Weeklong Runs & Special Events
Zbigniew Banas in person!
- 1963, Andrzej Munk, Poland, 62 min.
- With Aleksandra Slaska, Anna Ciepielewska
“Superb...a humanist enterprise of great courage, insight, honor and mystery.”
— Roger Greenspun, The New York Times
PASSENGER, a classic of Polish cinema, was the final project of director Munk (EROICA), completed after his tragic early death by his friend Witold Lesiewicz. Based on the novel by Holocaust survivor Zofia Posmysz, the story unfolds through the contrasting viewpoints of victim and perpetrator, as former Auschwitz SS officer Liza (Slaska) recognizes a fellow ocean-liner passenger (Ciepielewska) as one of her former prisoners. Filmed partly on location in Auschwitz. In Polish with English subtitles. 35mm.
There will be a brief talk before the screening and a Q&A afterward, led by Zbigniew Banas, film critic and instructor of Polish cinema at Loyola University.
Presented in collaboration with Lyric Opera of Chicago as part of Memory and Reckoning, a series presented in conjunction with Lyric’s staging of Mieczysław Weinberg’s opera The Passenger, February 24-March 15.
- 2014, Laura Poitras, Germany/USA, 114 min.
“A tense and frightening thriller that blends the brisk globe-trotting of the BOURNE movies with the spooky, atmospheric effects of a Japanese horror film.”
— A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“The movie of the century (to date)…demands to be seen by every sentient person who values his or her own freedom and privacy.”
— Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com
A front-runner for an Oscar, CITIZENFOUR is in a class of its own as a vehicle for whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s shocking revelations of the vast scope of government surveillance of U.S. citizens. Filmmaker Poitras (MY COUNTY, MY COUNTRY; THE OATH) and journalist Glenn Greenwald become Snowden’s chosen contacts for the release of his information to the world from the confines of a Hong Kong hotel room. The plan for going public plays out in real time with the dangerous edge of a cloak-and-dagger thriller made all the more gut wrenching by its real-life veracity. DCP digital. (BS)
Black History Month
- (BAND DE FILLES)
- 2014, Céline Sciamma, France, 112 min.
- With Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla
Chosen to open the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight, GIRLHOOD bristles with energy and moves under the vital girl power of its young cast. Growing up young, black, and poor in a Paris housing project, shy, mousy Marieme (Touré) comes into her own as the protégé of three brassy street-fighting shoplifters. Director Sciamma (WATER LILIES, TOMBOY) charts Marieme’s successive transformations from sidekick to gang-girl queen bee, and from a drug dealer’s moll to her own woman, with a shining innocence that owes much to the breakout performance of first-time actress Touré. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- A TALE OF WINTER
- (CONTE D’HIVER)
- 1992, Eric Rohmer, France, 114 min.
- With Charlotte Véry, Frédéric van den Driessche
"Sexy, witty, irreverent, sensual — and very, very smart."
— Steven Gaydos, Los Angeles Reader
“A nearly perfect work, in performance as well as execution.”
— Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Eric Rohmer was unsurpassed at creating intelligent romantic comedies and intelligent female characters. A TALE OF WINTER, one of his most genial and audacious films, is a superb example of both facets. A young couple, Félicié and Charles, meet while on holiday and fall deeply in love. In a fateful, perhaps Freudian slip, she gives him the wrong address, and he disappears from her life. Five years later, at Christmas time, Félicié is a hairdresser in the Paris suburbs with a daughter (Charles's) and two lovers, the successful Maxene and the intellectual Loïc. She loves them both, but, as she says, "There's love and love," and the love that counts is one she still holds for the long lost Charles. In French with English subtitles. (MR)
Note: An imported 35mm archival print of the film, courtesy of the Institut français, will be shown on Sunday and Thursday. All other screenings will be in the newly restored DCP digital version.
Back by popular demand!
- THE TALE OF THE
- PRINCESS KAGUYA
- (KAGUYA-HIME NO MONOGATORI)
- 2013, Isao Takahata, Japan, 137 min.
