The Scorecard Review will be there to cover the interviews, movie reviews and red carpet moments of the Chicago International Film Festival in October. Here's a list of 21 movies that will be a part of the event. We'll have all the news you'll need to be ready for the fest right here. October 8 – 22, 2009
CHICAGO, September 16, 2009 – Cinema/Chicago is proud to announce another 20 films that will appear at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival. From dazzling CGI animation to tales of existential ennui and little white lies gone wrong, The 45th Chicago International Film Festival promises an impressive array of diverse films that will excite cinema fans in Chicago and beyond. Below is a newly released sampling of the 145 films that will be shown at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival, which will take place October 8th through the 22nd at the AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St - Chicago). Film Festival passes are on sale now! Through September 22nd, order your passes with promotional code 45FEST09 to receive $10 off your pass orders.
Newly Announced Titles
Iran About Elly Director: Asghar Farhadi From the director of Fireworks Wednesday (winner of the 2006 Gold Hugo), this complex mystery launches with the lighthearted weekend reunion of a group of old college pals. Sepideh has brought along her new friend Elly, hoping she’ll hit it off with Ahmad, newly divorced from his German wife and in search of an Iranian bride. But when Elly disappears from their seaside bungalow, compounding lies and deception quickly lead to catastrophe. Persian with subtitles.
USA/Hong Kong/Japan Astro Boy Director: David Bowers A thrilling tale of a true hero, Astro Boy is full of action, adventure, humor, and heart—brought to life on the big screen in breathtaking CGI animation. Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers. Embarking on a journey in search of acceptance, he learns the joys and emotions of being human, and gains the strength to embrace his destiny. When his friends and family are in danger, Astro Boy returns to Metro City in a valiant effort to save everything he cares about and to understand what it takes to be a hero. Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, and Nicolas Cage lead an all-star voice cast.
USA Against the Current Director: Peter Callahan Paul, still wracked with grief five years after his wife’s death, has a goal: to swim the entire length of the Hudson River in a month. His friends Jeff and Liz come along on the adventure, but they are dismayed when Paul reveals the true purpose behind his trip. By turns wry and sorrowful, this unconventional indie-drama-meets-road-trip-movie stars Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Mary Tyler Moore.
USA Cropsey Directors: Barbara Brancaccio, Joshua Zeman The directors, who both grew up on Staten Island, connect the urban myth of a childsnatching, escaped mental patient that haunted their youth with the true stories of the kids who actually went missing in their community. This chilling horror documentary follows the filmmakers as they investigate the seedy underbelly of their borough, searching for answers only to unearth more mysteries.
Bulgaria/Sweden Eastern Plays Director: Kamen Kalev This multilayered debut is a fresh, honest, sensitively wrought portrait of two young men struggling with their existential ennui in different ways. Swept up in the Bulgarian capital’s turbulent political climate, Georgi falls in with a violent gang of neo-Nazis while blackout drunk and all-around jerk Christo flounders in a dead-end job. Their roles in a racist beating will reveal the connections between them and alter their lives in unexpected ways. Bulgarian, Turkish with subtitles.
UK An Education Director: Lone Scherfig In the post-war, pre-Beatles London suburbs, a bright schoolgirl (Carey Mulligan) is torn between studying for a place at Oxford and the more exciting alternative offered to her by a charismatic older man (Peter Sarsgaard). Directed by award-winning Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, Italian for Beginners) from a screenplay by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy), An Education was adapted from a memoir by journalist Lynn Barber. Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Sally Hawkins, and Emma Thompson also star.
Taiwan/France Face (Visage) Director: Tsai Ming-Liang A four-time award-winner at the Festival, master Tsai Ming-Liang (Goodbye, Dragon Inn; What Time Is It Over There?) returns with a sumptuously staged, boldly visual film about a Taiwanese filmmaker who casts French actors in his latest disaster-fraught film—despite not speaking a word of French. An artistic tip of the hat to François Truffaut and the spirit of the New Wave, Face stars Truffaut regulars Jean-Pierre Léaud and Fanny Ardant. French, Taiwanese with subtitles.
France The Girl on the Train (La Fille du RER) Director: André Téchiné Jeanne is a beautiful, freewheeling 22-year-old with a penchant for telling little white lies and avoiding a real job. When her flash-in-the-pan relationship with the audacious and vaguely mysterious Franck goes sour in a big way, the heartbroken girl spins a story there’s no coming back from. Émilie Dequenne (Rosetta) and Catherine Deneuve highlight the excellent ensemble cast in this sexy, complex drama about deception and its repercussions. French with subtitles.
Japan Kanikôsen Director: Sabu Kanikôsen takes us into the belly of an industrial hell as exploited laborers aboard the titular crab cannery ship struggle to find escape, or at least respite, from their grim existence. With mass suicide attempted and then rejected as an option, they slowly realize their only recourse is open revolt. Sabu brings a modern sensibility to his adaptation of the 1929 novel, adding stylized visuals and his trademark flourishes of black comedy. Japanese with subtitles.
Netherlands The Last Days of Emma Blank (De laatste dagen van Emma Blank) Director: Alex van Warmerdam The Dutch master of madcap misanthropy returns to the Festival with a precise, pitch-black comedy set in the country home of terminally ill Emma Blank. Her domestic servants have long submitted to her venomous attitude and irrational whims with an eye on an inheritance (van Warmerdam himself plays a character ordered to serve as the family dog… see it to believe it), but slowly the truth about this way-offbeat household is revealed. Dutch with subtitles.
