Quarterly Neighborhood Night and Chicago European Union
Film Festival Kickoff on December 7

Gene Siskel Film Center theaters closed
December 24, 25, and 31, and January 1

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Coming January-March: Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres, Cinema Suzuki: Branded to Thrill, Hollywood on State: Where You’re The Star 2016, and 19th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival

Concluding is fall film/lecture series Cities in Cinema (September 8-December 15) which explores the connections between cinema and the modern city with weekly Tuesday lectures by artist and longtime art and film critic Fred Camper. The final film in the series is Jacques Tati’s Play Time (December 12 and 15). Sponsored by HBO.

Beginning in January will be the film/lecture series The Child in Cinema (January 30-TBD) with weekly Tuesday lectures by Pamela Robertson Wocjik, Director of Gender Studies at Notre Dame University and author of The Apartment Plot and an in-progress book on the urban child in cinema. The series will investigate the image of the child in cinema, considering the meanings ascribed to childhood, how ideas about childhood change historically, and what kids tell us about our ideas on gender, sexuality, race and class. Films slated for the series include Charles Chaplin’s The Kid, François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon, and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.

Chicago premiere! Janis: Little Girl Blue (December 4-17) is a profile of Janis Joplin, from her bullied ugly duckling beginnings in Port Arthur, TX, to rock headliner, and how the blues-inspired singer translated heartbreak into soaring performances of soul-wrenching power.

Chicago premiere! Johnnie To’s Office (December 4-10) is a full-fledged musical of ambition in the corporate world with mega-star Chow Yun Fat as the slyly reticent chairman of a trading firm on the eve of their IPO, and veteran Taiwanese star Sylvia Chang as CEO, who preside over a hive of intrigue and clandestine love, as success-hungry minions belt out their dreams and schemes in Cato-pop ballads.

Back by popular demand! The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (December 4-10) is the first documentary to cover the most confrontational and controversial political organization of their era.

Chicago premiere! Don Verdean (December 11-17) by Napolean Dynamite husband-wife filmmaker team Jared and Jerusha Hess, is an immersion into an amusing and affectionately rendered off-kilter subculture in which a “biblical archeologist” sets out to bag the Holy Grail for a Chinese businessman.

First Chicago run! Kartemquin Films project Almost There (December 11-17)—directed by Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden—is a portrait of East Chicago, IN, outsider artist Peter Anton who comes into the limelight thanks to an acclaimed retrospective at Intuit.

Chicago premiere! Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez (December 11, 13, 14, 16) is a portrait of the Nobel laureate set against the backdrop of dictatorship and oppression in Latin America.

Chicago premiere! Natalie Merchant in person! Paradise is There: A Memoir by Natalie Merchant (December 12, 18, 21, 23, 26) features the former 10,000 Maniacs singer reminiscing about her career and re-records the 11 songs from her iconic 1995 album Tigerlily. Natalie Merchant appears in person for audience discussion on December 12 only when attendees will be eligible to win signed posters and DVDs.

Chicago premiere! Noma: My Perfect Storm (December 18-23) is a look at culinary bad boy René Redzepi, whose Copenhagen restaurant Noma has received San Pellegrino “Best Restaurant in the World” and Michelin two-star ratings, and how scandal drives the perfectionistic chef and his staff to making a comeback.

Chicago premiere! Christmas Again (December 18-23) concerns Noel, a morose, flannel-shirted night man on duty at a 24-hour Brooklyn Christmas tree stand and how a good deed briefly opens a window of hope.

The Assassin (December 18-23) by the world-class master Hou Hsiao-hsien is the first film by the director in eight years, blending martial-arts genre details with breathtaking contemplative drama.

Chicago premiere! Man Up (December 26-30) is an earthly romantic comedy set in London starring Lake Bell (In A World…) whose encounter with a stranger on a train leads to the poaching of another woman’s blind date in the form of Jack (Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead) resulting in a chemistry made in screwball heaven.

The GSFC’s annual holiday tradition is the ever-popular cult film Antonio Gaudí (December 26-30), inspired by the wild, undulating, joyously erupting forms by Barcelona architect Antonio Gaudí, paired with Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation (December 26-30), the story of Gaudí’s unfinished basilica of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família, as architects and artisans with rival interpretations of the master’s vision attempt to finish the long-incomplete project.

Back by popular demand! Extraordinary Tales (December 26-30) showcases five of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous and thrilling suspense tales animated in styles uniquely suited to the mood of each story. Featured are The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Masque of the Red Death.

Meet the Patels (December 26-30) concerns Ravi Patel, who agrees to putting his matrimonial future in the hands of his Indian parents in the wake of breaking up with his white American girlfriend.

The Quay Brothers in 35mm, (December 26-29), curated by director Christopher Nolan, is a program of animations by the US-born, UK-based identical twins and a short documentary by Nolan, ranging from 1986 to 2015.

