Film News: First Titles Released for 48th Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – The 48th Chicago International Film Festival has released the first 22 titles in its lineup to be screened from Thursday, October 11th, through Thursday, October 25th. Over 150 films from more than 50 countries are expected to be presented at this year’s festival.

One of the most buzzed-about titles on the roster is Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions,” which stars John Hawkes as a 36-year-old man in an iron lung who decides to lose his virginity by hiring a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) with the help of his priest (William H. Macy). The film was a big hit at Sundance and received the Audience Award as well as the Special Jury Prize for ensemble acting. Another wildly anticipated picture is Leos Carax’s “Holy Motors,” which reportedly garnered the most divisive yet impassioned reactions of any selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Earning comparisons to the work of David Lynch, Carax’s film centers on a mysterious gentleman (played by Denis Lavant) who effortlessly shifts identities. The cast also features Eva Mendes, Edith Scob and Kylie Minogue (who does, in fact, get the the chance to sing).

Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in Ben Lewin’s The Sessions.
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in Ben Lewin’s The Sessions.
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“Like Someone in Love” is the latest work from the revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Close-Up,” “Certified Copy”), and will undoubtedly be a must-see for cinephiles, despite its lukewarm festival reception. Director Ira Sachs has earned some great praise for his bittersweet drama, “Keep the Lights On,” which centers on the intense nine-year relationship between two men (played by Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth). Though it didn’t walk away with the top prize at Cannes (losing to Michael Haneke’s “Amour”), Cristian Mungiu’s existential drama “Beyond the Hills” scored accolades for its screenplay and the performances from leading ladies Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan.

Rounding out the other titles are Brad Lichtenstein’s recession documentary, “As Goes Janesville,” Coodie & Chike’s portrait of would-be basketball star Ben Wilson, “Benji,” Adrian Saba’s dystopian drama, “The Cleaner,” Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Berlin prizewinner, “Caesar Must Die,” Sabine Hiebler and Gerhart Ertl’s romance, “Coming of Age,” Chris Sullivan’s gothic look at backwoods outcasts, “Consuming Spirits,” Kim Tae-Kyeong’s horrific take on modern technology, “Don’t Click,” Jeremy Power Regimbal’s claustrophobic thriller, “In Their Skin,” Chris James Thompson’s documentary “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,” Billie August’s biographical drama, “Marie Krøyer,” Mani Haghighi’s Iran-set film, “A Modest Reception,” Michael Mayer’s drama about the forbidden gay romance between an Israeli and a Palestinian, “Out in the Dark,” Charles Sturridge’s ode to doppelgangers, “The Scapegoat,” Filip Marczewski’s sibling drama, “Shameless,” Alain Gomis’s jubilant exploration of a man’s last day on earth, “Tey,” and Musa Syeed’s Sundance prizewinner, “Valley of Saints.”

Passes for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival can be obtained by calling 312-683-0121 or by visiting staff writer Matt Fagerholm

Staff Writer

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