Chicago Film Festival 2011
Main Competition Jury: Nimród Antal, Leonardo Garcia Tsao, Claudia Landsberger, Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz, Bhawana Somaaya

AwardsViewing LogCompetition LineupsShort Films (new window)

Gold Hugo of the Festival:Le Havre, Finland, dir. Aki Kaurismäki
Special Jury Prize:Cairo 678, Egypt, dir. Mohamed Diab
Best Actress:Tyrannosaur, Olivia Colman
Best Actor:Cairo 678, Maged El Kedwany
Best Screenplay:The Forgiveness of Blood, Joshua Marston & Andamion Murataj
DocuFest Gold Hugo*:
Cinema Komunisto, Serbia, dir. Mila Turajlic
DocuFest Silver Hugo (Runner-Up)*:Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, USA, dir. Lisa Immordino Vreeland
DocuFest Gold Plaque (3rd Place)*:Salaam Dunk, USA/Iraq, dir. David Fine
DocuFest Silver Plaque (4th Place)*:All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, USA, dir. Vivian Ducat
New Directors Gold Hugo*:
The Good Son, Finland, dir. Zaida Bergroth
New Directors Silver Hugo*:Volcano, Iceland, dir. Rúnar Rúnarsson
After Dark Gold Hugo*:
Snowtown, Australia, dir. Justin Kurzel
After Dark Silver Hugo*:A Lonely Place to Die, UK, dir. Julian Gibley
Founder's Award*:
The Artist, France, dir. Michel Hazanavicius
Chicago Award:L Train, USA, dir. Anna Musso
Silver Hugo (Career Award):Claude Lelouch
Audience Choice Award**:To Be Announced
* These awards are determined by separately constituted juries
** Voted by the public, and announced later than the other awards

Films I Saw at CIFF:
Leaving aside competition films I saw elsewhere, and usually later
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Hugo
Melancholia A– (Denmark/Sweden, dir. Lars von Trier) - Last Days at Marienbad. Is doom a simile for depression, or disconsolate wedding a metaphor for denying imminent doom?

Southwest A– (Brazil, dir. Eduardo Nunes) - Shimmering fable, intimate despite tremendously wide screen; in clear, sobering control of conceptual elements

Miss Bala A– (Mexico, dir. Gerardo Naranjo) - Polanski's Pianist remade as ballistic drug-war suspenser, as terrorized, evacuated lead withstands a hellish picaresque

Ways of the Sea (Halaw) B+ (Philippines, dir. Sheron Dayoc) - Unhurried, affecting migrant drama could use more shaping but atmosphere, long takes amply distinguish it

Snowtown B+ (Australia, dir. Justin Kurzel) - A barely habitable biome of venality. Intimidating technique, unnervingly porous community of perps. But is it too much?

Corpo Celeste B+ (Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher) - Coming-of-age tale hooked to coming-to-grips tale bathed in textures and tensions of coming into or out of community

The Artist B+ (France, dir. Michel Hazanavicius) - An enchantment, so witty and warm in first half. Settles for just warmth in second, but I'd see it twice. Wiss plezhur.

Tomboy B+ (France, dir. Céline Sciamma) - Charming, thoughtful, credibly kid's-eye story of young girl passing as boy. Family scenes ace, wrap-up a bit less.

Kinyarwanda B (USA/Rwanda, dir. Alrick Brown) - Ambitiously laced structure and tempered tones. Some uneven melodrama along the way, but the whole is properly bracing.

A Little Closer B (USA, dir. Matt Petock) - Resonant regional micro-cinema in the vein of Ballast and Putty Hill. A bit truncated but warm, tactfully observed.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia B (Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) - Elegant, searching, with awe-inspiring night photography, but lacquered as ever, dreaming of Palmes

Coriolanus B (UK, dir. Ralph Fiennes) - Worthy in every respect, albeit short of great in all. Credible sprawl of unrest. Potent soundscape and images

We Need To Talk About Kevin B– (UK, dir. Lynne Ramsay) - Early formal rigors must buoy increasingly puerile conceptions. Ends up 30% Ramsay, 70% Sam Mendes.

Cairo 678 B– (Egypt, dir. Mohamed Diab) - Uneven dramatics, rough production, but boldly agitates differences among women even while drawing them together

The Slut B– (Israel, dir. Hagar Ben Asher) - Shot and mixed like a brittler Dumont film, and far from uninvolving, but script ought to have drawn out comic potentials

Without B– (USA, dir. Mark Jackson) - Film, actress make modest first impressions but are capable of refreshing unpredictability and nifty tonal swerves

Love Is in the Air C+ (Denmark, dir. Simon Staho) - Irritating characters, paltry plot compensated just enough by Jolly Rancher palette, fizzy humor, tunes

Films from the Main Competition:
More on these Competition titles available
here (opens in a new window)
Listed alphabetically  •  Graded titles reviewed above
Cairo 678 B– (Egypt, dir. Mohamed Diab)
Chronicle of My Mother (Japan, dir. Masato Harada)
Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Hong Kong, dir. Johnnie To)
The Forgiveness of Blood (USA/Albania, dir. Joshua Marston)
The Giants (Belgium, dir. Bouli Lanners)
Goodbye (Iran, dir. Mohammad Rasoulof)
Goodbye, First Love (France/Germany, dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)
Le Havre (Finland, dir. Aki Kaurismäki)
Joint Body (USA, dir. Brian Jun)
Miss Bala A– (Mexico, dir. Gerardo Naranjo)
The Mole (Poland, dir. Rafael Lewandowski)
Nobody Else But You (France, dir. Gérald Hustache-Mathieu)
Tyrannosaur (UK, dir. Paddy Considine)
Wild Bill (UK, dir. Dexter Fletcher)
Woman in the Fifth (Poland/UK, dir. Pawel Pawlikowski)

