The 43rd annual Chicago International Film Festival continues through Wednesday, October 17. Following are selected films screening Friday through Thursday; for a complete festival schedule visit www.chicagofilmfestival.org.
Reviews by Andrea Gronvall (AG), J.R. Jones (JJ), Reece Pendleton (RP), and Jonathan Rosenbaum (JR).
The Age of Ignorance
Instead of furthering the thoughtful examination of generational politics at the heart of his 2003 film The Barbarian Invasions, Canadian Denys Arcand reverts to facile satire in this glossy tale about a Walter Mitty-ish civil servant (Marc Labreche). Saddled with a wife and children who spend the bulk of their time glued to cell phones or video games and a job that basically entails denying disaster victims government assistance, the numbed bureaucrat escapes by indulging in elaborate revenge and sexual fantasies. Arcand's attempts to expose the soul-deadening shallowness of modern culture fall flat; the intended targets are much too easy (the frequent skewering of "political correctness" feels about ten years out of date), and there's a glib quality to the whole project that belies its ambition. In French with subtitles. 109 min. (RP) a Fri 10/12, 4 PM, River East 21, and Mon 10/15, 9:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R America the Beautiful
Director Darryl Roberts (How U Like Me Now) makes his feature documentary debut with this unexpectedly witty and affecting expose of the American beauty industry. Starting out as an essay on contemporary male attitudes about female beauty, the movie expands into an examination of the larger societal forces that influence and reinforce those attitudes, particularly the synergy between fashion magazines, advertising and modeling agencies, plastic surgeons, and the cosmetics industry. Roberts casts a wide net here, almost too wide at times, but the narrative thread that holds it all together is a devastating account of a 12-year-old model's decline from fashion superstar to unwanted has-been. 105 min. (RP) a Sat 10/13, 4:45 PM, River East 21, and Sun 10/14, 2:15 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R The Banishment
William Saroyan's story "The Laughing Matter" provided the basis for this chilling domestic drama from Russia, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return). The film opens with a shady urban character (Alexander Baluev) seeking his younger brother's help in sewing up his bleeding arm. When the brother (Konstantin Lavronenko) vacations with his kids and troubled wife (Maria Bonnevie of Reconstruction) at the family's country place, she suddenly blurts out that the child she's carrying isn't his. More wounds will confound this brood when the gangster sibling reappears with a potential solution to the couple's dilemma. Spare dialogue and long takes add to the sense of foreboding, with Lavronenko (who won the best actor prize at Cannes) keeping his character so buttoned-up you could burst from anxiety watching him consider his revenge, while the verdant landscape devolves from pastoral to sinister in the space of a phone call. In Russian with subtitles. 150 min. (AG) a Tue 10/16, 4:30 PM, River East 21.
Rouben Mamoulian's 1935 film was the first feature shot in the three-strip Technicolor process. It isn't all that impressive in the dim, smudgy color prints that have been in circulation--Mamoulian's congenital heavy handedness seems particularly problematic in an adaptation of Thackeray's Vanity Fair--but final judgment should, of course, be reserved for the unique opportunity to see this restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. With Miriam Hopkins, Frances Dee, Cedric Hardwicke, Billie Burke, Alison Skipworth, and Nigel Bruce. 83 min. (JR) a Sat 10/13, 2:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
I prefer Sidney Lumet's previous feature, the neglected Find Me Guilty. But this ambitious and well-directed crime thriller, with an intricate flashback structure redolent of Reservoir Dogs, gives Philip Seymour Hoffman a fascinatingly ambiguous character (a passive-aggressive corporate executive and drug addict) to work with, and he does wonders with the part. Marisa Tomei's character, on the other hand, the executive's wife and the lover of his softer loser brother (Ethan Hawke), is strictly standard-issue. Even though it's scripted by a woman (Kelly Masterson), this tale of buried family resentments rising to the surface as the brothers plot to rob their parents' jewelry store is concerned only with the guys, and it's marred by an uncharacteristically mannered performance by Albert Finney as the father. R, 123 min. (JR) a Fri 10/12, 7 PM, Landmark's Century Centre, and Sat 10/13, 5 PM, River East 21.
