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The Film Equivalent of Carb-Loading

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 19, 2006 1:46PM

In Chicago, summer film viewing usually means … whatever’s air-conditioned. The Outdoor Film Festival is a notable exception, but generally speaking, summertime is an annual famine where interesting film choices are few and far between.

250px-Flying_Spaghetti_Monster.jpgBut autumn is a horse of a different color. Suddenly (due in part to the Oscar race) it's time to bulk up. No sooner does the Chicago International Film Festival draw to a close (winners were announced this week) than a bevy of other festivals blow through town. In addition to RESFEST|10, which we profiled yesterday, the American Black Film Festival and Chicago International Children's Film Festival are also taking place this weekend.

The ABFF will be at the AMC River East, surely one of our fave venues if only for the swank comfy seating. The five films in the lineup concentrate on issues of urban identity, justice, and poverty. Our two picks are Traci Townsend, a Broken Flowers-like comedy where a successful journalist interviews her old flames to find out why none of them proposed, and the documentary If I Die Tonight, an examination of police brutality. Some of the filmmakers will be present for discussions after selected screenings.

Winky’s Horse, Goodie Bag, Marta and Her Flying Grandfather -- with titles like those, you can’t tell us you aren’t interested. We still dress up for Halloween just like when we were kids, so going to CICFF isn’t much of a stretch. And watching something fun, colorful and noncynical is the perfect antidote to a nasty campaign cycle about to enter the home stretch. This year more than 220 films and videos are featured; good thing the festival runs for ten days. So give the lame new shows on TV a rest, and catch some flicks instead!

The American Black Film Festival runs October 21-22 at the AMC River East; the Chicago International Children's Film Festival runs October 19-29 at various venues.