Films from the New Directors Competition:
Listed alphabetically  •  Graded titles reviewed above
Best Intentions (Romania, dir. Adrian Sitaru)
The Clown (Brazil, dir. Selton Mello)
Corrode (India, dir. Karan Gour)
The Good Son (Finland, dir. Zaida Bergroth)
Hotel Swooni (Belgium, dir. Kaat Beels)
Land of Oblivion (France, dir. Michale Boganim)
A Little Closer B (USA, dir. Matt Petock)
Machete Language (Mexico, dir. Kyzza Terrazas)
Oslo, August 31 (Norway, dir. Joachim Trier)
The Return of Joe Rich (USA, dir. Sam Auster)
Return Ticket (China/Taiwan, dir. Teng Yung-Shing)
The Slut B– (Israel, dir. Hagar Ben-Asher)
Southwest A– (Brazil, dir. Eduardo Nunes)
Volcano (Iceland, dir. Rúnar Rúnarsson)
Wetlands (Canada, dir. Guy Édoin)
Women and Children (France/UK, dir. Daniel Mitelpunkt)

Films from Outrageous (Queer Program):
Listed alphabetically  •  Graded titles reviewed above
American Translation (France, dirs. Pascal Arnold & Jean-Marc Barr)
His Mother's Eyes (France, dir. Thierry Klifa)
Leave It on the Floor (USA, dir. Sheldon Larry)
Love Actually...Sucks! (Hong Kong, dir. Scud)
Love Is in the Air C+ (Denmark, dir. Simon Staho)
Madame X (Indonesia, dir. Lucky Kuswandi)
Romeos (Germany, dir. Sabine Bernardi)
Tomboy B+ (France, dir. Céline Sciamma)
Without B– (USA, dir. Mark Jackson)

More Films I'm Most Curious to See:
Full lineup of all festival films available here (opens in a new window)
Listed alphabetically  •  Graded titles reviewed above
Bonsai (Chile/France, dir. Cristián Jiménez)
Bullhead (Belgium, dir. Michael Roskam)
Corpo Celeste B+ (Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher)
David Is Dying (UK, dir. Stephen Lloyd Jackson)
Day Is Done (Switzerland, dir. Thomas Imbach)
The Destiny of Lesser Animals (Ghana/USA, dir. Deron Albright)
The Double Steps (Spain, dir. Isaki Lacuesta)
Flying Fish (Sri Lanka, dir. Sanjeewa Pushpakumara)
George the Hedgehog (Poland, dir. Wojciech Wawszczyk, et al.)
Here (USA, dir. Braden King)
Karma (Sri Lanka, dir. Prasanna Jayakody)
Kinyarwanda B (USA, dir. Alrick Brown)
A Lonely Place to Die (UK, dir. Julian Gibley)
Love Always, Carolyn (Sweden, dirs. Malin Korkeasalo & Maria Ramström)
Loverboy (Romania, dir. Catalin Mitulescu)
Michael (Austria, dir. Markus Schleinzer)
Natural Selection (USA, dir. Robbie Pickering)
On the Edge (Morocco, dir. Leila Kilani)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia B (Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Patang (India, dir. Prashat Bhargava)
Play (Sweden, dir. Ruben Östlund)
Rabies (Israel, dir. Aharon Keshales)
The Screen Illusion (France, dir. Mathieu Amalric)
The Silver Cliff (Brazil, dir. Karim Aïnouz)
Sleeping Beauty (Australia, dir. Julia Leigh)
Snowtown B+ (Australia, dir. Justin Kurzel)
The Turin Horse (Hungary, dir. Béla Tarr)
Valley of the Forgotten (Brazil, dir. Maria Raduan)
Ways of the Sea B+ (Philippines, dir. Sheron Dayoc)
We Believed (Italy, dir. Mario Martone)
The Whisperer in Darkness (USA, dir. Sean Branney)

Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing films are The Last Rites of Joe May (USA, Maggio), My Week with Marilyn (UK, Curtis), and The Artist (France, Hazanavicius), respectively

Special and Gala Presentations include The Bully Project (USA, Hirsch), Butter (USA, Smith), Cooley High (USA, Schultz), Coriolanus (UK, Fiennes), Crazy Horse (France/USA, Wiseman), A Dangerous Method (Germany/Canada, Cronenberg), The Descendants (USA, Payne), The Good Doctor (USA, Daly), Into the Abyss (USA, Herzog), Jeff, Who Lives at Home (USA, Duplass & Duplass), The Kid with a Bike (Belgium, Dardennes), Like Crazy (USA, Doremus), Martha Marcy May Marlene (USA, Durkin), Melancholia (Denmark/Sweden, von Trier), Pina (Germany/France/UK, Wenders), Sacrifice (China, Chen), Three Musketeers (USA, Anderson), Undefeated (USA, Lindsay), We Have a Pope (Italy, Moretti), We Need To Talk About Kevin (UK, Ramsay), and What Love May Bring (France, Lelouch)

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