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Windy Indies

October brings cinema paradiso for film buffs. But for the rest of us, there is a sudden superabundance of esoteric imagery, offbeat venues, and C-list directors and actors. Where’s the best stuff? Chicago asked a film fest vet to draft a cheat sheet.

BEST: Chicago 10, Brett Morgan’s mixed-media doc about the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a Sundance favorite. Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling as a loner who falls for a life-size mail-order doll.
FEST: Chicago International Film Fest, Oct. 4th-17th at multiple theatres; 312-683-0121, chicagofilmfestival.org

BEST: The Tripper, David Arquette’s directorial début, about a Ronald Reagan–obsessed serial killer who attacks hippies. Fallen Angels, a campy flick that stars America’s Next Top Model winner (and Joliet native) Adrianne Curry.
FEST: Chicago Horror Film Festival, Oct. 5th-7th at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 312-224-8826, chicagohorrorfest.com

BEST: Hollywood Jerome, a collaboration between Chicago poet Malik Yusef and filmmaker Frey Hoffman, with a cameo from Kanye West.
FEST: Flyover Zone Film Festival, one night only of exclusively Midwestern shorts. Oct. 20th at the Film Row Cinema at Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.; 312-235-0161, chi.ifp.org

BEST: Two films that tied for best picture in Israel’s “Oscars”: Sweet Mud, about a boy who realizes his mother is mentally ill, and Aviva, My Love, about a poor hotel cook who dreams about becoming a writer.
FEST: Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema, Oct. 18th-21st at Piper’s Alley, 1608 N. Wells St., then Oct. 22nd-28th at the Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette; for info, 847-675-3378, chicagofestivalofisraelicinema.org

BEST: Island of Lost Souls, a Danish film that dazzles with impressive visual effects and Harry Potter-like spookiness.
FEST: Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Oct. 18th-28th at Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-281-9075, cicff.org

BEST: The Man With the Golden Arm, Otto Preminger’s 1955 classic, which will be screened outside Oct. 12th—in the very neighborhood where Algren penned his tale of addiction.
FEST: Around the Coyote, at ATC Gallery, 1935 W. North Ave.; 773-342-6777, aroundthecoyote.org

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