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58th CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

Special kudos to Artistic Director Mimi Plauche and Managing Director Vivian Teng for the most innovative and well- run Festival in years. After viewing close to thirty films (not my personal best) here are a few filmic treasures:

DOCUMENTARIES: 

ALL THE BEAUTY AND BLOODSHED

Directed by Laura Poitras tells photographer Nan Goldin’s journey from addiction to a formidable force in slaying the reputation of Purdue Pharma founders, the Sackler Family; it is an honest portrait of “beauty”, rise, fall and rejuvenation of a talent untouched by fear; “David” championing “Goliath”.

FIVE STARS!!!!!

INNOCENSE (DENMARK, ISRAEL, FINLAND, ICELAND)

Director Guy David with realistic genuineness sheds light on the psychological trauma visited upon teenagers forced into compulsory military training; engrained from birth, Israel’s culture is informed by war; “innocence” dies at eighteen; here is a study of poignant pain, sadness, hopelessness visited upon these neophytes.

FIVE STARS!!!!!

THE KILLING OF A JOURNALIST (DENMARK, U.S, CZECH REPUBLIC)

February 21, 2018, journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were murdered in their home in Slovakia; both 27, instant martyrs, inspire massive demonstrations and the unveiling of decadence, corruption pervasive in government and society. Directed by U.S. journalist Matt Sarnecki integrity, surprises, throbs throughout this pungently powerful expose.

FIVE STARS!!!!

MY FAVORITES FILMS (ALL PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED):

BURNING DAYS

SAINT OMER

THE GREAT SILENCE

CLOSE

MY SAILOR, MY LOVE

The only disappointing dud was:

FAIRY FOLK (INDIA). Not even worthy of an “honorable mention”.

Grateful for the tireless energy and prescience pulsating with each screening.

Thank You, Peneflix

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