Everyone likes to talk about movies, so let’s keep the conversation going! The Gene Siskel Film Center will get everyone talking with monthly film conversations. Audiences are invited to informal conversations led by—but not monopolized by—carefully selected facilitators.
2015, Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, 93 min. With María Mercedes Coroy, María Telon.
"A transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature." — Scott Foundas, Variety
"A vividly observed debut feature...Bustamante dramatizes his characters and their indigenous way of life with a powerful, almost feverish sense of immersion." — Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
Guatemala's second-ever Oscar submission is a powerfully visualized narrative enriched by feminist themes and ethnographic detail. Set in an indigenous Mayan community of coffee-farmers living in the shadow of an active volcano, the story centers on María, a restless 17-year-old indigenous girl whose parents have arranged an advantageous marriage to the plantation overseer. She prefers a young worker whom she hopes will take her to the United States "on the other side of the volcano," but an unplanned pregnancy traps her between indigenous beliefs and the deceptions of the modern world. In Kaqchikel and Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
JANUARY 11: This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by Camille Roussel, Ph.D. student in Human Development at the University of Chicago, whose scholarship focuses on gender and women's health issues among the K'ekchi' Maya in Guatemala.
1985, Jûzô Itami, Japan, 114 min. With Ken Watanabe, Nobuko Miyamoto.
- Fri, Dec 2nd 6:00pm
- Fri, Dec 2nd 7:45pm
- Sat, Dec 3rd 5:15pm
- Sun, Dec 4th 3:00pm
- Mon, Dec 5th 6:00pm
- Tue, Dec 6th 8:15pm
- Wed, Dec 7th 6:00pm
- Thu, Dec 8th 8:15pm
- Fri, Dec 9th 2:00pm
- Fri, Dec 9th 6:00pm
- Sat, Dec 10th 5:30pm
- Sun, Dec 11th 3:00pm
- Mon, Dec 12th 6:00pm
- Wed, Dec 14th 8:15pm
- Thu, Dec 15th 6:00pm
"A funny story beautifully told." — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"A gleefully sensual and inventive comedy...TAMPOPO creates a culinary empire of the senses while entertaining an audience like crazy." — Michael Sragow, Film Comment
A tall, cowboy-hatted stranger named Goro (Watanabe) swaggers into the noodle shop operated by the adorable Tampopo (Miyamoto), whose name means dandelion in Japanese but whose ramen are terrible in any language. A bad ramen is serious business, so Goro takes Tampopo on a quest for The Perfect Noodle. From this offbeat premise, director Itami cooked up one of the most original and delightful comedies ever made, a zesty, simmering concoction that links together three elemental sources of pleasure: movies, sex, and food. Especially food: the film provides an epic catalogue of the myriad ways of preparing ramen and other culinary delights, served up in sensuous and mouth-watering detail. No wonder critic Ravinder Kingra in Keyframe recently named TAMPOPO as “the greatest of all food films.” New 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)
DECEMBER 12 This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by Chicago Reader Senior Writer / Food Critic Mike Sula.
The Fallen Idol
1948, Carol Reed, UK, 94 min. With Ralph Richardson, Bobby Henrey.
“A knockout…one of the great films about looking, about perspective, about the way we watch and interpret not just film plots but each other.” — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Author Graham Greene, who adapted the screenplay from his own short story, considered THE FALLEN IDOL the best of the films he wrote, even better than the celebrated THE THIRD MAN, and more and more critics have come to share that opinion. This gripping psychological thriller centers on the relationship between eight-year-old Philippe (Henrey, remarkable in his only film appearance), son of a European ambassador in London, and Baines (Richardson, subtle and brilliant), the suave butler whom the boy idolizes. Yoked to a shrewish wife, Baines is carrying on a furtive relationship with a younger woman (Michèle Morgan), and Philippe, witnessing but not understanding, is drawn into an adult world of secrets and lies that engulfs him when Baines’s deception has deadly consequences. Director Reed and cinematographer Georges Périnal make especially effective use of the ambassadorial mansion, turning it into a vast theater that both motivates and misleads the boy’s imagination. New 2K DCP digital restoration. (MR)
NOVEMBER 18: This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by J. R. Jones, lead film critic for the Chicago Reader and author of The Lives of Robert Ryan.
百日紅 / Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai
2015, Keichi Hara, Japan, 93 min.
