Admiring Buddy Guy documentary will close the Chicago International Film Festival tonight

‘The Torch,’ making its world premiere, puts the Chicago bluesman into the context of American cultural history.

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“The Torch” profiles Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy.

Chicago International Film Festival

Buddy Guy epitomizes “good guy.” That’s one takeaway from Jim Farrell’s admiring, affectionate documentary of the 83-year-old Chicago bluesman.

A world premiere, “The Torch” is the Closing Night film at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Chicago International Film Festival at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois St. Farrell and Guy will appear.

Live performance footage, archival photos and personal anecdotes all contextualize Guy’s career in American cultural history. Chicago music photographer Paul Natkin shares tales. Carlos Santana highlights Guy’s “certain frequency, certain vocabulary.”

One focus is Guy’s lifelong generosity in mentoring musicians like Quinn Sullivan, a guitar prodigy from age 7.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proclaimed Sunday as Buddy Guy Day in Chicago in honor of “this titan of blues.” Admission is $33 for non-members of Cinema/Chicago. A $75 ticket includes seating in a “premium theater” and entry to an after-party. 6 p.m. Oct. 27

Also Sunday at the fest:

‘The Twentieth Century’ (Canada) Matthew Rankin writes, directs and edits a madly imagined ascent of William Lyon Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne) to the office of Prime Minister of Canada.

Rankin told film blogger Jason Gorber he once read King’s life story: “I was really amazed by how maudlin, how hypersensitive and confused and bewildered and panic-stricken the diary was. It reminded me of my own!”

Shot on 16mm and Super-8, this dreamy revision of Canadian history chronicles King’s surreal career dating from 1899. Outlandish mommy issues and kinky civic rituals abound.

Little Charlotte (Satine Scarlett Montaz), a tubercular orphan, nearly steals the show in the opening scene. Expressionist sets and underground acting styles are inventive. This studied oddity is thoroughly original, yet redolent with signature touches of Winnipeg auteur Guy Maddin. 11 a.m. Oct. 27

Bill Stamets is a Chicago freelance writer.

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