A childless bamboo-cutter discovers a tiny baby girl no bigger than the palm of his hand in the woods and takes this apparent gift from the heavens home to his wife. The enchanted child grows rapidly, and, when her doting adoptive father also finds a pot of gold under a tree, greed inspires his ambition to make the girl a princess in the royal court and marry her off to one of a host of venal suitors. The beautiful, headstrong wood nymph and the far-off gods have other plans.
Based on a 10th-century Japanese folk tale, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA is a marvelous journey steeped in the profound humanism that is the trademark of Studio Ghibli’s Isao Takahata (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, ONLY YESTERDAY). Suitable for all ages, the film is simultaneously a uniquely joyous exploration of childhood and a chronicle of love and loss with a poignant mystical dimension. Takahata’s seductively subtle animation incorporates watercolor techniques and charcoal line drawings for a masterful and ravishing approach to storytelling. DCP. (BS)
In English (dubbed)
Sunday, Monday, and Thursday at 6:00 PM with voices by James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Darren Criss, and Chloë Grace Moretz.
In Japanese with English subtitles
Friday, Saturday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:15 PM, with voices by Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, and Takeo Chii.
Black History Month
- DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS
- 2014, Spike Lee, USA, 123 min.
- With Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams
Leave it to Spike Lee to ditch the mainstream and give crowd-funding a whirl for this mostly faithful reinterpretation of Bill Gunn’s cult classic GANJA & HESS. Like the original, it’s low budget but high concept, taking addiction as a metaphor for class distinctions when rich, stuffy African American professor Dr. Hess Greene (Williams) develops a taste for human blood after being stabbed by a cursed Ashanti dagger. Murder, seduction, duplicity, greed, and eroticism (including sequences of smoking-hot heterosexual and lesbian sex) figure in a treatment that walks a precarious line between allegory and unsettling satire. DCP digital. (BS)
Filmmakers in person!
- LOVE HUNTER
- 2013, Branislav “Brane” Bala and Nemanja Bala, USA, 86 min.
- With Milan Mumin, Eleanor Hutchins
He doesn’t look like a stereotypical rock star, but this rough-hewn dynamo of a Manhattan cab driver, who hauls a guitar in the trunk, is the real deal. Milan Mumin is an idolized rock’n’roll icon back home in Serbia, as well as a political activist hero with nerve and charm to spare. LOVE HUNTER makes the most of the musician’s considerable charisma, pounding out a fictional story of an immigrant’s faltering dream to finance recording sessions with nights behind the wheel while balancing a compromised love life with a foot in both worlds. In English and Serbian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
Co-director Nemanja Bala and actress Jelena Stuplijanin will be present for audience discussion on Saturday and Tuesday.
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. (BS)
First Chicago engagement!
Black History Month
Daniel Nearing in person!
- 2014, Daniel Nearing, USA, 109 min.
- With Herman Wilkins, Diandra Lyle
“My favorite entry [in the 2014 BHFF] is Daniel Nearing’s outstanding whodunit...an epic tragedy of race.”
— Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
The smash hit of our Black Harvest Film Festival in August, we bring back HOGTOWN in its fine-tuned, definitive version. The story begins in Chicago in the winter of 1919 and initially centers on a police manhunt for a missing millionaire. By adventurously marrying a postmodern sensibility with the classic American naturalism of Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson (both of whom are characters in the huge cast), HOGTOWN expands into a multilayered, multicultural tapestry of a city and a century. Though made on a miniscule budget, HOGTOWN is epic in its scope and ravishingly photographed (mostly in luminous black-and-white), designed, and scored. In English, Spanish, and Mandarin with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
Director Daniel Nearing will be present for audience discussion at all screenings. Cast and crew members will be present at selected screenings.
Black History Month
Daniel Nearing and Keisha Dyson in person!
- CHICAGO HEIGHTS
- (aka THE LAST SOUL ON A SUMMER NIGHT)
- 2009, Daniel Nearing, USA, 67 min.
