The 56th Chicago International Film Festival will open on Wednesday, October 14th, with the world premiere of the documentary film Belushi, directed by R.J. Cutler, chronicling the celebrated career and untimely death of native son and The Second City alumnus John Belushi.
A feature documentary from award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler about the too-short life of John Belushi, the once-in-a-generation talent who captured the hearts and funny-bones of audiences worldwide. Told using previously unheard audiotapes, this film examines Belushi’s extraordinary life in the words of his collaborators, friends, and family, including Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Penny Marshall, Lorne Michaels, Carrie Fisher, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Jane Curtin, Ivan Reitman and his high school sweetheart and later wife Judy Belushi.
From his early years growing up in Wheaton, Illinois, John Belushi showed an extraordinary talent for comedy and music. It was a visit to The Second City theater in Chicago where he discovered his true calling, and from that moment John became an unstoppable and pioneering force in the comedy world. From National Lampoon’s Lemmings and Radio Hour to one of the founding cast members on Saturday Night Live, his insatiable drive kept the candle burning at both ends. John simultaneously appeared on SNL each Saturday night while filming Animal House and forming a band, The Blues Brothers. The result: by age 30 Belushi was on the #1 television show, had the #1 comedy in movie history and the #1 record album in the world. But as John’s fame grew, so did his demons, and not even Judy could save him from the drug use that would eventually take his life. This film captures the complicated and singular essence of a beloved American icon who changed culture and comedy forever.
This year’s festival will include online streaming film screenings, events, and Q&As along with a selection of in-person drive-in screenings.