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Black History Month film programs of interest are LOVE AND BASKETBALL, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (both part of series A Fine Romance), Chicago premieres of CANE RIVER, GOLDIE, and FAHAVALO, MADAGASCAR 1947, and Avant-Noir, the latter program presented as part of Conversations at the Edge 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day all month with a variety of love stories in A Fine Romance

Open-captioned screenings of HONEY BOY will be presented on February 7 and 10 and FLEABAG on February 17

Cannes Palme d’Or winner and front-running Oscar contender PARASITE (January 31-February 6) merges a ripping black comedy/thriller with satire and social commentary. 

Back by popular demand! FANTASTIC FUNGI (January 31-February 6): Narrated by Brie Larson, this mind-boggling documentary explores the hidden kingdom of mushrooms.

Back by popular demand! In PAIN & GLORY (January 31-February 6), an aging director (Antonio Banderas) looks back on his life, career, and doomed romances on the eve of a retrospective of his films in Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical opus.

First Chicago run! HONEY BOY (February 7-13): Disney Channel child star turned scandal-plagued adult star Shia LeBeouf tells all in a barely-fictional biopic (names changed) that deconstructs the relationship between father James and son Otis. Open-captioned screenings will be presented Friday, February 7, 2 pm and Monday, February 10, 6 pm.

First Chicago run! JOSÉ (February 7-13) is a beautifully observant love story about being young, gay, and poor in a world dominated by machismo, evangelism, and possessive mothers as protagonist José, who’s closeted and still lives with his devout single mom, enjoying furtive hook-ups in hot-sheets hotel rooms. Presented as part of Panorama Latinx.

Chicago premiere! COME AS YOU ARE (February 14-20) is a most unusual comedy/road movie (produced by the local investment group Chicago Media Angels) that is both raunchy and heartwarming, concerning three men with significant disabilities that set up in a rented van to lose their virginity at a fabled Montreal brothel that caters to men with special needs.

Chicago premiere! New restoration! Unseen for over 35 years, the mature and soulful romance CANE RIVER (February 14-20) was considered lost until the discovery of a 35mm negative that led to its recent recognition as a classic of Black cinema. Returning to his home town, former college football star and aspiring poet Peter strikes sparks with local girl Maria, leading to obstacles starting with Peter’s background as a light-skinned Creole whose ancestors owned slaves. The Wednesday, February 19 screening is a Gene Siskel Film Center Movie Club event (see below under Special Engagements) featuring film critic and Black Harvest festival consultant Sergio Mims as discussion facilitator. 

Chicago premiere! Featuring colorful graffiti-like animation overwriting images, GOLDIE (February 21-27) concerns an ambitious 18-year-old Bronx woman (model and Rihanna muse Slick Woods) living in a homeless shelter with her mom and little sisters, as she prepares for an entry-level gig as a backup dancer in a hip-hop video, the break that she imagines will make her a star.

First Chicago run! Patrizio Guzmán’s THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS (February 21-27) follows NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT and THE PEARL BUTTON in the director’s monumental documentary trilogy. Centering on the massive bulwark of the Andes Mountains, both protecting it and isolating it, the cordillera (Spanish for “little rope”) becomes a springboard to explore the Pinochet regime’s still-potent legacy. NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (February 21, 22, 24; in 35mm) parallels between the Atacama Desert night sky’s macro palette of stars and the earth’s micro array of human remains while THE PEARL BUTTON (February 22, 26) explores the 2,600-mile coastline of Chile, centering on the sea and the nearly extinct “water tribes” of Patagonia. Presented as part of Panorama Latinx.

Chicago premiere! THE TIMES OF BILL CUNNINGHAM (February 28-March 12) chronicles the creative journey of the late The New York Times “On the Street” photographer and fashion historian as he captured the journey of a now lost New York filled with great personalities, fascinating eccentrics, and true originals.


First Chicago run! BEANPOLE (February 28-March 5): Love and death cement the codependency of two women—ghostly pale Iya, aka Beanpole, and brusque, pragmatic Masha—amid the devastation of war in 1945 Leningrad, including the legacy of psychic trauma, the death of Masha’s child, and the strange bargain that Masha imposes on Iya.


First Chicago run! In I WAS AT HOME, BUT… (February 28-March 5), a stressed-out Berlin mother copes with her husband’s death and the disappearance of her 13-year-old son in director Angela Schanelec’s unpredictable breakthrough feature.


