How often do we seriously take the time to contemplate life’s bigger questions? We either preoccupy ourselves with everyday matters that unwittingly prompt us to put these issues on the back burner, or we may view these subjects as too daunting or scary, pushing them into the dark recesses of our consciousness for later handling (opportunities for which almost never surface). But how prepared do these approaches leave us for the time when we really will have to address them?
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Passing judgment is something that, for what it’s worth, seems to come all too easily to most of us. That’s especially true when someone engages in acts that affect us negatively, and, in some cases, such blame may be genuinely deserved. But what happens if such effects result from acts that originate with honest, benign intentions?
Think you know what constitutes existence? Are you sure? A close look may reveal a picture far different from what we think we know, one that crosses dimensional lines and offers us infinite possibilities for exploration and experience – far more than we may have typically imagined and involving avenues for expression that are limited only by our imaginations.
The Chicago International Film Festival recently completed its 2020 edition in its first-ever all-virtual format. With moviehouses just now beginning to reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this alternative approach made it possible for the Festival to go forward, and it worked remarkably well, enabling viewers to screen a variety of films while remaining safe at home or in the comfort of their vehicles at its drive-in performances. As has been the case with other such events this year, this is a viable approach well worth considering for future programs, even without the threat of a pandemic. It makes it possible to offer the Festival’s films to a wider audience and provides flexible viewing conditions, benefits not necessarily available when presented [...]
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020). Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Shenkman, J.C. MacKenzie, Danny Flaherty, Noah Robbins, John Doman, Caitlin FitzGerald, Alice Kremelberg, Wayne Duvall, Steve Routman, Mike Geraghty. Director: Aaron Sorkin. Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin. Web site. Trailer. We all want justice. We all want to see it served. But does it always turn out that way? Seeking it requires diligence and a concerted effort to make sure that what needs to be revealed indeed is. Nevertheless, even with the best of intentions and a noble approach, it’s possible that the process can become [...]
“Eternal Beauty” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Penelope Wilton, Billie Piper, Morfydd Clark, Alice Lowe, Paul Hilton, Spencer Deere, Robert Pugh, Natalie O’Neill, Elysia Welch, Boyd Clack, Rita Bernard-Shaw, Robert Aramayo (voice), Nicholas Lumley. Director: Craig Roberts. Screenplay: Craig Roberts. Web site. Trailer. Throughout our lives, we’re often bombarded by statements, observations and criticisms associated with what constitutes “normal.” But what is that exactly? It’s often considered something ordinary and everyday, yet it frequently gets elevated to a standard that’s essentially unattainable, prompting us to wonder what good it would be then. Finding our way through such a perplexing maze can become a challenge even under the best of conditions, but it’s especially frustrating for someone with [...]
“Yes, God, Yes” (2020). Cast: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Donna Lynne Champlin, Susan Blackwell, Alisha Boe, Wolfgang Novogratz, Francesca Reale, Parker Wierling, Allison Shrum, Teesha Renee, Tre’len Johnston, Matt Lewis. Director: Karen Maine. Screenplay: Karen Maine. Web site. Trailer. The mystique underlying highly personal subjects like sexuality and spirituality is undeniable, something that’s tailor made to our individual needs and sensibilities. So how is it that some of us feel we can dictate the terms of these matters to others, as if our views were the last word and not to be questioned? How is it that such canned perspectives can realistically fit everyone? And why must those who disagree with these outlooks be ridiculed, bullied or punished for their [...]
“Far From the Tree” (2017 production, 2018 release). Cast: Andrew Solomon, Jason Kingsley, Emily Perl Kingsley, Jack Allnutt, Amy Allnutt, Bob Allnutt, Loini Vivao, Leah Smith, Joseph A. Stramondo, Howard Solomon, John Habich Solomon, Derek Reese, Lisa Reese, Tyler Reese, Rebecca Reese, Charles Kingsley (archive footage). Directors: Rachael Dretzin and Jamila Ephron. Book: Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree. Web site. Trailer. When a couple settles down to start raising children, the parents-to-be generally assume that everything is going to turn out “normal,” that their hopes and wishes for the typical “mainstream” family are going to materialize free of challenges and difficulties. But what happens when things don’t pan out as expected? Significant differences in any number of areas, from physical [...]