Chicago International Film Festival Gets Underway

Courtesy of Friede Clausz
'24 Weeks'

Fifteen international films will vie for the Gold Hugo.

Fifteen films will vie for the Gold Hugo, the top honor in the international feature competition at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, which kicked Thursday and runs through Oct. 27.

They include 24 Weeks (24 Wochen), directed by Anne Zohra Berrached of Germany; After the Storm (Umi yori mo mada fukaku), Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan; Christine, Antonio Campos, U.S.; The Commune (Kollektivet), Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark; Graduation (Bacalaureat), Cristian Mungiu, Romania/France, and The Last Family (Ostatnia rodzina), Jan P. Matuszyński, Poland.

The international lineup also includes: Layla M., Mijke de Jong, Netherlands/Belgium; Like Crazy (La pazza gioia), Paolo Virzi, Italy/France; Neruda,  Pablo Larraín, Chile/Argentina; Paradise (Rai), Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia/Germany; The Salesman (Forushande), Asghar Farhadi, Iran/France; Sieranevada, Cristi Puiu, Romania; The Student ((M)uchenik), Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia; Things to Come (L'avenir), Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany; and United States of Love (Zjednoczone stany miłości), Tomasz Wasilewski, Poland/Sweden.

The festival’s documentary competition is comprised of nine nonfiction films. It includes the world premiere of Among Wolves, the story of a humanitarian biker gang in the Balkans directed by Chicago native Shaun Convey. The selections are also highlighted by the North American premiere of filmmaker Peter Van Eecke's Samuel in the Clouds, a doc about the highest ski lift in the world.

Other documentaries on tap include: Forever Pure (Tehora La'ad), Maya Zinshtein, Israel/U.K.; Girls Don't Fly, Monika Grassl, Austria; Karl Marx City, Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, U.S./Germany;  A Mere Breath (Doar o rasuflare) Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Romania; Random Acts of Legacy, Ali Kazimi, Canada; The Swedish Theory of Love, Erik Gandini, Sweden, and Where You're Meant to Be, Paul Fegan, U.K.

The festival will feature a number of Special Presentations, celebrating some of the world's top filmmakers. They include: Camera Buff (Amator), Krzysztof Kieślowski, Poland; Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash, U.S.; Elle, Paul Verhoeven, France; I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach, U.K.; and Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate) Alfonso Arau, Mexico. Dash and Arau will attend the fest and be honored at their special screenings.

The Special Presentations also include: Lion, Garth Davis, Australia; A Man and a Woman (Un homme et une femme), Claude Lelouch, France; Mirzya, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, India; Moonlight,  Barry Jenkins, U.S.; Paterson, Jim Jarmusch, U.S.; A Quiet Passion, Terence Davies, U.K./Belgium, and Trespass Against Us, Adam Smith, U.K.

The festival's annual Black Perspectives component, sponsored by AARP with special support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, includes features from black filmmakers, as well as a program of shorts. The films include: 9 Rides, 93 Days, Daughters of the Dust, Destined, Girls Don't Fly, Kati Kati, Moonlight, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, Raising Bertie, Two Trains Runnin' and Shorts Program 7: Another Country.