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53rd CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL UPDATE

Because you have asked, at the halfway point, here are a few of my favorites:

 

“THE SQUARE” (SWEDEN, GERMANY, FRANCE). A magnificent, controversial commentary on today’s art world. Will inspire conversations for lovers and detractors on what constitutes and legitimizes an artwork.

 

“THE CAKEMAKER” (ISRAEL, GERMANY). There are not enough adjectives to describe this achingly poignant love story; resonating for those who have been seared by, hibernating in, the chasm generated by cataclysmic loss.

 

“THELMA” (NORWAY, SWEDEN, FRANCE). Titillating, twisted and stunningly performed; religion and its vicissitudes (infused by massive Christian iconography) are at the core of this surreal, tantalizing, overwhelmingly imaginative movie.

 

“FACES PLACES” (FRANCE).  Will have universal appeal for film buffs of all generations. Legendary “New Wave” icon, Agnes Varda (“VAGABOND”, “THE GLEANERS”) and thirtysomething JR, create installations using local citizens in small French villages; benign, transformed into the sublime.

 

“THE CHARMER” (DENMARK). Visits the terrifying trauma of Iranian, “Esmail” searching for a “significant other” in Copenhagen, to secure his immigration process; profound performances by Ardalan Esmaile and Soho RezaneJad will change your perception of those seeking asylum from a repressive society; loneliness and love lend intense beauty to this remarkable film.

 

Iranian filmmakers have been stunning Festival devotees with riveting movies; last year’s “THE SALESMAN” (director, Asghar Farhadi) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This year’s entrees include:

“NO DATE, NO SIGNATURE” and “A MAN OF INTEGRITY” both insightful, psychological studies of men waging a war between their instincts and their decisions. The female roles are powerful, professional, vastly intelligent, and pivotal catalysts in the decision-making process.  Riveting, seething ambiguity pulsates throughout these two compelling films.

 

To be continued…..

 

Peneflix

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