Stranger Than Fiction:
January 6 - February 2
From January 6 through February 2, the Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the art of the documentary in a special way. This selection of ten Chicago premieres includes films made from a highly personal point of view, as well as those that delve into issues, personalities, or evolving communities through personal interaction.
In the wry BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED…, Broadway director Lonny Price fondly reconstructs the brief glory days of the original production of Sondheim’s ill-fated musical "Merrily We Roll Along," when he and a handful of other young hopefuls believed they were headed for stardom. In THEO WHO LIVED, journalist Theo Padnos uniquely reenacts his imprisonment in Syria by Al-Qaeda, with gallows humor and deep insight into the psychology of his captors. Austrian film essayist extraordinaire Nikolaus Geyrhalter explores the aura of abandoned places in his haunting HOMO SAPIENS. Felines rule in a sneak preview of KEDI, an irresistible profile of the unusually privileged street cats of Istanbul.
Native American teens on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation speak to their challenges, their connection to the land, and their passion for their heritage in Chicago filmmaker Seth McClellan’s LITTLE WOUND’S WARRIORS. The interconnectedness of all life forms and the multiple ways in which cruelty to animals and disrespect for the environment serve to degrade human life is at the heart of Kevin Mukherji’s WE ARE ONE.
Susan Morgan Cooper connects an adoptive family’s tragedy to the Russian ban on U.S. adoptions in her powerfully emotional TO THE MOON AND BACK. Survivors of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting find a new source of healing as performers in a pop musical in MIDSUMMER IN NEWTOWN. Director Benjamin Lear goes behind prison walls to encounter boys facing life sentences for adult crimes including murder in THEY CALL US MONSTERS.
Director appearances include Seth McClellan with LITTLE WOUND’S WARRIORS; Kevin Mukherji with WE ARE ONE; and Susan Morgan Cooper with TO THE MOON AND BACK.
MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI, Steven Okazaki’s portrait of the legendary Japanese star Toshiro Mifune, inspired us to mount a retrospective of his best-known films this month. "Click here" for all the details.
— Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming