The Chicago International Film Festival unveiled the first twenty films confirmed for this year’s lineup. All festival screenings will take place October 7 through October 21 at the AMC River East 21 Theater. The festival will start with the prison drama “Stone” from director John Curran (“The Painted Veil,” “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”), starring Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton.
The complete list of twenty announced films, (with descriptions from the festival):
“Tamara Drewe,” Stephen Frears (UK)
When former ugly duckling Tamara Drewe sashays back into her hometown, life for her neighbors is thrown upside down. Now a devastating beauty, Tamara sets a contemporary comedy of manners into play using the oldest magic in the book: sex appeal.
“Trust,” David Schwimmer (USA)
After carefree teenager Anna has her life shattered by an online sexual predator, her parents (Clive Owen, Catherine Keener) must find a way to cope with their own grief and anger while helping Anna to pick up the pieces. Chicago’s own David Schwimmer directs this powerful tale of familial devastation.
“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Loong Boonmee raleuk chat),” Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)
Winner of the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this visionary yet playful film is an enchanting blend of heady spiritual imagery and tender human drama that confronts the largest of questions—what happens to us after we die?
“Waste Land,” Lucy Walker (UK/Brazil)
One of the most inspiring and award-winning docs of the year follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz deep into the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro as he transforms the lives of its residents through a large-scale art project.
“Big Tits Zombie (Konkyu Dragon),” Takao Nakano (Japan)
A raucous crowd-pleaser that is definitely not for the whole family, this 3-D spectacle pits brassy strippers against a mob of the undead, which the ladies unwittingly revive by reading aloud from an ancient tome.
“Brother & Sister (Dos hermanos),” Daniel Burman (Argentina)
Acclaimed director Daniel Burman helms this graceful portrait of two idiosyncratic siblings who, after their elderly mother’s death, find themselves forced to confront the fissures in their relationship, with amusing and touching results.
“Come Undone (Cosa voglio di più),” Silvio Soldini (Italy)
By turns sexy and thought provoking, this realistic exploration of infidelity follows two people who fall into an extramarital affair almost by accident, at great risk to their own inner peace.
“Go for It!,” Carmen Marron (USA)
In this coming-of-age tale from Chicago filmmakers, feisty teen Carmen faces the prospect of leaving her urban community when a teacher challenges her to use her talent and passion for dancing as a ticket to a brighter future.
“The Housemaid (Hanyo),” Im Sang-soo (Korea)
Im Sang-soo reimagines a classic of Korean cinema with this erotic thriller centering on the illicit affair between a wealthy, married pianist and his housekeeper. The resulting pregnancy ignites a powder keg of scheming and intrigue.
“The Last Report on Anna (Utolsó jelentés Annáról),” Márta Mészáros (Hungary)
Behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary, the secret police task a critic-turned-informant with convincing Anna Kéthly, a fiery exiled politician, to return to her homeland to face her accusers. From venerable, award-winning auteur Márta Mészáros.
“Leap Year (Año bisiesto),” Michael Rowe (Mexico)
Laura leads a meager life in her dingy apartment, doing little more than searching for the latest in a string of emotionless one night stands. Her routine changes when grim, intense Arturo enters her life.
“Louder than a Bomb,” Greg Jacobs, Jon Siskel (USA)
Who ever said poetry was boring? In this award-winning documentary, four supremely talented Chicago high school poetry teams harness the ecstatic power of words as they prepare to compete in the world’s largest youth poetry slam.
“Mooz-lum,” Qasim Basir (USA)
Pulled between his strict Muslim upbringing and the normal social life he’s never had, Tariq enters college questioning his faith, values, and identity. He searches for answers with the help of friends and mentors, but the sudden cataclysm of 9/11 changes everything.
“My Joy (Schastye moe),” Sergei Loznitsa
Russia’s open road is the setting for this striking, noirish directorial debut, in which a truck driver contends with the dangers of trackless back roads and hostile locals during what should be a routine delivery.
“Nannerl, Mozart’s Sister,” René Féret
In this biopic centering on the other child prodigy in the Mozart family, Nannerl lives in the shadow of her famous younger brother, forbidden by her father and society from composing and performing her own music.
“Polish Bar,” Ben Berkowitz (USA)
The wayward son of a prosperous Jewish clan, Reuben moonlights as a cocaine dealer, telling himself that it’s only until he makes it big as a nightclub DJ. But a visit from his Hasidic cousin causes him to question the life he’s chosen.
“The Princess of Montpensier (La princesse de Montpensier),” Bertrand Tavernier (France)
Chicago favorite Bertrand Tavernier (’Round Midnight”) directs this lush, unsentimental take on the historical romance. A young, beautiful noblewoman in 16th-century France inspires passion, violence, and power struggles among the men around her as civil war tears the country apart.
“Red Hill,” Patrick Hughes (Australia)
In this genre-bending Australian Western, city cop Shane Cooper relocates to the remote country town of Red Hill for the sake of his pregnant wife, not suspecting that a bloodthirsty escaped convict, bent on vengeance, is heading their way.
“Sasha (Saša),” Dennis Todorovic (Germany)
Sasha harbors a crush on his piano teacher Gebhard, but he struggles with coming out to his conservative family. When Gebhard’s impending departure abroad forces Sasha to act, they both face dire consequences.
“A Screaming Man (Un homme qui crie),” Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (France/Belgium/Chad)
Civil war rages in Chad, but pool attendant Adam cares only for his job and his son. When he loses his job, Adam finds himself contemplating a shocking act of betrayal in this Cannes Jury Prize–winner.
[For more information, visit the Chicago International Film Festival site here.]