The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season

Chicago Film Society

The Chicago Film Society begins their 28th Season with screenings at NEIU and the Music Box Theater throughout the summer from May 11 thru August 31.

See the full schedule and ticket information below.


Sometimes it feels like the state of cinema is one last “end of history” horizon of infinite boredom: this week’s comic book movie beats the all-time record of last month’s world-historic comic book movie. We’ll know the pandemic is really over when we’re finally graced with TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which has been delayed as often as your root canal since 2019. 

By another measure, cinema is in a time of up-is-down creative destruction: once-invincible Netflix is losing subscribers and the Academy Award for Best Picture went to an Apple TV+ release that was only grudgingly dragged into theaters. What of tomorrow–what will be the first NFT added to the National Film Registry? 

But from our perspective, the only important development is our new season, which holds the line on the ‘disruptive’ curatorial and exhibition standards that we’ve brought to Chicagoland cinemas since 2011. In the only multiverse that matters, Walter Huston is both the president of the United States in GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE and a take-no-prisoners prison warden in THE CRIMINAL CODE. Underrated landmarks of independent cinema such as STONY ISLAND and VARIETY return to the big screen where they belong. A trio of silent masterworks–THE CANADIAN, HELL’S HINGES, and THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE–will literally take the words out of your mouth. And a host of films from the CFS archive of misfit toys–LIVIN’ LARGE!, SUDDEN FEAR, an IB Technicolor print of THE LADIES’ MAN, and a copy of TWISTER (figuratively) rescued from the Vestron dumpster–will be reunited with real live audiences.

How crazy is CFS?  We spent the last two years overseeing a frame-by-frame restoration of HERE’S CHICAGO! THE CITY OF DREAMS, a 13-minute short that once ran every half hour, on the half hour, for a decade at the Water Tower Pumping Station. It’s our first large-gauge restoration project, and we like the film so much we’ll be screening it twice as part of the Music Box’s 70mm Film Festival. Two screenings down, two hundred thousand to go.

ALSO READ: FACETS 47th Anniversary Celebration packed with special features

Chicago Film Society, Season 28
May 11 thru August 31

Multiple venues —
The Auditorium at NEIU
(Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave)
and the Music Box Theatre

Admission: $10 – $14 (varies by venue)
For more information VISIT HERE


Wednesday, May 11 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Charlie Shackleton • 2021 • 35mm from the filmmaker

A spectral experimental feature about the fragility of life and film: glimpses of folks who have left us, in a film destined for disappearance. Featuring director Charlie Shackleton in person.

Wednesday, May 18 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Gregory LaCava • 1933 • 35mm from Library of Congress, permission Swank

What this country really needs is a president with a special relationship with God, especially when the Commander in Chief is played by pre-Code jefe Walter Huston. Released on the eve of FDR’s inauguration, this dead-serious call for American fascism is an outlier in the filmography of comedy specialist Gregory LaCava. Not available on streaming.

Saturday, May 21 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box


Directed by William Beaudine • 1926 • 35mm from Library of Congress

Live musical accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

The highlight of William Beaudine’s uneven, gargantuan forty-year career, this rural drama with Thomas Meighan is adapted from W. Somerset Maughan’s play Land of Promise. Not available on disc or streaming

Wednesday, June 8 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Robert Zemeckis • 1980 • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

This antic Kurt Russell comedy from the Zemeckis-Gale team that brought you I Wanna Hold Your Hand and 1941 has been described as a “Three Stooges short with very high production values.” If that’s up your alley, what do we have to do for you to drive off the lot with a movie ticket today? 

Monday, June 13 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box


Directed by Andrew Davis • 1978 • 35mm from Chicago Film Archives

A unique cinematic love letter to Chicago soul music, independently produced Stony Island was shot mostly guerilla style in the years before the formation of the Chicago Film Office, capturing the scenes of the South Side rarely seen in other films. Stony Island follows the formation of the Stony Island Band, assembled for the production but made up of real-life musicians Gene “Daddy G” Barge, Tennyson Stephens, and Stoney Robinson. Co-presented with The Numero Group, with star Richie Davis in person!

Wednesday, June 22 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by David Miller • 1952 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Cohen Media

Wealthy playwright Joan Crawford is wooed by young hunk Jack Palance–and they live happily ever after, give or take Gloria Grahame in this favorite spinster noir.

