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.
Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe
Vor der Morgenröte
2016, Maria Schrader, Austria/Germany, 106 min. With Josef Hader, Barbara Sukowa.
"This is Hader’s movie. His is one of the great performances of recent years." — Ali Arikan, Village Voice
"Maria Schrader's boldly understated look at a great, forgotten 20th-century writer is one impressive achievement, all the more admirable for its understated subtlety." — David Noh, Film Journal International
The exile years of Jewish Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (Hader), leading up to his suicide with his second wife Lotte (Aenne Schwarz) in Brazil in 1942, are chronicled in six symbolic segments illustrating a crisis of conscience that never abated. Abandoning his beloved Austria in 1934, at the height of his worldwide fame, Zweig is seen fomenting controversy among fellow writers for declining to denounce the Hitler regime, even as he establishes a new life in the safety of Latin America, a continent he comes to love. Zweig’s ex-wife and confidante (Sukowa) takes a pivotal role in deepening the burden of pain, when others look to her as an intermediary to secure his help. In German, English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
Wednesday, July 26: This screening is a Movie Club event facilitated by Sara Hall, Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies at UIC.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
2016, Steve James, USA, 88 min.
“Gripping real-life legal thriller with an appealing Chinese-American twist…both an affirmation and an indictment of the American Dream.” — Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter
“An exemplary piece of filmmaking…it’s the human face that tells the story.” — Tom Charity, Sight & Sound
How did Abacus, a small family-run bank, become targeted by the feds to take the fall for the 2008 financial crisis when the Wall Street giants tiptoed away so handily, asks award-winning filmmaker Steve James (HOOP DREAMS, THE INTERRUPTERS) in this affecting David vs. Goliath chronicle. Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey, banker hero of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, served as the role model for New York Chinatown lawyer Thomas Sung when he founded a community-friendly bank in the 1950s, serving an insular, bank-shy immigrant population. In 2010, his staff discovered and reported irregularities perpetrated by one mortgage manager, bringing down the wrath of the Justice Department, and making Abacus the sole bank to face federal charges in the wake of the financial crisis. Nineteen employees are led away in chains before TV cameras, and the resulting five-year media circus and show trial expose suspiciously glaring inequities in the government case. DCP digital. (BS)
LION DANCE — FRIDAY NIGHT ONLY! To officially kick off the run, join us starting at 7:30 pm (before the 8:15 pm screening) when patrons will be greeted outside of the Film Center with a lion dance to chase away evil spirits and bring good luck for the film's week-long engagement. The lion dance will continue in our theater lobby on the 2nd floor starting at 7:45 pm.
Friday, June 16 at 8:15 PM: Director Steve James and producer Mark Mitten will be present for audience discussion. The discussion will be moderated by film critic Steve Prokopy. There will be a reception before the screening starting at 7:00 PM.
Saturday, June 17 at 7:45 PM: Director Steve James and producer Mark Mitten will be present for audience discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Kim Bellware of Huffington Post.
Sunday, June 18 at 5:15 PM: Director Steve James and producer Mark Mitten will be present for audience discussion, moderated by Kathy Im, MacArthur Foundation's Director of Journalism and Media.
Tuesday, June 20 at 8:00 PM: Director Steve James and producer Mark Mitten will be present for audience discussion, facilitated by Mike McNamara, Executive Director of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. This screening is a Movie Club event.