So many great films have been shot in or based on Chicago that there are tours you can take for behind-the-scenes looks. That’s why it only makes sense that the one of the world’s best film festivals takes place here.
For 51 years the Chicago International Film Festival has been in the forefront of the film world in presenting the globe’s best in cinema whether it be fiction, non-fiction, or even animation. From showing Martin Scorsese’s first feature film to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s short experimental pieces to premiering films like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Grey Gardens,” the Festival has done it all. This year is no different. There are 130 feature films from over 50 countries screening at the festival, and that doesn’t even count the shorts. Here are five you should watch this weekend.
Start out with some local flavor with the documentary “Breakfast at Ina’s.” Ina Pinkney was Chicago’s Breakfast Queen known for her Heavenly Hots, pancakes topped with fruit compote. In 2013 she closed up shop after 33 years. The film follows her last month of business.
Screening Oct. 22 at 12:00 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 4:00 p.m.
Thirteen-year-old Jimmy lives in a poor French town and has had to grow up very fast with his drug addict mother and her abusive boyfriend. This Main Competition drama demonstrates what it’s like to live through these harsh conditions and where you can find some hope.
Screening Oct. 22 at 8:15 p.m. and Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m.
Executive-produced by Spike Lee “Cronies” follows Luis, his new friend Andrew, and his childhood friend Jack, who Luis is trying to separate himself from, through the hood of St. Louis. While it has that same energy tof Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” director Michael J. Larnell definitely has his own voice, seen in the faux-documentary style of the film.
Screening Oct. 23 at 7:45 p.m. and Oct. 24 at 12:45 p.m.
Michael Glatze, played by James Franco, was a gay-rights activist who has become a conservative Christian and has denounced homosexuality. “I am Michael” portrays the struggle in Glatze’s life and his relationship with his then-boyfriend Bennett, played by Zachary Quinto. This is a film that will surely provoke discussion outside theaters.
Screening Oct. 24 at 9:00 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 1:00 p.m.
Winner of the best film award in Critics’ Week at Cannes, “Paulina” is a thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Paulina is young lawyer that wants to see positive change in her work so she goes to work as a teacher in a rural high school. When she is assaulted by a local gang instead of returning home or naming the criminals she goes back to work against the advice of all her loved ones.
Screening Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 24 at 2:00 p.m., and Oct. 27 at 2:00 p.m.
The Chicago International Film Festival will run until Oct. 29 at AMC AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois St.. For a full schedule, tickets, and more information visit chicagofilmfestival.com.