Chicago Film Festival 2006
Jurors: Betsy Blair, Xavier Koller, Marina Stavenhagen, John Russell Taylor, Jean-Jacques Varret, Reiner Veit

Golden Hugo:Fireworks Wednesday, Iran, dir. Asghar Farhadi
Special Jury Prize:Days of Glory (Indigènes), France/Algeria, dir. Rachid Bouchareb
Best Director:Taxidermia, Hungary, dir. György Pálfi
Best Actress:The Spot, Darya Moroz, Victoria Isakova, and Anna Ukolova
Best Actor:The Free Will, Jürgen Vogel
DocuFest Competition*:Iraq in Fragments, USA/Iraq, dir. James Longley
New Directors Competition*:Day Night Day Night, USA, dir. Julia Loktev
Audience Choice Award**:Days of Glory (Indigènes), France/Algeria, dir. Rachid Bouchareb
The Queen, UK, dir. Stephen Frears
Vitus, Switzerland, dir. Fredi M. Murer
* These two awards are determined by separately constituted juries
** Voted by the public, and announced later than the other awards

Films I Saw at CIFF:
Leaving aside competition films I saw elsewhere, and usually later
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Hugo
Syndromes and a Century A– (Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - Apichatpong's fascination with repetition and with jungle/office contrasts may wear thin, but here it remains clever, insinuating, special

Summer Palace C+ (China, dir. Lou Ye) - Enticed to the movie by its reputation for infuriating Chinese government, I had hoped for something less sludgy; still, it's worth a look

Why Not More?
A newly arrived naïf in the Windy City, I didn't know about the festival until it had all but played itself out.

Films from the Main Competition:
Listed alphabetically  •  Most graded titles seen subsequently to CIFF
12:08 East of Bucharest B+ (Romania, dir. Corneliu Porumboiu)
Aviva My Love (Israel, dir. Shemi Zarhin)
Chronicle of an Escape (Argentina, dir. Adrián Caetano)
Climates (Turkey, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
The Collector (Poland, dir. Feliks Falk)
Darkbluealmostblack (Spain, dir. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo)
Days of Glory (Indigènes) B (France/Algeria, dir. Rachid Bouchareb)
The Family Friend (Italy, dir. Paolo Sorrentino)
Fireworks Wednesday (Iran, dir. Asghar Farhadi)
The Free Will (Germany, dir. Matthias Glasner)
Invisible Waves (Thailand, dir. Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
Renaissance (France, dir. Christian Volckman)
Requiem B+ (Germany, dir. Hans-Christian Schmid)
A Soap (Sweden/Denmark, dir. Pernille Fischer Christensen)
The Spot (Russia, dir. Yuriy Moroz)
Suburban Mayhem (Australia, dir. Paul Goldman)
Syndromes and a Century A– (Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Taxidermia (Hungary, dir. György Pálfi)
Time (South Korea, dir. Kim Ki-duk)
The Zero Years (Greece, dir. Nikos Nikolaidis)

Films from the New Directors Competition:
Listed alphabetically  •  Graded titles reviewed above
Day Night Day Night A– (USA, dir. Julia Loktev)
Dirt Nap (USA, dirs. Mark Estep & Kurt Reid)
God Willing (Sweden, dirs. Amir Chamdin & Erik Eger)
Host & Guest (South Korea, dir. Shin Dong-Il)
The Italian (Russia, dir. Andrey Kravchuk)
Just Sex and Nothing Else (Hungary, dir. Krisztina Goda)
Madeinusa (Peru, dir. Claudia Llosa)
Midnight My Love (Thailand, dir. Kongdej Jaturanrasamee)
Ode to Joy (Poland, dirs. Anna Kazejak-Dawid, Jan Komasa & Maciej Migas)
Steel City (USA, dir. Brian Jun)
Taking Father Home (China, dir. Ying Liang)
Thicker Than Water (Iceland, dir. Árni Ásgeirsson)
The Unforgiven (South Korea, dir. Yun Jong-bin)
The Violin (Mexico, dir. Francisco Vargas)
Yacoubian Building (Egypt, dir. Marwan Hamed)

Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing films are Stranger Than Fiction (USA, Forster), Babel (Mexico/USA, González Iñárritu), and Venus (UK, Michell), respectively

Special and Gala Presentations include Candy (Australia, Armfield), Chicago (USA, Urson), The Fountain (USA, Aronofsky), A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (USA, Montiel), Jasmine Women (China, Hou), Paris, je t'aime (France, Misc.), The Queen (UK, Frears), Shortbus (USA, Mitchell), and Shut Up & Sing (USA, Kopple & Peck)

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