Nick-Davis.com: Chicago International Film Festival
Chicago Festivals by Year:
Prizes, Juries, and Favorites
Browse Films by
|Chicago Film Festival 2018
Main Competition Jury: Pablo Berger, Diego Lerman, Asli Özge, Andrea Pallaoro, Regina Taylor
Click here for my full overview of this year's Chicago Film Festival at Film Comment Magazine.
|Gold Hugo of the Festival:||Happy as Lazzaro, Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher|
|Silver Hugo:||Joy, Austria, dir. Sudabeh Mortezai|
|Best Director:||Ash Is Purest White, Jia Zhangke|
|Best Actress:||Ash Is Purest White, Zhao Tao|
|Best Actor:||Before the Frost, Jesper Christensen|
|Best Screenplay:||At War, Stéphane Brizé and Olivier Gorce|
|Best Cinematography:||Birds of Passage, David Gallego|
|Best Art Direction:||Birds of Passage, Angélica Parea|
DocuFest Gold Hugo*:
[Censored], Australia, dir. Sari Braithwaite
|Docufest Silver Hugo*:||Ex-Shaman, Brazil, dir. Luiz Bolognesi|
The Raft, Sweden, dir. Marcus Lindeen
New Directors Gold Hugo*:
The Third Wife, Vietnam, dir. Ash Mayfair
|New Directors Silver Hugo*:||The Mercy of the Jungle, Belgium/France/Rwanda, dir. Joël Karekezi|
Q Hugo Award*:
Retablo, Peru/Germany/Norway, dir. Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
|Q Hugo Silver Hugo*:||Rafiki, Kenya, dir. Wanuri Kahiu|
|Q Hugo Special Mention*:||Hard Paint, Brazil, dirs. Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon|
Beautiful Boy, Felix van Groeningen
|Roger Ebert Award:||Little Tickles, France, dirs, Andréa Bescond, Eric Métayer|
|Audience Choice Award (Narrative)**:|| |
The Hate U Give, dir. George Tillman, Jr.
|Audience Choice Award (International)**:|| |
Becoming Astrid, dir. Pernille Fischer Christensen
|Audience Choice Award (DocuFest)**:||United Skates, dirs. Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown|
* These awards are determined by separately constituted juries
|** Voted by the public, and announced later than the other awards|
Features I Saw at CIFF:
Ranked in order of preference
My Vote for the Gold Hugo
Happy as Lazzaro (International Competition; Italy, dir. Alice Rohrwacher) -
A kinder, gentler Time of the Wolf. Sounds like a paradox? Well, Rohrwacher sees things that you and I don't see.
ROMA (Gala Presentations; Mexico, dir. Alfonso Cuarón) -
Cuarón's a prodigy of world-building. Strains a bit more at characterization. All holds true in this textured memory-play.
Shoplifters (Masters; Japan, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda) -
Films are like familieseach scene, each member stands delicately, distinctively apart, yet they're all tightly bound.
Shorts 3: Bad Don't Sleep After Dark (Shorts; US/Greece/Canada/France, dirs. Miscellaneous) -
Amazingly high quality! La Chute, Icebergs, Milk, Hair Wolf are all peaks. Rangy angles on fear and anxiety.
Joy (International Competition; Austria, dir. Sudabeh Mortezai) -
With strong images and agile play with structure, shows personal and systemic sides of overlooked yet all-too-common dilemmas.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. Marielle Heller) -
So layered! Tonally adroit. Perfectly acted. Historically specific. Love of words as dangerous siren.
Ash Is Purest White (International Competition; China, dir. Jia Zhangke) -
I dug the knotting-together of personal and national melodrama, even amid blunter moments. Zhao is remarkable.
Jumpman (International Competition; Russia, dir. Ivan I. Tverdovskiy) -
Premise is so gutsy and edge-of-the-seat intense, it barely hurts the film that it doesn't push the story further forward.
At War (International Competition; France, dir. Stéphane Brizé) -
Labor drama with deft character study. Lindon gives an oppositely but equally powerful performance to his last for Brizé.
The Hate U Give (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. George Tillman, Jr.) -
Bold, admirably relentless commitment to ideas and worldviews it makes accessible to a wide audience. Go see it!
