2 films today at the Chicago International Film Festival
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The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Oct. 21 at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois.
A Swedish customs agent uses her abnormal inborn skills to smell what people feel. With outstanding storytelling skills — not to mention nasal prosthetics — Ali Abbasi directs an adaptation of a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who wrote the novel “Let the Right One In” about adolescent vampires. Once again a pair of outliers inspire a tale about a genetic minority dealing with identity politics. There’s a whiff of pedophiliac video under police investigation but — not to worry — Abbasi never samples it onscreen. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 14
‘Ash Is Purest White’ (China/France)
My favorite fest film yet portrays Qiao (Zhao Tao), a very strong woman navigating China’s new economic and ethical flux. To save her criminal boyfriend from pipe-wielding rival thugs, she fires his gun in the air and serves five years for him. Upon release Qiao undertakes a revelatory quest. Jia Zhang-ke returns to locales and themes of his earlier “Still Life” and “The World” for an illuminating saga about traditional codes of loyalty and post-Mao capitalism. Highly recommended. 8:15 p.m. Oct. 14
For more details from the festival, go to chicagofilmfestival.com.