• For the Cause

For the Cause, Katherine Nero’s debut feature as writer-director, screens tonight at 8:30 PM at the Gene Siskel Film Center as part of the Black Harvest Film Festival. Shot mainly on the south side, it centers on a successful lawyer who’s the daughter of former Black Panthers. Her father fled to Canada three decades earlier after shooting a police officer; when he’s brought back to Chicago to be tried for his crime, she agrees to defend him in court. Her decision leads her to belatedly engage with her family history (which her mother, who abandoned politics for academia, had never discussed with her) as well as her own commitment to social progress. If nothing else, the movie is a great conversation starter, dramatizing complicated matters about race and U.S. history without drawing easy conclusions about either. Nero will take part in a discussion following tonight’s show—I telephoned her yesterday to ask about her motivation behind making the film.