- With Andre Truss, Keisha Dyson
The first film in the Daniel Nearing trilogy continued by HOGTOWN, CHICAGO HEIGHTS drew turn-away crowds at the 2010 Black Harvest Film Festival and was deemed “brilliant” by Roger Ebert. “Winesburg, Ohio, “ Sherwood Anderson's classic 1919 collection of interconnected short stories, is ingeniously transposed to a predominantly African American community in present-day South Chicago in this gorgeously photographed, beautifully scored tour de force. A dying writer contemplates the characters he wrote about in his unpublished opus “The Book of the Grotesque” — including a pastor tormented by lust, a doctor who records the truth about his neighbors on scraps of paper, a stern schoolteacher who roams the city at night, and a boy who dreams of leaving home to become a writer. HDCAM video. (MR)
Director Daniel Nearing and actress Keisha Dyson will be present for audience discussion.
Black History Month
- CONCERNING VIOLENCE
- 2014, Göran Olsson, Sweden/Finland/Denmark/USA, 78 min.
- Narration by Lauryn Hill
Revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon’s searing indictment of colonialism, “The Wretched of the Earth,” is the basis for this film essay that filmmaker Olsson (THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975) subtitles NINE SCENES FROM THE ANTI-IMPERIALISTIC SELF-DEFENSE. Intricately constructed of archive footage illustrating the chilling historical reality of the Western world’s all-encompassing exploitation of Africa, the film powerfully brings home Fanon’s justification of violent revolution as a tool of liberation. Includes a prologue by literary theorist and philosopher Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Co-produced by Danny Glover, In English, Swedish, French, and Portuguese with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
- INHERENT VICE
- 2014, Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 148 min.
- With Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Benecio Del Toro
So what does America’s most unpredictable auteur do for an encore after the monumental diptych of THERE WILL BE BLOOD and THE MASTER? He goes loose, mellow, far-out, and funny, with a gloriously overstuffed stoner detective thriller, adapted (faithfully and inventively) from the novel by previously unadaptable Thomas Pynchon. Unorthodox P.I. Doc Sportello (Phoenix) operates out of the SoCal surfer-hippie enclave of Gordita Beach in the pivotal post-Manson, pre-Nixon year of 1970. When a former girlfriend asks him to investigate the disappearance of her real-estate mogul boyfriend, Doc is catapulted into an ever-expanding conspiracy involving neo-Nazis bikers, drug cartels, land grabs, teenage runaways, government informers, shady dentists, and doppelgängers galore. Presented in the director’s preferred format of 35mm celluloid, essential to the film’s funky vibe and hot, hazy colors. (MR)
- THE BABADOOK
- 2014, Jennifer Kent, Australia, 93 min.
- With Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman
Smart and scary, THE BABADOOK is not only by far the best reviewed horror film of the year, but also one of the best reviewed films period. A frazzled single mom (Davis in a breakout performance) and her extremely demanding six-year-old son partake of an ultra-creepy pop-up book whose sinister title character oozes off the page and under their skins. Is the Babadook a projection of their emotional tensions, or an all-too-real monster? The terrifying climax might answer those questions...and raise a few new ones. Ranked by critics alongside ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE SHINING, Jennifer Kent’s amazingly assured first feature blends psychological depth and heart-stopping thrills to devastating effect. DCP digital. (MR)
Robert Greene in person!
- 2014, Robert Greene, USA, 86 min.
- With Brandy Burre
Melodrama meets cinema verité as actress Brandy Burre (HBO’s “The Wire”) plays herself navigating a breakup with the father of her two children in the shadow of her secret affair, making moves on a career revival, and impersonating a domestic goddess in an upstate New York backwater. Director Greene (FAKE IT SO REAL, KATI WITH AN I) keeps the mood edgy as his ballsy yet introspective subject appears to tell all, yet not quite, as the camera frequently reveals. Burre is riveting to watch, and even as the layers of her character are peeled away, the dividing line between a selfie fiction and real life is never clear. DCP digital. (BS)
Director Robert Greene will be present for audience discussion on Friday and Saturday.