Kenneth Hite (princeofcairo) wrote,
Kenneth Hite

CIFF Meets the Phantom of the Park

Once more it's time for the Chicago International Film Festival, so once more it must be time for me to lay out my schedule as I know it. As usual, all films show at the AMC River East 21. Sadly, the sole South Korean film on offer (tch-tch) plays only against my Orson Welles mini-Fest, so I shall have to check out Clean Up on some other screen somewhere.


6:00: Transit (Germany/France, Christian Petzold) A man fleeing occupied France meets a woman searching for her dead husband -- whose identity he has assumed. Surreal thriller described as "Kafka's Casablanca."

8:15: Animal (Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo) A man in need of a kidney transplant falls under the power of a conniving couple. Dark comic thriller directed by the screenwriter of Birdman.


8:15: The Mercy of the Jungle (Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joël Karakezi) Two soldiers have to make it home across inhospitable jungle during the Second Congo War.

10:30: Liverleaf (Japan, Eisuke Naitô) Schoolgirl meets bullies, schoolgirl gets supernatural powers, carnage ensues.


12:30: Sibel (EU/Turkey, Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti) Modern folktale pits a whistling girl against a wolf.

2:15: Boys Cry (Italy, Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo) Two street kids accidentally kill a pedestrian in a hit-and-run, earning them a place in the Mafia. Crime film and coming-of-age movie duke it out in a battle of genres.

4:30: Border (Sweden, Ali Abbasi) Customs officer whose ability to smell fear and shame makes her a standout at her job feels a powerful attraction for a traveler whose Neanderthal-like features resemble her own. Received a coveted robin_d_laws Recommendation!

8:15: Ash is Purest White (China, Jia Zhangke) Released from prison, a gun moll in the Jianghu underworld discovers her boss/lover and gang have moved on in the five years she was away. Gunplay ensues!


12:00: Friedkin Uncut (Italy, Francesco Zippel) A documentary on the films of Chicago's own William Friedkin from The French Connection to Killer Joe.

2:30: Jumpman (Russia/Ireland/Lithuania/France, Ivan I. Tverdovsky) A boy born without the ability to feel pain becomes -- an insurance fraud, because Russia. Russian films always sound so cool and then very not always are, but we always come back. Lithuania tho.

5:45: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy/Switzerland/France/Germany, Alice Rohrwacher) An outcast man who can time travel can hopefully also travel out of realism and into magic realism.


6:00: Duelles (Belgium/France, Olivier Masset-Depasse) Two identical bourgeois neighbor housewives succumb to paranoia. Belgians love making Hitchcock movies, so let's hope this one is one of the good ones.

8:30: The Stolen Caravaggio (Italy, Roberto Andó) Screenwriter receives a screenplay plot full of intrigue and, one suspects, finds herself living it. Andó directed The Confessions, which we liked in 2016.


6:15: The Belly of the Whale (Ireland, Morgan Bushe) Two teenage hooligans decide to rob a casino and you had me at "rob a casino."


12:30: Ex-Shaman (Brazil, Luiz Bolognesi) Former shaman of a now-Christian village must take up the rattle once more to fight evil spirits.

3:00: Naples in Veils (Italy, Ferzan Ozpetek) A medical examiner wakes up to find that her one-night-stand is dead, and she must explore the darkness of Naples to clear her name. I admit it, I'm just a sucker for movies set in Naples, but you know that sounds pretty good.

5:30: Dogman (Italy/France, Matteo Garrone) Dog groomer pulled into criminality bites back! From the director of the excellent Gomorrah.

8:15: X--The eXploited (Hungary, Károly Ujj Mészáros) Detective battles anxiety and the Communist past to unravel a murder mystery. Hungary usually punches way above its weight, but it has stubbed its toe a couple of times recently.


2:30: They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (US, Morgan Neville) Documentary about the last 15 years of Orson Welles' life from the maker of 20 Feet From Stardom.

5:45: The Trouble with You (France, Pierre Salvadori) Policewoman learns that her husband was actually a crooked cop; she tries to right his wrongs in this "screwball caper comedy" set in the Riviera which I mean really icing on top of icing here.

11:00: Overlord (US, Julius Avery) Heroic US soldiers killing some Nazi werewolves or zombies or werezombies or wolfensteins or something.


2:30: The Other Side of the Wind (US, Orson Welles, 1976 & 2018) John Huston plays an aging, legendary director blocked at every turn in his attempt to make his final masterpiece. Not so much art imitating life as art diarizing life, this famously unfinished film finally got finished (by Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall, I think) thanks to the deep pockets of Netflix, where you can all see it two weeks after I do. This should definitively break our long-running pattern of the last film of the Fest not always being very good.
Tags: chicago international film festival, film talk
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