The African Diaspora Film Festival, with films by Africans and hyphenated Africans from around the world, runs all week at Facets Cinematheque. Cliff Doerksen recommends the opening-night feature, Glorious Exit, in which a Swiss-Nigerian actor who’s trying to make it in Hollywood drops everything and flies to Africa to bury the father he never knew. Also reviewed in our sidebar are Gospel Hill, a star-studded drama that marks the directing debut of actor Giancarlo Esposito; Jacques Romain: Passion for a Country, about the Haitian journalist and political activist whose 1944 murder is still grist for the conspiracy mill; and Return to Goree, a music doc in which Senegalese singer and percussionist Youssou N’Dour travels the U.S. to round up musicians for a concert on the island that was once the epicenter of the slave trade.
Remember the old days, before Craig Newmark took all our pages away and the Reader could jam four or five movie Critic’s Choices in a single issue? Somehow we’ve managed to duplicate that feat in this week’s issue, with five new features we think you should see. Doerksen writes that Food, Inc. “transcends anticorporate demonology to build a visceral but reasoned case against modern agribusiness.” My pick this week is Moon, a moody sci-fi tale that recalls the psychodrama of late 60s/early 70s movies like Solaris and 2001. Andrea Gronvall recommends Seraphine, a biopic about the modern primitivist painter Seraphine de Senlis that “explore[s] the mutable boundaries between spirituality, naivete, genius, and madness.” And Jonathan Rosenbaum recommends two features that premiered last fall at the Chicago International Film Festival: Terence Davies’s Of Time and the City, in which the filmmaker considers his hometown of Liverpool, and Jia Zhang-ke’s 24 City, about the displacement caused by the closing of a military factory to make room for luxury apartments.
Also in this week’s issue, new reviews of: Accidental Army, a locally produced documentary about the Czechoslovak Legon that fought for the Allies in World War II (and subject of a new Reader story); Capers, Eating Buccaneers, and Mr. Art Critic, which screen as part of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s monthlong indie-comedy series; the Will Ferrell turkey Land of the Lost, which I finally dragged my ass to see; the new Sandra Bullock comedy The Proposal; and Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro, the first movie he’s written from scratch since The Conversation (1974).
If you’re looking for something older, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole (1951) screens on Wednesday at Northbrook Public Library, Erroll Flynn stars in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939) on Saturday and Sunday morning at the Music Box, Film Center’s retrospective on Max Ophuls continues with Lola Montes (1955) and The Exile (1947), and James Cagney gives an Oscar-winning performance as song-and-dance man George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) at Bank of America Cinema.