September 14, 2007

Film Fest Friday

I'm learning that Chicago is a city of festivals. Especially in the summer, one finds dozens of large and small neighborhood street fairs, cultural heritage festivals, art fairs, and music festivals. Even when it gets cold here, one form of festival is a staple of the Chicago cultural landscape - films.

Given the city's ethnic heritage(s) and appetite for the arts, Chicago plays home to many fine film festivals and series dedicated in whole or part to films coming out of East Europe, Russia and the rest of the 28 former Communist states of our region. Even under repressive Communist regimes, the level of film production was very high in many of these states, especially in Russia, Czechoslovakia (as it was then), and Poland (some may even claim that often because of the repression, the quality of art was higher), and that tradition continues. Internationally acclaimed films are now coming out of many of these states, including Romania, Bulgaria, the republics of the former Yugoslavia, the Baltics, and Mongolia.

Here are some current and upcoming film events. [This is by no means a comprehensive list]

Cultural Film Festivals
Film Series
  • Lech Majewski’s Landscape of Dreams, Gene Siskel Film Center, September 8-October 4, 2007. One of the strengths of the state-of-the-art Siskel Film Center is film series of directors' ouvres, regional films, and thematic runs. They also are able to show rare and remastered prints of films you could not find anywhere else. Recent examples of eclectic series at the Siskel include the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski; and annual EU film series; and Russian SciFi films.
Film Festivals
  • The 43rd Annual Chicago International Film Festival, October 4-17, 2007. This competitive film festival hosted at multiple venues in Chicago is sure to feature the latest films coming out of such countries as Russia, Poland, Romania, and indeed out of all corners of the globe.
Lastly, I need to mention that Doc Films, the venerable and venerated student-run screen at The University of Chicago has just posted its upcoming calendar. At Doc, each day of the week is part of an ongoing series throughout the quarter, and on the weekends they tend to show the latest popular releases. I haven't seen a detailed description of the films for this quarter, but if there are films related to the CEERES countries, I'll try to include something about them in this space.

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