Our Pledge To You

Movies and TV

2 films today at the Chicago International Film Festival

"Ash Is the Purest White"

The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Oct. 21 at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois.

‘Border’ (Sweden/Denmark)

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.