Nick-Davis.com: Chicago International Film Festival
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Prizes, Juries, and Favorites
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|Chicago Film Festival 2017
Main Competition Jury: Anne Zohra Berrached, Nick Davis (!), Leticia Dolera, Daniel Dubiecki, Tzi Ma
Features I Saw at CIFF:
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Hugo
Western (World Cinema; Germany/Bulgaria/Austria, dir. Valeska Grisebach) -
Genius intervention into its titular genrenarratively, spatially, and politicallybut sublimely achieves its own identity.
Life and Nothing More (U.S. Indies; Spain, dir. Antonio Méndez Esparza) -
Quietly astonishing, beat after beat. Rich, round portraits. Non-professionals beat every other cast at TIFF.
A Ciambra (World Cinema; Italy/U.S./France/Germany, dir. Jonas Carpignano) -
The tactile throb of Arnold, the steel-cable tension of Audiard. Coming of age and into crime, messily but so memorably.
Mr. Gay Syria (Documentary Competition; Turkey/Germany/France, dir. Ayşe Toprak) -
Pageant build-up is delicious, inspiring, and complex, and that's not even half the film. Deeply humane document.
They (New Directors/OutLook/City & State; USA, dir. Anahita Ghazvinizadeh) -
Equally bold and delicateitself a feat. Young trans protagonist retains watchful reserve but is very much part of the world.
BPM (Beats Per Minute) (World Cinema/OutLook; France, dir. Robin Campillo) -
Loving, detailed tribute to ACT-UP Paris in early 90s. Narrows focus over time; short on style. Still, moving.
The Square (Special Presentations; Sweden, dir. Ruben Östlund) -
I prefer Östlund's scene-building to his image-making or storytelling. Fits and starts, but flashes of wit and lucidity.
In the Fade (World Cinema; Germany, dir. Fatih Akin) -
If it feels sterner, tighter, and less hopeful than The Edge of Heaven, so does the world. Kruger rewards Akin's trust.
Rogers Park (City & State/U.S. Indies; USA, dir. Kyle Henry) -
Loved its observant modesty. I preferred tone, tempo of first half to those of second. Strong cast, especially Sevigny.
Blueprint (Black Perspectives/City & State/U.S. Indies; USA, dir. Daryl Wein) -
Psychologically and communally insightful local indie. Rough around some edges; story could use more room. Strong leads.
The Rape of Recy Taylor (Documentary Competition/Black Perspectives; USA, dir. Nancy Buirski) -
Distills an important story. More effective as a short? Very moving interviews. Fresh takes on Rosa Parks.
Mudbound (Special Presentations; USA, dir. Dee Rees) -
Ambition, theme, logic all clearmaybe too clear? Lensing, acting can be thin, structure episodic. Still worth your time.
↑ To be clear, I'd recommend buying tickets to all movies above this line. ↑
Barrage (World Cinema; Luxembourg/Belgium/France, dir. Laura Schroeder) -
Occasionally exposes interesting mother-daughter tensions but Lolita Chammah is much too vague as the lead. Visually flat.
Marshall (Opening Night; USA, dir. Reginald Hudlin) -
Disheartening that this is the case Hollywood chose to commemorate. Thurgood muted. Bad lensing. Boseman, Brown stranded.