Thursday, June 23 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box

Sunday, June 26 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box


Directed by Douglas Trumbull • 1983 • 70mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Warner Brothers


Directed by Ted Hearne • 1983 • 70mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

State of the art cinema, 1983 edition: VFX pioneer Douglas Trumbull’s cathartic mixture of 35mm and 70mm puts VR headsets to shame in Brainstorm, plus the world premiere of the CFS restoration of Here’s Chicago! The City of Dreams, a large-gauge travelogue of Chicago (and Wilmette) that takes you from the Art Institute and the Mercantile Exchange to the Loyola and Logan Square CTA stops.

Wednesday, June 29 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Henry Hathaway • 1938 • 35mm from Universal

This Henry Fonda-George Raft brawny bromance is a classic Western transported to the Frozen North. The award for most scenes stolen is shared jointly by Akim Tamiroff as a Russian fish thief, John Barrymore as a drunken newspaper editor, and Slicker the seal as himself. Not available on streaming.

Wednesday, July 6 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Jack Arnold • 1957 • 35mm from Universal

The most venerated Universal-International horror show of the ’50s! One day you’re sunning yourself on the deck of a boat with your beautiful wife, the next day you’re fighting off giant spiders with a sewing pin and hiding in a matchbox.

Saturday, July 9 @ 11:30 AM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by Charles Swickard & William S. Hart • 1916 • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art

Live musical accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

If Clint Eastwood was making movies in 1916 and was a born-again evangelical rather than a libertarian, he might have made a movie like Hell’s Hinges, which plays like the Unforgiven of 1916. As it is, Hell’s Hinges is a startling entry in the canon of early American cinema and William S. Hart’s masterpiece. 

Wednesday, July 13 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Bette Gordon • 1983 • 35mm from Kino Lorber

A young woman begins selling tickets at a decrepit porn theater and rethinks her relationship to sexuality and desire after sneaking into the projection booth one night. Also known as The CFS Story

Monday, July 18 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by Bob Fosse • 1979 • 35mm from Criterion Pictures, USA

After directing Cabaret and Lenny, Bob Fosse modestly followed up with a loose musical version of Fellini’s   (not to be confused with 9, or the half-dozen times that Woody Allen tried to remake a Fellini movie). If you don’t remember the kinky choreography, the surgery scenes, or the expressive growl of Roy Scheider’s mug from the Italian original, get ready to go backwards when forward fails.

Wednesday, July 20 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Michael Almereyda • 1986 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

Harry Dean Stanton plays a soda pop and mini-golf magnate presiding over what appears to be a looney bin in rural Kansas but is actually just his family. Michael Almereyda’s feature debut pulls together a cast of total weirdos including Crispin Glover and William Burroughs. 

Wednesday, July 27 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Jerry Lewis • 1961 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections

The Total FilmMaker Jerry Lewis goes inside the doll house for this riotous comedy that inspired everyone from Jean-Luc Godard to Wes Anderson. Screening in an original IB Technicolor print! 

Monday, August 1 @ 7:00 PM / Music Box Theatre


Directed by The Hughes Brothers • 1993 • 35mm from Warner Brothers

At the age of 20, twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes became the youngest feature film directors in the history of Hollywood with Menace II Society. An unflinching treatment of crime and poverty in South Los Angeles. A perennial inspiration for wayward youth everywhere! 

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


Directed by Ernst Lubitsch • 1924 • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art

Live musical accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

The rondelary of romantic rivalries that set the template for Ernst Lubitsch’s uniquely sophisticated and adult contribution to American comedy. A film to savor like a fine Viennese schnitzel.

Wednesday, August 10 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Éric Rohmer • 1986 • 35mm from The Film Desk

How a single girl spent her summer vacation, with a witchy twist by way of Jules Verne. One of the most delightful and effortless Rohmer films, with an extraordinary lead performance from co-writer Marie Riviere.

Wednesday, August 17 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Howard Hawks • 1930 • 35mm from Sony Pictures Repertory

Walter Huston brings an Old Testament ‘eye for an eye’ zeal to the prison problem in this pre-Code morality play, which Hawks made right before starting work on his landmark Scarface

Wednesday, August 24 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by Michael Schultz • 1991 • 35mm from Chicago Film Society Collections, permission Park Circus

The “streetwise to highrise” odyssey of a young Black journalist trying to break out on the local TV news beat. A neglected film from Cooley High and Car Wash director Michael Schultz, recently selected by CFS patrons as the title from our collection that reserves a second chance on the big screen! 

Wednesday, August 31 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU


Directed by William K. Howard • 1932 • 35mm from the Museum of Modern Art, Permission Criterion Pictures, USA

Court is in session, but don’t worry–justice will be served in an hour or less in this mile-a-minute pre-Code melodrama. Not available on disc or streaming–but finally available through CFS two years after it was originally scheduled!

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