October movie events and film fests calendar
October offers plenty of film fests and screenings to fill your moviegoing calendar. The big one is the Chicago International Film Festival, which runs October 10–24. The Siskel showcases a collection of rarely-seen French films by big-name directors in its French Classics Conserved series. Or hit up the Music Box for a weeklong series of documentaries, as well as the theater's annual 24-hour horror-movie marathon. If you only have time for one movie, check out L'Atalante (1934) with a special guest appearance by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, or see the screwball classic My Man Godfrey (1936) with a post-screening discussion.
Chicago Comedy Film Festival Comic actor Ray Chao hosts the two-day festival of features, shorts and webisodes. Some aim for funny, such as "A Little Something on the Side," the 11-minute film starring Justine Bateman and Stephen Tobolowsky (best known as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day). Others focus in on the funny business—the doc Warm Beer Lousy Food tells the tale of Brooklyn's Crazy Country Club, which the filmmakers claim is the nation's first comedy club. For the full lineup, go to chicagocomedyfilmfestival.com. ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. Oct 4–5. $39 for weekend pass, $12 for individual shows.
French Classics Conserved Throughout October, eight films by French auteurs such as Truffaut, Renoir and Melville—ones previously unviewable through legit channels—will be shown in either new or archival 35mm prints or digital restorations. See the full schedule at siskelfilmcenter.org. Gene Siskel Film Center. Oct 4–30. $11 general admission, $7 students, $6 members.
Docs at the Box Nonfiction filmmaking takes over for a week during the Music Box's first documentary festival. Standouts include Our Nixon, constructed in part by three of his top former aides' Super 8 footage; Evocateur: The Morton Downey, Jr. Movie, about the late conservative talk-show host; a look back at the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas controversy, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power; and Lenny Cooke, which examines the failure of the once-hyped basketball player to live up to expectations of NBA superstardom. For the full schedule, visit musicboxtheatre.com. Music Box. Oct 5–11.
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My Man Godfrey Dir. Gregory La Cava. 1936. 95mins. He's best known for his work in The Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1934), but William Powell's performance as the titular Godfrey in this pioneer screwball comedy is just as good. A discussion of the film follows the screening hosted by the Chicago Film Club. Venue at 1550. Oct 8, 6:30pm. $5, $3 students/seniors (online).
Chicago International Film Festival CIFF's 49th annual event features more than 150 features and shorts from around the world. This year's lineup includes Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or–winning Blue is the Warmest Color, Andrzej Wajda's Walesa, Man of Hope and closes out with the latest from the Coen brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis. See the full lineup at chicagofilmfestival.com. Chicago Theatre. Oct 10. AMC River East 21. Oct 11–24. Cinema/Chicago members, students and seniors $11; for special presentations $20; Cinema/Chicago members, students and seniors $16.
Music Box of Horrors Music Box's 24-hour scream fest returns with a lineup of classics and newer horror films, including Child’s Play (Tom Holland, 1988), Night Monster (Ford Beeb, 1942), Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981) and a never-before-viewed print of TerrorVision (Ted Nicolaou, 1986). Director William Lustig presents his newly restored cult fave Maniac Cop 2 (1990) and David Schmoeller discusses directing Klaus Kinski in Crawlspace (1986). See musicboxtheatre.com for the full schedule. Music Box. Oct 19. $30.
L'Atalante Dir. Jean Vigo, 1934, 89mins. Jean Vigo's career was never fully realized due to his death at age 29 from tuberculosis; he made only four films, and yet he's one of France's most celebrated directors. Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan, a Vigo fanboy, intros this love story that was the director's only completed feature. Alliance Francaise. Oct 23, 6:30pm. $8 (online).
Chicago International Children's Film Festival While aimed specifically at children—and also showcasing some films produced by kids—adults can usually find something to love at this weeklong festival going on at Facets and Music Box. For the full lineup, go to cicff.org. Facets and Music Box. Oct 25–Nov 3. $9, kids $6.