Order your passes to the 50th Chicago International Film Festival now, and see the best in world cinema where it has the biggest impact–on the big screen. Join us for the most exhilarating and enduring film event in Chicago, because everybody loves movies…
Michael Kutza, Founder & Artistic Director
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Director: Arnold de Parscau • France
A pharmaceutical salesman wakes up one morning to discover that one of his kidneys has been removed, and sets out on an unsettling journey to piece together what happened. This atmospheric and absurdist thriller combines the stylish strangeness of David Lynch with a Park Chan-Wook-esque story of thwarted vengeance.
Director: Jennifer Kent • Australia
Sundance's horror-film breakout, The Babadook tells the story of a recently widowed single mother, who sees her already shattered world plunge deeper into madness when a two-dimensional monster from a mysterious picture book comes to life and terrorizes her and her unruly son. Jennifer Kent's self-assured filmmaking debut is equal parts emotionally resonant and deeply horrifying.
|Black Coal, Thin Ice
Director: Diao Yinan • China, Hong Kong
Winner of the Berlin Film Festival's top prize, this stark and wintry Chinese thriller has all the ingredients of a 1940s film noir: a distraught ex-cop; a gruesome crime; and a mysterious femme fatale. More than pulp fiction, Black Coal, Thin Ice is a penetrating look into the dark heart of contemporary China.
|Clouds of Sils Maria
Director: Olivier Assayas • Switzerland, Germany, France
Juliette Binoche stars in this mesmerizing and superbly acted psychological drama about an older actress who agrees to re-stage the play that launched her career 20 years earlier. From the acclaimed director of Summer Hours, this fascinating All About Eve update co-stars Kristen Stewart as the actress's faithful assistant and Kick-Ass's Chloë Grace Moretz as her beguiling young rival.
|Dear White People
Director: Justin Simien • USA
Dear White People follows the stories of four black students at Winchester University, where a riot breaks out over a popular 'African American' themed party thrown by a white fraternity. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in 'post-racial' America while weaving a universal story of forging one's unique path in the world.
|Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder
Director: Arild Fröhlich • Norway
Roald Dahl meets Tim Burton in this loony children's adventure from best-selling author Jo Nesbø (The Snowman). When two lonely kids team up with Dr. Proctor, an inventor of a powerful (though non-smelling) fart powder, they must keep it from Mr. Thrane, an evil rival who will stop at nothing to attain the potent gas.
Director: Ruben Östlund • Sweden, Denmark, France, Norway
When an avalanche disrupts a Swedish family's peaceful ski vacation in the French Alps, the effect is disastrous—but not in the ways you'd expect. With black humor and a razor-sharp edge, this Cannes prizewinner taps into the catastrophic dysfunction festering within the seemingly perfect nuclear family.
|A Girl at My Door
Director: July Jung • South Korea
Taking up post at a small seaside town, troubled policewoman Lee Young-nam finds herself coming to the rescue of an abused local girl. Forming a close and controversial relationship with her young charge, Young-nam confronts a broader tapestry of social discrimination and destruction. Starring electrifying Korean actresses Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas) and Kim Sae-ron.
Director: Paolo Virzì • Italy
Amores Perros, Italian-style: This slick tripartite drama recounts the same tragedy from three different character's perspectives, each one disclosing new revelations. Accomplished director Paolo Virzì combines excellent performances with an incisive critique of Italy's culture of greed and the resulting low value put on human life.
|Life After Death
Director: Joe Callander • USA, Rwanda
In this lucid critique of the complexities of international charity, documentary filmmaker Joe Callander chronicles the troubled life of Kwasa, a 20-something survivor of the brutal Rwandan genocide. Charming and yet helplessly irresponsible, Kwasa relies almost entirely on the generosity of two quirky Christian American couples. As wry and idiosyncratic as its subjects, Life After Death creates a compelling and complex portrait of life in the shadow of tragedy.
|The Midnight After
Director: Fruit Chan • Hong Kong
Seventeen strangers on a minibus are the only survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic that erases all human life from the planet. Can they solve the mystery of this global disappearance, or will their own malevolent nature literally tear them apart? Genre maestro Fruit Chan directs this comic-bloodbath and trenchant send-up of Hong Kong's post-colonial society.
Director: Frederick Wiseman • USA
For his latest institutional portrait, Frederick Wiseman trains his ever-perceptive gaze on London's venerable National Gallery museum. By showing us the breadth of the Gallery's audience—from schoolchildren to elite donors—and its offerings, from high-profile exhibitions, such as a major Leonardo da Vinci show, to the fascinating process of painting restoration, Wiseman makes both an observational argument for how an arts organization stays relevant and a loving celebration of the aesthetic experience.
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Director: Milos Forman • USA
Celebrating its 1975 world premiere at the Festival, Milos Forman's darkly funny masterpiece stars Jack Nicholson in one of his career-defining roles. Winner of five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Nicholson), and Best Actress (for Louise Fletcher), the film will screen in a newly restored version, honoring producer Saul Zaentz, with surprise guests in attendance.
Director: Adilkhan Yerzhanov • Kazakhstan
In this bizarre, riotously funny adventure set in the Wild Wild East of rural Afghanistan, three orphaned siblings from the city try to reclaim their mother's home in a far-flung village, only to encounter corruption, cruelty and lots of singing and dancing at every turn. A lurid, shocking and sad vision of injustice, The Owners is a complete original.
|Paris of the North
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson • Iceland
A genial schoolteacher's summer days are measured by long runs, time with students, and AA meetings. However, his best-laid plans for a quiet life are derailed by the arrival of his beer-guzzling father. A droll and assured film about finding yourself, Paris of the North is grounded in the wry, patient rhythms of small-town life.
Director: Jorge Pérez Solano • Mexico
Set amid the surrealist cacti-filled landscapes of Oaxaca, Mexico, this sensual drama follows the interwoven stories of two women, made pregnant by the same uncaring man. Driven by its beautiful cinematography and evocative imagery, La Tirisia is both a melancholic portrait of rural Mexico and a poignant tale of feminine pain and triumph.
|Two Days, One Night
Directors: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne • Belgium, France, Italy
French star Marion Cotillard teams up with virtuoso filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for this powerful slice-of-life drama about a factory worker who has 48 hours to save her job from being downsized. Like their previous masterpieces Rosetta and The Son, the Dardennes combine the high stakes of everyday life with a deeply felt humanism.
|The Way He Looks
Director: Daniel Ribeiro • Brazil
The most acclaimed LGBT film of the year, The Way He Looks observes São Paulo teen Leonardo as he faces the challenges of adolescence—and he also happens to be blind. With the arrival of a new student, Leonardo feels an attraction he doesn't need his eyes to confirm. A jubilant portrait of young gay love, this remarkable debut film tenderly parses the confusing terrain of growing up different in more ways than one.
Why Be Good?
We bring you the very best new short films, including animation, documentary, drama, horror, experimental and everything in between. You'll see exciting, award-winning shorts from the international festival circuit and amazing homegrown talent. A great place to spot the next big thing in independent filmmaking!