DIRECTED BY: Kent Jones
When I interviewed Kent Jones, he had only made a few documentary films, and had become a prominent voice behind the scenes of saving historic cinema. I was a bit shocked to hear he had made a feature film and Diane is one of the biggest surprises of CIFF. Here is a movie that truly understands what it means to be someone who sacrifices. Mary Kay Place stars as the title character, a mother who is left with the reality of taking care of her addicted son (Jake Lacy), and always being there for others in her family. And what does she get in return? Not nearly enough love. Diane is a real film, about life, love, and death that can always surround us. I highly recommend this one.
DIRECTED BY: Olivier Assayas
Can we have a Juliette Binoche/Olivier Assayas film every year? The last time these two worked together they made a modern day All About Eve in Clouds of Sils Maria and in Non-Fiction, these two have made the perfect relationship film for the social world today. Binoche stars as an actress named Selena, who is married to Alain (Guillaume Canet), a book publisher. The two of them have conversations about what good literature is constantly and coincidentally they are both having affairs with other people. Selena with Leonard (Vincent Macaigne), who is an author that Alain works with, and Alain with Laure (Christa Theret) who thinks books are dead. The conversations are rich, the love affairs are fascinating, and the acting is awesome. Non-Fiction is my favorite movie at CIFF no doubt.
MOVIE: Friedkin Uncut
DIRECTED BY: Francesco Zippel
Friedkin Uncut is a documentary that celebrates the life and work of William Friedkin, and truly, this is one director that deserves his own film. The first time I ever discovered who the director is, was at the Chicago Film Critics screening of Sorcerer. After I saw that film and heard Friedkin talk, I was hooked. His work on classic films such as The French Connection and The Exorcist are legendary and Friedkin Uncut captures what makes this man so special. I already knew a lot of what this documentary covers, but if it gets more fans to discover his fantastic work, then I say go see it!
OPENING NIGHT: Beautiful Boy
DIRECTED BY: Felix Van Groeningen
If you were to place director Felix Van Groeningen's film Beautiful Boy onto a scale it would weigh over a thousand pounds. The opening night film at the 54th CIFF is a heavy one. The subject is addiction and captures the relationship between father David Scheff (Steve Carrell) and son Nic (Timothee Chalamet) as the son succumbs to path of hard drug usage. This is a difficult film to watch, one that I related to on various levels, seeing things from my own struggles with addiction, and my 7-month old son, whom I want to protect from all of life’s difficulties. The performances all-around are great, especially Chalamet who continues to prove that he's the real deal. The direction from Van Groeningen is honest, dark, but finding a light at the end of the tunnel about a subject that touches all of us. Check out my full review HERE.
The 54th Chicago International Film Festival is a 2 week collection of fantastic movies, but this year is a bit different in that it's a changing of the guard. Longtime festival director Michael Kutza has decided to call it quits and Mimi Plache has stepped in to take the mantle, in what has been a great year for cinema. It helps when the movies make it easy for the programmers, with a lineup that includes Alfonso Curon's highly praised Roma, Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased, a dedication to William Friedkin, and so much more! Here are just a handful of films that AMovieGuy.com thinks you should check out at this years Chicago International Film Festival: