As the 34th Chicago International Film Festival moves into its second week, my favorite new movie among the selections this year, Manoel de Oliveira’s Anxiety, has come and gone, but a lot of other worthy fare is playing. An especially welcome last-minute addition, though I haven’t seen it, is Theo Angelopoulos’s Eternity and a Day, winner of the top prize at Cannes this year.
My major recommendations day by day this week begin with Monte Hellman and Rudolph Wurlitzer’s 1971 Two-Lane Blacktop, probably the most underrated road movie of the 70s, playing Friday at 7:00 at the Music Box along with a short film about Hellman by George Hickenlooper, and Ko I-cheng’s Taiwanese feature Blue Moon–a film designed to be shown each time with the reels in a different order–showing at the same location at 9:30. If interactive cinema isn’t your thing, you might want to check out Stefan Rozowitzky’s Austrian rural parable, The Inheritors, playing at the other Music Box screen at 9:30, about the efforts of Alpine farmhands to collectively run the farm they inherit shortly after World War I.
For Saturday I strongly recommend the talented Tsai Ming-liang’s apocalyptic musical of Taiwanese alienation, The Hole, at 600 N. Michigan at 4:45, and you might want to stick around for another Taiwanese film at the same location at 6:30, Lin Cheng-sheng’s Sweet Degeneration, which I haven’t seen but which comes highly recommended. My Sunday tips include Nanni Moretti’s Aprile at 600 N. Michigan at 2:30 and the repeats of Blue Moon, at the Music Box at 3:15 and 7:15; The Inheritors, at 600 N. Michigan at 6:45; and Sweet Degeneration, at 600 N. Michigan at 9:00.
On Monday is a repeat of The Hole (600 N. Michigan, 8:45), and on Tuesday a repeat of Aprile (Music Box, 6:45). My Wednesday pick is Ingmar Bergman’s In the Presence of a Clown, playing at the Music Box at 6:30 and 9:00, and on Thursday I’d opt for one of the “best of the festival” screenings or, if you’d like to see a pretty good Brazilian road movie, Walter Salles’s Central Station, surfacing at the Music Box at 8:30.
These recommendations are limited mainly to the relatively few films showing this week that I’ve seen. If you’d rather “see for yourself,” as the festival puts it, you might want to check out the reviews and capsule descriptions below before making a decision.
Screenings are at 600 N. Michigan; the Music Box, 3733 N. Southport; and the Chatham 14, 210 W. 87th Street. Single-ticket prices are $3 for weekday matinees (before 5 PM); $4 for weekend matinees (before 2 PM); $8.50 for weeknights (Monday-Thursday 5 PM or later), $7 for Cinema/Chicago members; $9.50 on Friday nights (5 PM or later), $8 for Cinema/Chicago members; $9.50 for Saturdays and Sundays 2 PM or later, $8 for Cinema/Chicago members. Passes–good for everything but closing-night and special presentations, and good for up to two tickets per screening–are available for $45 (six tickets, seven for Cinema/Chicago members), $90 (16 tickets, 18 for Cinema/Chicago members), and you can spend even more for 50 tickets ($275, or $250 if you’re a Cinema/Chicago member). Tickets can be purchased at the festival store at 600 N. Michigan or at the theater box office at the time of the screening; they can also be ordered by mail (32 W. Randolph, suite 600, Chicago 60601), by fax (312-425-0944), by phone (312-332-3456 or 312- 977-1755), or at Ticketmaster (806 N. Michigan). For further information call 312-332-3456; you can also check for updates at www.chicago.ddbn.com/film/fest.