Canada/Ireland Love & Savagery Director: John N. Smith A sleepy town along Ireland’s magnificent rocky western coast plays host to a lyrical tale of forbidden love between Michael and Cathleen, a passionate geologist/poet from Newfoundland and the lovely, gentle waitress at the local pub. Undeterred by the many enemies he amasses for wooing Cathleen, Michael forces her to question the path she’s chosen, and decide whether her love for a man can be stronger than her love of God.
Hungary Made In Hungaria Director: Gergely Fonyó It’s rock ’n’ roll versus communism in this rollicking musical comedy. Pompadoured teen Miki and his parents return to oppressive 1960s Hungary after four years in the States. Miki’s stash of contraband Jack Daniels and 45s by Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis makes him a hit with local kids starved for American pop culture—but it’ll be harder to win over his ex-flame Vera, tough-guy rocker Röné… and especially the local comrades. Hungarian with subtitles.
Chile The Maid (La Nana) Director: Sebastian Silva Forty-year-old Raquel has spent more than half her life as the live-in housekeeper and nanny for a middle-class family of six. Her ironfisted, borderline-OCD behavior keeps things running smoothly, but lately her snappish attitude is creating a strange tension in the household. Hoping to relieve her stress, the family brings in a second maid, but Raquel is prepared to defend her territory at all costs. This unpredictable, naturalistic gem was a top winner at Sundance. Spanish with subtitles
USA Mississippi Damned Director: Tina Mabry They weren’t the first to dream of escaping their small Mississippi town, but—raised among their family’s vicious cycle of abuse, addiction, and lies—three young black children learn the hard way that their dreams will never be enough. Based on a true story, Mississippi Damned is the brutally honest tale of what happens when a family’s haven is also its prison.
France/Belgium No Hard Feelings! (Sans rancune!) Director: Yves Hanchar It’s 1955, and troublemaker Laurent finds himself at a Belgian boarding school, where a teacher there recognizes his intelligence and encourages him to write. As Laurent’s talent develops, he adopts his inspiring teacher as a father figure, while at the same time wondering about his real father, who disappeared during the war. As Laurent investigates the past, he is forced to confront his present. French with subtitles.
USA The Revenant Director: Kerry Prior A zombie buddy comedy with political overtones? After being killed in combat, U.S. soldier Bart Gregory inexplicably rises from his grave—a walking, talking rotting corpse (or revenant), but otherwise himself. With the help of his friend Joey, he discovers he can not only keep from decomposing without killing the innocent but also clean up the mean streets of Los Angeles, all while cruising through the night in a 1979 Camaro.
USA Soundtrack for a Revolution Directors: Dan Sturman, Bill Guttentag Relive the American civil rights movement through the soul-stirring folk songs that fortified protestors struggling for equality. This powerful doc pairs modern renditions by Wyclef Jean, John Legend, TV on the Radio, the Roots, and others with footage from the bitter days of segregation and emotional present-day interviews with the people (including Harry Belafonte) who fought and lived through it.
Poland Sweet Rush (Tatarak) Director: Andrzej Wajda Treasured director Andrzej Wajda follows up his Oscar®-nominated Katyn with this poignant meditation on nostalgia and loss. A married woman (Krystyna Janda) feels more than maternal affection for a young man who reminds her of the two sons she lost in WWII, but their drama is but a movie being staged within this movie, and perhaps the real story is Janda herself…. Polish with subtitles.
Philippines/USA The ‘Thank You’ Girls Director: Charliebebs Gohetia This celebration of a singular family of drag queens follows a hapless group of beauty pageant contestants who leave the big city in search of fame, glamour, and adoration out in the rural provinces. This lighthearted, brightly colored romp draws us in—past the girls’ glamorous façades to their destructive everyday habits—as they tear through the Filipino countryside. Visayan with subtitles.
Mexico Those Who Remain (Los que se quedan) Directors: Carlos Hagerman, Juan Carlos Rulfo This intimate documentary depicts the impact immigration has had on the families who have watched brothers, sons, and fathers leave Mexico in order to support their families. A film about nostalgia and longing for those who have left, Those Who Remain gently presents the gorgeous landscape of Mexico’s ranchland and the quiet life of its inhabitants, those who have remained. Spanish with subtitles.
USA Women in Trouble Director: Sebastian Gutierrez A pregnant porn star, a couple of call girls, a scorned psychiatrist, a teenage goth, a flight attendant with a crush on a famous passenger… the troubles of this cluster of LA women couldn’t be more different, but on one crazy day feminine compassion will alter all of their lives. Devilish humor, razor-sharp scripting, and a knockout ensemble of talented actresses (including Carla Gugino, Connie Britton, and Marley Shelton) turn Trouble into pure pleasure.
Film Festival passes for the 45th Chicago International Film Festival are now on sale at www.chicagofilmfestival.com or call the Festival box office at 312-332-FILM. Individual tickets and Gala Presentation tickets go on sale September 23rd.
For up-to-date and detailed Festival information, call 312-332-FILM or visit www.chicagofilmfestival.com.