For years, the Chicago Critics Film Festival has brought out the best (and often unheralded or under-appreciated) offerings from the film festival circuit to the Windy City for a week-long marathon of some of the best and most unusual films the general public has yet to see.
Once again, the festival returns to the iconic Music Box Theatre with an eclectic lineup of 36 diverse screenings that will run from Friday, May 20th to Thursday, May 26th. From acclaimed dramas to off-the-beaten-path genre filmmaking, this year’s lineup runs the gamut, and includes a plethora of guests to boot.
Director Chad Hartigan and Craig Robinson will introduce the festival’s opening-night film, Morris From America; Ti West will discuss his exceptional neo-Western In a Valley of Violence; actor Michael Peña will be on hand to explain the War on Everyone; and that’s just a buttery handful of the popcorn goodness.
If you’re a diehard cinephile, you’ll try to catch as many films as you can. To help out, we’ve recommended a few must-sees throughout the sprawling festival schedule by starring each film and linking to their accompanying review. Don’t feel too overwhelmed, we still have nearly a dozen films to catch ourselves.
Full disclosure: Consequence of Sound‘s Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman and Film Editor Dominick Suzanne-Mayer are both members of the Chicago Film Critics Association. Come say hello. Or not.
Opening Night: Friday, May 20th
Morris From America
7:00 – Morris From America (w/ director Chad Hartigan and actor Craig Robinson)
9:30 – Goat **
11:59 p.m. – Trash Fire
Saturday, May 21st
Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World
11:00 am – Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World **
1:00 pm – Shorts Program 1 (w/ actors Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Huebbe and cinematographer Julio Padilla Sanchez)
3:00 – My Blind Brother
5:00 – Joshy (w/ star Adam Pally)
7:15 – War on Everyone (w/ actor Michael Peña)
9:30 – Into the Forest (w/ director Patricia Rozema)
11:59 pm – Another Evil
Sunday, May 22nd
Under the Shadow
12:00 pm – Life, Animated
2:00 – Beauty and the Beast
4:15 – Under the Shadow **
6:00 – Hunt For the Wilderpeople
8:00 – Little Men (w/ director Ira Sachs)
10:00 – Disorder
Monday, May 23rd
3:00 pm – Hunt For the Wilderpeople
5:30 – Shorts Program 2
7:30 – American Fable ** (w/ director Anne Hamilton and actor Peyton Kennedy)
9:45 – Demon
Tuesday, May 24th
3:30 pm – Nuts!
5:30 – Contemporary Color ** (featuring St. Vincent; produced by David Byrne!)
7:30 – The Other Half
9:45 – The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Wednesday, May 25th
3:30 pm – Goat **
5:30 – The Fits
7:30 – In a Valley of Violence ** (w/ director Ti West)
10:00 – Trash Fire
Closing Night: Thursday, May 26th
First Girl I Loved
2:00 pm – Beauty and the Beast
4:00 – American Fable **
6:00 – First Girl I Loved ** (w/ actor Dylan Gelula)
8:30 – Operator (w/ director Logan Kibens, screenwriter Sharon Greene, and actor Martin Starr)