Saturday, May 16, 2020

Film Center from Your Sofa - Addendum: Hilma af Kilnt documentary held over until May 21



held over through Thursday, May 21

THE BOOKSELLERS returns May 15-21

The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago enters its eighth week of its streaming series Film Center from Your Sofa: Stay Connected and Stream with Us to maintain community with film lovers during the coronavirus pandemic. These selections showcase new and noteworthy independent, international, and classic cinema provided by longtime partnering distributors.  

Titles this week available for streaming are ON A MAGICAL NIGHT and BEYOND THE VISIBLE: HILMA AF KLINT (both now held over through May 21); SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE; UP FROM THE STREETS; and THE BOOKSELLERS (return engagement).

Films streaming that are available to rent as gifts for friends and family are THE INFILTRATORS (May 8-14); JUDY & PUNCH (May 8-14); SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (May 15-21; available for 72 hours of streaming); THE BOOKSELLERS (May 15-21); DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY (May 22-28); THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF (May 22-28); and PAPICHA (May 29-June 11). Visit the films’ webpages or Film Center from Your Sofa.  

The Screen to Screen virtual Q&A coming up is UP FROM THE STREETS (May 16) featuring the director and multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard. Patrons can click on the film’s links on the Gene Siskel Film Center’s website to join the virtual conversations or visit Screen to Screen

Films this week (May 15-21) in Film Center from Your Sofa
BEYOND THE VISIBLE: HILMA AF KLINT (April 24-30; held over through May 21): Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. 

ON A MAGICAL NIGHT (May 8-14--extended through May 21; available for 72 hours of streaming): In this playful new film from writer-director Christophe Honoré, we meet Maria Mastroianni, a woman dissatisfied with her marriage who, after a heated argument with her husband of 20 years, spends the night in room 212 of the hotel across the street from their home. There, she has a bird's eye view of her apartment, her husband, and her marriage. In this comic romp, she confronts her past lovers and relationships on one magical night, fantasizing about the lives she could've lived and wondering if she's made the right decisions. (Description courtesy of Strand Releasing)

SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (May 15-21; available for 72 hours of streaming): In this Parisian bittersweet romance, warehouse employee Rémy (François Civil) and research assistant Mélanie (Ana Girardot) have never met, but they live parallel lives: they reside in neighboring apartment buildings, ride the same subway route, and are troubled by bouts of insomnia and depression. Their days punctuated by unfulfilling jobs, they seek meaningful romantic and platonic connection. As they stumble through psychotherapy, dating apps, fainting spells, and family visits, the seemingly star-crossed duo orbit around each other but remain just out of reach. Cédric Klapisch spins a delicate “what-if” from their compartmentalization, exploring our increasingly hermetic modern urban life. In French with English subtitles. (Description courtesy of Distrib Films) This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

UP FROM THE STREETS (May 15-21): Tip your hat to jazz music and the recently cancelled annual Jazz Fest in New Orleans with Michael Murphy's omnibus celebration of the music that shaped the culture of New Orleans in UP FROM THE STREETS. Four-time Grammy winner Terence Blanchard serves as executive producer, music director and host for the film. The film features personal reflections from New Orleans’ most impactful musicians including, but not limited to, Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Mannie Fresh, Dr. Michael White, and commentary by national and international musicians along with archival and newly filmed performances by iconic artists such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and The Neville Brothers. NOTE: For every ticket sold, $2 will be donated to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation COVID-19 relief fund.  (Description courtesy of UMG) Screen to Screen: On Saturday, May 16, 6 pm CDT there will be a Q&A via ZOOM with Terence Blanchard and director Michael Murphy. 

THE BOOKSELLERS (May 15-21): The allure of the printed volume is at the heart of this engaging, Gotham-centered overview of the rare-book trade. One collector compares the relationship of an individual and a book to a love affair, and bibliophile Fran Lebowitz (whose recurrent comments form a loose spine for the film) avows that she could never bring herself to throw a book away. Executive-produced and narrated by Parker Posey, THE BOOKSELLERS explores the rapidly changing (some would say, dying) world of high-end book dealers, book scouts, collectors, and antiquarians. In the post-Amazon, post-Kindle world, are bookstores—and even the book itself—doomed? The disappearance of many beloved bookstores strikes a melancholy note, but the film also takes note of a recent boom in small, independent stores, and bookseller Heather O'Donnell asserts, "The death of the book is highly overrated." (Description by Martin L. Rubin). This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

