CIFF-ting Through the Fest
By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 18, 2006 4:17PM
We've finally had a chance to sift through all the films in the preview of the Chicago International Film Festival, and it's got us drooling with film-geek joy. Each October we get a chance to sit in the dark and nurture our anti-social tendencies ... that is, until the lights come up and we begin to argue amongst ourselves about what we've just seen.
Yes, it's two weeks of wall-to-wall film. So how to decide what to see? Chicagoist DOES have a day job (what, you think we just sit here all day blogging?), and there are only so many free hours to go around. After several years of attending we've come up with a strategy:
#1 Avoid films that are going to get a Chicago release later. This year's case in point: Babel, directed by Mexico's Alejandro Inarritu. Yes, we loved his previous films Amores Perros and 21 Grams, but with a cast that includes Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett we'll get a chance to see it a month later anyway.
#2 Pick at least one documentary. We have seen some extraordinary documentaries at CIFF in the past. A few years ago we caught 10e chambre, the deceptively simple chronicle of a “typical day” in a Parisian criminal courtroom. This year Eric Steel's The Bridge has got us intrigued, which looks at the stories of those who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge over the course of a year.
#3 Try to see only one film in English! This might be hard to stomach, but part of what's so cool about CIFF is that it forces us out of our comfort zone. There's a whole world out there we rarely get to see on our theater screens. Do we really need to convince you that most multiplex Hollywood cinema really DOES suck?
And, most importantly...
#4 Buy a pass! For $50, the Moviegoer Pass gets you seven tickets. That's enough for three shows to share with our SigOth with one leftover just for us. It's so worth the splurge. But buy a pass now; after September 22, prices go up.