MOVIE: FAIR PLAY
STARRING: JUDIT BARDOS; ANNA GEISLEROVA; ROMAN LUKNAR
DIRECTED BY: ANDREA SEDLACKOVA
Fair Play tells the story of Anna, a young woman who is in competition to make the 1983 Summer Olympics for her native Russia. At the time, her country is under communist law and what her coaches and doctors say is what goes. That includes taking an anabolic steroid called Stromba. This is a very well done period piece that shows the difficulties of those who are under communist rules. Anna (played by Judit Bardos) gives a steady performance, as she deals with the struggles of competing clean and keeping up with those around her who cheat. Meanwhile, her mother (Anna Geislerova) is helping to write anti-communist literature which will force her to choose between the well being of her daughter and what she believes in. I recommend this one for sure.
MOVIE: HUMAN CAPITAL
STARRING: FABRIZIO BENTIVOGLIO; MATILDE GIOLI; VALERIA BRUNI TEDESCHI
DIRECTED BY: PAOLO VIRZI
Human Capital will be one of the surprising films at CIFF. It is in Main Competition and I would not be surprised if it takes home the Golden Hugo for its well rounded cast and “Amores Perros” style narrative. It is a story told from three different characters perspectives, as a man has been hit with a car and any of the three could be to blame. Each perspective connects perfectly by director Paolo Virzi and performances from both Matilde Gioli and Fabrizio Bentivoglio are great.
MOVIE: CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA
STARRING: JULIETTE BINOCHE; KRISTEN STEWART; CHLOE GRACE MORETZ
DIRECTED BY: OLIVIER ASSAYAS
This one is a must-see for some of the best female performances of 2014. Director Olivier Assayas's film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and should be a big hit at CIFF. It is like a modern version of “All About Eve”, but has more of a reality to it. It stars Juliette Binoche, in another Oscar worthy performance, as Maria Enders, a world famous actress. She is on her way to an award ceremony, with her assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart, in also an impressive performance), for a mentor and writer of Maria's. Before she arrives, the writer passes away, but while on the trip Maria is persuaded to play the older role in the play that made her famous, where she originally played the younger role. The actress and her assistant isolate to the Alp Mountains of Sils Maria, where they discover that there is not much difference in what is on the pages and what is reality. The writing of this film is so powerful for woman in film. Along with the dramatic dialogue between the two leads, is a parallel commentary about how woman are viewed with age. It is one of the best films at CIFF.
CLOSING NIGHT: WILD
There have not been any announcements of the talent that will be in attendance for closing night at CIFF, but good guesses would be Chicago Native- Laura Dern or Reese Witherspoon for their performances in Wild. Both actresses are front runners for Oscar Nominations (especially Witherspoon) for the film. From the bestselling book by Cheryl Strayed, that tells the tale of her adventure as she lost herself and found strength in a thousand mile journey across the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. It will be out in Theaters on December 5th, but why wait and see it in October.
DON’T MISS THESE MOVIES:
There are plenty of movies at CIFF this year that you already know are must sees: “The Imitation Game” with a possible Oscar Nom for Benedict Cumberbatch, “Birdman” is a must-see, “St. Vincent” has Bill Murray at his best, “Two Days, One Night” could earn Marion Cotillard more praise, and “Force Majeure” arrives with its Palme d’Or in hand. But here are films you may not know about that AMovieGuy.com recommends:
50. That is a big number and any film festival that reaches that many years should have reason to celebrate. That is where the Chicago International Film Festival is at, and what a great 50 years it has been. For the big event, the fest features a plethora of films that give fans reason to attend, especially the Special Events, surrounded by a weak Oscar season, they bring names such as: Michael Moore; Oliver Stone; Liv Ullmann, and Collin Farrell to attend. If you are not sure what to go see and what to skip- just read AMovieGuy.com’s sneak preview of all things CIFF:
SPECIAL FEATURE FILMS TO SEE
OPENING NIGHT: Miss Julie
Of all the things to do at CIFF is to check out the Special Feature events. Opening Night is for true cinema fans, as Ingmar Bergman regular Liv Ullmann will be in attendance, with the star of the film Collin Farrell, for Miss Julie. It is taken from August Strindberg’s classic play, starring Jessica Chastain, Farrell, and Samantha Morton. It will be an event worth attending.
SPECIAL FEATURE: NATURAL BORN KILLERS & ALEXANDER: ULTIMATE EDITION
When it comes to movie controversy, Oliver Stone could be the best at it. What better way to celebrate 50 Years of CIFF by attending a 20thAnniversary screening of the media obsessive film- Natural Born Killers with Stone in person for a Q&A. And even if you did not enjoy the Directors take on Alexander, you can at least see him in person to understand why the Oscar winner chose to make this film the way he did.