Last chance: through May 14
CRESCENDO (May 8-14): Loosely inspired by Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Academy-Award nominated director Dror Zahavi (EVERYTHING FOR MY FATHER) directs this gripping drama as a constantly growing ‘crescendo’, escalating the tension and conflicts until the last frame. When world-famous conductor Eduard Sporck (Peter Simonischek of TONI ERDMANN) accepts the job to create an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra, he is quickly drawn into a tempest of sheer unsolvable problems. 

JUDY & PUNCH (May 8-14): In a backward country town located in the boondocks of 17th-century England, puppeteers Judy (Mia Wasikowska) and Punch (Damon Herriman) eke out a living with their marionette show. Thanks to Judy's skills with the puppets, the pair are local heroes, but Punch, a mean drunk who drives the audience to rowdiness, takes all the credit. This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

THE INFILTRATORS (May 8-14) is a docu-thriller that tells the true story of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into a shadowy for-profit detention center—on purpose. Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

Coming soon: May 22 and beyond
ALICE (May 22-28): Alice (Emilie Pipponier in a tour de force performance), a Parisian wife and mother, seemingly has it all--an upscale middle-class life with her devoted husband François (Martin Swabey) and their adorable toddler son. The illusion is shattered when François mysteriously disappears and his financially ruinous addiction to high-end call girls is revealed.  Left bankrupt, with a mountain of debt and foreclosure on her home looming, Alice desperately accepts a lucrative job offer--working for the same escort service that had supplied her husband's secret obsession. It's the flip side of BELLE DU JOUR with an audacious and sometimes comic feminist angle. Director Josephine Mackerras weaves an engaging tale of dawning empowerment and female friendship that neither glamorizes Alice's choice nor condemns it, but celebrates her determined path to independence. In French with English subtitles. (Description by Barbara Scharres)

MR. JONES (May 22-28): Agnieszka Holland’s thriller, set on the eve of world WWII, sees Hitler’s rise to power and Stalin’s Soviet propaganda machine pushing their “utopia” to the Western world. Meanwhile an ambitious young journalist, Gareth Jones (James Norton) travels to Moscow to uncover the truth behind the propaganda, but then gets a tip that could expose an international conspiracy, one that could cost him and his informant their lives. Jones goes on a life-or-death journey to uncover the truth behind the façade that would later inspire George Orwell’s seminal book Animal Farm. In English, Ukrainian, Russian, and Welsh with English subtitles. (Description courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films)

DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY (May 22-28): The author of nine acclaimed cookbooks and a two-time James Beard Award winner, Diana Kennedy is called the “Julia Child of Mexico”, but the feisty cook prefers “The Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine”. Master chef, teacher and environmental activist, she is living proof that size has nothing to do with strength. Now in her 90s and barely five feet tall, she's a fierce jolt of energy--one of the most celebrated culinary legends of Mexican cuisine. Blending incredible archival footage from her many television appearances and unprecedented access to her ecologically sustainable home, this lively documentary is an homage to a culinary trailblazer and a true inspiration. Features extensive interviews with Kennedy herself, plus famed chefs José Andrés, Rick Bayless, Gabriela Camara and Alice Waters. (Description courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment) This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF (May 22-28): Desperate for answers about the theft of her 2 paintings, a Czech artist seeks out and befriends the career criminal who stole them. After inviting her thief to sit for a portrait, the two form an improbable relationship and an inextricable bond that will forever link these lonely souls.  Director Benjamin Ree comments, "I’ve always been fascinated with art theft. I think it’s because of the contrasts. The socially elevated art industry with a lot of cultural capital meets “lower-class” criminals with rough backgrounds. These contrasts raise questions that intrigue me. Who are these thieves? How do they choose their paintings, and is it for money or because of a genuine love of art?" Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Creative Storytelling at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In English and Norwegian with English subtitles. (Description courtesy of Neon) This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

