‘Spencer’, ‘Tsugua Diaries’ Highlight of Chicago Film Festival Week Two


After a week of long-awaited premieres, the Chicago International Film Festival has returned with a lineup of films just as important and exciting as those of the first week. With premieres by big names like “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and a closing night on Sunday, the second week of the festival proved to be a success. Here’s the buzz recap from Week 2 of the Chicago International Film Festival.


What a gift it was to see Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer” on the big screen. Not only is the film an incredibly raw, heartbreaking, but beautiful snapshot of one of Princess Diana’s (Kristen Stewart) many complicated weekends, but it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience that moviegoers are fortunate enough to be able to experience. live during their lifetime.

The film had both a press screening and a general festival screening last week at the festival. It takes place during the Christmas holidays in the dark house of Sandringham in 1991, 10 years after the marriage of Diana and Prince Charles. Although “Spencer” is a biopic, Larraín includes psychological twists and turns that invite audiences into Diana’s mental state during her vacation trip, which ends up being more of a vacation nightmare. The dismal atmosphere, created by both the royal family’s coldness towards Diana and the literal coldness of the December weather in Sandringham, also seems to be making its way into audiences. It’s hard not to put yourself in Diana’s shoes and feel the loneliness and sadness that have permeated her life.

“Spencer” wouldn’t be a success without the stunning performance of Stewart, whose selection for the role of Diana created shock and skepticism among many loyal viewers of the final season of “The Crown” and avid Diana fans. , which can be very protective. on who chose to play the People’s Princess. As one of those fans, I can assure other fans that Stewart fully and naturally embraces Diana, not only playing her well but transforming into her completely. All semblance of Stewart disappears and you almost feel like you’re there with Diana, living it all with her. Her performance pierces your heart in the best and worst ways, just like the reality of Diana’s life and death did and does.

“Spencer” is released in the United States on November 5.

Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana in “Spencer”. The film premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 20 and 22, and releases in the United States on November 5. (Photo courtesy of Neon Rated)

“Tsugua’s Diaries”

“The Tsugua Diaries,” directed by Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes, was filmed on lockdown and released on July 13. The title is a tease to the narrative structure of the film, as “Tsugua” is August spelled backwards. The film is seen as a pandemic project that speaks to the creative outlets sought during the desperation of quarantine.

Starting on day 22, the movie centers on three friends who decide to spend their time in the summer by building a butterfly garden. The story is a countdown from day one, then reaching day one at the end. As this progresses, it is revealed that the Friends are cast members of a movie shot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the order in which the plot is presented, the characters appear and the settings develop, introducing a completely different world from the one it started with.

Shot in 16mm, the film features captivating visuals with long shots, a frame filled with diverse nature and brightly colored lighting. The main conflict is relevant to many because it focuses on the difficulties of successfully working as a team during a pandemic. Due to the reverse order, the movie requires a lot of attention and recall skills to keep the plot running smoothly. The countdown to “The Tsugua Diaries” introduces an unconventional narrative structure that unfolds in compelling ways.

A scene from “The Tsugua Diaries” is shown above. The film was originally released on July 13 and premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago International Film Festival)

“The worst person in the world”

“The Worst Person in the World” by Joachim Trier, Norway’s nomination for Best International Feature for the 94th Academy Awards, premiered at the Chicago Film Festival on Saturday, October 16. The film was a resounding success at the Cannes Film Festival with Renate Reinseve winning the Best Actress award for her performance as Julie, a former medical student who changes her college path to study psychology.

The story follows a conflicted and complicated Julie in 12 chapters, including a prologue and an epilogue. The prologue establishes her relationship with Askel, an illustrator 15 years her senior. While they are together, Julie must confront her feelings about having children and what it means to be a family. She later develops feelings for another man and faces a decision concerning her two partners. Throughout the chapters, Julie strives to understand her identity, her passions and her relationships as she navigates the final years of her young adulthood.

The charming and heartbreaking film is refreshing and relatable with an even more engaging and original protagonist. Reinseve’s performance is immersive and magnetic as she brings Julie to life on screen; his acting style is simple in his delivery but built to create such a sophisticated and complex woman. The predominantly realistic film contains scenes incorporating elements of expressionism, keeping it fresh and unique throughout its duration. “The Worst Person in the World” beautifully explores the fear that comes with feeling lost in a sea of ​​other identities.

A scene from “The Worst Person in the World” is shown above. The film was originally released in France on July 9 and premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Kasper Tuxen Oslo Pictures)

“Mothers Day”

Eva Husson brings a forbidden love story to the big screen with “Mothering Sunday”, a period drama starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth. The story, based on the novel by Graham Swift, follows Jane Fairchild (Young), a housekeeper, and her affair with wealthy neighbor Paul (O’Connor). It’s Mother’s Day and Jane is spending her day off with Paul, who later has to go to a Mother’s Day lunch to celebrate her engagement with someone else.

While the plot of the film is compelling at first (how is the story of the maid having an affair with the neighbor engaged not?), The film’s spark fades as it goes. as we fall into Jane’s time and future. It ends up distracting audiences from Jane and Paul’s relationship, which could have been stronger had we seen more interactions between the two and hadn’t been taken away from them by these time hopping.

Young and O’Connor however keep the public interest, their two very beautiful very real performances keeping the film somewhat interesting. Jane dances between innocence and maturity, while Paul seems almost an adult but not enough to fully follow the rules that came with being a rich young man in the 1920s. But he is also a rich young man. , and rules aren’t exactly high on Paul’s agenda.

While “Mothering Sunday” featured several excellent performances, the slow-motion plot presents too many distractions between time jumps for viewers to remain too engaged in Jane and Paul’s passionate relationship.

“Mothering Sunday” opens in New York and Los Angeles on November 19.

Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor star in “Mothering Sunday”. The film premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 23 and releases in the United States on November 19. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classic)

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