Chicago Fest To Kick Off Two-Week Event with "Human Stain," Tribute To Benton
by Wendy Mitchell
The Chicago International Film Festival has announced the line-up for its 2003 event, to be held October 2-16. Opening the festival will be Robert Benton's "The Human Stain," starring Anthony Hopkins as a college professor accused of racism and Nicole Kidman as a troubled young woman who has an affair with him. Benton ("Bonnie and Clyde," "Kramer Vs. Kramer," "Places in the Heart") will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the opening night event. Other honorees during the Chicago fest include Taye Diggs and Robert Downey, Jr.
The festival will close just over two weeks later with Billy Ray's "Shattered Glass," about the rise and fall of disgraced journalist Stephen Glass. That film stars Peter Sarsgaard, Hayden Christensen, Hank Azaria, and Chloe Sevigny.
In between those special presentations, the CIFF will screen more than 90 feature-length films from 40 countries and 46 shorts from 38 countries. Among the films in international competition are Samira Makhmalbaf's "At Five in the Afternoon," Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Distant," Claude Miller's "La Petite Lili," Francois Dupeyron's "Monsieur Ibrahim," Dagur Kari's "Noi Albinoi," and Yoji Yamada's "The Twilight Samurai," among others. Films in the new directors section include Richard Jobson's "16 Years of Alcohol," Benedek Fliegauf's "Forest," Sue Brooks' "Japanese Story," Peter Hedges' "Pieces of April," and Sylvain Chomet's "The Triplets of Belleville."
Chicago's documentary competition will feature 12 films, among them Jonathan Demme's "The Agronomist," Ron Mann's "Go Further," Ulrich Seidl's "Jesus, You Know," and Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." In the world cinema section, highlights will include Franco Zeffirelli's "Callas Forever," Hans-Christian Schmid's "Distant Lights," Samson Chiu's "Golden Chicken," Isabel Coixet's "My Life Without Me," Catherine Breillat's "Sex is Comedy," Tom McCarthy's "The Station Agent," Pieter Kramer's "Yes Nurse! No Nurse!," and Lucian Pintilie's "Niki and Flo."
In addition to the opening and closing films, other special presentations include Jim Sheridan's "In America," Lone Scherfig's "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself," Elia Kazan's "Wild River," Yasujiro Ozu's "I Was Born, But...," and Keith Gordon's "The Singing Detective." Notable shorts set to screen include Wong Kar-Wai's "6 Days," Brad Peyton's "Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl," Seith Mann's "five deep breaths," Ted Gesing's "Nutria," and Agnes Varda's "The Volatile Lion."
[For the full line-up, please visit: http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com.]