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2 films recall life of TV reporter notorious for her on-air death

Kate Lyn Sheil in "Kate Plays Christine." | Grasshopper Film

Kate Lyn Sheil in “Kate Plays Christine.” | Grasshopper Film

That the footage has been kept under wraps for so long is not something “that’d exist today,” Greene says. “It comes from another era where, for good or bad, it was more swept away. People didn’t necessarily think they should see that type of thing. We live in an era today where we think we have a right to see everything.”

But for actress Rebecca Hall, Chubbuck’s life is just as fascinating as her death. Hall plays the troubled reporter in a new drama, “Christine” (opening in Chicago on Nov. 18), which explores how her severe depression and frustrations at work may have contributed to her demise. Chubbuck repeatedly clashed with her dismissive boss (Tracy Letts) over his desire to sensationalize the news to goose ratings.

“Her story is a harbinger of a lot of things we have trouble talking about,” Hall says. “We’re still having discussions about how we judge a woman in the workplace, the likability factor and different standards” that men are held to.

“We all know what it’s like to feel stymied at work, to get depressed and feel unloved,” Hall says. “The film asks you to notice that [with the culmination of] those things — plus arbitrary circumstances of time and place, gender and brain chemistry — we might all go over the edge. … I related to knowing what it feels like to feel thwarted by life and that you’re not going to get over it, but I do, because I have the tools and she didn’t.”

The Chicago International Film Festival will show “Christine” at 5:45 p.m. Saturday and 8:15 p.m. Sunday at AMC River East 21. For details, see chicagofilmfestival.com.

Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY

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