Vox Lux (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. Brady Corbet) -
Artpop². Unafraid. Tries to think historically about an era that repudiates historywithout making pop something it's not.
The Favourite (Gala Presentations; Ireland/UK/USA, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) -
Bold tone and craft, dumb lenses aside. I vacillated on the story's merits. Colman is amazing, diving ever-deeper.
Border (International Competition; Sweden, dir. Ali Abbasi) -
I'm surprised at my own enthusiasm? It's a textbook case of committing to the bizarro story you're telling. I was so moved!
Birds of Passage (International Competition; Colombia/Mexico/Denmark/France, dirs. Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra) -
A bold gangster drama, unique in many aspects, yet disconcertingly loyal to tropes you might expect it to contest.
Cold War (Masters; Poland/France, dir. Paweł Pawlikowski) -
About art and money, East and West, earnest love and performative gamesmanship. It's chic but I didn't care all that much.
Widows (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. Steve McQueen) -
Propulsive Chicago crime thriller; action climax goes off like an IED. Unevenly completes its passes at social critique.
Buy Me a Gun (World Cinema; Mexico/Colombia, dir. Julio Hernández Cordón) -
Less Huck Finn, more Beasts of the Dystopian Wild. Collapsed world viewed inductively from defiantly odd perspectives.
Sorry Angel (World Cinema; France, dir. Christophe Honoré) -
Honoré on another roundelay of connections, disruptions, shifting orientations. Deepens and solidifies as it continues.
Hard Paint (World Cinema; Brazil, dirs. Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon) -
Study of depression, personal or urban, and a web-era allegory where desires and personal brands are sources of anxiety.
Sauvage (World Cinema; France, dir. Camille Vidal-Naquet) -
Despite ultimately limited insights, offers a tactile, textured survey of a rough milieu, staged and acted with conviction.
Srbenka (Documentary Competition; Croatia, dir. Nebojša Slijepčević) -
Not the first bold movie, pressing on raw nerves, of which you can't help imagining an even bolder, more trenchant version.
As I Lay Dying (New Directors Competition; Iran, dir. Mostafa Sayyari) -
Carries Faulkner's legacy into unusual terrain, even/especially by Iran's standards. Style less distinct than story.
My Home, in Libya (Documentary Competition; Italy, dir. Martina Melilli) -
On-screen text and other tricks feel rote at first but the encounter between Martina and Mahmoud keeps deepening.
The Shadow Line: Alberto García-Alix (Documentary; Spain, dir. Nicolás Combarro) -
Interesting fusion of subject and maker's aesthetics. Neat study of photos both taken and not.
Boy Erased (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. Joel Edgerton) -
Not a mold-breaker aesthetically, but a moving story with a deep acting bench. Ends on rare mix of anger and compassion.
Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland (Documentary; USA, dirs. Kate Davis, David Heilbroner) -
Doesn't always exhibit perfect structure or story sense but trusts its own power.
Transit (International Competition; Germany/France, dir. Christian Petzold) -
Experiments with deadpan surrealism, historical dislocation start strong but peter out. I've grown impatient with Petzold.
Rafiki (World Cinema; Kenya, dir. Wanuri Kahiu) -
Still hard not to feel the first half sets up a more complex story than the second half delivers. But plenty to recommend.
What They Had (Gala Presentations; USA, dir. Elizabeth Chomko) -
Camera feels flat and sound is worse, but the actors keep finding truths about this family, and families in general.
This Changes Everything (Documentary; USA, dir. Tom Donahue) -
Formally modest doc about fighting sexist working norms in Hollywood hits a lot of its rhetorical targets.
Beautiful Boy (Opening Night; USA, dir. Felix van Groeningen) -
Has some tough ideas for conveying addiction but directorial missteps increasingly unravel them. Actors look unsure.
Mario (World Cinema; Switzerland, dir. Marcel Gisler) -
Liebe, Simon. It's fine, with a smart final shot, but if soccer's all risk and intricate maneuvers, why shouldn't cinema be?
[Censored] (Documentary Competition; Australia, dir. Sari Braithwaite) -
Strenuously claims to bring some critical or ethical frames to a fund of lurid footage that it mostly just recirculates.