Living for the City: Chicago International Film Festival features panels, movies


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“The Book Thief,” directed by Brian Percival, is based on the bestselling novel by Marus Zusak. The film is part of the Chicago International Film Festival and will play on October 22.

Miranda Leon, Columnist

The semester system versus the quarter system is an age-old debate. Who will win?

It seemed a toss up until now. I know you are thinking the semester system is indisputably the better option. While you are cramming for midterms, your friends from back home are excessively documenting on social media how much fun they are having. I’m not bitter. I promise. Here’s why: The quarter system emerges the victor.

Northwestern students are on the quarterly grind. As such, we do not get a fall break. Therefore, about this time of year, we are not back home like our friends. However, we come out the winners because we are only 30 minutes from Chicago. This weekend, travel those 30 minutes to visit the Chicago International Film Festival.

The festival, currently celebrating its 49th year, is North America’s longest-running film festival competition. Showcasing more than 130 films from across the globe, the festival’s cultural and artistic variety sets up a cinematic experience you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Celebrate acing your midterm or pull away from studying for a few hours and head over to the box office. The festival opened Thursday and runs through Oct. 24. Here are some of the must-see films featured at the festival’s only location: AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.


Country: United States

Director: Lance Edmands

Plot: Amy Morton from Steppenwolf and John Slattery from “Mad Men” star in this drama centered on family, isolation and grief. School bus driver Lesley (Morton) is bereaved when her own mistake leads to tragedy that upsets her ordinary small-town life in northern Maine. Slattery plays Lesley’s husband who does little to console her. The film merges other storylines with Lesley’s, focusing on other families in her community.

Showtime: 1:45 p.m. Monday

Ticket price: $5

Guest appearances: actress Amy Morton


“The Book Thief”

Countries: United States and Germany

Director: Brian Percival

Plot: “The Book Thief” is based on the best-selling novel by Markus Zusak, with the screenplay written by Michael Petroni. Set in the Holocaust era, this film depicts Nazi Germany from the innocent perspective of a young girl (Sophie Nélisse). The young girl grapples with the choice between societal influence and her own family’s values as her foster family hides a Jewish refugee from Nazis.

Showtime: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Ticket price: $20 regular admission/$16 student discount

Guest appearances: director Brian Percival, actors Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nélisse


Go Goa Gone”

Country: India

Directors: Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru

Plot: “Go Goa Gone” is a zombie rom-com. Intrigued yet? This film follows the journey of buddies, Luv and Hardik, and their roommate Bunny, on a vacation to the Goa beaches. They fall victim to the trap of a beautiful woman who mischievously leads them to a zombie island. “Go Goa Gone” portrays the classic zombie battle — but with a twist. The film is in Hindi with English subtitles

Showtimes: 9:15 p.m.Wednesday and 10:30 p.m. Friday

Ticket price: $14 regular admission and $11 student discount Wednesday, $10 Friday showing


“One Chance”

Country: U.K.

Director: David Frankel

Plot: From the director of “The Devil Wears Prada,” “One Chance” tells the true story of Paul Potts. Think male Susan Boyle. Potts transforms from unassuming shop worker, mediocre opera singer to YouTube sensation and “Britain’s Got Talent” winner after being discovered by none other than Simon Cowell.

Showtime: 7 p.m. Sunday

Ticket price: $20 regular admission, $16 student discount

Guest appearances: Director David Frankel


Free Events/Panels

The Festival offers a number of free events throughout the week. Some of them include: “Meet the Critics” (4 p.m. Friday), “Comedy: Improvising Cinema” (12 p.m. Oct. 19) and “Spotlight Africa: Producers without Borders” (12 p.m. Sunday). Personally, I recommend checking out “CineYouth: Best of the Fest.” This 90-minute screening features films created by winners of the 2013 CineYouth Festival. Winners are all 21 years of age and younger. A Q-and-A with the winners is included. Get an inside look into the future of film.

For more information on the festival and its films, visit the Chicago International Film Festival’s website,

Tickets are on sale at the AMC River East 21 box office an hour before each screening.