From June 6 through July 2, the Gene Siskel Film Center, in partnership with UniFrance Films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, presents Young French Cinema, a series of eight films showcasing an exciting new generation of French filmmakers. All films in the series are Chicago premieres. New directors and first films have continued to hold a prominent place in French cinema. They have been sustained by the support of such state-sponsored institutions as UniFrance, which promotes French cinema abroad, and the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), which specifically earmarks funds for emerging filmmakers, with a mandate to favor films that are “independent” and “audacious.” Unlike its American counterpart, the French equivalent of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awards a César for Best First Film. Typically, 35-40% of the yearly total of French film productions are made by first-timers. As Tim Palmer writes in his book Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema, “This systematic emphasis upon young cinema makes France unique.” Another hallmark of this diverse new generation is a general resistance to classification, whether political, stylistic, or generic. Is TONNERRE a romance or a thriller? GRAND CENTRAL lushly romantic or clinically factual? AGE OF PANIC cinéma-vérité, comedy, or domestic drama? Are the radical sentiments of the heroine in THE RENDEZ-VOUS OF DÉJÀ VU endorsed or satirized? One might call it “le cinéma-caméléon” – a color-changing, shape-shifting cinema that offers spectators the pleasures and challenges of fluctuation and unpredictability.
Gene Siskel Film Center presents Czech That Film in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago and the Czech Center in New York. Provocative premieres and prizewinners make up this series of four recent films. The series opens with THE ICING, the latest film by prolific auteur Jan Hrebejk, who brings a trademark satirical bent to this battle-of-the-sexes comedy featuring a runaway wedding party on a bender in a rural bar. Andrea Sedlácková‘s FAIR PLAY is a coming-of-age drama dealing with the sensitive subject of athletic doping. Two popular actors debut first features as directors: Jirí Mádl puts the making of a home video opus at the center of TO SEE THE SEA, and Ondrej Sokol returns to his hometown as the setting for his wry mystery/comedy KRÁSNO.
Mádl, who began his career acting in teen comedies and went on to become one of the Czech Republic’s most beloved young stars, appears in person on Tuesday, June 23, for audience discussion with our second screening of TO SEE THE SEA. Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago 164 N. State Street | Chicago