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Trailer Thursday (10-06-11): CIFF at 47

October 6, 2011
It’s that time of the year again in the Windy City, where films from all around the world can be discovered. That means the Chicago International Film Festival (or CIFF) is back for its 47th year, bringing over 150 films to be experienced by local film enthusiasts. Some films may have already been released while others will hit theaters in the next couple of months, and other films are still looking for distributors. Running from October 6th through the 20th, these bold and refreshing films cover a variety of genres and formats (both features and shorts), from brand new talent to proven veterans. It would be impossible for me to see everything offered, but the following films are definitely ones I will be checking out….

(Germany/Canada) Director David Cronenberg’s latest focuses on a bizarre love triangle, as Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) is seduced by a young unstable patient (Keira Knightley), while being overseen by Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who also falls under her spell. Expect both carnal and psychological twists. 


(South Korea) This fast-paced action thriller marks the directorial debut of Min-suk Kim, and revolves around a young thief who can posses the ability to control minds. He runs into the unexpected on a routine robbery of a pawn shop, when he discovers a man who has powers that surpass his own. What develops is an intense cat-and-mouse game throughout Seoul. 


(Denmark/Sweden) IMDb describes Danish director Lars Von Trier’s latest as “Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth. As usual with Von Trier (“Dancer in the Dark” and “Antichrist”), you can expect haunting and beautiful visuals with challenging subject matter in a film that stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, and John Hurt. 


(UK) Yes, that Marilyn. The immensely talented Michelle Williams stars as Marilyn Monroe circa 1953, specifically as she works on a film in England with Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). She also happens to be on honeymoon with her husband, playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). When he leaves England, Marilyn is left with Olivier’s assistant, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne, “Black Death”) who exposes her to the British way of life. 


(France) This black and white film has already won at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and has received nothing but positive buzz since. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius (those zany “OSS 117” films), “The Artist” tells the story of George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) a star of silent cinema, who encounters Peppy (Berenice Bejo), a young intern whose career he helps. That is until talking pictures are introduced to the medium, causing difficulty for both their acting and their relationship. This looks to be a visually stunning film with great performances, and a fitting way to close the festival. 

These are the five I’ve committed to so far. Notice none of them are from the United States. Not an intentional move, but in the steady Hollywood diet of sequels, remakes, prequels and reboots, this is the best place to seek out films outside the American norm. Expect reviews for these films (and hopefully more) over the next couple of months.

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