5 Must-See Films at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival

Experience world premieres, eye-opening documentaries, future Academy Award winners, tributes, and more at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Timothy M. Schmidt

Experience world premieres, eye-opening documentaries, future Academy Award winners, tributes, and more at the Chicago International Film Festival.

For 52 years the Chicago International Film Festival has been in the forefront of the film world in presenting the world’s best in cinema whether it be fiction, nonfiction, or animation. From showing Martin Scorsese’s first feature film and premiering films like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Grey Gardens,” the festival has done it all. This year the festival will honor Peter Bogdanovich and Steve McQueen, host the North American premieres of “One Week and a Day” and “Are We Not Cats,” and screen 25 feature films. Here are five films you must see.


Screening Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 17 at 8:15 p.m.

Chile’s submission for the Academy Awards, “Neruda” is not the biopic of the famed Chilean poet most people would be expecting. The film catches Pablo Neruda post-World War II, at the height of his fame, and in hiding from the Chilean government who is pursuing him for being a communist. While he did actually go into hiding and eventually escaped into Argentina, the Clouseau-type detective, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who searches for Neruda never existed and a portion of the movie didn’t occur. Director Pablo Larrain is more concerned with capturing what he calls the “Neruda cosmos” than the poet himself. Larrain’s other film, “Jackie,” will also be screening at the festival.

Do Not Resist

Screening Oct 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Winner of Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, Craig Atkinson’s documentary has never felt more urgent with the growing discord between law enforcement and communities across the country. “Do Not Resist” looks into the militarization of the nation’s police force and its use and misuse.

Layla M.

Screening Oct 16 at 2:30 p.m., Oct 18 at 8:15 p.m., and Oct 20 2:00 p.m.
When the news depicts people joining terror groups they constantly use the phrase “radicalized” with little explanation. “Layla M.” follows a Dutch-Moroccan teen trying to find community in the face of Islamophobia. This feature film shows the causes and effects of radicalization.


Screening Oct. 25 at 7:45 p.m.
Starring Dev Patel with Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham, “Lion” captures the journey of Saroo trying to find his birth family after being apart from them for 20 years. Based on a true story, Saroo gets lost on a train thousands of miles away from his home in Kolkata when he was 5 years old and is eventually adopted by an Australian family. He still sees his family in his dreams at 25 and uses Google Earth to try and find them.


Screening Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
In “Arrival” Amy Adams plays an expert linguist who is the world’s only chance at saving itself from war and self destruction after a series of UFOs arrive on Earth and no one knows why or what they’re up to. The science fiction drama also stars Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

The Chicago International Film Festival runs Oct. 13–27 at  AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. For a full schedule, tickets, and more information visit chicagofilmfestival.com.

Written By Joel Mora

Joel Mora is editor at Concierge Preferred. Born and raised in Miami, Fl., Joel has slowly ate, drank, and explored his way up north refining all his senses to prepare for the stampede of delicious dining, notorious nightlife, stellar shopping, and captivating culture that calls Chicago home. In the wild he’ll be the red-bearded Cuban with a Lagunitas IPA in his hand.

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