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Chicago International Film Festival Preview: 'Words With Gods'

By Sophie Day in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 7, 2014 9:25PM

Screen-grab via IMDb

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Chicago International Film Festival and the highly anticipated list of films has had many movie buffs abuzz. When the festival opens this Thursday, Oct. 9, there will be plenty to see, but there is one film in particular to keep your eyes peeled for.

Words with Gods is the first installment of the Heartbeat of the World film anthology series. Made up of nine distinct segments from nine directors around the world, this film grapples with universal questions of religious experience within the framework of individual lives and narratives. Created by Guillermo Arriaga and curated by poet and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, the collection examines many world religions by throwing a viewer into a story in media res, the middle of things. All of the stories are held together by a thread of whimsical animations that offers transitions between segments, as well as music composed by Peter Gabriel throughout the film.

The collaborative make-up of this piece works well to show viewers both grief and irreverence, often moments apart. The awesome beauty of many of the settings adds to the stunning visuals and wonderful camera work. With Aboriginal spirituality, Catholicism, Islam, Atheism, Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, Shinto Buddhism, Judaism and Umbanda faiths being represented, this film offers a very diverse look at the human experience, as well as when and how, if at all, we relate to a higher power.

The film has screened at several film festivals so far, and received high praise. Its debut at the Chicago International Film Festival on Oct. 10 will be one of its first major screenings in North America. Be sure to add it to your list!