Anton Corbijn transcends the conventions of the rock biopic with his reverberating portrait of Ian Curtis, the lyricist and front man for Joy Division, who committed suicide at 23 just as the postpunk band was taking off. The movie sheds light on Curtis's death by focusing on the ordinary aspects of his life; he was dogged by poverty, early marriage, fatherhood, and the onset of epilepsy even as Joy Division gathered a local following, broke through on TV, and signed with Tony Wilson's Factory Records. Martin Ruhe's lustrous black-and-white cinematography evokes the tumultuous Manchester of the late 70s, a working-class milieu enlivened by punk. Sam Riley is fascinating as Curtis, a hypersensitive young man hobbled by his incurable disease, and Samantha Morton is poignant as his put-upon wife. R, 121 min. (AG) a Tue 10/16, 6:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Julian Schnabel's skill as a painter informed his previous two films, Basquiat and Before Night Falls, and it's even more evident in this profoundly moving adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby's best-selling memoir. A celebrated editor for French Elle, Bauby suffered a stroke that left him completely paralyzed except for his left eye, and he learned to communicate again only by blinking the letters of the alphabet, a method devised by his physical therapist. For the movie's first half Schnabel shows everything from the invalid's perspective, using a warm color palette for flashbacks of his family and glamorous lifestyle and a combination of bleached colors and stark lighting for the hospital scenes. As Bauby, Mathieu Almaric makes an astounding physical transformation; the strong supporting cast includes Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie Josee-Croze, Max von Sydow, Niels Arestrup, Isaach de Bankole, and Olatz Lopez Garmendia. PG-13, 112 min. (AG) a Fri 10/12, 7 PM, River East 21.
The Duchess of Langeais
Over the course of his long career, Jacques Rivette has mainly worked in three modes--viewing the present historically, period drama, and fantasy; only in Celine and Julie Go Boating has he combined all three. His other greatest works, L'Amour Fou and both versions of Out 1, are in the first mode, even though they work with historical references--Racine's Andromache and Balzac's History of the Thirteen. Conversely, his period films tend to avoid contemporary references. So his period adaptation of the second of the three novellas in History of the Thirteen is a far cry from Out 1 in terms of both method and substance; the only common point is the focus on actors and mise en scene. The flirtation between a married aristocrat (Jeanne Balibar) and a general (Guillaume Depardieu) in Restoration Paris, inspired by a recent romantic frustration of Balzac's, is masterfully charted and adeptly played, but also rather minimalist. It's charged with nuance yet ultimately an exercise in compressed literary adaptation. In French with subtitles. 137 min. (JR) a Sat 10/13, 5 PM, and Sun 10/14, 7 PM, River East 21.
R Faro: Goddess of the Waters
Salif Traore brings both vigor and subtlety to this Malian debut feature, a contemporary fable about rural Africa in transition. A successful urban engineer (Fili Traore) returns to the village of his birth, but because he's the illegitimate son of a village elder his mother still refuses to identify, the residents consider him an affront to their river deity. As the village women start demanding their rights, discord grows and the river gets angrier, while the visitor's life is threatened by the chief's henchmen. In Bambara with subtitles. 96 min. (AG) a Sat 10/13, 12:15 PM; Mon 10/15, 4:45 PM; and Tue 10/16, 7 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
Flight of the Red Balloon
A relatively slight but sturdy work by Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien, this slice of contemporary urban life more or less does for Paris what his Cafe Lumiere did for Tokyo, albeit with less minimalism and more overt emotion--as well as a fantasy thread derived from Albert Lamorisse's classic 1956 short for children, The Red Balloon. There's not much story here, but the characters are substantial: a single mother (nicely played by Juliette Binoche) who runs a local avant-garde puppet theater and is preoccupied with such matters as a downstairs tenant who refuses to pay rent or leave, her neglected but mainly cheerful son, and his Taiwanese nanny, a filmmaker in her spare time. The puppet theater recalls the work of the title figure in Hou's sublime 1993 The Puppetmaster, but what it suggests here has less to do with the vicissitudes of national history than with representation and metaphor. In French with subtitles. 113 min. (JR) a Sat 10/13, 7:45 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R Great World of Sound
