Chicago Critics Film Festival

Fri, May 4th, 2018 to Thu, May 10th, 2018

FESTIVAL PASSES - $150

TICKETS TO INDIVIDUAL SCREENINGS AVAILABLE BELOW

THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL returns to the Music Box for its Sixth Year! The event, runner-up for Best Film Festival in the Chicago Reader’s 2017 “Best of Chicago” poll, annually features a selection of acclaimed films chosen by members of the organization, a combination of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a variety of filmmakers, from established Oscar winners to talented newcomers. It is the only current example of a major film critics group that hosts its own festival, and it’s right here in Chicago.

For five years, the festival has given Chicagoans the opportunity to see the hottest unreleased titles on the festival circuit weeks or even months before they’ll make their theatrical debuts. The 2017 installment saw the local debuts of such acclaimed titles as A GHOST STORY, LUCKY, THE LITTLE HOURS, THE HERO and BAND AID, as well as a 10th anniversary screening of the cult classic SOUTHLAND TALES and appearances from the likes of Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, John Carroll Lynch and Richard Kelly.

Further details, as well as information on the previous editions of the festival, can be found at the official CCFF website at www.chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com. Follow the CFCA and the festival on Twitter at @chicagocritics and on Facebook here.

Abducted in Plain Sight

A FILM BY: Skye Borgman
STARRING: Jan Broberg, Mary Ann Broberg, Bob Broberg

***Director Skye Borgmann in person for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

ABDUCTED IN PLAIN SIGHT is the twisting, turning, story of the Broberg's, a naïve, church going Idaho family whose daughter, Jan, is kidnapped by the families best friend and neighbor. Twice. This true-crime documentary examines one family's struggle with desire, deceit, faith and forgiveness. The Brobergs' troubling admissions reveal epic failures and untold personal dramas that point to the biggest tragedy of all – that these crimes could have been prevented.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 91 mins
Format: DCP

American Animals

A FILM BY: Bart Layton
WRITTEN BY: Jon Croker (additional writings), Bart Layton
STARRING: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Spencer wants to become an artist but doesn’t have anything to say. His friend Warren has been raised to believe that his life will be special. As they start university, it dawns on them that their lives may never be unique or extraordinary in any way. On a library tour, Spencer is shown the special collections room - home to the country’s most valuable books. When he shares this with Warren, they begin to wonder: what would their lives look like if they planned to execute the perfect robbery?

 

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 91 mins
Format: DCP

Beast

A FILM BY: Michael Pearce
WRITTEN BY: Michael Pearce
STARRING: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Moll is 27 and still living at home, stifled by the small island community around her and too beholden to her family to break away. When she meets Pascal, a free-spirited stranger, a whole new world opens up to her and she begins to feel alive for the first time, falling madly in love. Finally breaking free from her family, Moll moves in with Pascal to start a new life. But when he is arrested as the key suspect in a series of brutal murders, she is left isolated and afraid. Choosing to stand with him against the suspicions of the community, Moll finds herself forced to make choices that will impact her life forever.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 107 mins
Format: DCP

Bodied

A FILM BY: Joseph Kahn
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Kahn
STARRING: Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Rory Uphold

***Director Joseph Kahn in person for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A satire set in the world of competitive battle rap, BODIED is the story of Adam Merkin, a progressive grad student who becomes an accidental battle rapper after encountering Behn Grym, a respected icon in the merciless sub-culture of poetic personal insults. As Adam makes his politically-incorrect climb up the ranks, he risks alienating his father, a renowned writer and tenured professor at Adam's university, along with his skeptical girlfriend Maya, and all of his academic friends. His success breeds outrage however; Adam soon faces growing backlash on campus and the consequences of his controversial talent. BODIED explores the dangerous spaces of the world's most multicultural and artistically brutal sport.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 120 mins
Format: DCP

CCFF Shorts Program #1

A FILM BY: Robin Comisar, Clare Cooney, Don Herzfeldt, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Laura Moss, Jack Henry Robbins, Charlie Tyrell
STARRING: Clare Cooney, Tony Grayson, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Kerri Kenney, David Wain

***Director Clare Cooney in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

In Runner, a woman goes for a jog and witnesses something she can't run away from (shot in Chicago). In Maude, a woman decides to become the woman she had no idea she always wanted to be. Until she gets caught. A filmmaker seeks to better understand his emotionally distant late-father through the personal belongings he left behind, including a VHS stack of dirty movies in My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes. The public access show Painting With Joan takes viewers on an unexpectedly insane journey. Found footage of comedian Allen Anders reveals his troubled psyche. In Great Choice, a woman is trapped in a Red Lobster commercial. Finally, Don Herzfeldt's award-winning animated odyssey World of Tomorrow returns, followed by the new mind-bending sequel World of Tomorrow 2: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts, the continuing adventures of young Emily Prime.