30th Annual Festival of Films from Iran (February 8-March 1) showcases the premieres of eight new films, including the daring documentary and opening night film COUP 53 (February 8 & 9) that dissects the 1953 British-American coup that brought down the country’s democratically elected president; director Taghi Amirani is scheduled to appear for Q&A after both screenings, with a reception following on February 8 sponsored by MALA (Muslim American Leadership Alliance); A HAIRY TALE (February 9), a bizarre black comedy that pays tributes to the surrealism of such playwrights as Beckett and Ionesco; FINDING FARIDEH (February 15 & 16), the emotional journey of a 38-year-old Iranian woman who looks to find her birth family; TEHRAN: CITY OF LOVE (February 15 & 16), three surprising tales of thwarted romance that venture into unusual territory for Iranian cinema; FILMFARSI (February 22 & 23), a compilation of clips culled from surviving VHS tapes and insightful commentary telling of the heyday of a popular cinema destroyed by the Islamic revolution; following the February 23 screening will be a reception celebrating the festival’s 30 anniversary sponsored by Parsfarda Arts & Culture Exchange; THE WARDEN (February 22 & 23), a mystery/thriller in which a preening, promotion-hungry warden is pitted against a wily, death-row escapee who goes missing just as the facility goes on lock down; in WOMEN ACCORDING MEN (February 29 & March 1), the multifaceted images and stereotypes of Iranian women portrayed by Iranian male directors before the 1979 Islamic revolution are the subject of this revealing and sometimes hair-raising documentary culled from over 120 films; the March 1 screening is followed by a Skype Q&A with director Saeed Nouri and a reception sponsored by MALA in celebration of the festival’s 30 years; and SEVEN AND A HALF (February 29 & March 1), a series of mini-dramas of seven young women bravely facing the question that may decide their fates in world where the patriarchy still rules.

In honor of the month when Valentine’s Day falls, the GSFC presents A Fine Romance (February 1-March 4), a series of 10 movies devoted to romance, courtship, and falling in love. Featured will be LOVE & BASKETBALL (February 1 & 5; in 35mm) in which love over the basketball and the female point of view are emphasized; IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (February 1 & 3), the adaptation of James Baldwin’s Harlem-set 1974 novel; Greta Garbo stars as a Russian envoy whose charmed by a decadent count (Melvyn Douglas) in Ernst Lubitsch’s NINOTCHKA (February 7, 8, 12; in 35mm); Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in George Stevens’ SWING TIME (February 7, 8, 10; in 35mm); Jacques Demy’s all-singing narrative THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (February 14, 15, 19) in which the daughter (Catherine Deneuve) of an umbrella shop owner falls in love with an auto mechanic (Nino Castelnuovo) but the Algerian war intervenes; Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE (February 14, 15, 20; in 35mm) finds an American backpacker (Ethan Hawke) and a Parisian student (Julie Delpy) wandering the streets of Vienna, parting ways haunted by a sense of what might have been and what still might be; William Wyler’s ROMAN HOLIDAY (February 21 & 22) marked the Oscar-winning screen debut of Audrey Hepburn as a cooped-up princess (Hepburn; reputedly based on the real-life experience of Princess Margaret) on an Italian tour who runs away from her royal duties and into the arms of an American newsman (Gregory Peck) who must choose between a career-making scoop and a risky romance; the gorgeously location-shot I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (February 22 & 24; 35mm) in which Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger put a luminous spin on the romantic comedy—concerning a British naval officer and the bride-to-be of a wealthy industrialist—that would prove to be one of their most enduring and beloved films; GREGORY’S GIRL (February 29 & March 2; new 2K DCP digital restoration), filled with off-kilter humor as a gawky, gangly 16-year-old Gregory loses his position on the school soccer team—and his heart—to new arrival Dorothy; and MY SUMMER OF LOVE (February 28 & 29 & March 4; in 35mm) in which 16-year-old Mona embarks on an intense affair with glamorous rich girl Tamsin but class differences and Tamsin’s taste of fantasy threaten to turn it all into a season mirage.

From Asia with Love (January 24-May 5) examines how new uses of moving image and sound in cinema from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and China demonstrate the intense preoccupations of their filmmakers, with weekly Tuesday lectures by Jennifer Dorothy Lee, Assistant Professor of East Asian Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The series is presented in cooperation with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. Presented over the next month are Takashi Miike’s AUDITION (January 31 & February 4); Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s TETSUO: THE IRON MAN (February 11); Park Chan-wook’s LADY VENGEANCE (February 14 & 18; in 35mm), PARASITE director Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER (February 21 & 25; in 35mm); and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s SHOPLIFTERS (February 28 & March 3). See end of the release for special ticket pricing for Film Center members.

Conversations at the Edge (February 6-April 16) is a weekly series presented during the SAIC semester featuring screenings, performances, and talks by groundbreaking media artists. Upcoming programs: An Evening with Vaginal Davis (February 6) with the artist in person; Lori Felker: Intrusions and Interruptions (February 13) with the filmmaker in person; Avant-Noir (February 20) with the curator and one of the contributing artists in person; South by Southeast (February 22) with the curator in person; Linda Mary Montano: Laughing, Crying, Living Art (February 27) with the artist in person; and TROUBLE (March 5) with the filmmaker/artist in person.


Special Engagements

New 2K DCP digital restoration! Yale Strom in person! THE LAST KLEZMER: LEOPOLD KOZLOWSKI, HIS LIFE AND MUSIC (January 31 & February 2), recently restored to mark its 25th anniversary, is a heartfelt portrait filled with laughter and tears, of Leopold Kozlowski of Krakow, the last active klezmer trained in the original prewar tradition. Director Yale Strom appears for Q&A following the February 2 screening.

