Cinema/Chicago News

Celebrate Black History Month with Black Perspectives Films

Published: February 1, 2023  |  Filed under: Festival News

In celebration of Black History Month, the Chicago International Film Festival is proud to spotlight a selection of films now available from our Black Perspectives program which highlights the richness and diversity of African American and Black stories. Included in these is our upcoming free screening of Festival award winner Saint Omer in partnership with Alliance Francaise on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30pm. This screening will feature a talk back with film critic Nick Davis. RSVP now and see our other selections below!


Director: Alice Diop
Winner: Silver Hugo for Best Screenplay, International Competition, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

In this profound character study, a novelist observes the trial of a Senegalese woman accused of infanticide—a crime she admits to having committing yet maintains her innocence.

Screening Details:
Playing at the Alliance Francaise on March 8, presented by the Chicago International Film Festival. RSVP now!


Directors: Erika Alexander & Whitney Dow
Black Perspectives, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

In 2021, Evanston, Illinois became the first city in the United States to approve a reparations program for some of its Black residents. How did it get there? Captivating and urgent, The Big Payback follows the dramatic journey of rookie Alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she fights to redress the wrongs of “redlining” and the legacy of slavery. Filmmakers Erika Alexander (John Lewis: Good Trouble) and Whitney Dow (Two Towns of Jaspar) chart Simmons’ emotional and political path from the onset of the pandemic through the racial protests of 2020, as she faces detractors who criticize her legislation for doing too little and supporters who herald the bill as an important first step into the future. An inspiring story of the early signals of seismic change, one citizen and then one city at a time.

Screening Details:
Screening February 21 at University of Chicago and streaming through WTTW.


Director: Mo McRae
Black Perspectives, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

Fiercely committed performances drive this satirical hothouse thriller about a successful Black couple driven to take action after learning that their neighbor, a while policeman, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed youth.

Screening Details:
Now playing in select theaters and on VOD.


Director: J.D. Dillard
Black Perspectives/Special Presentation, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

Devotion, an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the harrowing true story of Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell), two elite U.S. Navy fighter pilots during the Korean War. Their heroic sacrifices would ultimately make them the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen.

Screening Details:
Now streaming on Paramount+.


Director: Elegance Bratton
International Competition/Black Perspectives, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

After a young, gay Black man joins the Marines, he battles prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, while also finding unexpected strength, camaraderie and a welcome sense of identity from his new community.

Screening Details:
Now available on VOD.


Director: Josh Alexander
Black Perspectives, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

An in-depth look at controversial civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton detailing the roots of his political engagement and his evolution into a media-savvy crusader.

Screening Details:
Now available on VOD.


Director: Nikyatu Jusu
Spotlight, Black Perspectives, 58th Chicago International Film Festival

In a stunning performance, Festival Rising Star Award recipient Anna Diop plays a Senegalese nanny increasingly haunted by the absence of the young son she left behind.

Screening Details:
Now available on Amazon Prime Video.

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