The kids are back in school, summer is winding down and before long, we’ll all be hibernating again through another Chicago winter. In the meantime, more than a few great cinema events are on the books for September, including the 37th Reeling Film Festival and, in dispatches from Canada, premieres of major studio titles and indies alike at the Toronto Film Festival. While you squeeze in your last few cookouts and days at the beach, consider catching a few exciting films this month, too.
All Creatures Here Below at Midwest Independent Film Festival — Based on the three-and-a-half star review that critic Steve Prokopy gave it back in May, All Creatures Here Below is a film that sticks to your ribs, one of desperation and chaos, but also of promise and love. Written by long-time Chicagoan David Dastmalchian and directed by Collin Schiffi, the film stars Dastmalchain and Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who”) as a couple living in dire poverty who find themselves in dangerous, uncertain circumstances. The Midwest Independent Film Festival features the film as its September screening, including a cocktail reception and post-film Q&A. Learn more and get tickets here.
The Jewish Experience from Basavilbaso to New Amsterdam — A new documentary makes its North American premiere with a one-night-only screening at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership (on South Michigan Ave.), and the sheer uniqueness of its subject matter makes it an intriguing option for a Monday night. Filmmaker Miguel Kohan (2008’s Café de los Maestros) delves into the intersection of Jewish history and that of the Americas, chronicling a record of two cultures not often associated with each other, from Brazil to Jamaica to the then British Colonies of the U.S. The single-night screening includes a post-film discussion with one of the film’s producers and Spertus Institute Associate Dean Beth Schenker. Tickets are $18 (or $10 for Spertus members); more information is available here.
September 15, 21, 28 & 29
The Inimitable Doris Day at Music Box Theatre — On the heels of their 90th Anniversary celebration, the fine folks at the Music Box continue to program noteworthy series and premieres. On weekends in September, head to the movie palace to honor the beloved Doris Day, who passed away at the age of 97 earlier this year. Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me, and the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much all screen at 11:30a.m. and all on 35mm. See the full line-up and get tickets online here. (And for a heartwarming primer, take a moment to listen back to Day’s interview on Fresh Air.)
Reeling Film Festival — Now in its 37th year, the annual LGBTQ+ film festival is Chicago’s largest niche film event, focusing on the stories by and about the queer community. This year, the ten-day festival happens at Music Box Theatre (special events), Landmark Century Cinema (main screenings) and at Chicago Filmmakers’ new home, the rehabbed fire station in Edgewater (shorts programs and Closing Night). The full schedule includes 35 feature films and 13 shorts programs, with a special emphasis on Chicago filmmakers this year. For the full schedule and tickets, visit Reeling online here.
The Devil, Probably on 35mm — The team at Chicago Film Society kicks off another season of under-seen film treasures in September, including a screening of Robert Bresson’s 1977 French masterpiece The Devil, Probably at Northeastern University. An existential ensemble piece, the film follows a group of French youth navigating “a world plagued evermore by a deep, cosmic sickness.” Sounds timely. The full schedule of Chicago Film Society’s latest season is online here.
Holy Trinity Chicago Premiere — Whether it’s immediately apparent or not, Chicago has a thriving independent film scene, with a number of features made in the city every year. Holy Trinity, the debut feature film from Molly Hewitt (a performance artist known as Glamhag) follows Trinity, a young dominatrix who huffs a suspicious substance and finds she can speak to the dead. The film enjoyed its world premiere at Outfest (LA’s LGBTQ+ film festival), and comes home to Chicago for a gala premiere at Music Box Theatre on Friday, September 27. Get more info and purchase tickets here.
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