Enjoy a virtual entertainment extravaganza at home

Spice up your entertainment enjoyment at home by accessing the 56th virtual edition of the Chicago International Film Festival (October 14-25). This groundbreaking assemblage of 58 new feature films and nine short film programs, as well as celebrity events, excels – a particularly welcome diversion during this year of staying at home due to the novel Coronavirus. Through the comfort of your sofa, join acclaimed directors, such as Werner Herzog, Chloé Zhao, Spike Lee and Tsai Ming-liang, as they unveil insights, innovation and inspiration. Movie buffs will especially enjoy early viewing of the long-awaited films: Ammonite, Bad Hair, Nomadland is One night in Miami.

The opening night raises the curtain on the world premiere of the documentary Belushi – a tribute and enlightening exploration of The Second City native son and alumnus John Belushi. At the age of 30, he was mega-talented as one of the seven original NBC-TV cast members Saturday Night Live and the star of The Blues Brothers. This cartoon icon has won roles in other memorably colorful films, such as National Lampoon’s Animal House. A bold biopic directed by RJ Cutler, Belushi incorporates never publicly heard audio tapes from his colleagues, friends and family. With a clear focus on his career trajectory, he also tackles the struggles with substance abuse that derailed Belushi’s life, leading him to his untimely death at the age of 33 from a drug overdose.

In addition to streaming its cinematic repertoire in the United States, the Chicago International Film Festival will host eight in-person drive-in screenings for the first time. For those who live in or near Chicago and have a car, this cinematic brainstorming deserves some extra applause. The outdoor space, at ChiTown Movies, will highlight high-profile previews, such as beauty Ammonite (directed by Francis Lee), nightmare-horror The dark and the wicked (directed by Bryan Bertino) and David Byrne’s musical theater American utopia (directed by Spike Lee)against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline.

Seven-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet, winner of the Best Actress Award for 2008 The reader, will be celebrated with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Says festival artistic director Mimi Plauché: “Over the course of her brilliant career, Kate Winslet has proven to be a formidable talent and creative force … a magnetic presence and a masterful chameleon, and we are honored to pay homage to her singular talent. and extraordinary body of work. ” In Ammonite, Winslet plays fossil hunter Mary Anning, who forms an emotional bond with an unlikely soulmate, Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan), the wife of a wealthy aristocrat.

Choose from multiple viewing and pricing options, including increased access for festival members. Pick a movie or binge on a size. Perhaps the most intriguing for behind-the-scenes viewers are the virtual question and answer events with the directors. Rachel Brosnahan – native of Highland Park (suburb about 25 miles north of downtown Chicago) and star of Amazon Prime’s The wonderful Mrs. Maisel – will join a live streaming virtual gathering during An Evening with Rachel Brosnahan, along with the Chicago premiere of her film I am your woman. For film buffs who want an even more detailed insight into the industry, sign up for virtual master classes, workshops (production, funding and distribution) and networking sessions.

The festival is organized around several competitions: International, New Directors, Out-look (the Hugo Award which delves into sexuality and identity) and the Chicago Award (which highlights the most beautiful stories and storytellers of the city itself). Film categories include: Masters (by award-winning directors), Documentaries, Comedy, After Dark (thrillers and mysteries), Cinema of the Americas, Women in Cinema and Black Perspectives.

A popular and much discussed film will undoubtedly be One night in Miami, adapted from the award-winning work of the same name.

Directed by Regina King, this imaginative scenario focuses on underdog boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), who, in 1964 at the Miami Convention Center, defeated heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, celebrates with three friends: civil rights leader Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), record-breaking football dynamo Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Grammy winner Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr .). Their heart-to-heart energizing and enlightening convo grapples with racial privileges and protests, as well as how to use their fame forever. This attention film rightfully applies to our current tumultuous year.

Oscar-winning director Spike Lee brings the Broadway stage sensation of David Byrne to the screen American utopia. Filmed during its run in New York City, the notable production trumpets Talking Heads frontman Byrne and a dense ensemble of 11 musicians, singers and dancers from around the world, with the aim of promoting human connection, self-evolution and social justice. Songs, such as “Once in a Lifetime” and “Burning Down the House” (from Byrne’s 2018 solo album), rock. Short monologues lead socio-political topics: climate change, immigration, police brutality and the upcoming presidential election. This is a choice opportunity to savor one of the Big Apple’s best recent theatrical productions from the comfort of your home.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival 2020, the poignant and elegiac drama Nomadland takes off when a corporate city in rural Nevada is hit by economic collapse. Unemployed Fern (Frances McDormand) puts her belongings in a van and launches an unconventional journey, navigating the landscapes of Western America, weaving through the intimate lives of mentors, friends and strangers along the way. “I’m not homeless, I’m just …homeless. It’s not the same thing, “explains Fern. This is director Chloé Zhao’s third feature that stretches horizons.

Directed by Eugene Ashe, charming Sylvie’s love shines during the sweltering New York summer of 1957, when Sylvie (Tessa Thompson), the daughter of a record shop owner with the goal of becoming a television producer, meets Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a saxophonist.

With sumptuous old-school cinematography and a graceful pace, Sylvie’s love it is evocative. Jazz is in the air; passion floats on its high notes.

For more information on culture and art throughout the city, go to Choose Chicago. Here are the updates from the tourism office on Coronavirus and COVID-19. Virtual and in-person access to museums, parks, gardens, trails and other attractions and locations is also available.

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