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CITY SO REAL
2020, National Geographic, 60 min, USA, Dir: Steve James

In this five-part documentary series, Oscar-nominated documentarian Steve James delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America’s third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown. The series begins in the haze of mid-summer 2018, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, embroiled in controversy, shocks the city by announcing he won’t seek reelection. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge in a diverse and crowded field as they engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape Chicago’s uncertain future. The series’ final episode picks up a year after the mayoral election in 2020, as the city simultaneously grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the death of George Floyd. In candid interviews with residents throughout the city, the series captures Chicago’s indomitable spirit as well as its seemingly insurmountable challenges.


LIFE ITSELF
2014, Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films, 120 min, USA, Dir: Steve James

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steve James (HOOP DREAMS) directed this loving but clear-eyed portrait of Roger Ebert, one of the best-known and most influential movie critics of all time. Based on Ebert’s memoir, this moving documentary recounts his professional growth from politicized school newspaperman to Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Sun-Times film critic to television household name, as well as his personal journey - after finding love at 50, he waged a public battle with thyroid cancer and emerged as a major voice on the Internet when he could no longer physically speak.


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