CIFF 2018: The 54th Chicago International Film Festival Has Begun!

Shoplifters is the latest film from director Hirokazu Kore-eda, one of several playing CIFF 2018.

This year, the 54th Chicago International Film Festival presented by Cinema Chicago runs now from October 10 through October 21, 2018 with around 150 films presented. As done in recent years, all screenings will be held at AMC River East 21 Theater, 322 E. Illinois Street, Chicago.

Covering an entire festival is never an easy task since nobody can actually find time to view 150 movies, but I look forward to attending every single year. In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a number of titles, most memorably was a double feature of Mulholland Drive and Waking Life back to back with director Richard Linklater in attendance. There’s more to that story that I’ve covered elsewhere. This year has several notable titles listed below though one can’t help but wish for more. A few of the titles I’ve seen are standard indie dramedies that deal with cancer, addiction, or contain subplots that have been over-utilized. Granted, I’m a weirdo sometimes since when I saw the trailer for Cooper’s A Star Is Born, my first thought was “I’ll just rewatch Once and even Begin Again, thanks.”

Familiarity is often comforting for many viewers so I understand the desire to program what draws a crowd. CIFF offers that as well as some very welcome titles that we hope to provide coverage of. I am focusing on the fact that even if titles like Diane or The Etruscan Smile are somewhat conventional in their approach of dysfunctional families, they bolster great performances from reliably great actors. For more challenging fare, there is an exciting screening of meditative, experimental shorts that I’m looking forward to since it contains the latest work from master craftsman Apichatpong Weerasethakul with Blue. Diamonds in the rough are always found, and even simply just taking a chance based on a plot synopsis that interests you might be rewarding in the end.

Over the course of the next week or so, contributing writer Kate Blair (who recently wrote a great review for an above-mentioned title) and I will cover the festival through various capsule reviews of some of the featured films. There are a lot of great high-profile titles to look forward to as well. Here are just a few we will try to see though we will be writing up on a whole lot more as we see them throughout the next ten days!

The Hate U Give
An Acceptable Loss
Friedkin Uncut
What They Had
Wildlife (includes a Carey Mulligan tribute - who happens to be one of my favorite actresses)
Cold War
Vox Lux
Widows (rush tickets only)

The full schedule for the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival, as well as descriptions of all films and special events, can be found here. Follow our coverage here at Voices + Visions.

James Laczkowskiciff2018