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Gene Siskel Film Center On Location

We are making theater upgrades and will be closed for renovations in December 2017, but the films continue with Gene Siskel Film Center On Location!


2016, Richard Kane, USA, 74 min.

"I reach for the child in everyone," says Ashley Bryan. Best known as the beloved author and illustrator of over fifty children's books, including such classics as "Beautiful Blackbird" and "Dancing Granny," the prolific Bryan has also created collages, puppets, and stained-glass windows, all deeply rooted in spirituality and the Black experience. When this delightful documentary opens with Bryan holding a group of schoolchildren spellbound with a reading of his recent book "Can't Scare Me," the ebullient 94-year-old seems part-child himself, but, as his life story makes clear, he is far from naive. As a stevedore in World War II, he experienced racism in the then-segregated Army and landed on bloody Omaha Beach on D-Day. Deeply troubled by the war, he asked himself, "Could art redeem suffering?" and resolved to spread joy and beauty through his work. DVD projection. (MR)

Following the screening will be an audience discussion led by Dr. Jan Spivey Gilchrist, children's book author and illustrator, and Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist, Managing Director at Stallion Books.


1965, Arturo Ripstein, Mexico, 89 min.

The first film of Mexican auteur Ripstein (THE CASTLE OF PURITY, DEEP CRIMSON), this revisionist western boasts other impressive credentials: the original screenplay is by Nobel-winning author Gabriel García Márquez; the dialogue was adapted by celebrated Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes; and the stark black-and-white cinematography is by distinguished veteran Alex Phillips (DOÑA BÁRBARA, ROBINSON CRUSOE). After 18 years in prison, Juan Sáyago returns to his hometown to settle down, but the hotheaded son of the man Juan killed in self-defense is determined to provoke him into a gunfight. The film is remarkable for its critique of macho and its subversion of genre conventions (the pudgy hero wears spectacles and likes to knit), while the strong sense of fatalism anticipates such later García Márquez works as "Chronicle of a Death Foretold." In Spanish with English subtitles. DVD projection. (MR)

The screening will be introduced by Alejandro Riera, Panorama Latinx Outreach and Programming Consultant. Following the film will be an audience discussion led by Mev Luna, Panorama Latinx Outreach Coordinator.


2016, Lara Stolman, USA, 100 min.

When New Jersey parents Maria and Mike McQuay observed that their young son with autism became calm and focused in the family pool, they founded a swim team, the Jersey Hammerheads, at a local Y, recruiting a multicultural group of other boys on the autism spectrum. A decade later, the now co-ed team thrives as a unique confidence-building program that produces a remarkable range of social and therapeutic benefits for the swimmers, some who have become champions in the Special Olympics. Director Stolman zeroes in on three teens, Mikey, Robert, and Kelvin, and their parents, charting the emotional journey of families challenging the limitations that society places on their children. “When I’m swimming I feel normal,” says Mikey. DVD projection. (BS)


2016, Ceyda Torun, USA/Turkey, 80 min.

Life is close to cushy for the cherished street cats of Istanbul, as seen in this marvelously cat-action-packed look at the purring mascots that have roamed the streets of the ancient capital for millennia, protected, admired, and honored for their beauty and their skill as mousers. In a film that no card-carrying cat lover will be able to resist, director Torun alternates stories of the people who love these independent street dwellers, offering food, nests and hidey-holes, with cat-eye views of life at ground level. Istanbul itself comes in for an atmospheric portrait, from the fabled waterfront to the colorful maze of historic streets. In Turkish with English subtitles. DVD projection. (BS)

Feeling feline inspired? Following the screening, Tree House Humane Society and Hyde Park Cats will be in attendance, educating on adoption with select kitties available to take home right away! If you aren’t in the position to adopt but still want to support, Chicago Athletic Association hotel will be accepting cat – and dog – food donations at the screening, allowing Tree House and Hyde Park Cats to feed those furry friends in need this holiday season. Note that there will be live animals present.