This weekend, the Gene Siskel Film Center starts the 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival, beginning Friday March 3rd and continuing through the 30th. Although some may say it is spectacular every year, the collection of films this year are quite exceptional. A statement like that is hard to argue when you have films from such legendary directors as, Oliver Assayas, The Dardennes Brothers, and Francois Ozon. AMovieGuy.com has selected a few out of the bunch that any lover of foreign films should go see:
MOVIE: THE UNKNOWN GIRL
DIRECTED BY: THE DARDENESS BROTHERS
SCREENING: March 12th & 15th
Typically, I would immediately direct you to watch any film made by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, but The Unknown Girl, their recent, is a bit of a disappointment. That's not to say you shouldn't see it. The film follows Jenny (Adele Haenel), a doctor who, after failing to open the door to a patient ringing the door after closing time, finds out that patient was murdered. This sends her on a journey to find out who the girl was and who killed her. It's similar to the Dardenne's previous film Two Days, One Night, but there is just not enough emotion here to make the journey worth it. The Unknown Girl might grow on me with a second viewing, till then I'm left in the unknown.
MOVIE: PERSONAL SHOPPER
DIRECTED BY: OLIVER ASSAYAS
SCREENING: March 4th & 8th
The team of Kristen Stewart and Oliver Assayas is back with their new film Personal Shopper. After the success of Clouds of Sils Maria, this collaboration goes along quite nicely, almost as a companion piece. Stewart plays Maureen, a personal assistant to a French celebrity. She is mourning the death of her brother and takes her mind off his sudden passing by shopping for fine clothing and jewelry for her client. When she begins to feel a mysterious presence, a supernatural essence begins to take place, sending Maureen on an emotional journey. Stewart continues to thrive, in a film that harnesses her awkwardness to perfection, in this thrilling ghost story.
DIRECTED BY: ALI ABBASI
SCREENING: March 27th & 29th
The creepy horror film Shelley is essentially the surrogate version of Rosemary's Baby. Not the typical films you might see at the Siskel, but it displays how diverse the CEUFF can be. Single mother Elena (Cosmina Straten) takes a job as the housekeeper to a couple living in isolation on the countryside. She becomes friends with Louise (Elen Dorrit Petersen) and agrees to carry the baby she desperately has been trying to have. Of course, this would help Elena financially back home, but what she didn't know is that the baby inside her is something sinister. It makes for a creepy experience in the theater, with a score that grinds on the ears, and a complete change of pace from the other films in the festival.
Be sure to check back on AMovieGuy.com for more info on the fantastic films that we see in part of the European Union Film Festival. To get tickets be sure to go to www.siskelfilmcenter.org and keep reading great movie reviews, interviews on AMovieGuy.com.
MOVIE: THE COUNTRY DOCTOR
DIRECTED BY: THOMAS LILTI
SCREENING: March 17th & 22nd
The movie to take your parents to go see is Thomas Lilti's The Country Doctor. It's an adorable film starring Francois Cluzet and Marianne Denicourt, about a small town doctor, played by Cluzet, who finds out he has a brain tumor. When he gets the diagnosis, he takes on an assistant (Denicourt) till he must step-down. The assistants inexperience comes into play and a differing of opinions comes into play in this often heartwarming and gentle film. It doesn’t quite capture the heart that Cluzet's performance in The Intouchables, but it's hard not to feel happy after this one.