Clouds of Sils Maria

Celebrating 50 years, the Chicago International Film Festival kicks off next month. The festival will showcase more than 150 films during its run, from October 9-23. So far, the titles of only the first 20 films have been released. Here's a look at a few of the highlights.

Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

Michael Keaton stars in this black comedy about an actor, famous for playing a comic book superhero when he was younger, as he struggles to produce a Broadway play. Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis also star.


Black Coal, Thin Ice

A distraught ex-cop, a gruesome crime and a mysterious femme fatale all converge in this Chinese thriller that took top prize at the Berlin Film Festival. 


Clouds of Sils Maria (pictured)

This "All About Eve" update stars Juliette Binoche as an aging actress who agrees to re-stage the play that launched her career 20 years ago. Kristen Stewart plays Binoche's faithful assistant. 


National Gallery

Documentary master Frederick Wiseman focuses his lens on London's National Gallery museum. The film explores the museum's collection, exhibitions, and the process of painting restoration.


Two Days, One Night

This French drama, directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, stars Marion Cotillard as a factory worker who has 48 hours to save her job from being downsized. 

Several classic films will also be screened, including the 1929 comedy "Why Be Good?" (starring Colleen Moore, the silent-screen actress who helped to kick-start the first CIFF) and 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Films will be screened at the downtown AMC River East 21 Theater (322 E. Illinois St.) For schedule and ticket information, check out the festival's official website.

Can't wait until October to hit the theater? Head to the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater for free screenings every Wednesday night up until October 1st. Screenings are first-come, first-served, so check out the schedule and be sure to get there early to claim your seat.

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