Chicago Film Society is back screening difficult movies for difficult people

After spending the pandemic experimenting with new hobbies–bread-baking, zine-making, whittling, etc.–Chicago Film Society returns to “the only thing we ever knew how to do” — programming difficult movies for difficult people.

“We are planning a demi-season of select attractions at the Music Box Theatre. Won’t you join us?”

Chicago Film Society

Contrary to recent reports of the death of movie-going and the terminal uncoolness of theaters, CFS exists to remind people how indispensable it is to experience public art in public, among strangers and friends, projected from analog film prints. With a season of prints from archives, studios, and their own growing collection, CFS reminds their loyal audience that 35mm cinema has now survived two once-in-a-lifetime pandemics.

Indeed, one of this season’s silent offerings preceded the 1918-1920 flu pandemic!

The current season is short and subject to change, but that means it’s all highlights: OM SHANTI OM, the first Bollywood movie ever presented by CFS; SHY PEOPLE and TRAFFIC IN SOULS, both originally scheduled for March 2020 and re-emerging this fall from the vaults; THE SHAKEDOWN, among the scrappiest silent films we know; and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, the cheeriest capstone to twenty-two months spent cooped up with our families. 


Is this it? Just a handful of films?
We are exploring several additional titles, but this is all we can confirm at press time. We hope to return to a full schedule in 2022. 

What’s your vaccine policy?
Beginning on Oct. 8, all Music Box Theatre screenings, including CFS shows, will require proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for entry. More details can be found on the Music Box Theatre website. 

When are you returning to NEIU?
We are in active discussion with Northeastern Illinois University and intend to resume screenings there as soon as the university administration allows us to do so.

Didn’t you already start screening movies again a few months ago? 
Remember when you used to make plans? That’s so 2019. We’ve been holding a smattering of awesome outdoor shows, often announced with very short notice. We are trying to reform. Won’t you help us? 


Sunday, October 10 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by William Wyler • 1929 • 35mm from Universal

A late silent knockout from William Wyler, this slice-of-life tale from the margins of the con artist community is an effortless charmer.

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott.

Monday, October 25 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky • 1987 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections
What happens in the swamp, stays in the swamp–and lingers on forever as a ghost. A murderer’s row of great actresses–Jill Clayburgh, Barbara Hershey, Martha Plimpton–star in this unexpectedly moving family drama, from the dudes who brought you Delta Force. One of our cancelled shows from 2020!

Saturday, November 6 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by George Loane Tucker • 1913 • 35mm from Universal

If you only see one silent film about New York’s sex traffickers brought to justice through a dictaphone, it should probably be Traffic in Souls, a landmark from the dawn of the feature film era that moves as fast as any Michael Bay film. Another cancelled show from 2020! Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott.

Monday, November 29 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by Farah Khan • 2007 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

A celebration of the Mumbai film industry, this self-referential Bollywood hit serves up ample musical interludes, slapstick humor, and reincarnation melodrama. 

Monday, December 13 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by Vincente Minnelli • 1944 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

Join Esther, Tootie, Rose, Lon Jr., Agnes, Grandpa Joe, Katie, and us for one of the greatest Hollywood musicals ever made.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest film, TV, advertising, entertainment and production news! Sign up for our free elert here.