Special Engagements
Gene Siskel Film Center Neighborhood Night (December 7) is a quarterly event of community and quality cinema when everyone is a member, paying $6 admission (Film Center members pay $5), with complimentary food from Mariano’s. Neighborhood Night will also be the kickoff event for the 19th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival, featuring 18th Annual European Union Film Festival Audience Award winner The Dark Valley, a revenge Western with a European twist in which a taciturn photographer from America rides into a forsaken Austrian Alpine hamlet with a dirty secret.

Gene Siskel Film Center Movie Club (December 16) explores Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez (see “Runs” above) with Andrea Sáenz, First Deputy Commission for the Chicago Public Library, as facilitator of the post-show discussion at Virgin Hotels Chicago (203 N. Wabash). Sponsored by HBO and Virgin Hotels Chicago.

Chicago premiere! Executive-produced by Angelina Jolie and a re-enactment of a true story, Difret (December 19, 22) concerns 14-year-old Hirut who is raped on the way to school and kills her attacker with a gun, setting the stage for execution until a lawyer comes to Hirut’s defense.
Coming in January-March
Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres (January 2-February 4) include to-date: Chicago filmmaker Holly De Ruyter’s Old-Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club, Archie’s Betty by Boston film critic Gerald Peary, The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young by former Chicagoan Annika Iltis and Tim Kane, and Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art.

Cinema Suzuki: Branded to Thrill (January 2-February 4) is a 10-film retrospective of work by the controversial Japanese director Seijun Suzuki with such titles as Branded to Kill, Youth of the Beast, Tokyo Drifter, Gate of Flesh, and Pistol Opera.

Hollywood on State: Where You’re The Star 2016 (February 28), 6:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.; Academy Awards® HD Telecast, begins at 7:30pm; Co-Chairs: Eda Davidman and Chuck Droege, Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board Members; Red Carpet Co-Hosts: Tommy Walton, MasterChef star, designer, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago instructor, and Kate Pankoke, Project Runway designer. Celebrate the 88th Annual Academy Awards® at Chicago’s longest-running awards-viewing party, Hollywood on State: Where You’re The Star 2016, a memorable, glamorous evening filled with fashion and food and libations, and the live Oscar telecast in two state-of-the-art theaters. All proceeds benefit the education and film programs of the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Tickets start at $100. For more information and to RSVP, call 312-846-2072 or visit

19th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival (March 4-31) will showcase over 60 Chicago premieres from EU nations now numbering 28. Highlights of the festival confirmed to-date include Sunset Song by Terence Davies, Wondrous Boccaccio by the Taviani brothers, The Girl King by Mika Kaurismäki, and Phantom Boy from the directors of A Cat in Paris. Also slated are Cannes prizewinner The High Sun, Academy Awards submissions Modris and Koza, Sundance Jury Prize winner Glassland, and SXSW festival Gamechanger Award winner Free Entry. Independent film selections include bittersweet comedy Family Member, and maverick documentary Hearts Know *the Runaway Brides. A special celebration will accompany the U.S. premiere of 1916: The Irish Rebellion, produced by Notre Dame University.
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All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St. Note that the Gene Siskel Film Center’s theaters will be closed on December 24, 25, and 31, and on January 1. The Gene Siskel Film Center’s main office will be closed December 24-January 1.

Tickets to each screening--unless stated otherwise--are $11/general admission, $7/students, $6/Film Center members, and $5/Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) staff and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty, staff, and students. All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through the Gene Siskel Film Center’s website
or through the individual films’ weblinks on There is a surcharge of $1.50 per ticket. The Film Center and its box office are open 5:00 to 8:30 pm, Monday through Thursday; 1:00 to 8:30 pm, Friday; 2:00 to 8:30 pm, Saturday; and 2:00 to 5:30 pm, Sunday.

Discounted Admission
Neighborhood Night/Chicago European Union Film Festival Kickoff: Everyone is a member and pays $6 admission on December 7; Film Center members pay $6.

Two-Film Discount! Buy at ticket at the regular prices for Antonio Gaudí or Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation, Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation, and get a ticket for any show of the other film at this discount rate with proof of original purchase: $7/general admission; $5/students, and $4/Film Center members. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

Two-Film Discount! Buy at ticket at the regular prices for Extraordinary Tales or The Quay Brothers in 35mm, and get a ticket for any show of the other film at this discount rate with proof of original purchase: $7/general admission; $5/students, and $4/Film Center members. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

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A Gene Siskel Film Center membership is a year-round ticket to great movies for only $6 per screening! Memberships are $50 (Individual) and $80 (Dual). For more information, call 312-846-2600 or visit

Discounted parking is available for $18 for 10 hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

The Film Center is located near CTA trains and buses. Nearest CTA L stations are Lake (Red line); State/Lake (Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple lines); and Washington (Blue line). CTA bus lines serving State St.: 2, 6, 10, 29, 36, 62, 144, and 146. 
For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9:00 am-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit

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About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 80,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 100 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit
to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. Learn more at

Twitter: @filmcenter