- Fri, Oct 21st 6:00pm
- Sat, Oct 22nd 2:45pm
- Sun, Oct 23rd 5:00pm
- Mon, Oct 24th 7:45pm
- Tue, Oct 25th 6:00pm
- Wed, Oct 26th 6:00pm
- Thu, Oct 27th 8:15pm
- Fri, Oct 28th 2:00pm
- Fri, Oct 28th 6:00pm
- Sat, Oct 29th 3:00pm
- Sun, Oct 30th 2:00pm
- Mon, Oct 31st 6:00pm
- Tue, Nov 1st 8:15pm
- Wed, Nov 2nd 6:00pm
- Thu, Nov 3rd 8:15pm
“MISS HOKUSAI manages to be that rare animation whose attention to character psychology and real-world detail can actually rival that of live-action." — Peter Debruge, Variety
"Breathes real life into its characters through gentle, warm scenes of everyday life in a stunningly well realised 19th century Tokyo...Visually, this may be a contender for most beautiful animated movie of the year." — Rob Daniel, Electric Shadows
The bustling, colorful setting of 1814 Edo (later Tokyo) is seen from the perspective of a famous artist's daughter in this animated gem from the revered anime studio Production I.G (GHOST IN THE SHELL, A LETTER TO MOMO). Based on the cult manga "Sarusuberi" by Hinako Sugiura, the film follows 23-year-old O-Ei as she lives and works alongside her father — the great artist Hokusai, best known for the iconic "Great Wave Off Kanagawa." Assisting her unkempt, neglectful parent and producing accomplished, unattributed works of her own, the prickly O-Ei struggles to mature as an artist and as a woman. The film’s episodic structure leaves room to immerse us in the sights and sounds of Edo's "floating world" of prostitutes, artists, and merchants. Highlights include the experience-hungry O-Ei's visit to a brothel; a boat trip under the city's main bridge; a house call to a woman tormented by evil spirits; and a piercingly beautiful scene in a snowy park with O-Ei and her blind kid sister. In Japanese with English subtitles at indicated times. In English at indicated times. DCP digital. (MR)
JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES:
Fri., 10/21 at 6 pm — Sun., 10/23 at 5 pm — Mon., 10/24 at 7:45 pm — Wed., 10/26 at 6 pm — Thu., 10/27 at 8:15 pm — Fri., 10/28 at 2 pm — Sat., 10/29 at 3 pm — Tue., 11/1 at 8:15 pm — Wed., 11/2 at 6 pm — Thu., 11/3 at 8:15 pm
Sat., 10/22 at 2:45 pm — Tue., 10/25 at 6 pm — Fri., 10/28 at 6 pm — Sun., 10/30 at 2 pm — Mon., 10/31 at 6 pm
OCTOBER 26: This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by anime & video game critic Hiroko Yamamura, former Editor in Chief of Japanator.com and writer for Otaku USA Magazine.
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
2016, Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, USA, 114 min.
- Fri, Sep 16th 2:00pm
- Fri, Sep 16th 6:00pm
- Fri, Sep 16th 8:15pm
- Sat, Sep 17th 1:00pm
- Sat, Sep 17th 5:15pm
- Sun, Sep 18th 3:00pm
- Sun, Sep 18th 5:15pm
- Mon, Sep 19th 6:00pm
- Mon, Sep 19th 8:15pm
- Tue, Sep 20th 7:45pm
- Wed, Sep 21st 6:00pm
- Thu, Sep 22nd 6:00pm
- Thu, Sep 22nd 8:15pm
- Fri, Sep 23rd 6:00pm
- Fri, Sep 23rd 8:15pm
- Sat, Sep 24th 5:00pm
- Sat, Sep 24th 8:00pm
- Sun, Sep 25th 3:00pm
- Sun, Sep 25th 7:30pm
- Mon, Sep 26th 8:15pm
- Tue, Sep 27th 6:00pm
- Wed, Sep 28th 6:00pm
- Wed, Sep 28th 8:15pm
- Thu, Sep 29th 8:15pm
"What Coburn Whack and Hercules do so well is capture Angelou's power and elegance...No hagiography, it paints a portrait of a life lived to the full and dedicated to being true to oneself." — Lanre Bakare, The Guardian
"The African-American icon’s richly textured and often traumatic story is unpacked in this near-definitive documentary." — Ed Gibbs, Little White Lies
This film will return November 11 - 17.