Technical Information

Run Time: 90 mins

CCFF Shorts Program #2

A FILM BY: Leah Galant, Katarzyna Gondek, Alexa Lim Haas, Sherren Lee, Chandler Levack, Carlos Morales, Charlotte Wells
STARRING: Prince Amponsah, Jesse LaVercombe, Jamie Robson, Jesse Todd

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

In Death Metal Grandma, a 94-year-old woman tries out for America's Got Talent as the frontwoman for a death metal band. A black male burn survivor and amputee goes on a date with a regularly abled man in The Things You Think I'm Thinking. The wordless Deer Boy tells a story about a hunter's son who was born with antlers. A Chinese manicurist in Miami attempts to describe feelings she doesn't have the words for in the award-winning Agua Viva. In Blue Christmas, a debt collector goes to work to avoid dealing with his wife's psychosis on Christmas Eve. The documentary Symphony of A Sad Sea focuses on a boy in Mexico who dreams of reuniting with his father in the USA. In We Forgot to Break Up, a former band manager has a bittersweet reunion with the now-famous group.

 

Technical Information

Run Time: 90 mins

Damsel

A FILM BY: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
WRITTEN BY: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner
STARRING: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Forster

***Directors David & Nathan Zellner in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Samuel Alabaster (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer, ventures across the American Frontier to marry the love of his life, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska). As Samuel traverses the Wild West with a drunkard named Parson Henry (David Zellner) and a miniature horse called Butterscotch, their once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. A loving reinvention of the western genre from the Zellner brothers (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter), DAMSEL showcases their trademark unpredictability, off-kilter sense of humor, and unique brand of humanism.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 113 mins
Format: DCP

Eighth Grade

A FILM BY: Bo Burnham
WRITTEN BY: Bo Burnham
STARRING: Josh Hamilton, Elsie Fisher, Emily Robinson

***Director Bo Burnham in person for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year—before she begins high school.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 94 mins
Format: DCP

Fast Color

A FILM BY: Julia Hart
WRITTEN BY: Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz
STARRING: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Toussaint

***Gugu Mbatha-Raw and writer/producer Jordan Horowitz in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 100 mins
Format: DCP

First Reformed

A FILM BY: Paul Schrader
WRITTEN BY: Paul Schrader
STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer

***Director Paul Schrader in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. From writer-director Paul Schrader (TAXI DRIVER, AMERICAN GIGILO, AFFLICTION) comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 108 mins
Format: DCP

The Guilty

A FILM BY: Gustav Möller
WRITTEN BY: Emil Nygaard Albertsen, Gustav Möller
STARRING: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

When police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is demoted to desk work, he expects a sleepy beat as an emergency dispatcher. That all changes when he answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman who then disconnects abruptly. Asger, confined to the police station, is forced to use others as his eyes and ears as the severity of the crime slowly becomes more clear. The search to find the missing woman and her assailant will take every bit of his intuition and skill, as a ticking clock and his own personal demons conspire against him. 

In Danish with English subtitles

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: Denmark
Language: Danish
Run Time: 85 mins
Format: DCP

Hal

A FILM BY: Amy Scott
STARRING: Allison Anders, Judd Apatow, Rosanna Arquette

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Hal is a long-overdue feature length documentary film celebrating the life and work of director Hal Ashby, set against a backdrop of a rapidly changing America, and an even more dramatic shift in filmmaking. While Ashby was once the toast of “New Hollywood” his rise and fall became an archetypal story of art versus industry.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 90 mins
Format: DCP

Jurassic Park

WRITTEN BY: Michael Crichton (novel), Michael Crichton (screenplay)
STARRING: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

In director Steven Spielberg's three-time Academy Award®-winning blockbuster Jurassic Park, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park's mastermind, billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.The groundbreaking epic that launched one of the most popular series in cinema history was originally released in theaters on June 11, 1993. Jurassic Park is based on the novel by Michael Crichton and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen.

Technical Information

Production Year: 1993
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 127 mins
Format: 35mm

A Kid Like Jake

A FILM BY: Silas Howard
WRITTEN BY: Daniel Pearle (adapted by), Daniel Pearle (based on play)
STARRING: Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A Brooklyn couple has always known that their four-year-old son is more interested in fairy tale princesses than toy cars. But when his preschool director points out that his gender-nonconforming play may be more than a phase, the couple is forced to rethink their roles as parents and spouses.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 92 mins
Format: DCP

Leave No Trace

A FILM BY: Debra Granik
STARRING: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Jeff Kober

