In this week’s print edition, to inaugurate my reign as the most reliable movie critic in America, I misidentified Misan Sagay, the screenwriter of Belle, as a man. My apologies to Ms. Sagay; that’s the sort of sexist thinking that makes some people (myself included) wish there were more women writing about film. Belle, which opens this week at Landmark’s Century Centre and Showplace ICON, is a fictionalized biography of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed-race woman who was given an aristocratic upbringing in 18th-century England.
Check out Ben Sachs’s review of the French drama Bright Days Ahead, starring Fanny Ardant as a retired dentist whose grief over the death of a friend begins to lift after she begins taking courses at a local senior center. Other titles reviewed this week include Afternoon of a Faun, a documentary profile of ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq; Beneath the Harvest Sky, a working-class drama about two high schoolers hoping to escape from their small town in Maine; Films by Shellie Fleming, four short works by the late School of the Art Institute professor; Honey, which kicks off a monthly series of Italian imports at the Davis; The Kill Team, about the military prosecution of U.S. soldiers who murdered three Afghan civilians in 2010; and Neighbors, with Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as new parents who freak out when a fraternity moves in next door.
Best bets for repertory: Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds (1958), Sunday and Wednesday at Gene Siskel Film Center; Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla (1954), daily at Music Box; Sergei Eisenstein’s Potemkin (1925), noon Saturday at Music Box with live organ accompaniment by Dennis Scott; Alain Resnais’s Same Old Song (1997), next Thursday at University of Chicago Doc Films; and Chan-wook Park’s Stoker (2013), also at Doc next Thursday.
This week brings the second annual festival of the Chicago Film Critics Association; I’m not a member, but I have to hand it to the CFCA for what looks like a great lineup of Chicago premieres. Among the highlights: David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models) appears in person the screening of his latest, They Came Together, starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, and Bob Goldthwait (Shakes the Clown, God Bless America) attends the screening of his latest, Willow Creek.