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Banner: the 57th Chicago International Film Festival Film on Film

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes  |   United Kingdom, United States
Film on Film, Historical, Social Commentary

Set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, Empire of Light is a powerful and poignant story about human connection and the magic of cinema from Academy Award®-winning director Sam Mendes.


Leonor Will Never Die (Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago)

Martika Ramirez Escobar  |   Philippines
Action, Comedy, Film on Film

When an aging action screenwriter is knocked into a coma by a falling television, she becomes trapped in one of her unfinished scripts and must find a way to complete the story while still unconscious.


The March on Rome (Marcia su Roma)

Mark Cousins  |   Italy
English, Italian  
Film on Film, Historical, Political

For his latest masterful inquiry into the power of the moving image, director Mark Cousins ventures into Italy’s film archives to expose the machinations and faulty foundations of fascism through his dissection of an infamous 1923 propaganda film.


No Bears (Khers Nist)

Jafar Panahi  |   Iran
Azeri, Farsi, Turkish  
Drama, Film on Film, Political

Playing a fictionalized version of himself, director Jafar Panahi, barred from leaving Iran, remotely supervises a film shoot in this meta-textual reflection on freedom, oppression, and cinema itself.


The Novelist’s Film (So-seol-ga-ui yeong-hwa)

Hong Sangsoo  |   South Korea
Drama, Film on Film

A famous writer is inspired to make a film after a chance encounter with a director who tried and failed to adapt one of her novels in this wistful meditation on the creative process.



Chris Smith  |   United States
Family Affairs, Film on Film, Social Commentary

In this tender yet fittingly irreverent portrait of iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr.), documentarian Chris Smith, together with the subject’s movie-star son, conspire to tell the story of a fearless American director.