Filmmakers in person! Panorama Latinx Short Film Showcase (February 1) is the second edition of the short film showcase of the GSFC’s Panorama Latinx programming and outreach initiative. Selected from over 40 submissions, this compilation of works celebrates Chicago-based Latinx filmmakers from such countries as Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. Filmmakers will appear for audience discussion; all ticketholders are invited to attend the post-Q&A reception.

New 4K DCP digital restoration! WINCHESTER ’73 (February 7, 8, 10): A prized rifle is passed from hand to hand as a sharpshooter tracks a fugitive in Anthony Mann’s groundbreaking western.

Fringe Benefits: The Gene Siskel Film Center presents a monthly series dedicated to provocative and outré films that have galvanized audiences and critics alike. Featured will Robert De Niro in Brian De Palma’s HI, MOM! (February 7 & 13) in which a Vietnam vet comes to New York City and navigates the worlds of pornography, avant-garde theater, and domestic terrorism in this scabrous underground comedy. Presented in 35mm.

Back by popular demand! National Theatre Live: FLEABAG (February 8, 12, 17, and 27): This hilarious, award-winning one-woman show—featuring recent Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG award-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge—that inspired the hit TV series looking at an oversexed, emotionally unfiltered, and self-obsessed woman living her sort of life. Open-caption screening will be presented Monday, February 10, 6 pm.

Chicago premiere! New 2K DCP digital restoration! I WISH I KNEW (February 14, 15, 19) is an ambitious documentary by Jia Zhang-ke, China’s most important contemporary filmmaker, exploring Shanghai and its past through interviews with survivors of China’s historical upheavals and capturing its present with stunningly composed widescreen images. 

U.S. premiere! In STAND BY ME (February 17), a zany approach to romance is the cover for a more insightful coming of age endearingly flawed hero Jiu-bing, a disaster-prone would-be lover who has had a crush on perky classmate Bo-he since they were 12 years old. Director Lai Meng-jie will appear for Q&A after the screening. Co-presented with Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

Gene Siskel Film Center Movie Club examines CANE RIVER (February 19), featuring a post-screening discussion with film critic and Black Harvest festival consultant Sergio Mims. CANE RIVER is presented February 14-20—see Runs above.

Chicago premiere! Marie Clémence Andrimonte-Paes in person! FAHAVALO, MADAGASCAR 1947 (February 21) is the story of a post WWII insurrection by the indigenous population of Madagascar which becomes a multi-faceted walk through history in this film that is both ethnographic documentary and a chronicle of a revolution. Director Marie Clémence Andriamonta-Paes is scheduled to appear for Q&A.

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All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St.

Tickets to each screening--unless stated otherwise—are $12/general admission, $7/students, $6/Film Center members, and $5/Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) staff and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty, staff, and students. Friday matinee tickets are $8 each. All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through the Gene Siskel Film Center’s website or through the individual films’ weblinks on There is a surcharge of $1.50 per ticket. The Film Center and its box office are open 5:00 to 9:00 pm, Monday through Thursday; 1:00 to 9:00 pm, Friday; 2:00 to 9:00 pm, Saturday; and 2:00 to 6:00 pm, Sunday.


Film Center members pay $5 per screening to the Screening/Lecture Series: From Asia, With Love (January 24-May 5).

SATURDAY DOUBLE-BILL DISCOUNT: Buy a ticket at the regular prices for the first A Fine Romance film on any Saturday in February, and get a ticket for the second A Fine Romance film that day at the discount rate with proof of original purchase: $7/general admission; $5/students; $4/Film Center members. (This discount rate applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

Tickets to National Theatre Live: FLEABAG (February 8, 12, 17, 27) are $14/general admission and $8/Film Center members/students.

GUZMÁN TRILOGY DISCOUNT! Buy a ticket at the regular prices for NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, THE PEARL BUTTON, or THE CORDILLERA OF DREAMS, and get a ticket for either or both of the other two films at this discount rate for each with proof of original purchase: $7/general admission; $5/students; and $4/Film Center members. (This discount rate applies to the second and third features only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

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A Gene Siskel Film Center membership is a year-round ticket to great movies for only $6 per screening! Memberships are $50 (Individual) and $80 (Dual). For more information, call 312-846-2600 or visit

Discounted parking is available for $20 for 24 hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

The Film Center is located near CTA trains and buses. Nearest CTA L stations are Lake (Red line); State/Lake (Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple lines); and Washington (Blue line). CTA bus lines serving State St.: 2, 6, 10, 29, 36, 62, 144, and 146. 

For more information about the Film Center, call 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9:00 am-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), or visit

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About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience that has grown to over 100,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,700 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit to learn more and find out what’s playing today.

About Panorama Latinx

Panorama Latinx is an initiative of the Gene Siskel Film Center dedicated to year-round Latin American programming. The Film Center engages the dynamic Latinx community of greater Chicago through showcasing the work of emerging and established Latinx filmmakers educational screenings, and community partnerships.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman. Learn more at

Keywords: ART, Black History Month, Creative, films, Gene Siskel

Posted in CAN TV, Community Highlights