The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The cascade of factors that transformed how movies get to theaters in our economically and technologically tempestuous time would take far too much wind to properly delineate. But the Siskel’s inadvertent transformation into a cinémathèque that not only lavishes premieres and retrospectives, but harbors recent, overlooked work is noteworthy. It’s been years since Chicago lost the “dollar houses” and neighborhood second-run and third-run screens that today’s more cautious audiences would rush toward. What’s four or five simoleons for a movie you wouldn’t dare fork over fifteen for, if you could impulsively walk down the block to see it, instead of waiting months for FilmStruck or Mubi or Hulu or even Netflix? Foreign-language and American independent films are especially susceptible to disappearing after a week at the Facets or the Music Box or Landmark Century. The past couple years, the Siskel has done a solid job of quickly reviving small, lovely movies that would otherwise not be seen in properly projected glory. While the raft of programming still embraces all eras and genres of cinema, movies that have only been glimpsed locally gain from the Siskel imprimatur. Current examples include Kogonada’s reverie on the architectural marvels of “Columbus” Indiana, and South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho’s raucous, dark comedy-adventure not-for-kids kids’ anti-GMO movie “Okja,” prised from the Netflix servers for a weeklong run.
164 N. State, 312.846.2800, siskelfilmcenter.org
Best of Chicago 2017