALLEY
- 2014, Amir Bar-Lev, USA, 98 min.
“Thorough, thoughtful and heartbreaking.”
–Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Riveting…turns the tables on the national perception of the scandal.”
–Eric Kohn, Indiewire
This provocative documentary takes the conviction of disgraced Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky on multiple counts of child molestation as the jumping-off point for a deep-delving look at the enabling role of an entire community. The misplaced rage of rioting students and the evasive maneuvers of university administrators are only symptoms of a phenomenon that was years in the making. Moving in concentric circles starting with Sandusky’s abused adopted son Matt and the family of idolized head coach Joe Paterno, filmmaker Bar-Lev (THE TILLMAN STORY, MY KID COULD PAINT THAT) looks at the role of hero worship in a town that dangerously put football on par with religion. DCP digital. (BS)
- THAT MAN FROM RIO
- (L’HOMME DE RIO)
- 1964, Philippe de Broca, France, 112 min.
- With Jean-Paul Belmondo, Françoise Dorléac
“A crazy delight, a stylish, early-'60s pastiche that folds in every adventure-movie cliché you've ever seen, and possibly invents a few new ones.”
–Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice
“A delightfully preposterous thriller, wittier than any of the Bond spoofs and a good deal racier than RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.”
–Tom Milne, Time Out London
This chilly Thanksgiving weekend, how about a jaunt to sunny Rio and points beyond with the witty and colorful adventure spoof that longtime fan Steven Spielberg cited as a key inspiration for his Indiana Jones series? When a magical Maltec idol and an archaeologist’s daughter (the lovely, short-lived Dorléac) are snatched from a Paris museum by Brazil-bound thugs, her soldier-on leave boyfriend (Belmondo, performing many of his own stunts) sets off in hot pursuit. The ensuing non-stop chase involves every conceivable form of transport, from motorcycle to cable car to water skis to rickety bicycle to jungle vines to upside-down airplane. The film’s many set pieces include a surreal showdown in deserted, still-under-construction Brasilia that plays like a marriage of Antonioni and Harold Lloyd. And, if all that isn’t enough, there’s a cheeky, pull-the-rug-out twist at the end. In French with English subtitles. New DCP digital restoration. (MR)
- LOVE IS STRANGE
- 2014, Ira Sachs, USA, 94 min.
- With John Lithgow, Alfred Molina
“A wise and lovely film.”
–A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Lovely...Lithgow and Molina are splendid.”
–Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“A miraculously observant love story.”
–Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly
Director Sachs describes his critically acclaimed crowd-pleaser as “a film about love and real estate”--a phrase that neatly sums up its quietly devastating balance of heart and sharp-edged observational realism. It begins with the wedding day of long-time partners Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina), but celebration turns to calamity when the marriage costs George his music teaching job at a Catholic school. No longer able to afford a New York apartment, the couple are forced to find lodging separately, fastidious George with gay cop neighbors whose party-hearty lifestyle hardly matches his own, skittish Ben with a nephew whose novelist wife (Marisa Tomei) and teenage son (Charlie Tahan) find his presence increasingly irritating. Sachs avoids sitcom obviousness for gentle humor and piercing accuracy, building to a climax of considerable emotional wallop. The performances of Lithgow and Molina have been widely praised as peaks in their distinguished careers, but the film spreads the wealth among a superb ensemble, with Tomei and Tahan especially outstanding. As added amenities, LOVE IS STRANGE makes superb use of its New York locations and Chopin-dominated score. DCP digital. (MR)