Preview: 47th Chicago International Film Festival, Part One

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Here’s another eight films this weekend that we’d LOVE to have seen (and will probably try to at the actual fest) that could also be worth your time with the official descriptions courtesy of the festival.

“Cooley High”
October 9th, 5:15pm

In light of the demolition of the last building at the Cabrini Green public housing complex, we revisit a crucial period in the history of local Black cinema. Heartfelt and moving, this teen pic follows best friends Leroy “Preach” Jackson and Richard “Cochise” Morris, high school seniors at Cooley Vocational School near the housing complex, as they begin to consider their future. They contend with girl trouble, difficult teachers, a couple of neighborhood thugs, and the police. Directed by Michael Schultz (Car Wash, Krush Groove) and written by Eric Monte, the creator of the smash hit TV series Good Times.

October 8th, 8:25pm
October 9th, 12pm
October 11th, 2:30pm

Chhaya, a woman of limited means, leads a good, decent life alongside her husband Arvind - until she becomes obsessed with a sculpture of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Chhaya will stop at nothing to bring home this statue, and soon her past weaknesses and disappointments (including a miscarriage) bubble to the surface, consuming and corroding her soul. Corrode is the latest example of an exciting new wave of independent Indian cinema.

“His Mother’s Eyes”
October 9th, 3pm
October 10th, 5:30pm
October 16th, 2pm

With ambition and charm matched equally by a complete lack of remorse, best-selling author Mathieu will do anything for a good story. To write the unauthorized biography of celebrity news anchor Lena Weber (Catherine Deneuve in a career-topping performance), not only does he secure a job as her assistant but also seduces Lena, her estranged daughter who is searching for her own son, and anyone who gets in his way, regardless of gender.

“Land of Oblivion”
October 8th, 7:45pm
October 9th, 12:40pm

To the citizens of Prypiat, April 26, 1986 began just like any other day. Anya (Olga Kurylenko, Quantum of Solace) and Piotr celebrate their marriage while young Valery spends time with his physicist father, oblivious to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that is irrevocably changing their lives. What follows is a lyrical, pathos-filled portrait of the next ten years of those powerless to separate themselves from the town and its defining tragedy.

“Le Havre”
October 8th, 5:30pm
October 9th, 3:30pm

Humanity and dead-pan wit triumph in Aki Kauriskmäki’s magical tale of an aging Bohemian shoeshine and a young African refugee. When fate lands Idrissa at Marcel Marx’s doorstep in the French port city of Le Havre, Marcel knows what has to be done. Enlisting the help of the whole neighbourhood of eccentrics and in defiance of all authority, he embarks on a risky plan to reconnect the boy with his mother.

October 9, 8pm
October 15, 5:30pm

What are the limits of loyalty, family, and justice? Driven by jealousy and power, General Tu-Angu frames an entire clan for the murder of their king and wipes out all 300 members. All but one - a baby boy and dynastic heir, secretly rescued by the family doctor. But when Tu-Angu orders the Herod-like murder of every male infant, the doctor makes an inconceivable sacrifice in Kaige Chen’s (Farewell My Concubine) breathtaking adaptation of a classical Chinese opera.

October 9, 8pm
October 10, 5:45pm

Actor Paddy Considine (In America) delivers a gritty tale of self-destruction and redemption in his feature-length directorial debut. Expanded from his award-winning short film, Dog Altogether, Tyrannosaur follows the unlikely friendship between rage-filled Joseph (Peter Mullan) and Christian Goodwill store worker, Hannah (Olivia Colman). Mullan’s electrifying performance finds a perfect counterpoint in Colman’s measured portrayal.

October 8, 3:45pm
October 9, 1:15pm
October 12, 3:30pm

On remote Whidbey Island, Joslyn is in charge of caring for an old man in a vegetative state while his family is on vacation. Totally isolated from the world - no Internet, no cell phone signal - her fragile mental state slowly begins to crumble. In a chilling and nuanced debut, Joslyn Jensen delivers an outstanding performance as a young woman struggling with her sexuality, loneliness, and frail mind in this haunting film.

Come back on October 10th, 2011 for a look at week two including “Coriolanus” and “My Week With Marilyn” and stay tuned to for consistent CIFF coverage, including red carpet photos from tonight’s premiere, and interviews with fest stars Dennis Farina, Elizabeth Olsen, Wim Wenders, Simon Curtis, Anton Yelchin & Felicity Jones, and more. content director Brian Tallerico

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