Cinema/Chicago News

36 Hours of Festival at Home

Published: October 24, 2020  |  Filed under: Festival News

With only two days to go, we’re here to help you to maximize your viewing experience and strategize so you can make the most of your time before Festival viewing ends this Sunday at 11:59pm CT. With a frigid Saturday and a rainy Sunday in the Chicago forecast, the elements are conspiring to eliminate any outdoor distractions.

Additionally to add to your schedule, we’ve just announced the Ivory Coast’s Night of the Kings, winner of Best Cinematography and Best Sound, will be available for appointment viewing on Sunday, October 25 from 4pm-8pm!

Saturday, October 24

8:45am: Throwback Breakfast

Fill a bowl with your favorite childhood cereal and just the right amount of milk so you have enough to slurp at the end. Pour 4 oz of OJ into a juice glass, or just spike a juice box. Grab a spoon and head to the couch for breakfast in front of the TV. You will be spending the next 36 hours here.

9:00am: Screening: Shorts Program: Daydreams (Family-Friendly Animation)

In the spirit of childhood, start the weekend with your bowl of cereal and a collection of family-friendly animated shorts! Outrageous animals, sentimental memories, and mysterious creatures are featured in this program of animated films. From stop-motion wonders to handdrawn oddities, this collection is hilarious, sentimental, and sweet.



10:50am: Coffee Break

11:00am: Coffee Talk: “Girls on Film: Women in Cinema.”

Swiss director Stefanie Klemm (Of Fish and Men), French filmmaker Suzanne Lindon (Spring Blossom), Spanish director Meritxell Colell, and Argentine filmmaker Lucia Vassallo (Transoceánicas) talk about the conception and process of their female-centered stories.

Noon: Lunch

Whet your appetite for this afternoon’s documentary filmed in the Middle East by stuffing some mashed chickpeas, tomatoes and tahini into a pita for a healthy homemade falafel. Better, support local business by ordering from any number of Chicago-area Syrian and Middle Eastern restaurants including Middle East Bakery and Grill in Andersonville (Grubhub delivers), Sallora & Sam in Bridgeview, and Al Bawadi Grill in Niles.


12:10pm: Screening: Notturno (Dir. Gianfranco Rosi | Italy, France, Germany)

Queue up this lyrical documentary now to flow right into the live-stream award presentation and conversation with director Gianfranco Rosi afterward. This lyrical tour-de-force captures the peoples and places ravaged along the borders between Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon. The film’s beautifully composed vignettes capture the signs of violence and war, all the while celebrating the perseverance of its survivors.

2:00pm: Livestream Presentation: Artistic Achievement Award: Notturno director Gianfranco Rosi in conversation with filmmaker Robert Greene (Bisbee ’17). 

Nominated for an Oscar® for his 2017 documentary Fire at Sea, a compelling and elegiac snapshot of the global refugee crisis that played at the Festival in 2017, Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi has been creating unique works of nonfiction art for more than two decades. The only filmmaker to win top awards at the Venice and Berlin Film Festivals with a documentary, Rosi’s image-making sublimely bridges reality and poetry. From his debut feature Below Sea Level, set in the deserts of California, to his recent masterpiece Notturno, Rosi creates a profoundly political cinema intensified by the lyricism and intimacy of his cinematography. His work brings us closer to those too often forgotten—the people who have been left behind in the wake of the world’s strife. Free and open to the public! RSVP Now

3:30pm: Snack Break: Apples

Do you prefer yours sweet or tart? Choose the apple variety that’s best for you:

3:45pm: Screening: Apples (Mila) (Dir. Christos Nikou | Greece) Silver Hugo for Best  Screenplay

Per the jury: “The screenplay of Apples, delicately constructed and sketched with impressive economy, manages to create a world with its own odd rules, even as the element that breathes life into this world is the fact it so clearly parallels our own experiences and understanding of the world we live in. The main character’s gradual coming into his own, as he navigates between a past and future unknown, is beautifully modulated, gradually blossoming from an anonymous avatar into a fully fleshed out human being.”


How to Saganaki* at Home**

Add olive oil and Greek kasseri cheese (or a firm feta) to a hot cast iron skillet. After the cheese melts, flip it to get a crust on both sides. Remove from heat, pour brandy (or any high-proof liquor) over the cheese, and light with a fireplace lighter.  Opa!

* flaming Greek cheese
**The Chicago International Film Festival is not responsible for any flaming-cheese-related incidents

5:30pm: Dinner and a Movie – What could be better? Before you travel to Japan for your next film, order some Japanese street food from Yoshi’s Cafe or maki rolls (recommend the Mellow Yellow!) from Niu Sushi, two of our Festival favorite restaurants!

7:00pm: Screening: Under the Open Sky (Subarashiki Sekai) (Dir. Miwa Nishikawa | Japan) Silver Hugo – Best Performance for Yakusho Koji

Yakusho Koji skilfully and yet organically brings to his character depth and a true range of emotions that allow us to journey with him as he struggles to gain a certain normal life in an apparently not easily forgiving society, solidly building the whole movie on his strong performance.

9:30pm: Popcorn Break

Snack hack: Allow freshly popped microwave or stovetop popcorn to cool slightly, then pour a box of Raisinets into the popcorn bowl and shake until thoroughly mixed in. Enjoy the delightful surprise of salty or sweet in each mouthful. (Tomorrow, try popcorn with Goobers!)

