5 Films to Watch during the 2023 Chicago International Film Festival


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. The 59th edition of the Chicago International Film Festival opens on October 11 and runs through October 22. Here are five movies we have added to our calendar! All of them are competing in the International Competition.

About Dry Grasses (Turkey)

The harsh beauty of Turkish provincial life is highlighted in this intense character study of a teacher under investigation for inappropriate behavior.

Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (winner of the 2014 Palme d’Or for Winter Sleep) covers this fierce psychological character study with a blanket of snow, backgrounding the proceedings with stunning landscape photography that highlights the harsh beauty and intense realities of Turkish provincial life. Featuring impeccable performances and labyrinthine dialogue, About Dry Grasses weaves an intricate web of desperation, hope, and longing.

Holly (Belgium)

Nominated for the Gold Hugo in the International Feature Film Competition at the Festival, award-winning Belgian director Fien Troch’s fantastical and provocative drama explores the power and limits of faith.

Modulating between darkness and light, stillness and motion, cinematographer Frank van den Eeden (Close) beautifully translates the sense of unease that pervades the film, the characters, and the community.

La Chimera (Italy)

A group of misfits scour the Tuscan countryside for artifacts, until an invaluable find makes them question their role in plundering history.

Alice Rohrwacher (Happy as Lázzaro) returns to the Festival with her signature rich and atmospheric storytelling, creating a dreamlike world teeming with ghosts and memory, a timeless space in which ancient history and the present become inextricably intertwined.

Evil Does Not Exist (Japan)

In this captivating eco-thriller, life in the tranquil village of Harasawa is threatened when a Tokyo company announces plans for a glamping site for urbanites.

Following his international sensation Drive My Car, filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi returns with a captivating eco-thriller that explores the eternal conflict between the natural world and the human urge to destroy it.

Paradise is Burning (Sweden)

In a working-class Swedish neighborhood, 16-year-old Laura cares for her two younger sisters, left on their own by an absent mother. For the trio and their friends, summer is wild, indulgent, and anarchic, full of ritual and mischief. But when social services schedules a meeting with their mother — who is nowhere to be found — Laura must find someone to step in or the girls risk being separated in foster care. Keeping the impending threat a secret from her sisters creates a palpable tension and conflict, sending each of them on an individual journey of discovery and connection. As the meeting with social services draws nearer, the boundaries of the girls’ radical freedom are tested by the harsh realities of growing up.

Echoing the chaotic freedom of films like The Florida Project, Mika Gustafson’s striking fiction debut is as bold as it is tender, a refreshingly forthright coming-of-age story and an intimate portrait of sisterhood.

A complete list of all the films can be found here.

You can buy your tickets and festival passes on the Chicago International Film Festival website.

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