2009 Chicago International Film Festival ‘Best of the Fest’ For Oct. 21, 2009

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CHICAGO – As the 45th Chicago International Film Festival comes to a close, this year’s award-winning and most popular films are being screened one more time. All of the screenings will be held at the AMC River East 21 theater at 322 E. Illinois St.

MISSISSIPPI DAMNED (USA), Director: Tina Mabry

Winner Gold Hugo: Best Film, Best Screenplay - Tina Mabry, Best Supporting Actress - Jossie Harris Thacker


They weren’t the first to dream of escaping their small Mississippi town, but—raised among their family’s vicious cycle of abuse, addiction, and lies—three young black children learn the hard way that their dreams will never be enough. Based on a true story, Mississippi Damned is the brutally honest tale of what happens when a family’s haven is also its prison.

''Mississippi Damned,' Winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Film at the Chicago International Film Festival.
‘Mississippi Damned,’ Winner of the Gold Hugo for Best Film at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

FISH TANK (UK), Director: Andrea Arnold

Winner Silver Hugo: Special Jury Award, Best Supporting Actor – Michael Fassbender


Oscar® winner Andrea Arnold asserts her place at the pinnacle of contemporary British cinema with Fish Tank, her keenly observed and unflinchingly realistic portrait of life in a rough Essex housing project. Mia (Katie Jarvis, a revelation in her first screen role) is an alienated, emotionally volatile teenager whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of her mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender, named best actor at last year’s Festival for Hunger).

VINCERE (Italy/France), Director: Marco Bellocchio

Winner Silver Hugo: Best Director - Marco Bellocchio, Best Actor – Filippo Timi, Best Actress – Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Best Cinematography – Daniele Cipri


The closely guarded story of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s secret lover and son is revealed in fittingly operatic proportions in this electrifying tour de force. Thunderstruck by the young Mussolini’s charisma, Ida Dalser gives up everything to help champion his revolutionary ideas. When he disappears during World War I and later resurfaces with a new wife, the scorned Dasler and her son are locked away in separate asylums for more than a decade. But Ida will not disappear without a fight….

GIGANTE (Uruguay), Director: Adrián Biniez

Winner Gold Hugo: New Directors Competition


This gentle and subtly humorous one-sided love story follows Jara, a shy, heavyset supermarket security guard whose humdrum life is turned upside down when he notices his coworker Julia on the security monitors. Jara’s fascination soon moves off the video screens and into the streets, but when rumors of layoffs begin to circulate at work, Jara realizes he must make a move or risk never seeing her again.

MADE IN CHINA (USA), Director: Judi Krant

Winner Silver Hugo: New Directors Competition


A wide-eyed Texas hayseed travels to China to find a manufacturer for the novelty product he hopes will put him right up there with the guy who invented the whoopee cushion. But when he gets sucked into a world of scammers and schemers, this eternal optimist will have to figure out just how far he’s willing to pursue the American Dream. Wes Anderson’s whimsy meets David Mamet’s love of duplicity in this peppy comic debut.

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION (USA), Directors: Dan Sturman, Bill Guttentag

Docufest Winner Gold Plaque: Best Direction - Dan Sturman, Bill Guttentag


Relive the American civil rights movement through the soul-stirring folk songs that fortified protestors struggling for equality. This powerful doc pairs modern renditions by Wyclef Jean, John Legend, TV on the Radio, the Roots, and others with footage from the bitter days of segregation and emotional present-day interviews with the people (including Harry Belafonte and Congressman John Lewis) who fought and lived through it.


Program Includes the Award Winning Short SHORT TERM 12


Ali Shan (Canada) endeavors to answer the question, “How do we dream?” A man seizes one last opportunity for intimacy with his ex-wife in The Handover (New Zealand). A teacher helps a student learn how to get off in Acting for the Camera (USA). Ten for Grandpa (Canada) tries to uncover whether Grandpa was a manipulative antihero or simply a victim of a McCarthy witch hunt. Short Term 12 (USA) is a film about kids and the grown-ups who hit them. A poetic exploration of memory and loss, Steel Homes (UK) takes the viewer inside the world of a self-storage warehouse. Happy 95th Birthday Grandpa (USA) presents a fleeting memory of childhood quarrels at grandpa’s birthday. Careful with that Power Tool (New Zealand) shows the real reason why little boys shouldn’t play with power tools. In Young Love (Australia), Erno is in tortuous pain, but he must keep moving as danger awaits him.



The Hugo Television Awards celebrates new and exciting approaches continually influencing television programming and commercials. In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival and the Hugo Television Awards, this program presents a selection of the most memorable commercials awarded throughout the history of the competition.

VIDEOCRACY (Sweden/Italy), Director: Erik Gandini

Festival Favorite


Shockingly relevant and precisely crafted, Erik Gandini’s documentary portrays the relationships between Italy’s political elite and its powerful media empire. As Gandini puts it, “President Silvio Berlusconi has created a perfect system of TV entertainment and politics.” With an eerily fitting soundtrack to guide it along, Videocracy exhibits firsthand the dangers of government-television cohabitation.

PERSĖCUTION (France), Director: Patrice Chéreau

Festival Favorite


Daniel has a talent for making life go his way, but lately he’s been put to the test by a stranger who follows him through the streets, to his job, to his apartment. And this strange relationship is not the only one wearing on him: His possessive attitude toward Sonia, his partner of three years, is slowly poisoning them both. Soon Daniel will discover how it feels to be both persecutor and persecuted…. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Romain Duris, and Jean-Hugues Anglade star in this psychological drama from provocative director Patrice Chéreau (Intimacy, Queen Margot).

CHICAGO OVERCOAT (USA), Director: Brian Caunter

Back by Popular Demand


Twenty years ago, Lou Marazano (Frank Vincent, The Sopranos, Casino) was the deadliest triggerman in the notorious Chicago Outfit. When Lou’s jailed boss (Armand Assante) orders a wave of hits to cover up a conspiracy between city officials and the mob, Lou sees a chance to finance his retirement and relive his glory days. But does he still have what it takes? This neo-noir crime drama is an accomplished debut from first-time local filmmakers.

BERLIN ’36 (Germany), Director: Kaspar Heidelbach

Back By Popular Demand


With Nazi-ruled Berlin facing boycotts of its 1936 Olympic Games if Jewish athletes aren’t allowed to participate, party officials bully expat champion high jumper Gretel Bergmann into training alongside a team that reviles her. At the same time, they use über-athlete Marie Ketteler as a pawn in a covert campaign to defeat Gretel. This powerful true story celebrates the small triumphs strong-willed individuals can win over tyranny and hatred.

HIPSTERS (Russia), Director: Valery Todorovsky

Back by Popular Demand


Moscow, 1955. Soviet uniformity is the order of the day, but incurring the wrath of all the grim-faced comrades in Russia isn’t enough to stop a group of young “hipsters” from donning outrageous threads, puffing up their pompadours, pushing up their cleavage, throwing back martinis, and shakin’ their hips. Could this romantic, infectiously fun musical be this year’s Slumdog Millionaire?

The Chicago International Film Festival runs until October 22th. Click here for ticket information. Walk-up box office locations are at the Cinema/Chicago Administrative Office at 30 E. Adams, Suite 800, Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 6:00pm or at the AMC River East 21 Festival Box Office at 322 E Illinois St., 7 days a week, noon to 9pm. All ticketing locations take Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2009 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

Anonymous's picture

nice and thanks a lot.

nice and thanks a lot.

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