By April, it can be harder and harder to justify time spent in a movie theater. The days are finally getting longer and Spring is in full swing. In true Chicago fashion, however, the temps for April are looking bleak, meaning you can dive into the festivals, retrospectives and new movies happening this month guilt-free. You gotta stay warm, right?
DOC10 – Just a few years in and DOC10 is already a must-hit stop on the festival circuit for the year’s best documentaries. The brainchild of Chicago Media Project and head programmer Anthony Kaufman, the festival excels because of its laser focus: just ten documentaries screen over a long weekend at Lincoln Square’s The Davis Theater. You get one shot to catch each movie; miss it and you’ll have to wait until they come back around for a theatrical opening, if ever. (So, you know…don’t miss it!) This year’s crop includes Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (aka the Mr. Rogers doc) on Opening Night; a Saturday night with Ruth Bader Ginsberg in RBG; the Chicago premiere of Sundance official selection (and Kartemquin production) Minding the Gap; and The King as closing night, about filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s road trip in Elvis’s 1963 Rolls Royce. Tickets are a bit steep, so corral some friends or plan a date night for the best deals. Learn more here.
Chicago Latino Film Festival – The festivals continue in early April with the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival, happening at AMC River East 21. Films from every corner of the Latinx experience, from a variety of countries to a diversity of styles and subject matters, find their way to Chicago for this nearly three-week affair. We’ll have an in-depth preview of the whole festival in separate coverage, but suffice it to say CLFF continues its track record of featuring the best in both established and emerging Latinx filmmaking. Parties, panels, special guests and more happen alongside the screenings, so make an adventure of it and take in more than just a movie when you check out CLFF this month. Learn more here.
Elia Kazan Retrospective at Doc Films – Technically speaking, the Kazan retrospective happening at Doc Films in April actually runs into May, too. So for the purists out there, mark off your Wednesdays for the foreseeable future. But if you can only swing a few, plan to catch what’s screening in April as the University of Chicago-based cinema society features a few of his best films. On April 11, it’s A Streetcar Named Desire; on April 18, it’s On the Waterfront; on April 25, it’s East of Eden. What’s more, all three of these classics screen from 35mm prints, where many of the others in the retrospective are slated for DCP. Tickets to Doc Films screenings are often snagged up by students, so plan to arrive early if you want in on the action. Learn more here.
Movie Club @ Siskel Film Center – Each month, the fine folks at Siskel Film Center pick one film to feature in their Movie Club, where ticket holders participate in a moderated post-film discussion and even get a complimentary cocktail for their time. This month, the powers that be have selected Faces Places, or The Documentary That Got Robbed at the Oscars. French New Wave icon Agnes Varda teams up with visual artist JR for a jaunt around the French countryside in this life-affirming, humanity-sharing, warm-and-fuzzy-feeling tribute to the universal nature of our existence. It’s funny and touching and deep and whimsical, all at the same time. If you haven’t seen it yet—or even if you have!—checking it out with Movie Club, where the post-film discussion will be led by Cine-File’s Kat Sachs, is a great way to do it. Learn more here.
An Evening with Errol Morris – Chicago Humanities Festival presents not a screening at all but a conversation with one of the most…prolific? divisive? storied?…documentarians of our time, Errol Morris. Never one to shy away from controversy, his films include The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War, movies that challenged the very nature of a documentary and put new focus on the investigative powers of film. This event appears to be a stop on a book tour for Morris, who’s got a new one coming out, but does that really matter? The conversation is sure to be lively, making future viewings of his films that much more interesting for anyone who attends. Learn more here.
Avengers: Infinity War – We’re quickly approaching Summer Blockbuster Movie Season, which means there’s a whole bunch of superheroes in our future. Start the festivities early with the late-April opening of Avengers: Infinity War, where pretty much every Marvel character we’ve met in recent cinematic history converges in one massive storyline for an epic event even this massive franchise hasn’t dared undertake to date. Marvel is pulling out all the stops for this one, and if you’re a fan of this particular cinematic universe, chances are you’ve had this one on your radar for ages. For the rest of us, it looks to be a big ol’ fun times at the movies, and what more can you ask for than that?