by John Tarpley
It's only natural to be a tad apprehensive about a movie with a running time that flirts with a butt-numbing three-hour mark. But few directors can fill an intimidating stretch of film as expertly as Steve James. The documentarian earned his stripes (and status as a modern-day great) in 1994 with "Hoop Dreams," the monumental basketball documentary. "The Interrupters" sees James turn his eye yet again on inner-city Chicago, tracking the work of CeaseFire, an organization whose members work to decrease soaring murder rates by mediating gang disputes in the city's most dangerous war zones.
Filmed right in the middle of the powder keg, the doc follows three entrenched counselors, all reformed ex-criminals with violent pasts, taking to living rooms, prisons, funerals and the literal streets to cool down hot heads, sometimes successfully and, on occasion, in vain. James himself will be on hand during the festival to discuss his brand of docu-journalism and his films at large.
4:40 p.m. Sat., Riverdale
noon Sun., Riverdale