Hoping to break into the music business, a young slacker in Charlotte, North Carolina, hires on as a "record producer" at a shady new label called Great World of Sound. Before long he and a middle-aged coworker are sitting in a cheap hotel room in a strange town, auditioning amateur musicians who've responded to the label's newspaper ad and pressuring them to fork over a big check to help finance their CD. Director Craig Zobel, whose script was inspired by his father's brief tenure as a "song shark" in the 70s, carried out a similar scam during the shoot, using hidden cameras to record real performances, and his medleys of mediocrity are hilariously painful. Yet Zobel ultimately comes down on the side of the suckers, whose need to make music--even bad music--gives them an unimpeachable dignity. With Pat Healy and Kene Holliday. R, 106 min. (JJ) a Sat 10/13, 10:15 PM, and Sun 10/14, 3 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
This is supposed to be set in 1950 in Alabama (where it was filmed), but the true location is some Never Never Land in John Sayles's imagination, sparked by research and a sharp ear for dialogue, about the birth of rock 'n' roll. Yet as in the 1943 musical Stormy Weather, the wonderful cast, mainly black, carries it all with ease, even sailing past occasional false moments, such as a tacky flashback toward the end. Danny Glover, as hard-rock reliable as Spencer Tracy in his prime, plays onetime pianist Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis, trying to save his title juke joint from economic disaster by pretending that a young drifter with a guitar (Gary Clark Jr.) is blues star Guitar Sam. He juggles and somehow resolves diverse problems with competition, electricity, cash, his wife, his daughter, and the local sheriff (Stacy Keach), spearheading an overall progress toward communal joy that for me yields the most enjoyable Sayles movie since The Brother From Another Planet in 1984. PG-13, 123 min. (JR) Sayles will attend the screening. a Mon 10/15, 7 PM, Music Box.
I Served the King of England
Forty years have passed since Czech director Jiri Menzel won an Oscar for Closely Watched Trains, yet the basic formula for this 2006 feature, also based on a novel by Bohumil Hrabal, seems nearly identical: a virginal young man, an assortment of hotties, plenty of slapstick, and the Third Reich. The story covers many years in the life of a devoted hotel waiter (Ivan Barnev) as he learns the profession from his dignified elders and gets his sexual initiation from the beautiful prostitutes who service the hotel's fat old industrialists. The tone darkens somewhat when the Nazis overrun the Czech lands and the waiter, infatuated with a newly arrived fraulein, gradually betrays his friends and coworkers. The deft physical comedy is a pleasure, though the leering chauvinism becomes more embarrassing as the movie progresses. Mel Brooks never had it this good. In subtitled Czech and unsubtitled German. 115 min. (JJ) a Tue 10/16, 5 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
In Memory of Myself
Saverio Costanzo's slow, somber religious drama caused a steady stream of walkouts when I saw it screened at the Toronto film festival, which seems ironic given the subject: a class of novice monks washing out one by one as they find the limits to their faith. The central character (Christo Jivkov) arrives at the Jesuit seminary on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore and embraces its severe regimen of silence and prayer. Yet the community's core values of obedience and humility begin to lose their luster as he gets to know his fellow novitiates; the brighter ones tend to leave, departing not in shame but with new and exciting insights into themselves. One can't become a lamb of God without being a sheep among men, Costanzo suggests, though in the end he comes back around to the principle of erasing one's ego in pursuit of spiritual transcendence. By that time, however, most of the audience may have transcended the theater. In Italian with subtitles. 115 min. (JJ) a Sat 10/13, 2:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
The demise of the Soviet Union triggered seismic upheavals throughout eastern Europe, emboldening criminals and putting the most vulnerable--women and children--at particular risk. This fable by Hungary's Csaba Bollok unfolds like a contemporary take on the Brothers Grimm, with its plucky young heroine (Maria Varga) navigating the urban jungle of her depressed mining town to scavenge for food and scrap metal and escape the wrath of her alcoholic mother. Iska and her ailing younger sister (Rozalia Varga) land in an orphanage, but soon a wolfish pimp snaps up the older girl with promises of easy money. One of the more successful examples of casting nonactors in a drama, the movie nonetheless presents such an unrelievedly bleak outlook that it's difficult to locate any transformative power in the story. Darkness reigns--which may be the point. In Hungarian with subtitles. 93 min. (AG) a Sat 10/13, noon, River East 21.
