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Chicago's Spring & Summer Film Preview
By Janet Arvia

Whether enjoying outdoor screenings or seeking an air-conditioned refuge inside a theater, upcoming Chicagoland screenings offer audiences a wide array of choices—from foreign language features, silent movie shorts, American classics, international documentaries, film festivals and other special cinematic events—slated for this spring and summer. Here is an overview of some of the season’s enticing options.

Music Box Movies

Hot off the heels of the Chicago Film Critics Festival, Hernán Guerschuny’s aptly titled Argentinian dramedy The Film Critic opens on May 15 at Music Box Theatre. The venue continues its weekend matinee series “Weepie Noir: The Dark Side of Women’s Pictures” with 35 mm prints of Nicholas Ray’s 1949 film A Woman’s Secret (May 16-17) and Douglas Sirk’s 1954 film, Magnificent Obsession (May 23-24), as well as a 16 mm print of the 1948 Max Ophuls film, Letter from an Unknown Woman (May 30). Other special events include "The Comedy Festival Presents UHF with Weird Al Yankovic” at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on May 27 and "The Lives of Robert Ryan" featuring The Set Up presented by Chicago Film Critic J.R. Jones on May 31. All screenings take place at Music Box, 3733 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago. For a full schedule, visit www.musicboxtheatre.com.

Film Festivals

The first annual International Cultural Festival (June 1-6) features the foreign documentaries The World Before Her from India and After the Fall—HIV Grows Up from Romania at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Additional festivals include this week’s Chicago Underground Film Festival (www.cuff.org) at Logan Theater, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave.; June’s African Diaspora Film Festival at Facets Cinémathèque, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.; and the Black Harvest Film Festival (www.siskelfilmcenter.org/black_harvest_film_festival) at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., from August 7 through September 3.

Block Cinema Events

In Evanston, Northwestern University’s Block Cinema will host a free screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic The Shining at 7 p.m. on May 14. The special program will be followed by another free screening on May 22, featuring the animated film Consuming Spirits and a post-show Q&A with its creator, Chicago-based artist Chris Sullivan. The Block also hosts its “The Last Supper: Race, Class and Justice on the Screen” series with screenings of The Thin Blue Line (May 15); The People vs. Paul Crump (May 21); When You Can’t Shake It Off (May 27); Un condamné à mort s'est échappé (May 28); and The Passion of Joan of Arc (June 4). As part of Block Cinema’s “Buster on the Run” series, Buster Keaton’s silent short films Neighbors, The High Sign and Cops will be shown with live musical accompaniment by digital organist Jay Warren on May 29, while archival videos of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Jackie, Brooks and Frank Robinson will be screened as part of the University’s 11th annual “Rare Baseball Films” program on June 5. All Block Cinema events take place in the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. To learn more, call 847-491-4000 or visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.

Family Film Fun

From June 23 through August 25, the City of Chicago will offer free outdoor screenings every Tuesday night at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. For details, visit http://www.choosechicago.com/event/Millennium-Park-Summer-Film-Series/22238/. In Glen Ellyn, families are encouraged to come in costume to the free “Sing-Along Family Movie” series featuring Frozen (July 16), Grease (July 23) and The Sound of Music (July 30). To learn more about the 8:30 p.m. screenings at the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., call 630-942-4000 or visit www.AtTheMAC.org.

The Indian documentary film, The World Before Her, will be featured in Chicago's first annual International Cultual Festival (photo courtesy of the International Cultural Festival).

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