Chicago Film Critics Festival 2021 will take place November 12-14

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CHICAGO – After a postponement in 2020, the Chicago Film Critics Festival (CCFF) – the only we film festival hosted by film critics – will feature a truncated weekend of films from major festivals in 2021 and upcoming awards season favorites. The festival kicks off Friday, November 12 at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. For more details on passes, movies and tickets, click CCFF 2021. ! —Pause—>

Highlights of the festival… in addition to the previews below… include the film Opening Night, The lost girl, by filmmaker Jane Campion The power of the dog, a cinematographic showcase CCFF Short films program and the film of the closing evening, Red rocket. Click on the links for description and ticket information.

StarPREVIEW OF THE 2021 CCFF: Reviews of capsules

the novice
Photo credit: CCFF

Click on the title for more information …

Oscar Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Evaluation: 4.5/5.0

“The novice” – Awarded for the best we Tale at Tribeca 2021, this film lives up to the honor as an intense study of the character of a student / athlete named Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman, who also won Best Actress), starting her adventure in a college level rowing team as a “novice.” His intensity for being the best borders on obsession, and her teammates don’t take him too gently, or her. The film builds suspense around Alex, until the audience rushes in and practically becomes her. Writer / director Lauren Hadaway, in her first feature film, focuses on the micro level to “make the team” and the macro level to mature as a human being during a difficult and confusing time.

Oscar Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Evaluation: 5.0/5.0

“Bernstein Wall” – A luminous and cerebral biography of the composer / conductor Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest masters of classical music of the 20th century. This force of nature grew out of humble, non-musical roots that began playing the piano at the age of ten and eventually became assistant conductor (and celebrity) with the New York Philharmonic at 25. The key to its greatness lay in its teaching method, engaging its audience with stories about how classical music fits into our humanity. What is striking about “Lenny” is his empathetic intellectualism, how much he wanted the world to base its weapons on the plowshares of the beautiful sound of music. There is a plethora of stock footage to tell his story (mostly with Bernstein’s own voice) and director Douglas Tirola makes creative use of it. One of my festival favorites, mainly because I love Lenny and his influential moments.

Oscar Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Evaluation: 4.5/5.0

“Jockey” – Essentially a western, substituting the racing jockey for the cowboy. Writer / director Clint Bentley comes from this world of horse racing and creates his lead character of jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr. in a best actor level performance) with the old gunslinger mentality, albeit in a different profession. When the young upstart (Moisés Arias) comes to town to challenge Jackson’s legacy, the old cowboy has to think about riding until sunset. Director Bentley uses the sunset as a magical hour to symbolize that twilight, and actor Collins provides the rest. A film lesson in integrity and morality.

Roy’s world
Photo credit:
Oscar Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
Evaluation: 4.5/5.0

“Roy’s world” – A beautifully rendered ‘soul documentary’ about Chicago, through the eyes of Barry Gifford, who grew up in the city during the magical 1950s and 1960s, when the surroundings were rougher and more working-class. Roy refers to the fictional character that Gifford based his childhood on, and excerpts from his stories are read by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, and Lily Taylor. Gifford himself is woven throughout the documentary, as he contradicts the fiction with its actual story. Director Rob Christopher did a remarkable tour using Chicago archival footage and montage to evoke a sense of time and place. If you are interested in a personal Chicago history, unencumbered by the dry dust of history, then “Roy’s World” is a must see.

CLAIRE COONEY MAINTENANCE with Clare Cooney to appear with co-writer / director Abby Pierce on behalf of their short film “Go Ahead… Grab Time By the Throat” in 2021 CCFF. Click on CLAIRE COONEY.

The Chicago Critics Film Festival 2021 will take place November 12-14. For more information on the Chicago Film Critics Association, click CFCA.

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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