The remarkable, daring, and iconic life of poet, writer, and activist Maya Angelou unfolds in this in-depth portrait, which includes a substantial element of storytelling by the artist herself. Angelou brings the resonant cadences of poetry to narrating an entrancing chronicle of a youth shaped by family upheaval, the racism of a small Arkansas town, and early motherhood, as eventually detailed in her first book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Rare footage traces her varied pre-writing career as a nightclub dancer, singer, and star known as “Miss Calypso,” her courage as a political activist, and her transformative friendships with figures including James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. Interviews include Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, and Angelou’s son Guy Johnson. DCP digital. (BS)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 at 8:15 PM: Co-directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack and director of photography Keith Walker will be present for audience discussion.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 at 5:15 PM: Co-directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack and director of photography Keith Walker will be present for audience discussion.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 at 5:15 PM: Co-director Rita Coburn Whack will be present for audience discussion.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 at 8:15 PM: Co-director Rita Coburn Whack will be present for audience discussion.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 at 6:00 PM: This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by Raymond Lambert, the documentary's executive producer.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 at 6:00 PM: Director of photography Keith Walker will introduce the screening.
2016, Marc Levin, USA, 74 min.
- Tue, Aug 23rd 6:00pm
"Puts a human face on the issue of income equality … compelling viewing." — Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"There are no villains here, and everyone gets a say." — Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times
The high price of gentrification is examined in this gripping profile of one intersection in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. On one side of the street, a stone’s throw from the popular High Line, lies an aging public housing project packed with black and Latino families of the working poor. On the other side stands a brand new elite pre-K-12 private school flanked by condos with “bargain” price tags circa ten million. Filmmaker Levin (HARD TIMES: LOST ON LONG ISLAND) focuses on the kids on both sides of the divide, but also listens to parents, teachers, developers, newcomers, and longtime residents of the area, for a complex portrait of classism and urban evolution. Special advance screening courtesy of HBO Documentary Films. (BS)
AUGUST 23: This screening is a Movie Club event. Producer Daphne Pinkerson and film subject Hyisheem Calier will be present for an audience discussion after the film. The discussion will be facilitated by Janet Smith, Associate Professor at UIC and Co-Director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement.
Our Last Tango
Un tango más
2015, German Kral, Argentina/Germany, 85 min. With María Nieves Rego, Juan Carlos Copes.
- Fri, Jun 17th 2:00pm
- Fri, Jun 17th 6:00pm
- Sat, Jun 18th 7:45pm
- Sun, Jun 19th 4:45pm
- Mon, Jun 20th 8:00pm
- Tue, Jun 21st 8:15pm
- Wed, Jun 22nd 6:15pm
- Thu, Jun 23rd 8:15pm
- Fri, Jun 24th 6:00pm
- Sat, Jun 25th 7:45pm
- Sun, Jun 26th 5:00pm
- Mon, Jun 27th 6:15pm
- Tue, Jun 28th 7:45pm
- Wed, Jun 29th 8:00pm
- Thu, Jun 30th 6:15pm
"Exceptional. ... The screen pulsates with life and color and energy that you rarely find to this degree, even in other films about dance ... It’s a passionate remembrance with only a hint of sadness for bygone days, and there is enough scandal, bitterness and jealousy to fill a telenovela. Most importantly, it’s another great achievement in filmmaking about dance from [Wim] Wenders and [German] Kral." — Steve Prokopy, Third Coast Review
"Fascinating…a celebration of the tango itself, which continues to bewitch with its writhing, gently jagged grace and torrid suggestiveness." — Andy Webster, The New York Times
"An embrace of the passions it stokes…boils years’ worth of drama into an affecting dance set-piece of love, lust and loss." — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
The compelling story of Argentinian dancers María Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes, the most influential duo in the history of the tango, is revealed as a passion-filled star-crossed love story nurtured by extraordinary talent and ultimately torn apart by jealousy, hatred, and infidelity. For over forty years, Nieves and Copes transformed the art of the tango, taking it to heights of artistry and international recognition previously unknown. The two, now in their eighties, tell their own stories, illustrated with clips and photos of performance triumphs. Director Krall interweaves this essential history with romantically staged period reenactments featuring brilliant young dancers portraying María and Juan. Executive produced by Wim Wenders, with his trademark attention to a stunning musical score. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
JUNE 22: This screening is a Movie Club event, facilitated by Jorge Niedas, co-founder and Artistic Director of Tango 21 and Tango 21 Dance Theater. Jorge Niedas was trained in classical ballet at Instituto Superior del Arte del Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. He has performed in several institutions in the United States, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jorge introduced Argentine Tango to the Chicago community in the '90s. Since then he has been teaching, choreographing, and performing Argentine Tango in Chicago. He is also co-founder and Artistic Director of Dance Art, a non-profit organization which aims to provide dance instruction to children that are part of outreach programs in the city of Chicago.