The celebrated Israeli author Etgar Keret and his wife, screenwriter Shira Geffen, directed this luminous foray into magic realism, Tel Aviv style. A withdrawn, disheveled waitress (Sarah Adler of Marie Antoinette and Notre Musique), abandoned by her boyfriend and out of step with her busy divorced parents, befriends a little girl who's emerged mysteriously from the sea. Across town, an old woman makes trouble for her Filipino caregiver, and newlyweds find their fragile happiness threatened when the husband is distracted by a seductive poet. The locals drift until the outsiders (the child, the caregiver, the poet) evolve into agents of psychological transference. The overlapping stories pulse with a tidal rhythm, the film's sensibility flowing between serious and wry, and there are memorable turns from Assi Dayan as the waitress's henpecked dad and Tzahi Grad as a cop with a nonchalant attitude toward babysitting. In Hebrew with subtitles. 78 min. (AG) a Sun 10/14, 5:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R Lars and the Real Girl
If someone had told me this comedy was directed by the guy who did Mr. Woodcock and most of the humor revolved around a sex doll, I wouldn't have gone near it. But that would have been my loss, because Lars and the Real Girl is both hilarious and poignant, with a Capraesque humanity that caught me completely off guard. The title character (Ryan Gosling), an awkward young man in a small Minnesota town, invites his older brother (the lovably goofy Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law (Emily Mortimer) to meet his new fiancee, but to their horror and embarrassment she turns out to be made of rubber. The local psychiatrist (Patricia Clarkson) advises them to play along with Lars's delusion, and eventually the close-knit religious community, moved by concern for the brothers, joins in. I'm not sure I believe there's still that much compassion in the world, but in keeping with the spirit of the movie, I was willing to pretend. Craig Gillespie directed a script by Nancy Oliver, a veteran of HBO's Six Feet Under. PG-13, 106 min. (JJ) a Sat 10/13, 5:45 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
The Last Mistress
It's characteristic of the virtues and limitations of French sexual provocateur Catherine Breillat (Romance, Anatomy of Hell) that they usually derive from the same source--the fearless determination to skirt the borders of camp. In her avowedly free adaptation of Jules-Amedee Barbey d'Aurevilly's 1851 novel about the protracted amour fou between a foppish narrator-hero (androgynous Fu'ad Ait Aattou) and his Spanish mistress with a taste for blood (the pouty Asia Argento), both of whom are periodically married to aristocrats, she revels in the kind of overripe French romantic and mythical filigree that the material seems to invite. She may be serious about creating period ambience, but she also can't resist patterning her heroine after Marlene Dietrich's Concha in The Devil Is a Woman (even though Argento sometimes suggests Maria Montez in the pleasure she takes in her own company) and using as a location for the hero's modest country estate what appears to be the same 12th-century fortress in Brittany used in The Vikings (1958) and Jacques Rivette's Noroit. With Michael Lonsdsale, Roxane Mesquida, and Claude Sarraute. In French with subtitles. 114 min. (JR) a Sun 10/14, 6 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R The Man From London
After the more complicated story lines of Satantango and Werckmeister Harmonies, Hungarian master Bela Tarr boils a Georges Simenon novel down to a few primal essentials: a railway worker in a dank and decaying port town witnesses a crime while stationed on a tower and then stumbles into some of the resulting situations. It's a film about looking and listening, with a suggestive minimalist soundtrack and ravishing black-and-white cinematography by German filmmaker Fred Kelemen. Tarr's slow-as-molasses camera movements and endlessly protracted takes generate a trancelike sense of wonder, giving us time to think and always implying far more than they show. (As Tarr himself puts it, "The camera is inside and outside at the same time.") The fine cast includes Tilda Swinton and Hungarian actress Erika Bok, who played in Satantango when she was 11 and is now in her early 20s. In Hungarian with subtitles. 135 min. (JR) a Fri 10/12, 6:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre, and Sun 10/14, 8:45 PM, River East 21.
R My Brother's Wedding
Director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep) recently edited this little-known second feature (1983) from 116 minutes down to an 87-minute version, which will screen at the festival with his new short, Quiet as Kept, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I haven't been able to preview the new cut, but the original focuses on a young man (Everett Silas) who works at his parents' dry cleaning store in Watts and whose family is pressuring him to abandon his disreputable ghetto friends and adjust to a more middle-class existence. This struggle is pushed to the limit when he has to choose between his older brother's wedding to a woman from an affluent family and the funeral of his best friend, a former juvenile delinquent. Burnett never falters in his acute handling of actors (most of them nonprofessionals), and his storytelling gifts make this a movie that steadily grows in impact and resonance. 87 min. (JR) a Sun 10/14, 7:30 PM, River East 21.
