The time is upon us. On October 6th, Chicago will begin its annual International Film Festival. For two weeks, the film fanatics of the Windy City have the chance different types of movies from all over the world, made with a distinct passion for this wonderful art form
This year, they’re boasting quite the impressive line-up, with almost every title being a must-see. But here’s ten of the films I’m most excited to check out this year.
A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg has never been a huge fan of holding back, and with his latest it can be expected that this trend will continue. It tells the story of the tumultuous relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as a young woman seemingly comes between them. Judging by the director’s track record, and the subject matter being presented, this fare can be expected to be quite sensual.
Whether you love him or hate him, Lars Von Trier always manages to create a film that you cannot look away from. That alone makes Melancholia worth seeing. It combines the human with the fantastic, telling the story of the relationships of two sisters. As that story is unfolding, a threat looms over the Earth in the form of a rogue planet on a collision course. Will everything end? It’s Lars Von Trier. So, probably.
This marks the directorial debut of actor Paddy Considine. It tells the story of a rage-filled many named Joseph, who’s life is in a downward spiral. But he finds a chance at redemption in the form of a woman named Hannah. The film has already been garnering some very positive buzz, and there’s been nothing but praise for the lead performance turned in by actor Peter Mullen.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Even under normal circumstances, a film from Lynne Ramsay (director of the excellent Ratcatcher) starring Tilda Swinton wouldn’t be one to miss. But We Need to Talk About Kevin gets a boost to absolute “can’t miss” status thanks to the scheduled presence of Swinton’s co-star, the fantastically underrated John C. Reilly. He’ll be speaking earlier in the day, and the film’s screening will follow.
This is Israel’s first crack at a slasher film, and it’s supposedly good. Very good. From the sound of it, it takes a time-proven horror formula (lost in the woods with killers) and throws in some humor for good measure, which helps draw in even those who aren’t fans of this sort of thing. All word seems to be that it does its job well, and is an essential stop for anyone looking to have some good ol’ fashioned fun.
Juan of the Dead
Hearing the title immediately brings another pun-laden title to mind: the infinitely awesome Shaun of the Dead. And while both films seem to have their similarities, Juan of the Dead differs in story, telling the tale of a group of friends who go into business after a zombie outbreak spreads across Cuba. It looks like it could be one hell of a late-night movie experience.
The Last Rites of Joe May
I’m a sucker for Chicago-based films, and the fest’s opening night selection has me hook, line, and sinker. The Last Rites of Joe May focuses on the last days of an aging hustler, and has frequent “that guy” Dennis Farina in the title role. It should be interesting to watch him seriously portray the type of character that he has so often given a comedic flare.
This is the film they’ve chosen to close out the festival with, and it’s silent. I don’t even feel like there’s much more I’d have to say about it, the choice to return to silent film should make any true film fan curious, just to see if the industry’s love of dialogue hindered it in any way. And if the reviews are to be believed, then it hasn’t been hindered at all.
Into the Abyss
Werner Herzog’s documentaries have never been amongst the easiest or most lighthearted ones there are. But that’s what makes them great, they evoke so much and are so powerful (whether it be through what you see visually or through the subject matter he’s chosen, and often its both), that to watch them and feel nothing is astounding. His latest one, which is an interview with death row inmate Michael Perry mere days before his execution, may be further proof of why he’s so celebrated.
The Three Musketeers
This choice is part joke, and part not. Yes, this is a tale that has been told many times before. But this time it’s different, this time it’s Paul W.S. Anderson’s version of it. This time it has airships, acrobatics, and Milla Jovovich. And it’s in 3D. It’s that film that I tell myself I’m not going to watch, because I think I’ll just end up wasting my time. But then part of me has this sneaking suspicion that by festival’s end, I will have seen it, just to see what they’ve done to it. It can’t be worse than The Musketeer…can it? William Bitterman
The Chicago Film Festival runs from October 6th-20th. Visit the festival’s official home page.