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Show: Human Resources This sharp, convincing, and utterly contemporary political film calls to mind some of Ken Loach's work, full of passion as well as precision. Laurent Cantet's subsequent film, L'Emploi des Temps (Time Out), a prizewinner in Venice, shows an even more masterful grasp of the business world and all that it entails. This filmmaker is definitely someone to get acquainted with.
Dinner: Bijan's Bistro This reincarnation of the venerable late-night hangout Bijan is amazingly unsullied by tourists. Regulars crowd around the gleaming mahogany bar, and Ralf, the courtly host, seems to know half the tables in the joint.
663 N. State St., 312-202-1904, bijansbistro.com
Show: Fruit Tree Backpack/Madeleine Remains Madeleine Remains, Michael Martin's new portrait of Andre Gide's wife/beard/muse, is a thoughtful, occasionally arresting exploration of celebrity's dark underbelly—one of Martin's favorite subjects. Barrie Cole's Fruit Tree Backpack—comprising three fragments from a doomed relationship—is at once literate, naive, shadowy, and psychologically probing.
Show: French African Restaurant le Conakry West African restaurant specializing in Guinean cuisine.
2049 W. Howard St., 773-262-6955
Show: Shakespeare's King Phycus "To be the knot, or not to be the knot. Or not. What was the question?" sighs a confused Hamlet in this hilarious romp through Elizabethan England, complete with blinded kings, star-crossed lovers, and vengeful ghosts.
Dinner: The Publican The best of several meals I took at the Publican came on a Sunday, when a four-course prix fixe meal served family style was available for $45 per person. That night the room was quiet and relaxed and the menu sanely, gracefully balanced: a bright, clean salad of persimmon, avocado, grapefruit, and bitter treviso, a plate of delicate roasted pompano, and a simple platter piled with rich, tender pork shoulder, roast chicken, a coarse, addictive cotechino sausage spiked with nutmeg, and a bit of braised lamb’s tongue.
837 W. Fulton St., 312-733-9555, thepublicanrestaurant.com