One Hundred Nails
The shocking destruction of religious manuscripts at a Bolognese university outrages the library clerics and stumps the police. But the vandal, a handsome theology professor (Raz Degan), feels curiously born again: after fleeing the city, he ditches his car, tosses his clothes and identification into the Po River, and sets off to explore the countryside. What begins as a mystery develops into allegory as the man restores an ancient ruin on the riverbank and the local villagers are drawn to him by his embrace of the simple life and his striking resemblance to the Jesus of Renaissance paintings. Writer-director Ermanno Olmi (The Tree of Wooden Clogs) renders the earthy townspeople more convincingly than he does the lead character, who's a little indecisive to be the Messiah (though he does manage to thwart some greedy land developers). In English and subtitled Italian. 92 min. (AG) a Sat 10/13, 4:15 PM, and Sun 10/14, 10 PM, Landmark's Century Centre; also Tue 10/16, 7:30 PM, River East 21.
Though less well-known than Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang is in many ways as impressively versatile, in features that usually work with more commercial genres (as in his 6ixtynin9 and Invisible Waves). This masterful art film is an exception, charting a few hours in the lives of several characters in which their fantasies and actual events are given equal amounts of attention. Returning to Bangkok for a funeral after a decade's absence, a couple whose marriage seems to be foundering check into a luxury hotel in the middle of the night, and things grow especially edgy between them after the husband meets a teenage girl named Ploy in the bar downstairs and invites her to come upstairs while she waits for her mother to arrive. A film that perfectly captures the look and mood of jet lag and early dawn, with erotic tension to spare. In Thai with subtitles. 107 min. (JR) a Mon 10/15, 5 PM, River East 21.
Poor Boy's Game
The game in question is boxing--or perhaps bigotry. Written and directed by Clement Virgo, this grim Canadian drama opens with a young white man from Halifax (Rossif Sutherland) being paroled from prison after serving a long term for assault; his black victim, brain damaged from the attack, lives with his mother and weary, wounded father (Danny Glover). While in the slammer, the convict made a name for himself as a pugilist, and after he returns home a local champion (Flex Alexander) offers him $20,000 for ten rounds, hoping to win the black community some payback in the ring. The movie is commendable for its harsh look at a racially polarized town, and both Glover and Sutherland are excellent as men too worn out by anger and hatred to continue the cycle of vengeance. This really does end in a climactic boxing match, however, which has the unfortunate effect of highlighting the other generic plot elements that precede it. 104 min. (JJ) a Fri 10/12, 4 PM, Landmark's Century Centre; Sun 10/14, 4:30 PM, River East 21; and Mon 10/15, 6:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
R The Savages
Disappointment, delusion, dementia, death--did I mention this is a comedy? Nearly a decade after Slums of Beverly Hills, writer-director Tamara Jenkins returns with a story that squarely addresses the concerns of middle age, treating them with the gravity they deserve but also the forbearance and humor they often demand. Wendy Savage (Laura Linney), a failed playwright in Greenwich Village, and her brother, Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a plodding college professor in Buffalo, are called out to Sun City, Arizona, after their elderly estranged father (Philip Bosco) begins succumbing to dementia and Parkinson's disease. Given his condition, there's nothing for them to do but install him in a nursing home back east, and Jenkins confronts the unpleasant facts of aging with matter-of-fact calm (the scene in which Linney tries to mollify the old man on a packed commercial flight is an indelible moment of quotidian stress). The father may have abandoned them, but they choose not to abandon him, and in trying to preserve his dignity they unexpectedly affirm their own. R, 113 min. (JJ) Linney and Jenkins will attend the screening, part of the festival's closing-night program; tickets for the screening only are $25-30. a Wed 10/17, 7 PM, Harris Theater.
A white-collar worker down on his luck (Stephen Rea) gets hit by a car late one night and plunges halfway through the windshield; the driver (Mena Suvari), still flying on ecstasy after leaving a club, is so stunned she continues home, hides her car in the garage, and leaves her victim to suffer alone in the dark. "You should have watched where you were going," she tells him as he stares in disbelief, bloodied and pinned down by glass shards and a snapped wiper that's punctured his gut. As the title of this splatter comedy by writer-director Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) indicates, he's like a bug stuck to her windshield, and that's about the level of humanity and insight one can expect here. 85 min. (JJ) a Fri 10/12, 10 PM, Music Box.
