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Stranger Than Fiction

January 3 - 29

From January 3 through 29, the Gene Siskel Film Center celebrates the art of the documentary in a special way, with the series Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres. Dreams, obsessions, and power plays figure in many of these eight films, in which a search for truth or meaning is often an underlying theme.

The final harrowing chapter in director Terry Gilliam’s attempt to complete his dream project, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE, unfolds in HE DREAMS OF GIANTS. The story of an African American librarian who devoted thirty years of her life to capturing network news on a battery of home VHS recorders comes to light in RECORDER: THE MARION STOKES PROJECT. Septuagenarian feminist Benedetta Barzini meets with resistance from her filmmaker son over her desire to become invisible despite her international cover-girl fame in THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER.

A Mexico City family chases an elusive dream of prosperity while running down car wrecks in their maverick ambulance in MIDNIGHT FAMILY. Love for the mom n’ pop neighborhood video store still burns bright for filmmakers including John Waters in AT THE VIDEO STORE, featuring some hardy survivors including Chicago’s own Odd Obsession Movies. Dogged investigative reporting by the filmmaker gives BETRAYAL: WHEN THE GOVERNMENT TOOK OVER THE TEAMSTER’S UNION a timely resonance with a First Amendment angle and a Chicago setting.

A millennial filmmaker accompanies a group of aged veterans to Europe for the 70th commemoration of D-Day and gains new insight into history in SUNKEN ROADS: THREE GENERATIONS AFTER D-DAY. Two long-vacated homes, one in Tehran and the other in Alabama, are featured in A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME: WRIGHT OR WRONG, a mediation on displacement focusing on the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house where film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum grew up.

Filmmaker appearances are scheduled with BETRAYAL, SUNKEN ROADS, A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME, and AT THE VIDEO STORE. Check this web site for exact details and guest appearance updates.

—Barbara Scharres


He Dreams of Giants

2019, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, UK, 85 min.


  • Fri, Jan 3rd 2:00pm
  • Sun, Jan 5th 3:00pm
  • Wed, Jan 8th 8:00pm
George Bogdanich in person!

Betrayal: When the Government Took Over the Teamster's Union

2019, George Bogdanich, USA 70 min.
Narration by William Forsythe


  • Sat, Jan 4th 7:30pm
  • Thu, Jan 9th 7:45pm

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

2019, Matt Wolf, USA, 87 min.


  • Fri, Jan 10th 4:00pm
  • Fri, Jan 10th 7:45pm
  • Sat, Jan 11th 7:45pm
  • Tue, Jan 14th 6:00pm

Charlotte Juergens in person!

Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day

2019, Charlotte Juergens, USA, 91 min.


  • Sun, Jan 12th 4:45pm
  • Wed, Jan 15th 7:45pm

Midnight Family

2019, Luke Lorentzen, Mexico, 90 min.


  • Fri, Jan 17th 8:15pm
  • Tue, Jan 21st 8:15pm
  • Wed, Jan 22nd 6:00pm
  • Thu, Jan 23rd 8:15pm

World premiere! Filmmakers in person!

A House is Not a Home: Wright or Wrong

2020, Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, USA, 74 min.


  • Sat, Jan 18th 5:15pm
  • Mon, Jan 20th 7:45pm
James Westby in person!

At the Video Store

2019, James Westby, USA, 72 min.


  • Fri, Jan 24th 8:00pm
  • Sat, Jan 25th 5:30pm

The Disappearance of My Mother

Storia di B. - La scomparsa di mia madre

2019, Beniamino Barrese, Italy, 94 min.


  • Sun, Jan 26th 5:00pm
  • Wed, Jan 29th 8:00pm