DAY FIVE: Chicago Film History at 57th Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 17, 2021

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CHICAGO – Day Five of the 57th Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) will present a documentary on Oscar Micheaux, the originator of black filmmaking, who began in Chicago. (click OSCAR MICHEAUX for details), as well as a whole slate of films and events.

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival DAY FIVE features screenings in theater, at the drive-in and virtual/online. Click here for a complete how-to guide on navigating the 57th CIFF. And click DAY FIVE for the complete line up of films.

Oscar Micheaux – The Superhero of Black Filmmaking
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

EVENTS OF THE DAY: 10:00am: “Coffee Talk: “Pandemic Cinema: Film Art in the Age of Contagion” (click here).

APPEARANCES OF THE DAY: 12:00pm: “For the Left Hand” … Special Guests Scheduled to Attend. 12:00pm: “White Building” … Special Guests Scheduled to Attend. 5:00pm: “Shankar’s Fairies” … Special Guests Scheduled to Attend. 7:30pm: “Shorts 6: Side Splitting (Comedy)” … Special Guests (the Filmmakers) Scheduled to Attend.

FILM OF THE DAY: Oscar Micheaux – The Superhero of Black Filmmaking” – Master Micheaux is often called a man ahead of his time, but as one expert opines in this documentary he was simply a man of, and commenting upon, his times. And that was radical because Micheaux was black, and made films that commented upon the black experience in early Jim Crow 20th Century. Born in Metropolis, Illinois, (thus the Superman/hero reference) Micheaux came to Chicago to seek his fortune, and ended up – through his travels working for a railroad – as a homesteader in South Dakota. His experiences were sold in his self-published novels, and then through his adaptations in his films. After establishing a footing as a Chicago filmmaker, the first significant black filmmaker, he spent the rest of his career in Harlem, New York City. This is must-see doc if you’re interested in cinema history, but it also has lessons of perseverance for all of us. It also features several lions of film who have since passed on, including John Singleton, Haskell Wexler and most recently, Melvin Van Peebles. And they all stood on Oscar Micheaux’s shoulders.

Clip of Oscar Micheaux’s 1938 film “Swing!” …

The 57th Chicago International Film Festival runs through October 24th, 2021. Click here for schedules and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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