This brash Canadian comedy takes place in Weedsville, a northern Ontario town so remote its inhabitants haven't gotten the word that Pulp Fiction is way over. A pair of wisecracking heroin addicts (Wes Bentley, Scott Speedman) plan a burglary in order to pay off their dealer, but after their hooker friend (Taryn Manning) dies of an overdose, they try to bury her in the boiler room of a drive-in theater and stumble upon a trio of satanists making a human sacrifice. Luckily, help arrives in the form of dwarfs clad in medieval chain mail--need I go on? A high-spirited cast and some pretty funny dialogue manage to put this across, though it will probably help if you're weird, and help even more if you have weed. Allan Moyle directed. R, 92 min. (JJ) a Sat 10/13, 10:30 PM, River East 21, and Tue 10/16, 9:30 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
Great life events--and death inevitably is one--try the most cohesive families in the best of times, so what chance do already estranged relatives have when their patriarch announces he no longer wants to live? The watery light of the Netherlands defines the mood of writer-director Nanouk Leopold's existential chamber piece about a Dutch clan that has lost its moorings: a middle-aged couple barely touches or speaks; their bitchy older daughter (Tamar van den Dop) carries on with her former lover years after she's married someone else, while the younger single daughter (Karina Smulders) is perilously thin-skinned. When the dying man's son-in-law (Jan Decleir of Memory of a Killer) takes his elder's declaration seriously, the group decamps to the family country estate to contemplate mortality. Skilled pros Decleir and van den Dop are the reasons to watch this story, which otherwise is Bergman lite. In Dutch with subtitles. 95 min. (AG) a Sat 10/13, 8:15 PM, and Sun 10/14, 9:45 PM, River East 21.
WHERE Harris Theater for Music and Dance (closing night), 205 E. Randolph; River East 21, 322 E. Illinois; Landmark's Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark; Music Box, 3733 N. Southport.
PRICE $13 ($9 for Cinema/Chicago members), $10 seniors, $7 matinees; $115 for a 10-admission pass and $400 for a 40-admission pass. Special prices and party packages for opening- and closing-night galas--see Web site.
ADVANCE SALES Cinema/Chicago, 30 E. Adams, suite 800; Borders, 830 N. Michigan and 2817 N. Clark; festival hotline. By phone: 312-332-3456 (48 hours in advance) or Ticketmaster, 312-902-1500 or ticketmaster.com (24 hours in advance). After October 5 at AMC, Landmark, and Music Box box offices on the day of the screening (cash only).
INFO 312-332-3456 or chicagofilmfestival.org.
An Evening With Istvan Szabo The Hungarian director (Mephisto, Being Julia), a former head juror for the festival, will speak about the art of the close-up. a Fri 10/12, 6:45 PM, Landmark's Century Centre.
All About Us: Now Your Film Is Made--Who's Going to See It? Actress Tonya Lee Williams (Poor Boy's Game) will moderate a panel discussion, part of the festival's "Black Perspectives" series. On the panel: director Christine Swanson and producer Michael Swanson (All About Us), director Darryl Roberts (America the Beautiful), and Gail Huggins Porter of Johnson Entertainment. a Sat 10/13, 11 AM, DePaul University Open Concourse, 333 S. State, lower level.
Career Achievement Award: Jeffrey Wright The star of Basquiat, Syriana, and Angels in America will appear in person to accept the award. Robin Robinson will host the event, which also features Mos Def as special guest. a Sat 10/13, 7:30 PM, Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn.
100 Years of Filmmaking in Chicago Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, will host this program of silent shorts made at the pioneering Chicago studio Essanay (including Charlie Chaplin's His New Job). David Drazin will provide live piano accompaniment. a Sun 10/14, 2:30 PM, Music Box.
Slipstream Anthony Hopkins will appear at this gala screening of his latest directorial effort, a metafictional drama about an aging screenwriter who interacts with his characters. a Sun 10/14, 7 PM, Music Box.
An Evening With Malcolm McDowell The star of A Clockwork Orange and O Lucky Man! will screen Never Apologize, a film of his one-man show, and take part in a discussion with the audience. a Mon 10/15, 6:45 PM, River East 21.