2015, Aleksandr Sokurov, France, 88 min. With Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Benjamin Utzerath.
"Fascinating and supple ... it works very differently than the stately, methodical one-take wonder RUSSIAN ARK. I found the new one to be a livelier, more stimulating investigation of history, the spoils of war and the way great art serves as a life raft on the rocky seas of our times." – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"A truly bracing, provocative movie, and of course, as is always true with Sokurov, it’s a visual feast.”–Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
In this companion-piece to his Hermitage-ramble RUSSIAN ARK, director Sokurov once again uses an iconic museum as the jumping-off point for a dense and digressive meditation on art and history. The site this time is the Louvre, with a special focus on its fortunes during the Nazi Occupation, and the complex relationship between two key players: the cultivated German overseer Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich and his wary collaborator, museum director Jacques Jaujard. In contrast to the all-in-one-take aesthetic of RUSSIAN ARK, the method here is more of a patchwork bricolage, unified by Sokurov’s sardonic commentary as he ranges far and wide to take in a container-ship equivalent of Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” the role of museums in the construction of nationhood, the relationship of Europe to Russia, ghostly visitations by Napoleon and national symbol Marianne, and much more. In Russian, French, German, and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
MAY 17: The 6:00 pm screening on Tue., May 17, is a Movie Club event facilitated by P.D. Young, an Adjunct Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Masters in Art History in 2011 where his thesis explored a scene of the animals at the circus in Robert Bresson's au Hasard, Balthazar. Though he has lectured widely on modern and contemporary art, he is particularly interested in the intersection of museums and cinema.
Beauty and the Beast
La Belle et la Bête
1946, Jean Cocteau, France, 95 min. With Jean Marais, Josette Day.
★★★★ "One of the most magical of all films." – Roger Ebert
"Ravishing ... a recent restoration offering an opportunity to rediscover its undimmed pictorial splendor." – Kristin M. Jones, Wall Street Journal
Jean Marais, a young, obscure, strikingly handsome actor, became Jean Cocteau’s protégé and lover in 1937, and it was Marais who persuaded the opium-addicted poet to detox and take up the cinema again after a 15-year hiatus. In this imaginative and eternally popular version of the fairy tale, Marais is an uncommonly appealing Beast (Greta Garbo reportedly said after seeing the film, "Give me back my Beast!"), and Josette Day a suitably enchanting Beauty. Henri Alekan’s lustrous cinematography fulfills Cocteau’s directive to give the film "the soft gleam of hand-polished old silver." In French with English subtitles. Newly restored 35mm print. (MR)
APRIL 11: The 6:00 pm is a Movie Club event facilitated by critic Patrick McDonald. Patrick McDonald has been a film critic and entertainment writer for for eight years, and currently appears on HollywoodChicago.com and Film Autonomy.com. He has been chief tour guide for the Chicago Film Tour for seven seasons, and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics association.
2015, Paddy Breathnach, Ireland/Cuba, 100 min. With Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría.
"A genuine crowd-pleaser…packs an emotional wallop." — Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter
"Uncovers an authentic Cuba…sensational." — Gary M. Kramer, Indiewire
Irish talent behind the camera and Cuban talent on screen make for a powerfully potent combination in this emotional coming-of-age drama in which a young gay man struggles toward his dream of becoming a show-lounge diva. Short-listed for an Oscar nomination, VIVA highlights vibrant musical numbers and the colorful diversity of Havana’s inner city as Jesus (Medina), neighborhood hairdresser by day, wig-wrangler for the drag queens he idolizes by night, faces the challenge of his life when ex-con Angel (Perugorría), the brutal father he never knew, reappears. Executive-produced by Benicio del Toro. In Spanish with English subtitles. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
MARCH 13 & 14: Screenwriter Mark O’Halloran (ADAM & PAUL, GARAGE), will be present for audience discussion at both screenings. The 6:00 pm screening on Monday is a Movie Club event.