Cinema/Chicago News

Architecture-Themed Films in 2nd Partnership with Chicago Architecture Biennial

Festival Passes On Sale Now!
Individual tickets go on sale to Members on Wednesday, September 20 and to the general public on Friday, September 22.

The Chicago International Film Festival announced the films and programs selected for its Spotlight: Architecture program, including three world premieres. In conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), the Spotlight: Architecture program will also present free public programming at various partner institutions in Chicago throughout the Biennial (September – December 2017). This marks the second collaboration between the Festival and CAB.

This year’s Spotlight program at the Festival features a striking array of films from around the world that feature remarkable representations of architecture. From portraits of famous architects (Bjarke Ingels, Glenn Murcutt, Mies van der Rohe) to stories about the clash between built environments and communities (The Experimental City, Favela Olímpica, Offenders), the Festival’s second biennial Spotlight: Architecture program continues the Festival’s tradition of curating engaging films that address architectural innovators and issues.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering again with the Chicago Architecture Biennial to present film and film-related programs both within the context of the Festival and throughout the Biennial. These international films echo CAB’s theme Make New History in the ways in which they explore the people–be they architects, scientists or citizens, who dare to think not about what is but what could be, and the buildings or environments they create,” says Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “We’re also very happy to be partnering with a number of cultural institutions, from the Chicago History Museum and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture to the Chicago Film Archive to present a variety of free public programs.”

“We’re excited to have discovered films not just about some of the world’s most celebrated architects, but those that examine the complex social aspects of public space,” says Chicago International Film Festival programmer Anthony Kaufman. “And we even have a surprising thriller from Serbia, in which Belgrade looks nothing like you’d imagine it.”

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival is October 12-26. Screenings take place at the AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois). The complete lineup and schedule will be announced September 18. Individual tickets go on sale to Cinema/Chicago members on Wednesday, September 20 and to the general public on Friday, September 22. Festival passes are now available by calling 312-332-FILM (3456), online, at the Festival Box Office at AMC River East (322 E. Illinois Street), and at the Festival Pop-Up Box Office (400 S. Dearborn).

Additional support for the Spotlight: Architecture program is provided by the Jeanne Randall Malkin Family Foundation and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Films in the Spotlight: Architecture program include:

BIG Time – Dir. Kaspar Astrup Schröder, Denmark (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Maverick Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has spent his career defying conventions. With projects including the remarkable built community 8 House (featured in The Infinite Happiness, 2015 Chicago International Film Festival) and a power plant in Copenhagen that blows steam rings and includes its own ski slope, Ingels’ design firm, BIG, is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies. This sprightly documentary follows Ingles as he sets out to create a project in Manhattan that will forever change the city’s iconic skyline. English, Danish with subtitles. 90 min.

The Experimental City – Dir. Chad Freidrichs, U.S. (WORLD PREMIERE)
From the acclaimed director of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth comes the fascinating true story of the MXC (Minnesota Experimental City). In the 1960s, a visionary American scientist and a team of experts set out to develop a domed metropolis that would eradicate the waste of urban living. But the planned community encountered resistance when local citizens and environmentalists rose up in protest, doubtful of the project’s utopian promise. With intelligence and wit, Freidrichs chronicles the clash between scientific progress and American values. 95 min. Also screening in Documentary Competition program.

Favela Olímpica – Dir. Samuel Chalard, Switzerland (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
In the spring of 2016, the government of Rio attempts to displace the marginalized community of Vila Autódromo to make way for the city’s modern Olympic facilities. Architects proudly display their innovative new building designs, focusing on reusability and sustainability, but at what cost? Favela Olímpica, chronicling the struggles of a group of strong-willed residents who fought back to preserve their living spaces, presents an urgent look at gentrification and displacement on a mass scale. Portuguese with subtitles. 93 min.

Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place – Dir. Catherine Hunter, Australia
Glenn Murcutt, the Pritzker Prize-winning Australian architect, sets out to create his first public commission, a Mosque for the Muslims of Newport, Melbourne. Offering a detailed account of Murcutt’s seminal career, the film also follows the development of the new project’s unique design (a strikingly contemporary structure without minarets or domes), its funding shortfalls, and the community who, at once skeptical, comes out in support of the building with their own donations. 57 min.

The Neue Nationalgalerie (Die Neue Nationalgalerie) – Dir. Ina Weisse, Germany (WORLD PREMIERE)
Filmed in stunning black-and-white, this documentary chronicles the history and renovation of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, the last building designed by Mies van der Rohe, the architecture pioneer famous for his modernist Chicago towers. With fascinating insights into the original construction and intimate archival interviews with van der Rohe himself, the film skillfully connects Berlin’s post-WWII reconstruction project to the museum’s more recent modernization. English, German with subtitles. 49 min.

Offenders (Izgrednici) – Dir. Dejan Zecevic, Serbia (WORLD PREMIERE)
Guided by their maverick sociology professor, three students set up separate experiments around the city to prove his “Tetris” theory of chaos: that human nature inevitably deteriorates from order to anarchy. With highly stylized black-and-white cinematography, capturing the sharp angular lines of Soviet architecture
(and decrepitude), and a pulsating electronic score, this Serbian Pi is a hypnotizing journey into the dark souls and spaces of modern Belgrade. Serbian with subtitles. 107 min.

In addition to six feature-length documentary and fiction Architecture films, the Festival will also present a program of short film selections on Saturday, October 21. Showcased in Shorts 8 – These Walls Talk, these films explore the ways in which architecture and the built environment influence our lives.

Free Public Programming with the Chicago Architecture Biennial: These programs take place at various partner institutions, featuring both screenings and discussions. Learn about information and updates online.

Jens Jensen: The Living Green, dir. Carey Lundin; Documentary; US 2013
A portrait of the Danish-born landscape architect.
Oct. 5, 6pm, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

The Architecture of Noir
Not defined strictly by genre conventions, film noir is articulated through an evocative visual style. A panel of filmmakers and experts will discuss the shape and meaning of noir design.
Oct. 17, 4-5pm, AMC River East 21, Theater 21

Future Cities: A Conversation with Chad Friedrichs
The acclaimed director of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth discusses his new documentary The Experimental City, the fascinating true tale of the MXC (the Minnesota Experimental City).
Oct. 18, 6:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center

Moriyama San, dirs. Louise Lemoine, Ila Becka; Documentary; France 2017
Mr. Moriyama, a devotee of art and music, lives in one of the most famous examples of contemporary Japanese architecture, built in Tokyo by Ryue Nishizawa.
Nov. 1, 6:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center

From the Archives: A City of Neighborhoods
This program of films from the Chicago Film Archives reveals the rich history and diversity of the city’s communities and spaces in the 1960s.
Nov. 5, 2-4pm, Chicago History Museum

Columbus, dir. Kogonada; U.S.; Fiction 2017
Set against the Indiana city’s modernist buildings, this visually stunning film follows a budding relationship between an architecture’s son and an architecture enthusiast.
Nov. 8, 6:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center

The Neue Nationalgalerie, dir. Ina Weisse; Germany; Documentary 2017
A beautiful look at the renovation of the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Nov. 30, 6:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center

My Neighborhood: Pilsen; Documentary; U.S. 2017
This locally produced PBS documentary explores the intricacies and voices that make up Pilsen’s rich tapestry.

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