Cinema/Chicago News

Take 2: ChiFilmFest Selections to Stream in January 2021

Published: January 7, 2021  |  Filed under: Festival News

One Night in Miami is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning January 15.

Welcome to TAKE 2, our monthly feature where we highlight recent Chicago International Film Festival selections that are now playing in theaters or on streaming platforms in case you missed them at the Festival! Take a look below for the best of #ChiFilmFest to watch this month, and enjoy a Festival livestream Q&A after the film featuring the filmmakers.

The Reason I Jump

Dir. Jerry Rothwell
Documentary, 56th Chicago International Film Festival

Based on the groundbreaking memoir by 13-year-old author Naoki Higashida, this fascinating documentary uses an immersive, impressionistic approach to chronicle the rich inner lives of non-speaking autistic people from India, Britain, the U.S., and Sierra Leone. Filmmaker Jerry Rothwell draws empathic portraits of his subjects and their families, and then, in a visually sumptuous artistic flourish, he interweaves their experiences with images of a young Japanese boy playing on a stormy coast. All the while, narrated passages from Naoki’s book describe the way in which he perceives the world around him. The critical message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

Streaming Details:
Available through the Music Box Theatre Virtual Cinema beginning January 8.

Livestream Q&A with director Jerry Rothwell and subjects Bertra & Ben McGann and Donna & Emma Budway:

One Night in Miami

Dir. Regina King
Special Presentation/Black Perspectives, 56th Chicago International Film Festival

On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gather to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), defeats heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Based on the award-winning play of the same name, One Night in Miami is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. It looks at the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. More than 40 years later, their conversations on racial injustice, religion, and personal responsibility still resonate.

Streaming Details:
Available on Amazon Prime Video beginning January 15.

Livestream Q&A with writer Kemp Powers moderated by Black Perspectives Committee Co-Chair Regina Taylor:


Dir. Sam Pollard
Documentary Competition/Black Perspectives, 56th Chicago International Film Festival

It should come as no surprise that the FBI mounted a relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but this astonishing documentary reveals both the shocking details of the operation and the complexity of the iconic man in its crosshairs. Using newly declassified files, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard (Chicago International Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest” director of Two Trains Runnin’ and Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me) brilliantly weaves together revelatory restored archival footage, Hollywood movie clips, and interviews with key cultural figures to tell an astonishing and chilling story about power, racism, and the dark side of the U.S. government.

Streaming Details:
Available in select theaters and on VOD beginning January 15.

Livestream Q&A with director Sam Pollard:

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Dir. Lili Horvát
Winner – Gold Hugo in New Directors Competition, 56th Chicago International Film Festival

To what lengths would you go in pursuit of true love? After building a successful career in the U.S., gifted neurosurgeon Márta impulsively returns home to Hungary, in pursuit of the man of her dreams. The two had a brief, impassioned affair at a medical conference, but when she finds and confronts him in Budapest, he claims that they’ve never met. Undaunted, she begins to establish a new life, working at the local hospital, renting a shabby apartment—and tracking her beloved’s movements online and in the real world. But then she begins to doubt her perception of reality. Is he spinning an elaborate deception or has her obsession trapped her in a world of illusions?

Streaming Details:
Available through the Music Box Theatre beginning January 29.

Livestream Q&A with director Lili Horvát:


Dir. Gianfranco Rosi
Documentary, 56th Chicago International Film Festival

From the Oscar-nominated director of Fire at Sea, this lyrical tour-de-force captures the peoples and places ravaged along the borders between Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Lebanon. The mournful dirges of mothers, plaintive patients enacting a play in a psychiatric hospital, the grace of female Peshmerga warriors, a lone boatman navigating waters against the backdrop of the blood-red dawn—the film’s beautifully composed vignettes capture the signs of violence and war, all the while celebrating the perseverance of its survivors. Notturno is both a vivid snapshot of the Middle East and humanity as it struggles to come out of the darkness.

Streaming Details:
Available in virtual cinemas beginning January 22 and on VOD January 29.

Tribute to Gianfranco Rosi, in conversastion with fellow documentarian Robert Greene:

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