10:00pm: Late-Night Screening: Sleep (Schlaf) (Dir. Michael Venus | Germany)

This After Dark selection is a perfect end to the night (and a fitting segue into the scary movies of the Halloween season). Plagued by a recurring series of nightmares all set inside the same village hotel, flight attendant Marlene (Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann) goes hunting for answers, only to wind up hospitalized, paralyzed from trauma. Fearing for her mother’s well-being, Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) checks into a hotel near the hospital, the very one haunting Marlene’s nightmares. Despite the friendly overtures of the caretaker and his wife, Mona, the sole guest during the off-season, finds herself trapped in a web of unsettling visions of the past that threaten to claim her own sanity. First-time filmmaker Michael Venus channels Grimms’ Fairy Tales by way of David Lynch to fashion a chilling debut where dreams and reality collide.

Sunday, October 25

10:00am: BreakfastSylwia’s Power Shake à la Sweat

Drop a peeled banana, a bit of milk (Sylwia uses almond milk), and a scoop of whey protein (Sylwia likes hazelnut) into a blender and pulse until smooth. Sip through a paper or reusable straw (never plastic). Dzień dobry!!

10:10am: Screening: Sweat (Dir. Magnus von Horn | Poland, Sweden), Gold Hugo for Best International Feature

Since you’re not starting your day at the gym, feel good about yourself by kicking off today’s movie marathon with an emphasis on wellness. Energetic Warsaw Instagram influencer Sylwia has plenty of tips for healthy living and ends with a motivating morning workout routine


Lunch: Order a delicious arepa from Bien Me Sabe in Ravenswood or order some to pickup from Sweet Pepper in Lincoln Square and transport yourself to Venezuela for The Special.

12:30pm: Screening: The Special (Especial) (Dir. Ignacio Márquez | Venezuela, U.S.) Silver Hugo winner for New Directors

Kick off the afternoon with an inspiring drama from Venezuela. The jury writes: “Because of its highly atmospheric and multisensory cinematic universe, immersing us in the world on the quest for understanding the development of a unique relationship between a father and a son, this coming of age movie not only deals with confidence and a sense of humor the difficult issues of disability, trauma, and acceptance, but also has a soundscape filled with brilliant Latin Jazz tracks that sets a tone of masterful performances.


2:15pm: Music Break

Click on the Spotifiy playlist of renowned Venezuelan jazzman and salsa artist Alfredo Naranjo, who composed the score for and appears in The Special. Listen to the new  single he released for the movie. 








2:30pm:  Screening: Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre) (Dir. Lili Horvát | Hungary) Gold Hugo winner for New Directors

The Jury recommends Lili Horvát’s second feature:

  • For its captivating and engaging love story that immerses us into the minds of two neurosurgeons and its dissection of the thin lines between romantic feelings, obsession, and madness.
  • For its heartfelt portrait of a woman, carried out by a fascinating actress, and her attempt to find her place in a city that she had left, a chauvinistic hospital that needs her, and a man she’s not able to read. 
  • For its deep colors, exquisite framings, and timeless look that are enhanced by the use of 35mm film.  


4:00pm: Screening: Things We Dare Not Do (Cosas que no hacemos) (Dir. Bruno Santamaría | Mexico) Gold Hugo for Best Documentary and Gold Q-Hugo

The afternoon’s theme is young people coming of age. Here’s what the Documentary jury has to say: “What begins as a free-floating portrait of youth in a village on the Pacific coast of Mexico grows into a compassionate story of queer adolescence, as Things We Dare Not Do brings us into the life of a 16-year-old who wishes to dress as a woman. Her bravery inspires Santamaría’s intrepid yet tender camerawork, which sheds warm light on everyday life in a close-knit, complex, and sometimes violent community. Focusing on small stories in a specific place, this film imparts a deep sense of what it means to grow up in Mexico – and everywhere.”






5:30pm: Dinner: Things We Dare Not Do left us craving the flavors of Mexico. Order in a special dinner from Michelin-starred chef Chef Carlos Gaytan’s Tzuco.

6:15pm: Screening: Night of the Kings (La nuit des rois) (Dir. Philippe Lacôte | Côte d’Ivoire, France, Canada, Senegal) Best Cinematography and Best Sound

Night of the Kings

A highlight of this year’s Black Perspectives programming is back and available to view today only between 4pm-8pm! The jury lauds: “By contrasting the flickering ochre light of oil lamps inside a dark prison with the brightness of its sun-scorched exteriors, the cinematography contributes greatly to creating a vividly drawn world in which fact and fiction might seem opposed but gradually seep into one another as the act of telling of a story becomes even more transfixing than the story itself. The particularly rich sound work lends the film an almost Shakespearean grandeur, extending the factual and fictional worlds of the movie far beyond what’s visible on screen at any one time.”

8:30pm: Screening: The Columnist (De Kuthoere) (Dir. Ivo van Aart | The Netherlands) 

End your 36 hours binge with the satisfying, bloody, and hilarious revenge tale that’s been a hit of the Festival. Bye, trolls!





Final Screening: Shorts: Best of the Fest (Dir. Various)

Already seen some of the scheduled films? Looking for one last screening squeeze in somewhere? Check out our Best of the Fest Short Film program that gathers the six Hugo Award-winning short films that have been selected by our juries as the best of the 56th Chicago International Film Festival.




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