New from Every Movie Has a Lesson by Don Shanahan: SPECIAL: Previewing the 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival

(Image via Facebook, Program designed by Ian Simmons)

(Image via Facebook, Program designed by Ian Simmons)

For the seventh consecutive year, many of the best domestic and international films on the festival circuit come to Chicago thanks to the Chicago Film Critics Association. The 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival opens May 17th at the famed and restored Music Box Theatre in the northside Lakeview neighborhood. Steaming towards a decade in successful existence, the CCFF remains the only film festival curated by film critics in the nation. This year, 25 feature films and two short film programs comprise their rich and ambitious offering slate.

For the third year in a row, Every Movie Has a Lesson will be credentialed to cover this fine spread of movie offerings. Last year, this event produced Aneesh Chaganty’s revolutionary Searching and Bo Burnham’s breakout Eighth Grade, two films on this site’s year-end “10 Best” list as well as Paul Schrader’s First Reformed with Ethan Hawke and the foreign film gem The Guilty. Stay tuned here on Every Movie Has a Lesson for festival capsules and eventual full reviews.

The 7th CCFF opens its schedule with Saint Frances, a Chicago-set coming-of-age story that debuted at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. Filmmaker/star Alex Thompson and fellow castmate Kelly O’Sullivan will be in attendance to present their film. Two top CCFF highlights include A24’s Sundance hit The Farewell starring Crazy Rich Asians breakout Awkwafina and the newest film from Oscar winner Danny Boyle, Yesterday, a Beatle-flavored fantasy comedy. The Farewell director Lulu Wang is scheduled as an in-house guest.

The luminaries do not end there. A throwback treat graces the Music Box on Saturday the 18th. A special 40th anniversary 35mm screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien will include a visit from star Tom Skerritt. Other guests across the festival include Chicagoland native Jim Gaffigan and filmmaker Paul Harrill for Light from Light, the group of Tom Cullen, Tatiana Maslany, and Jay Duplass representing the relationship film Pink Wall, and actress Aisling Franciosi of The Nightingale a convict revenge drama from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent.

A full schedule for the 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival can be found on their website. Full festival access can be had for a $150. Those passes and individual tickets are available online with the Music Box Theatre. The Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA), the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism. Follow the CFCA and the festival on Twitter at @chicagocritics and on Facebook here.

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