Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres at Siskel Film Center

The Gene Siskel Film Center is offering Stranger Than Fiction, a showcase of documentary premieres, both serious and quirky, through Feb. 3. The series of 10 films includes the story of a major record store, a road film about Wisconsin supper clubs, and a rant on income inequality by comedian/activist Russell Brand. Filmmakers will appear in person at some of the screenings.

Here are highlights of the docs to be premiered in the next four weeks. See the Siskel calendar for times and dates.

Archie’s Betty by Gerald Peary is about a film critic who searches for the real-life models of his comic-book heroes and heroines.

Orion, the Man Who Would Be King, is the tragic story of an Alabama lounge singer who was blessed or cursed by a voice that sounded uncannily like Elvis Presley’s. By UK director Jeanie Finlay.

Old-Fashioned, the Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club, takes us on a visit to the vacation-region supper clubs that featured kitsch décor and relish trays. A nostalgic road movie by Chicago filmmaker Holly De Ruyter

The Babushkas of Chernobyl by Chicago director Holly Morris, tells the story of the grandmothers who refuse to move from the radiation-poisoned zone in the Ukraine.

The Emperor’s New Clothes, directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Trip, 24 Hour Party People) with Russell Brand, is the stand-up activist’s stinging critique of the financial crisis and its impact on people.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, by Colin Hanks, is a tragic story for music collectors: the history of the behemoth record store set against the backdrop of the revolution in the music industry.

The Gene Siskel Film Center is at 164 N. State St. Tickets are $11 general admission, $7 for students with IDs, and $6 for members. For more information, call the hotline at 312-846-2800.




Nancy S Bishop
Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.