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Here is the list of 10


The 59th Chicago International Film Festival, the oldest juried festival of its kind in North America, is spreading like a blanket across the city this week, saying: Here’s new work from all kinds of places, from everywhere. Take a look.

Some venues, notably AMC NewCity 14 (1500 N. Clybourn Ave.) and the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.), are making festival screenings for the first time.

Other venues are returning to duty. The Music Box Theater (3733 N. Southport Ave.) hosts Wednesday’s opening night selection, “We Grown Now,” the beautiful Cabrini-Green-set drama recently picked up for theatrical distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.

Elsewhere, CIFF is revisiting the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Museum of Chicago History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and CIFF screenings may also be held this year at the Hamilton Park Cultural Center in Englewood and the Harrison Park Field House in Pilsen .

You’ll find winners of top awards from the Cannes Film Festival (“Anatomy of a Fall”), the Venice Film Festival (“Poor Things”) and others. You’ll see documentaries on wheels, including the Chicago-based documentary “The Bicycle Ship,” and another type of wheel, on a pickup truck transporting refugees along land-mined roads in Ukraine to the Polish border. You’ll catch Austin Butler, the heart of “Elvis,” in the new Jeff Nichols movie “The Bikeriders,” set in Chicago (though it was shot in Pittsburgh; you can’t have everything).

Here are 10 for beginners. We will be removing star ratings at this stage of the game. Many of these films have already been released in commercial theaters, while others are still seeking distribution deals.

“We Have Grown Up Now” (Oct. 11, 7 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre): This year’s opening night selection is unusually strong. Writer-director Minhal Baig tells his story by centering on two boys growing up in the Cabrini-Green public housing projects in Chicago in the early 1990s. immediately delicate, poignant, slightly devastating and completely gorgeous, With outstanding performances by Jurnee Smollett, S. Epatha Merkerson and many other artists. Commercial theatrical release is slated for 2024, possibly in the spring.

“Cyclists” (October 22, 5 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre): The festival’s closing night event draws its titular inspiration from Danny Lyon’s 1968 photography book. Lyon’s subject is the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Writer-director Jeff Nichols, who gave us compelling dramas like “Take Shelter,” “Loving” and “Mud,” imagines a fictionalized version of that club, those men and a few women allowed into the orbit of the poseurs. The cast includes Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Nichols’ frequent collaborator Michael Shannon, and the invaluable Jodie Comer, who nails the Chicago dialect (no joke) like only the British can master. Commercial theatrical release in December.

“Eric LaRue” (Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre): Speaking of Michael Shannon, “Eric LaRue” marks the actor’s feature-length directorial debut. Brett Neveu, his longtime collaborator at A Red Orchid Theater in Chicago, adapts and expands Neveu’s 2002 play about the shaky ground beneath the lives of the school shooter’s grieving mother (Judy Greer, very alert and alive). They know what’s best for his mental health.

Alexander Skarsgard and Judy Greer play the parents of a school shooter. "Eric LaRue."

“Alien Island” (October 17, 5:15 p.m., AMC NewCity 14; October 18, 2 p.m., Siskel Film Center): A shrewd attempt at non-fiction cinema by director Cristóbal Valenzuela and a Chilean-Italian co-production. 1984 Chile showed a handful of diverse citizens the path to truth. It involves the truth behind a remote place known as Amity Island and the sinister reach of omnipotent authoritarianism.

UFO sightings and Chilean politics make strange bedfellows in documentary "Alien Island."

“Anatomy of a Fall” (October 12, 8:15 p.m., AMC NewCity): French director Justine Triet’s win of the 2023 Palme d’Or at Cannes has some viewers wondering whether the award is truly deserved. A slow, serpentine courtroom drama wrapped in a whodunit, the film deals with the murder or suicide of a husband and fingers of suspicion towards his wife, played by the great German actor Sandra Hüller, among others. It will have a commercial theatrical release later this year.

From left to right, Samuel Theis, Sandra Hüller and Milo Machado Graner on a stage "Anatomy of a Fall," Directed by Justine Triet.

“Area of ​​Interest” (8 p.m., October 18, AMC NewCity): From “Under the Skin” director Jonathan Glazer comes another bold adaptation of a novel; this is Martin Amis’s flamboyant (and, in my opinion, morally dubious) multi-perspective narrative. Family of the Auschwitz concentration camp commandant. Glazer jettisons Amis’s complex romantic complications and instead offers a gripping, painfully ironic portrayal of everyday life and death. Starring Christian Friedel and Sandra Hüller. One of the fundamental cinematic responses to the magnitude and endless shadow of the Holocaust. Commercial release date is December 8.

a scene "Point of Interest, adapted and directed by Jonathan Glazer.

“Family portrait” (Oct. 14 at AMC NewCity, 3:15 p.m.; Oct. 16, 6:15 p.m. at the Siskel Film Center): Writer-director Lucy Kerr’s film, an evocative slice of slippery recent history, brings a Texas family together on a riverside ranch . In the fall of 2019. Or is it the beginning of 2020? The film doesn’t stick to its time period, but casual small talk that references mysterious viruses, hatred of hospitals, the effects of the latest hurricane disaster and Kerr’s perspective on mysterious details make “Family Portrait” one of the film’s cleverest captures. Early COVID era.

“All Dirt Roads Taste Like Salt” (7:45 p.m. Oct. 18 at AMC NewCity; Oct. 19 at Logan Center for the Arts): Raven Jackson’s striking, wordy feature debut. Written by Caglar Charleen McClure and Kaylee Nicole Johnson. Visual and immersive echoes of Julie Dash’s groundbreaking “Daughters of the Dust” were freely acknowledged by Jackson, but she is more the poet of family secrets and the tree of life. November theatrical release.

Sheila Atim "All Dirt Roads Taste Like Salt."

“Taste of Things” (Oct. 13 at 7:45 p.m. on AMC NewCity; Oct. 14 at 5:15 p.m. on AMC NewCity; Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. on AMC NewCity): A rather fascinating orgy of beautifully prepared, meat-heavy dishes. Set in late 19th-century provincial France by Juliette Binoche (as cook Eugénie) and Benoît Magimel (wealthy property owner and foodie Dodin as her employer/lover). Director Tran Anh Hung made “The Fragrance of Green Papaya” more appetizing. But this will benefit many people. Early 2024 release.

“In Hindsight” (Oct. 15 at 2:45 p.m. on AMC NewCity; Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. on AMC NewCity): I wrote a little About this extraordinary documentary, a Polish/French/Ukrainian co-production, in which a camera parked between the front seats of a minibus records the faces, stories and fragile survival of Ukrainian war refugees. Director Maciek Hamela volunteered to rent his own van, and then two others, as part of the refugee rescue operation; its passengers have become our window into the harrowing state of a nation where our U.S. leaders have recently rejected aid to avoid shutting down our own government. Everything but shame is in short supply these days.

Ukrainian refugees travel dangerous path to safety in documentary "In Rear View."

It’s in many theaters through October 22nd, and remember, if something is sold out at the Chicago International Film Festival, there’s always something else available. Find the full schedule, tickets and all venue locations at: chicagofilmfestival.com

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.


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