Screens Monthly: August 2018

Finally August. Summer is winding down and we’re one month closer to the best time of year: Fall Movie Season. As we await the awards bait and end-of-year blockbusters, there’s plenty still to see in Chicago, from one of the best documentaries of the year made right here in our neck of the woods to a chance to meet an acclaimed filmmaker one-on-one.

The Captain
The Captain. Image courtesy of Music Box Films

August 3

75 Minutes with Robert Schwentke – Best known for directing the shoot-’em-up action flick Red and a couple of the Divergent films, Robert Schwentke is a director with ambitions that go beyond directing big-budget Hollywood adaptations. He returns to his German roots this month with The Captain, opening Friday, August 3 at the Music Box Theater. He’s in town for the occasion, and joining the fine folks at IFP Chicago for a conversation with cinefiles and filmmakers alike. The event happens at 3p on Friday, meaning you’ll have to play hooky to get there in time; if you play your cards right, you can follow Schwentke up to the Music Box and catch the film and his Q&A after. Learn more here.

August 4 – 30

Black Harvest Film Festival – Continuing their impressive annual festival calendar, the Gene Siskel Film Center fills their August calendar with selections for their 24th annual Black Harvest Film Festival, celebrating the films that celebrate blackness. The festivities kick off with a (now sold-out) shorts program, A Black Harvest Feast, and continue throughout the month. Highlights include: an appearance by Dick Cavett to discuss the documentary chronicling his decades-long friendship with Muhammed Ali (Sunday, August 5); Qasim Basir, who’s film Destined, screened at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival a few years back, brings his latest film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream (August 10 and 11); and Betty: They Say I’m Different, an imaginative portrait of the other Betty Davis (and yes, I know they’re spelled differently…). Review the whole schedule and make your plans here.

August 17 – 23

Noir City Chicago at Music Box Theater – For just about a week in mid-August, you’ll have the chance to channel your best film noir lewks as the cinema on Southport Ave. features over a dozen of the most beloved—and most obscure—films in the genre. Titles from 1945 through 1951 include the likes of Irving Reis’s All My Sons, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in The Blue Dahlia, and Pickup, by Hugo Haas, who was often called the worst filmmaker of the 1950s. Snag tickets to a single show, or go deep down the noir rabbit hole with double feature tickets for a steal. Festivities kick off with a tribute to Carl Franklin with a very young Denzel Washington in Devil in a Blue Dress; Franklin will be in attendance for the affair, too. Check out the whole schedule and get tickets in advance here.

August 18

WTTW Screening & Discussion: Exit Zero – For a truly Chicago-centric night at the movies, join WTTW for a free screening and discussion of locally-produced Exit Zero, a documentary that chronicles the demise of the steel mills across the southeast region of the city. The resulting economic devastation continues to impact communities today, something filmmaker Christine Walley knows firsthand, as her father lost her job at a bankrupt mill when she was a teenager. Our fine city is an ever-changing tapestry of industry and community—just look at how much the West Loop has changed in the last five years. This screening and post-film conversation promises to be a thoughtful, compelling evening contemplating where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Learn more and RSVP here.

August 31

Minding The Gap – 2018 has been a really strong year for documentaries, from Three Identical Strangers to Won’t You Be My Neighbor? to RBG. Those incredible films pale in comparison to Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, a film that navigates skate culture, adolescence, masculinity—both toxic and otherwise—and so much more. Featuring some of the most captivating footage of recent memory (you’re literally on the skateboard) and packing an emotional punch you only think you’re ready for, Liu, who made the Rockford-set film in conjunction with Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, will soon be a household name in documentary filmmaking. Though the film will be available on Hulu beginning August 17, make the time to see this one on the big screen at the Siskel Film Center at the end of the month, when Liu will be in attendance for post-film Q&As. Watch the trailer below and learn more about the film here.

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Lisa Trifone
Lisa Trifone