New 2K restoration! CARO DIARIO (May 22-28): Renowned Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti (THE SON'S ROOM) plays himself embarking on three disparate journeys in his Cannes Best Director-winning comedic love letter to the movies. First, he rides through Rome on a scooter, musing on cinema, and has a chance encounter with actress Jennifer Beals. Next, he and his friend, Gerardo (Renato Carpentieri), tour a number of islands searching for a peaceful place to write a screenplay. And finally, Moretti, hampered by a nagging skin rash, goes from doctor to doctor looking for the right diagnosis, which may or may not turn out to be severe. The new 2K restoration was overseen by the film's director of photography. In Italian, English, and Mandarin with English subtitles. (Description courtesy of Film Movement) This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

LUCKY GRANDMA (May 29-June 4): Hilariously shrewd and breathtakingly resourceful, widowed Grandma Wong (Chin of THE JOY LUCK CLUB and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA) is a stone-faced, chain-smoking harridan-from-hell to those who risk crossing her.  When her excited fortuneteller confirms a most auspicious reading (carps jumping over the dragon gate!!), Wong withdraws her savings and heads for the casino bus.  Lady Luck smacks her down in one arena, only to deliver handsomely in another, with only a little assist from some fast-thinking larceny.  Flush with an ill-gotten fortune, Wong hires lovably clueless Big Pong (Ha) as her bodyguard when rival Chinatown gangs come calling, but proves more than capable of handling the dirty work herself.  In this first feature, director Sealy delightfully turns the stereotype of the maverick action hero as a male or a curvaceous young babe on its head with this wise kickass granny with a mind of her own.  In English, Mandarin, and Cantonese with English subtitles.  (Description by Barbara Scharres)

PAPICHA (May 29-June 11): Algeria, 1990s. Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri, starring in Wes Anderson’s upcoming THE FRENCH DISPATCH), an 18 year-old student passionate about fashion design, refuses to let the tragic events of the Algerian Civil War to keep her from experiencing a normal life and going out at night with her friend Wassila. As the social climate becomes more conservative, she rejects the new restrictions on women set by the radicals and decides to fight for her freedom and independence by putting on a fashion show. After selection at the 2019 Cannes International Film Festival, and as Algeria’s official submission for Academy Awards consideration, PAPICHA scooped two Cesars (the French Oscar-equivalent) as well as the AMPAS Gold Fellowship Award for Woman, and the humanitarian award at the 2020 Satellite Awards. (Description courtesy of Distrib Films) This film is available to be purchased as a gift to stream.

YOURSELF AND YOURS (June 5-11): One of Hong Sangsoo’s most delightful comic mysteries is now available in the U.S. When painter Youngsoo (Kim Ju-hyuk) learns that his girlfriend, Minjung (Lee Yoo-young), was recently seen having drinks with another man, he can’t help but question her about it. It doesn’t go well and they part on bad terms. The next day, Youngsoo tries to find her, but can’t. As he wanders and frets, Minjung has a series of encounters with other men. But to them it seems she’s not herself. Featuring a supporting cast of Hong regulars, YOURSELF AND YOURS is a pleasing puzzle full of mistaken identity, excessive drinking and lots of he-said, she-said. As the rumors pile up, Hong, a critically-acclaimed School of the Art Institute of Chicago alum, asks: In a relationship, how important is it to know everything? In Korean with English subtitles. (Description courtesy of The Cinema Guild)

* * *
Note the following about Film Center from Your Sofa:
  • These are films the Film Center has screened in the past, would have been screening now, or reflect the venue’s critically acclaimed programming.
  • Due to the many different sources, there is a range of prices and available dates for each film. However, none of the prices are more than what one would pay for a single, non-member movie ticket.
  • Please note that viewers will be required to set up individual accounts through streaming services and distributors in order to stream Film Center From Your Sofa; having a Film Center account will not apply.
  • Because the Film Center is connecting audience members to a variety of platforms, member or any other discounts for streaming cannot be offered. To compensate, Film Center membership expiration dates will be extended to exclude this period of suspended programming. All proceeds during this challenging time will help the Film Center and partnering distributors to continue operating.

Patrons are encouraged to utilize the Film Center’s Facebook events to express their thoughts, insights, and questions. Also in the works are some virtual discussions moderated by respected film critics, filmmakers, and lecturers to the conversation can be continued together. 

* * *

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 that has grown to over 100,000. 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 1,700 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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments that include hidden links or URLs to other sites will not be posted and reported as spam.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.