by J.R. Jones
The Chicago International Documentary Festival is one of the best film events on the local calendar, and a schedule for the 2007 edition, which runs for ten days beginning Friday, March 30, has just been posted at the festival's site.
Dutch documentarians Jos de Putter (The Damned and the Sacred) and Masha Novikova will appear in person on opening night at the Harold Washington Library Center to introduce their 55-minute In Memoriam Alexander Litvinenko, a profile begun two years before the Russian dissident's notorious 2006 poisoning death in London.
The fest is a real monster, but particularly notable among the features screening are His Big White Self, a profile of African Nazi Party leader Eugene Terreblanche by celebrity scourge Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney, Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam); Excellent Cadavers, Marco Tullo's harrowing account of the Sicilian mafia; Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar's acclaimed A Lion in the House, about children battling cancer; Shui-bo Wang's They Chose China, about U.S. veterans of the Korean war who defected to Red China; and Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, currently being broadcast on HBO, about the prison abuse scandal.
There's also an eight-film retrospective on the great Frederick Wiseman (pictured) , with screenings of Ballet, Basic Training, Domestic Violence, High School II, Public Housing, The Store, Titicut Follies, and Welfare. And for the closing night program, Bob Hercules (Forgiving Dr. Mengele) will screen a 60-minute version of his work in progress, Senator Obama Goes to Africa.