CIFF lineup stacked with gems from previous fests

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'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver in a scene from the film "Inside Llewyn Davis." (Alison Rosa / Handout / February 21, 2012)

Opening Oct. 10 with a title yet to be announced, the 49th Chicago International Film Festival features a laundry list of proven festival favorites, including Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," starring Bruce Dern; the Coen brothers' latest, "Inside Llewyn Davis," starring Oscar Isaac as a disgruntled '60s folkie; the film version of "August: Osage County," adapted by Tracy Letts from his Steppenwolf Theatre-sprung play; and the top prize-winner from the Cannes Film Festival, the lesbian romance "Blue Is the Warmest Color."

Dern, a Chicago native and best actor winner at Cannes for "Nebraska," is scheduled to present Payne's seriocomedy in the festival's centerpiece slot. Isaac will do likewise with the Coens' trenchant comedy at the closing night gala.

Columbia College Chicago graduate George Tillman Jr. is to receive a career achievement award and will appear with "Dreamgirls" Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson at a screening of Tillman's latest, "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete." Hudson co-stars in the picture.

Festival founder and artistic director Michael Kutza's line-up encompasses some 180 titles representing 60 countries. Among the filmmakers planning to attend: Italian horror master Dario Argento, in town with his latest, "Dracula 3D"; and groundbreaking documentary director Errol Morris, the subject of a festival tribute and accompanying his latest, "The Unknown Known," a portrait of George W. Bush's U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

The annual festival takes place Oct. 10-24, once again at the downtown AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. Tickets can be purchased at 312-332-3456 beginning Sept. 23. Festival passes are available now at chicagofilmfestival.com, as is the complete schedule.

mjphillips@tribune.com

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