Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gene Siskel Film Center: August is back with Black Harvest, Mario Bava films, return of Abacus, GKIDS' The Girl Without Hands, and more




Black Harvest is back, August 5-31, celebrating its 23rd year!
SOLD OUT Opening Night, A Black Harvest Feast, honors Che “Rhymefest” and Donnie Smith with the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellent in Community Leadership

More August highlights:
Back by popular demand is Steve James’ Abacus
Ÿ-Chicago premieres of Hare Krishna: The Mantra, the Movement, and the Swami Who Started It All; new GKIDS release of Faustian animation The Girl Without Hands; Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel in From the Land of the Moon; and representing Panorama Latinx, low-key suspenseful thriller The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis
Mario Bava films newly released in DCP, including digital restorations of Kill, Baby…Kill! and Blood and Black Lace

23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival (August 5-31) is the Midwest’s largest festival of the Black experience on film showcasing stories from the African diaspora. Featured will be a combined total of over 60 narrative features, documentaries, and shorts, as well as post-screening Q&As with filmmakers present, panel discussions, events, and the first-ever Black Harvest Marketplace. The festival opens with shorts program A Black Harvest Feast (sold out) on August 5, honoring Che “Rhymefest” and Donnie Smith with the Deloris Jordan Award for Excellence in Community Leadership, with a reception following at Joffrey Tower (10 E. Randolph St.). Black Harvest highlights noted Black moments in history, institutions, and film and entertainment industry figures in Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities by Stanley Nelson (director of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution); Whitney Houston portrait Whitney: Can I Be Me by Nick Broomfield (director of Biggie & Tupac); Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 by John Ridley (screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave); Sly Stone documentary On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone; portrait of the first-ever Black animator at Disney, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life plus a Master Class with Norman; and Chicago-made love jones by Theodore Witcher with a reception to follow on closing night on August 31.

Shorts programs are Family Matters, Women of Color, Made in Chicago I, Love African American Style, Black History—Lost and Found, Made in Chicago II, and International Visions.

There will be the annual panel discussion Action! The Real Deal About Filmmaking and festival workshop, The Realities of Screenwriting, both free admission but tickets are required.

Just about every Black Harvest program features filmmakers in person for post-screening Q&As—check website regularly for updates.

Black Harvest Festival Passes are available—$55 for six films and six small popcorns.

Audience members are encouraged to buy tickets as soon as possible as programs are already selling out.

Mario Bava: The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror (August 4-29) showcases nine darkly erotic, stylishly eccentric horror films by the Italian director noted for pioneering the pulpy Italian genre known as giallo. The series will include new digital restorations of Kill, Baby…Kill! and Blood and Black Lace.

Back by popular demand is Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (August 4-10), directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself), which centers on the community-friendly New York Chinatown bank Abacus Federal Savings and its plight of being the sole bank to face federal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Director Steve James will appear at the Friday, August 4, 7:45 pm and Saturday, August 5, 3:00 pm shows.

I, Daniel Blake (August 4-10)—a Cannes Palme d’Or winner for director Ken Loach—is the moving story concerning the unlikely friendship between an aging carpenter on disability and a single mother with two young children, who meet a welfare office and are taken through the wringer of the hellish bureaucracy designed to strip them of their humanity.

Chicago premiere! Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All (August 11-17) is the journey of how Srila Prabhupada, by the time of his death in 1977, had propagated a worldwide Krishna Consciousness movement with millions of followers, including Allen Ginsberg, George Harrison, and Boy George.

Chicago premiere! New from GKIDS is The Girl without Hands (August 11-17), an exquisite animation of the dark Faustian tale by the Brothers Grimm in which a desperate miller makes a bargain with the devil and unwittingly promises his little daughter to the fiend. Note: This film may not be suitable for pre-teen children; parental discretion advised.

Chicago premiere! From the Land of the Moon (August 18-24) finds village girl Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard) trapped in a loveless marriage. She is sent to a Swiss sanitarium where she falls for severely wounded veteran Lt. Andre Sauvage (Louis Garrel); her obsession with grand love is seemingly justified at last but the dream may prove to be a cruel illusion.

The B-Side (August 18-24), by Fog of War director Errol Morris, takes a more casual approach in this affectionate portrait of his friend Elsa Dorfman who, after an early career photographing musical and literary luminaries, gained access to a massive 20x24 Polaroid color camera to make portraits of mostly non-famous people.

Chicago premiere! The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis (August 25-31), set in 1977 Buenos Aires under Argentina’s military regime, is a low-key, suspenseful thriller that makes an apolitical office worker the reluctant messenger in a precarious plot to prevent the political kidnapping of two strangers.

Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke star in Maudie (August 25-31), a fact-based tale of artistic and emotional awakening in which Hawkins plays a self-taught painter who overcame poverty, isolation, and physical disabilities to become one of Canada’s most beloved folk artists, and the difficult relationship she has with her brutish, taciturn fishmonger husband (Hawke).

Special events
Gene Siskel Movie Club presents Black Harvest Film Festival shorts program Women of Color (August 9) in which seekers, lovers, survivors, and Supermom are the heroines of these five shorts, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers facilitated by Bonnie DeShong, Director of External Affairs for the DuSable Museum of African American History. The post-screening discussion will take place at Rosebud Prime, 1 S. Dearborn St. (movie ticket required for admittance).

National Theatre Live presents Jude Law in Obsession (August 27), a stage adaptation of the Luchino Visconti film in which magnetically handsome drifter Gino encounters husband and wife Giuseppe and Giovanna. Gino and Giovanna begin a fiery affair and a plot to murder Giuseppe. Tickets are $14/general admission and $8/Film Center members and students.

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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.

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.

Saturday Double-Bill Discount for Mario Bava: The Baroque Beauties of Italian Horror: Buy a ticket at the regular prices for the first Bava film on any Saturday in August, and get a ticket for the second Bava film that day at the discounted rate with proof of original purchase: $7/general admission; $5/students; $4/Film Center members. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

Tickets to National Theatre Live’s Obsession are $14/general admission and $8/Film Center members and students.

Black Harvest Festival Passes are available—$55 for six films and six small popcorns—and may be purchased in-person at the Film Center at the Main Office, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:00pm, and Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and box office during these hours: 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. Festival Passes may also be purchased online at

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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

Discounted parking is available for $18 for 16 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 85,000. 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 200 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

Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
164 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60601

Twitter: @filmcenter

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