Video: Best of the 2013 Chicago International Film Festival


‘The Missing Picture’

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival is currently underway, with over 180 features and short films on tap. In this video, I talk with Michael Phillips, lead film critic of the Chicago Tribune, who has covered the festival for many years and profiled its programming staff this year. He gives his take on defining qualities of the festival before we delve into a handful of our personal standout films in the lineup. The Festival runs through October 24.

The Best Films at Chicago International Film Festival 2013 from Fandor Keyframe on Vimeo.

Michael Phillips’ Top Ten Recommendations for this year’s Chicago International Film Festival, originally published in the Chicago Tribune:

Blue Is the Warmest Color (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche)
Borgman (dir. Alex van Warmerdam)
Grigris (dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
The Immigrant (dir. James Gray)
Like Father Like Son (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)
Medium Cool (dir. Haskell Wexler)
Needle (dir. Anahita Ghazvinizadeh)
Silent Films: Louder Than Words! (presented by David Robinson)
12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen)
Le Weekend (dir. Roger Michell)

Kevin’s Top Ten of CIFF 2013

The Missing Picture (dir. Rithy Panh)
Die Welt (dir. Alex Pitstra)
The Priest’s Children (dir. Vinko Bresan)
Battle of Tabato (dir. Joao Viana)
Mothers (dir. Xu Huijing)
Stranger by the Lake (dir. Alain Guiraudie)
Walesa (dir. Andrzej Wajda)
The Blinding Sunlight (dir. Liu Yu)
Stray Dogs (dir. Tsai Ming-liang)

PS: The day after this video was recorded, I saw Blue Is the Warmest Color. Personally, I find the film to be an utterly bogus and artistically deprived depiction of both teen sexuality and a French working-class community, relying on cardboard characters and tried-and-true contemporary realist cinema tropes borrowed from the Dardennes and their ilk. The film reheats these ingredients with no new flavors added, save for a gratuitously long sex scene that’s hopelessly chopped up to resemble cable soft-porn, but somehow has the audacity to present itself as an edgy statement of sexual freedom. But that’s just me. As we discuss in the video, the feature has fast garnered a reputation as a polarizing film that you just have to buy a ticket to make up your own mind about. (See how that works?)

Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, critic and video essayist. He tweets as alsolikelife.


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