This year’s festival is being offered online so that audiences from all sides can enjoy the choices.
Normally the Chicago International Film Festival, a major fall destination for foreign language and prestige films, is difficult for Detroiters to access because it takes place in Chicago. But this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival is available to anyone to stream movies online.
(Full disclosure: I worked for the festival.)
The festival runs online now through October 25 and includes many top-level international titles as well as some early Oscar favorites. Virtual tickets for most movies are $ 12. Some of their choices are of interest to the Jewish audience.
Here are some of the highlights:
Come to the Kingdom
In this provocative documentary, Israeli filmmaker Maya Zinstein (Forever Pure) investigates the strange dilemma of Christian evangelical support for Israel. Zinstein meets a zealous pastor from a Kentucky church offering anti-Semitic derogatory sermons, as well as the Israeli president of the International Association of Christians and Jews, who channels millions of dollars from evangelicals to pro-Israel causes. Showing how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the settlement movement have wholeheartedly embraced evangelical support, she also questions the motives, both political and spiritual, of these troubled families.
Zinstein and one of the themes of her films will host a virtual Q&A in support of her film on Tuesday, October 20, at 2pm CST / 3pm EST.
Polish filmmaker nominated for Oscar Agnieszka Holland (Europe, Europe), whose Jewish Jewish father spent most of his life denying his Judaism after his family was destroyed in the Holocaust, has built a master craft exploring the world of denial and deception. Her latest historical drama is a biography of Czech healer Jan Mikolek, who used herbal medicine to treat hundreds of patients in the 1930s, including many Nazis. Holland explores Mikoleks’s next trial under Communism and her film asks: who is the real charlatan here?
The Prophet and the Aliens of Space
Realism, a belief system invented by a French automotive journalist in the 1970s, says that all of humanity was created by extraterrestrials (Elohim) living in an interplanetary Garden of Eden. When the Israeli documentary Yoav Shamir (Checkpoint) given an award by the Ralians, he decides that the opportunity to interview their prophet and explore their beliefs is very good to pass. The result is one of the strangest, witty tales you can see, filled with sex, strange prophecies, and some alleged human cloning.
Shamir will host a virtual Q&A in support of his film on Wednesday, October 21, at 2pm CST / 3pm EST.
The Chicago Film Festival selections include many films that take a hard look at the former Soviet Union. Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky (who previously directed the famous Holocaust drama paradise) applies his strict technique to investigating the Novocherkassk massacre in 1962, in which the Soviet army and the KGB killed more than two dozen labor strikers, injuring nearly 100 others. Konchalovsky filmed his drama in black and white, using lo-fi shooting and processing techniques that were common during the Soviet era.
Konchalovsky will host a virtual Q&A to discuss his film on Friday, October 16, at 2pm CST / 3pm EST.
An evening with Rachel Brosnahan
She is not Jewish, as we all know by now, but the actress plays the most famous Jewish TV on Amazon Primes Wonderful Lady Maisel, so he dives quite well into Judaism. Brosnahan is making a virtual appearance at the festival in support of her lead role in the upcoming romantic thriller I am your wife, in which she plays a modern suburban housewife who enters the underworld as her husband’s crime life goes off the rails. There is a strong Jewish team behind the camera: The film is directed by Julia Hart (Fast color) and produced by her husband, la la earths Jordan Horowitz.
The Brosnahans event is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21, at 7pm CST / 8pm EST. Tickets are $ 16. I am your wife is being broadcast on the online festival platform, but tickets have already been sold out.
More information at chicagofilmfestivali.com.
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