Category: Reviews – New Releases/Festivals

(NOTE: This article was originally published here.)

As a big-city festival that’s nevertheless much less prestigious than other festivals in America (think Sundance and Telluride), Chicago’s annual International Film Festival has always been in a sweet spot. The festival regularly screens the biggest hits from well-known international festivals, like Cannes and Berlin. But it also plays host to smaller projects that’d otherwise get completely overlooked.

This year’s festival, which took place from October 16 to 27, was no exception to this rule. The newest works of big-name directors – François Ozon, Céline Sciamma, Ken Loach, Terrence Malick, and others – shared space alongside lesser-known films from 137 countries. What follows are takes on seven films that screened at the festival.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of Neon.

(NOTE: An abridged version of this review was originally published here.)

** (out of 4)

The final shot of Alejandro Landes’ Monos encapsulates everything that the film could have been but isn’t. A group of military troops have just flown over a jungle in Colombia and rescued Rambo (Sofía Buenaventura), a former child soldier in a FARC-esque guerrilla movement called “The Organization.” As the group prepares to land in an unnamed city, the camera pans to Rambo, who turns and looks at the audience with a pleading, teary stare.

In many ways, Rambo’s traumatized expression reflects the terrible things he’s been through.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals