Our exciting annual showcase of the best new shorts by talented local filmmakers includes narrative, documentary, and animated works. Three Chicago window cleaners wax lyrical as they work on a high rise in PARADISE. A corpse wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife in CADAVER, featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates. An epic romance is reimagined in a queer light in THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS. Brad spends his final night in the suburbs alongside his older brother in WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM. A human trafficker becomes stranded In the lush Serbian countryside in THE RUNNER. Cole is home for the holidays… and now they’re over in AFTER CHRISTMAS.
Cole is home for the holidays … and now they’re over. A humorous look at a young man’s relationship with his parents and the trials and tribulations of returning to the family home.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 11 min
A corpse wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife, but discovers a truth in death he didn't know in life. A bittersweet love story featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd, Tavi Gevinson and Academy Award® winner Kathy Bates.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 8 min
Three Mexican immigrants risk their lives washing windows on some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago. This thoughtful portrayal of their everyday lives reveals their thoughts about working, mortality, and the people they observe inside the high-rises they clean.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English and Spanish subtitles 10 min
In this offbeat coming-of-age tale, a charming, rebellious high school dropout named Kanta befriends the kind, provincial Shoji. The two bring out the best in each other, each gaining confidence from their friendship - especially regarding pursuit of the opposite sex. The working class Kanta becomes a sort of unruly anti-hero, maintaining his pride, defiance, and self-assurance even as his prospects seem increasingly grim.
Japanese with subtitles 113 min
As a young girl, Fawzia Mirza fell under the spell of Bollywood heroines and their promise of love and feminine perfection. As an adult, she re-imagines it in a queer light.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 3 min
In the lush, weedy Serbian countryside, a first time human trafficker becomes stranded with the Roma boy he is to deliver in this compelling short drama.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 18 min
Wandering amongst the plotted rows of houses within the motherly arms of the suburbs, two brothers sip liquid courage in this honest, atmospheric film about the fear of change and leaving home behind.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English 19 min
In the 90s, Ron Waters (Harry Lennix) was the hottest comic in Hollywood. Richard Pryor-like in his trenchant social and political commentary, Ron ultimately was driven away by controversy that increased as he grew more successful. Now settled in Chicago doing regular standup routines at his wife’s (Tatum O’Neal) club, he is given a second shot at the big time. But, as he learns once again, fame and fortune come at a price.
English 97 min
In their 80s, Rosa and Bruno meet and are suddenly reminded what it means to love and live fully. The two - knowing that their time together is limited - discover a new lust for life and run off together, leaving much and many in their wake. This unconventional romantic drama paints a powerful portrait of love and loss by turns stark, passion-filled, and heartbreaking.
Alejandra and Maria make an unlikely couple, to say the least. Alejandra is a painfully shy middle-aged intellectual, while Maria is a loud, outgoing teenager attending a private high school. This stylish film explores the joys, complexities, and limitations of love between two very different people.
Spanish with subtitles 100 min
Set in 1952 as England prepares for a coronation, The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men with the exact same face. Almost identical replicas of each other, they meet by chance in a station bar. Each is at a crossroads in his life: one setting out on a walking tour after losing his job as a teacher; the other avoiding home after a disastrous business venture.
English 108 min
An astonishing visual tour de force from Mexican filmaker Reygadas (whose previous film, 2007’s Silent Light, won the Gold Hugo), this enigmatic, elusive film presents the occurrences around a family of four. Mundane domestic events are punctuated with tableaux of overwhelming beauty, while some sinister force lurks outside. Filled with arresting images from one of world cinema’s most innovative visual masters, Post Tenebras Lux is a truly sui generis work.
Spanish with subtitles 120 min
In this epic historical romance, Queen Caroline falls passionately in love with an idealistic German doctor while her husband, King Christian VII, grows increasingly deranged. Directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel (co-screenwriter of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), A Royal Affair is a powerful story about brave idealists who risk everything for love and for their commitment to the freedom of the Danish people.
Danish with subtitles 131 min
One of the most revered actresses in Middle Eastern cinema, Soad Hosni was a staple of the Egyptian screen in the 1960s and 1970s. This unconventional, lovingly crafted tribute recreates Hosni’s life story exclusively through her fictional performances, mined from VHS tapes that preserve this rich period of Egyptian film history.
Arabic with subtitles 70 min
With a cast featuring both renowned actors (including legendary thespian Derek Jacobi) and hundreds of prisoners, StringCaesar tells the story of the early, under-documented life of emperor Julius Caesar. Set in three working prisons across the world (in South Africa, Wales and Canada), this remarkable ensemble collaborates to bring to life the thrilling, tumultuous story of one of the most powerful, enduring personalities in Western history.
English 88 min
A delightful late-silent era masterpiece from the great King Vidor (The Crowd), The Patsy follows Pat (a thoroughly charming Marion Davies), the overlooked, put-upon member of her family. Glamorous and popular, her sister Grace gets all attention. When the two sisters find themselves in competition over a boy, Pat must employ all her wiles to win him over. This beloved classic is presented with live musical accompaniment by David Drazin.Post-screening discussion led by renowned silent film expert, David Robinson
English 78 min
Twelve-year-old Simon lives with his jobless, aimless sister in the industrial valley below a luxury ski resort. A small-time thief who preys on the rich tourists up above, Simon longs to escape from the drab poverty of his home life. As his schemes grow more grandiose, they also become more complex and risky, complicating his already fraught relationship with his sister in this bleak but tender coming-of-age story.
French with subtitles 97 min
Outrageous, funny, contentious, and talented, prolific Austrian actor and filmmaker Peter Kern is a sheer force of personality. Though Franz and Fiala set out to create a straightforward portrait of the aging artist, the mercurial Kern berates the filmmakers (and anyone else within earshot) every step of the way, and can’t help but assert his own sensibilities onto a film in which he is ostensibly the subject.
German with subtitles 98 min
Tasked with giving away huge sums of money by whatever means possible, Kaveh and Layla drive through the remote, war-torn mountains of Iran with a trunkful of cash. What begins as a seemingly harmless game soon reveals itself to be a twisted bout of charity as the power, humiliation, and shame inherent in their act plays out between the privileged couple and the impoverished villagers.Modest Reception is co-presented by the Global Film Initiative and is part of the Global Lens 2013 film series. For more information, visit www.globalfilm.org.
Farsi with subtitles 100 min
This gorgeously shot debut feature follows an Argentine family as they prepare to leave their tightly-knit German-speaking village for good. After a plague decimates their farm, they have no choice but to leave their home behind. As they say goodbye to old friends, the family attempts to reconcile the past and all their memories, good and bad, with their uncertain future in a town far away.
Spanish and German Dialect with subtitles 75 min
The Bella Vista tells the story of a onetime soccer team’s clubhouse in Uruguay. Left abandoned for years, the house is revived as a brothel for the town’s transvestite prostitutes, raising the ire of residents who seek to reclaim the building for a Catholic chapel. In capturing the opposing sides of this conflict over a rather small, mundane building, director Alicia Cano creates a lyrical, intimate portrait of a provincial city.
Spanish with subtitles 73 min
Under the auspices of a more age-appropriate marriage to his handsome son, a stately Viennese patriarch brings Ayse, a pretty teenaged girl from the Turkish countryside, to live with him as a second wife. A special friendship develops between Ayse and Fatma, the first wife who is suffering from cancer and appreciates both the help and the companionship. Soon, however, an unexpected twist of fate puts this relationship to the test.
Turkish and German with subtitles 93 min
On the Polish-German border just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of friends wants to take charge of their lives and make their mark. Bored and lacking any direction, they lead the lives of outlaws, living hard and fast and not worrying about the consequences. Delightfully mixing a Scorsese-inflected gangster film with a modern-day Western, Yuma (based on actual events) makes for surreal, hugely enjoyable viewing.
Polish and German with subtitles 113 min
When Shun Li is moved from Rome to Venice to pay off her “debt” working in a bar, she does whatever it takes to bring her young son over from China. Feeling isolated, Shun Li forms an unlikely friendship with café regular Bepi, an older Slavic fisherman. The two souls find solace in each other in spite of their cultural differences in this poignant celebration of the beauty of human connection.
Italian with subtitles 100 min
In the arid plains of northeastern Mexico, a group of communal ranchers confronts the annual drought, eking out survival as conditions force them to search far and wide for any signs of water. Following the residents of the community throughout their daily lives, the filmmakers create an inspiring portrait of human perseverance in the face of a natural environment that defies domestication in this much-praised, award-winning documentary.
Spanish with subtitles 90 min
Beecham House is abuzz: the home for retired musicians is soon to welcome a new, possibly famous, resident. Reginald (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred (Billy Connolly) and Cecily (Pauline Collins) receive a special shock when the new arrival turns out to be their estranged former singing partner, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Can the passage of time heal old wounds? And will the famous quartet be able to patch up their differences in time for Beecham House’s gala concert?
Starring director Terence Nance as a version of himself, a young man attempts to make a female friend something more. A single event motivates an abstract and witty introspection into the origins of his feelings toward her. Brazenly mixing live action with animation and eschewing classical narrative structure, An Oversimplfication of Her Beauty is a stylish, exhilarating American debut.
English 90 min
Nimer, a Palestinian student, dreams of a better life abroad. One fateful night he meets Roy, an Israeli lawyer. As their relationship deepens into love, Nimer is confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept him for his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects him for his nationality. Nimer soon must choose between love and the life he thought he wanted.
Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles 96 min
An estimated 400,000 people were tattooed with serial numbers at Auschwitz, of whom only a few thousand survive today. This intimate and visually rapturous documentary details the current lives of some of these survivors, their memories of the camps, and their relationships with the numbers. Numbered is an emotionally affecting portrait of memory and history, and their enduring presence in individual lives.
Hebrew with subtitles 60 min
From Apichaptong “Joe” Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee…), whose gorgeous, thoughtful films are counted among the most acclaimed masterpieces of the new century, Mekong Hotel is a portrait of a hotel near the Mekong River on Thailand’s border with Laos. Blending fantasy and reality, fiction and documentary, the present and the future, this exquisite poem of a film strikingly expresses the bonds of love and family between people, and the looming presence of the river in their lives.
Thai with subtitles 61 min
Based on a true story, Rhino Season follows Sahel, a poet who was unjustly incarcerated during Iran’s Islamic Revolution (and a friend of director Ghobadi). After being released into a world that is, three decades later, greatly changed, Sahel searches for the wife and children he left behind. Rhino Season is, at base, a tragic romance, strikingly told with an impressionistic, dreamlike blending of past and present.
Farsi 103 min
When he develops a crush on the lovely young Kaltham, 16-year-old Mansoor finds himself unequipped for wooing her - an especially tricky problem in a society that regulates interaction between boys and girls. His best friend concocts the seemingly perfect solution of declaring his love with a gift, but that brings its own complications and deceits. Sea Shadow’s touching coming-of-age story brings out a tender, personal side of its Dubai setting.
Arabic with subtitles 98 min
A gritty political thriller, Shadow Dancer follows IRA agent Collette McVeigh as she’s caught by the police and forced to inform on her family. Collette’s handler, Mac (Clive Owen), is surprised and frustrated to find himself shut out of certain aspects of his own operation, while Collette is sure that her family and colleagues suspect her. An increasingly complex network of secrets and betrayals is uncovered in this stark, beautifully acted drama.
English 100 min
Produced by members of the film collective behind the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tchoupitoulas provides a very different evocation of New Orleans life. The Ross brothers’ cameras follow three young boys and their dog as they cheerfully wander the French Quarter from sunset to sunrise. The result is a lyrical city symphony, capturing New Orleans, childhood, and the spirit of exploration with quiet observation and deft imagery.
English 80 min
Inspired by real-life events, Our Children unfolds the riveting story of Murielle, a mother caught in a claustrophobic domestic nightmare. Struggling financially, she and her family are forced to move in with her husbands’s authoritarian mentor Dr. Pinget. The oppressive atmosphere of Pinget’s home overwhelms Murielle, making her increasingly desperate and irrational in this taut psychological drama.
French with subtitles 111 min
Gulzar, a boatman on Kashmir’s gorgeous, peaceful Dal Lake, plans on leaving his home for the city alongside his best friend Afzal. A military curfew puts their plans on hold, however. Forced to remain in his hometown, Gulzar meets Asifa, a pretty Kashmiri-American researcher studying the lake. A sweet and tender romance soon develops against a backdrop of jealousy, competition, and ongoing political turmoil.
Kashmiri with subtitles 82 min
Desperately needing a change after a painful break-up, Simon relocates to Paris to find solace and affection in the “city of love” in this unsettling chronicle of a young man’s descent into madness. As he becomes involved with both a young prostitute and a sweet, perky college student, Simon’s fundamental mental instability becomes increasingly apparent, and it appears he may have an ominous potential for violence.
English 105 min
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