by Patrick Bromley
This year's Chicago Critics Film Festival -- the only film festival in the world programmed completely by a critic body -- kicks off tonight with Fast Color starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw. It's the first of over 25 films that will screen over six days at Chicago's Music Box Theatre.
Those of you who have been reading this site for several years know that I have been attending CCFF since its very first year in 2013, when it took place over the span of a single weekend and I was not yet a member of the CFCA. Though I have since joined the CFCA, I don't have a role in programming the fest, meaning none of the films have been chosen by me. That doesn't matter. Every year I've attended has been one of my favorite movie-watching weeks of that year, leading me to discover a number of films I have loved and a bunch of others I'm at least happy to have seen.
This year marks the 6th annual festival, and if you're anywhere near Chicago you need to come out for a movie or 10. Here's a list comprised of some films that I've already seen and want to champion and some of the titles I'm looking forward to checking out most:
1. Support the Girls (dir. Andrew Andrew Bujalski)
Results screened at CCFF in 2015, so it's cool to see his follow-up programmed into this year's fest. It's another deep dive into a small subculture, only this time instead of a computer chess tournament or personal trainers, it's the goings on at a Hooters-style restaurant in Texas called Double Whammies. Regina Hall gives yet another quietly great performance as the manager of the restaurant, and the movie basically follows a day in its operation, introducing us to a wide cast of characters and finding drama in the mundane. Support the Girls would be good and relevant any time, but, just as the title suggests, feels more necessary now in the #MeToo movement than ever before, from its conversations about respect to its varied portrayals of female identity to, above all, its great final shot. (Screens Friday, May 4 at 9 pm & Thursday, May 10 at 4 pm)
2. Three Identical Strangers (dir. Tim Wardle)
3. First Reformed (dir. Paul Schrader)
4. Bodied (dir. Joseph Kahn)
5. Abducted in Plain Sight (dir. Skye Borgman)
6. Revenge (dir. Coralie Fargeat)
7. Hal (dir. Amy Scott)
8. A Kid Like Jake (dir. Silas Howard)
9. Damsel (dir. Nathan and David Zellner)
Slow West, another movie I saw at CCFF back in 2015. I mean that as pretty high praise. (Screens Sunday, May 6, at 7:15 pm)
10. Eighth Grade (dir. Bo Burnham)
You can view the full schedule for CCFF here and buy your tickets here.