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The CHIRP Blog

Entries categorized as “Movies” 99 results

KSanders writesThe 59th Annual Chicago International Film Fest—That’s a Wrap!

by Kyle Sanders

And that's a wrap for the 59th Annual Chicago International Film Festival! Surprisingly, I managed to check out OVER 30 TITLES, but some were too singular and atypical to include in my previous posts. Here's a quick shout-out to those films:

The Beautiful Summer (Italy)

The Bride (Rwanda)

The Crime is Mine (France)

Eric Larue (U.S.)

The Hypnosis (Sweden/Norway/France)

In water (South Korea)

The People's Joker (U.S./Canada/Scotland)

Poor Things (U.S.)

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Share October 23, 2023 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

KSanders writesSomething’s Out There: Reviews of “Family Portrait,” “Late Night with the Devil,” “Alien Island,” “Evil Does Not Exist,” “Raging Grace,” and “Carnal Sins”

by Kyle Sanders

Monsters, Aliens, and Satan--oh my! The Chicago International Film Festival certainly showcases a variety of powerful dramas and quirky comedies, but it also delights in serving up some chilling films perfect for Fright Nights and Midnight Movies.

It all stems from CIFF's "After Dark" Program, which I must say, I enjoy. It provides that wildly fun, spine-tingling escape to help cleanse my palate after getting bogged down by more serious cinema.

Not all of the films mentioned in this article were part of the After Dark Program, but still managed to creep me out juuuuuuuust enough to include. Read on, if you dare!

Family reunions can be hell, and it seems like the family in Family Portrait (U.S) might be living in one as well. Taking place on a bright and springy day disquieting enough for the likes of Ari Aster and David Lynch, this cinematic fever dream involves a family gathering that should be culminating with said portrait, if not for the disappearance of the family matriarch.

This film crawls right under your skin, especially with lines like "When are we going to take the picture?" taking on a whole new level of creepiness in the same vein as Marathon Man's "Is it safe?"

Family PortraitFamily Portrait

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Share October 21, 2023 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

KSanders writesThicker Than Water: Reviews of “All Happy Families,” “Solitude,” “In the Rearview,” “All of Us Strangers,” and “Hard Miles”

by Kyle Sanders

There are the families that we're born into and the families we choose to belong to. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. A lot of the titles I've seen at the Chicago International Film Festival have provided intimate glimpses of families bound by blood and those melded together by circumstance. 

The first of these titles, All Happy Families (U.S.) references the famous quote by Tolstoy that begins the film: "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." The unhappy family in question here is the Landry's, specifically Graham, who is an out-of-work actor constantly under the shadow of his more successful brother, Will.

As he tries to lease out the first floor of his two-flat, Graham's brother unexpectedly arrives, and with the help of his recently retired mother and gambling addict father, Graham spruces up the place in the hope his former crush will move in.

All Happy familiesAll Happy Families

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Share October 20, 2023 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

KSanders writesPulling the Strings: Reviews of “After Work,” “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World,” “The Battle,” and “Black Box”

by Kyle Sanders

What can I say about our current state of affairs other than that our global society has "been through a lot"? That would be putting it mildly. Political turmoil, social unrest, cultural clashes--not to mention the ongoing battles of artificial intelligence and the cyber spread of misinformation--have really put us through the wringer since...I'm not even sure when it started!

If cinema is a creative reflection of our times, then there are several titles playing at this year's Chicago International Film Festival that do a hauntingly accurate job of capturing what it feels like to be living in this era of anguish.

In Erik Gandini's documentary After Work (Sweden/Italy/Norway), the past, present, and future of labor is scrutinized based on how humans attach their worth to their work. One of humanity's most sought after goals is to have a job, and finding employment seems to always be the greatest advice anyone could offer someone. It's part of the philosophy of Carpe Diem: making the most of the present, because to do nothing is to be dead.

This might be the reason why so many people define themselves by their occupation. What they do for a living is associated with who they are, and to be without a job would mean they have nothing.

After WorkAfter Work

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Share October 19, 2023 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Movies

Topics: chicago international film festival

KSanders writesLife Preservers: Reviews of “Pictures of Ghosts,” “Bye Bye Tiberius,” “Food Roots,” and “They Shot the Piano Player”

by Kyle Sanders

If you’re a sucker for nostalgia, then it would help if you’re also a prolific filmmaker. That way, anything from your past that helped define your entire being can be the subject of your next project.

In the process, you’re also helping preserve a legacy that viewers can appreciate with what you’ve documented. And the more love and passion you put into it, the better your film will be received.

Several of the documentaries featured at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival involve a subject very personal to the filmmaker, be it family, hobby, or both. There appears a common thread between them as well: preventing the passage of time from allowing these subjects to disappear forever.

In Pictures of Ghosts (Brazil), Kleber Mendonca Filho lovingly reflects on the places of his past, all of which revolve around his love of film. From his boyhood home, where he watched his first movies (and began making them as well), to the cinemas of Recife, which provided him his first job as a teenager and a father figure of sorts from a friendly projectionist.

Filho cuts and pastes together an ode to an era of movie marquees (lovingly referred to as "timekeepers" that comment on life in the world) that no longer exists in the city where he grew up—at least outside of his memory, that is.

Pictures of GhostsPictures of Ghosts

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Share October 18, 2023 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Movies

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