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The Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle launches its first showcase in November

Written by
Michael Smith

Founded earlier this year, the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle is a local organization committed to celebrating independence and diversity in film. The group's first annual film showcase takes place November 5 and 6 at the Gene Siskel Film Center and Wilmette Theatre and will feature talkbacks with filmmakers after each screening.

Resilience is a fascinating documentary that explores the notion of how traumatic childhood experiences have been linked to medical diseases and self-destructive behaviors later in life. Through informative and provocative interviews, a host of trailblazing doctors, educators and social workers outline the relationship between “toxic stress” and hormones that negatively impact the mind and body, a connection that is intensified in impoverished communities. Key scenes use cutting-edge animation to illustrate how science can be effectively used to break down the links between Adverse Childhood Experiences and addiction, violence and disease. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director James Redford moderated by critic Pam Powell. 

Thirst is a claustrophobic thriller and an impressive debut for Ecuadorian writer and director Joe Houlberg. The story concerns a young blind woman who vacations at a country home with her cousin and their two boyfriends. The house, a colonial mansion where the cousins spent summers in their childhood, seems to bring out carnal desires in the foursome and effectively functions as a fifth central character. Featuring ambiguous flashback inserts and an evocative use of image and sound to convey the sensory experiences of the blind heroine, this haunting mood piece establishes Houlberg as a filmmaker to watch. Houlberg will participate in a Q&A following the screening, moderated by critic Jason Coffman.
The Art of the Video Essay is a 70-minute program of short video essays made by leading film critics around the world (including Mark Rappaport and Nelson Carvajal) and curated by Chicago's own Kevin B. Lee. This program will spotlight how video essays—a relatively new form of criticism—can illuminate aspects of cinema that cannot be conveyed through mere writing. Lee will answer questions after the screening, with assistance from critic Daniel Nava.
For more information, including ticket info and showtimes, visit the CIFCC's website.

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