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

For years Will and his teenage daughter, Tom, have lived off the grid, blissfully undetected by authorities in a vast nature reserve on the edge of Portland, Oregon. When a chance encounter blows their cover, they're removed from their camp and put into the charge of social services. Struggling to adapt to their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a perilous journey back to the wilderness, where they are finally forced to confront conflicting desires—a longing for community versus a fierce need to live apart.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 108 mins
Format: DCP

Liyana

A FILM BY: Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp
STARRING: Gcina Mhlophe

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character's journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: Swaziland
Language: English
Run Time: 75 mins
Format: DCP

Madeline's Madeline

A FILM BY: Josephine Decker
WRITTEN BY: Josephine Decker, Gail Segal (story consultant)
STARRING: Helena Howard, Miranda July, Molly Parker

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Madeline is dedicated to her theatre workshop. Much to the worry of her protective mother (Miranda July), she has become an integral part of a prestigious, progressive, and experimental theatre troupe in the city, one that emphasizes movement, commitment, and an intense focus on authenticity. When the workshop's ambitious theater director (Molly Parker) pushes teenage Madeline to weave her troubled history and rich interior world into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur in surprising and potentially destructive ways, spiraling out of the safe rehearsal space and into her everyday interactions.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 93 mins
Format: DCP

On Chesil Beach

A FILM BY: Dominic Cooke
WRITTEN BY: Ian McEwan (screenplay), Ian McEwan (novel)
STARRING: Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the drama centers on a young couple of drastically different backgrounds in the summer of 1962. Following the pair through their idyllic courtship, the film explores sex and the societal pressure that can accompany physical intimacy, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, and Samuel West.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 110 mins
Format: DCP

Puzzle

A FILM BY: Marc Turtletaub
WRITTEN BY: Oren Moverman, Natalia Smirnoff (original story)
STARRING: Kelly Macdonald, Irrfan Khan, David Denman

***Director Marc Turteltaub in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world - where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 103 mins
Format: DCP

Revenge

A FILM BY: Coralie Fargeat
WRITTEN BY: Coralie Fargeat
STARRING: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Jen joins her married lover, Richard, for a romp at his secluded desert villa before his annual hunting vacation. However, when his leering pals arrive, they're a far cry from Richard's millionaire-Adonis charms, and they feel entitled to make their own advances on Jen and ignore her rejections. Things get dramatically out of hand... and the hunting game turns into a ruthless manhunt.

In French and English with English subtitles

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: France
Language: French
Run Time: 108 mins
Format: DCP

Searching

A FILM BY: Aneesh Chaganty
WRITTEN BY: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
STARRING: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee

***Director Aneesh Chaganty in attendance for a post-film Q&A***

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

After his 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a desperate father breaks into her laptop to look for clues to find her. A thriller that unfolds entirely on computer screens.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 101 mins
Format: DCP

Shotgun

A FILM BY: Hannah Marks, Joey Power
WRITTEN BY: Hannah Marks, Joey Power
STARRING: Marisa Tomei, Gina Gershon, Maika Monroe

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Elliot (Jeremy Allen White) is 23, lives in New York, and has no real responsibility. He spends most of his time partying with his best friend Nico (DeRon Horton). Shortly after meeting Mia (Maika Monroe), Elliot is diagnosed with a rare illness. They fall in love under the cloud of his illness, despite barely knowing each other.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 95 mins
Format: DCP

Support the Girls

A FILM BY: Andrew Bujalski
WRITTEN BY: Andrew Bujalski
STARRING: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Lisa Conroy is the last person you'd expect to find in a highway-side "sports bar with curves,"-- but as general manager at Double Whammies, she's come to love the place and its customers. An incurable den mother, she nurtures and protects her girls fiercely--but over the course of one trying day, her optimism is battered from every direction...Double Whammies sells a big, weird American fantasy, but what happens when reality pokes a bunch of holes in it.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 94 mins
Format: DCP

Three Identical Strangers

A FILM BY: Tim Wardle
STARRING: Silvi Alzetta-Reali, Eddy Galland, Ron Guttman

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

New York, 1980: three complete strangers accidentally discover that they are identical triplets, separated at birth. The 19-year-olds' joyous reunion catapults them to international fame, but it also unlocks an extraordinary and disturbing secret that goes beyond their own lives - and could transform our understanding of human nature forever.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2017
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Run Time: 96 mins
Format: DCP

We the Animals

A FILM BY: Jeremiah Zagar
WRITTEN BY: Daniel Kitrosser, Jeremiah Zagar
STARRING: Raúl Castillo, Josiah Gabriel, Terry Holland

Presented as part of THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

Manny, Joel and Jonah tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents. As Manny and Joel grow into versions of their father and Ma dreams of escape, Jonah embraces an imagined world all his own.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2018
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 94 mins
Format: DCP

Music Box Theatre

3733 N Southport Ave Chicago, IL 60613 773 871 6604