Documentary filmmakers have a unique relationship to their subjects, with a responsibility to accurately tell their stories. But they also must consider film form and crafting an engaging narrative for the audience. How do directors strike the right balance between these considerations; is such a distinction even valid?Panelists:Mosco Kamwendo, Director, Comrade PresidentDamon Vignale, Director, The ExhibitionSusanna Helke, Director, American VagabondAustin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg, Co-Directors, Tough BondCecilia Peck, Director, Brave Miss World Moderator: Bruce Sheridan, Professor and Chair, Cinema Art + Science, Columbia College Chicago This is a FREE event! Tickets must be obtained from box office.
After decades of working in a Tijuana factory, Rafael finds that, due to a technicality, he won’t be receiving a pension. Lidia works as a maid whose demanding boss devotes all her attention to her dog Princess. When her boss dies and leaves her fortune entirely to Princess, Lidia finds herself working for a canine millionaire. Gorgeously observed with striking visuals, Workers tells the moving, often absurdly funny story of two employees who are pushed to the breaking point.
Spanish with English Subtitles 120
Shot on a miniscule budget but positively bursting with style and energy, this hugely inventive DIY crime thriller follows Tony, a young cigarette seller in an Abidjan ghetto. Ignoring the pleas of his policeman brother to stay on the right side of the law, Tony gets increasingly mixed up in local gambling and criminal activities until a moment of violence puts him on the run from the law.
French and Nouchi (Ivorian dialect) with English Subtitles 70
Agnès Jaoui (Look At Me) returns with a witty, charming modern-day mélange of familiar fairy tales. Jaoui populates her film with delightful variations on well-worn tropes - shoes lost at midnight, big bad wolves, evil stepmothers, fairy godmothers - in telling the story of Laura, who must choose between two Prince Charmings as they, and their families, deal with the tragicomic complications of romance.
French with English subtitles 112
On the streets of Kenya's cities, Tough Bond-brand glue is the drug of choice for kids living on their own, numbing themselves to hunger while surviving off scraps. This incredibly moving documentary provides an intimate look at four of these kids - who call themselves “Survivors” - following them over the course of three years and taking the viewer deep into their lives. Filmmakers Peck and Vandenberg employ their impressive technical virtuosity in capturing the world of these embattled but resilient children.
English, Swahili, Turkana with English Subtitles 84
In an isolated house on a drought-stricken mountainside, Ouardia must bury the body of her son Tarik, a victim of the civil conflict waging between the government and the fundamentalists. She suspects her other son, Ali, a mujahedeen fighter, has had a hand in the killing. And their mutual distrust is evidenced in the young soldier that Ali has sent to guard her. Beautifully capturing the expansive Algerian countryside this minimalist tale of a single family’s tragedy takes on mythic proportions.
Arabic with English Subtitles 90
Liling, a hip young DJ, returns to her rural village to care for her ailing mother. On the advice of the doctor, she tries to slow her blind mother’s memory loss by describing the world around her. As Liling herself struggles to stay connected to the physical world, she begins to become subsumed in her mother’s world of mysticism and imagination. Beautifully dreamlike, this sincere and poignant film follows Liling as she grows closer to her fading mother.
Chinese Mandarin with English Subtitles 80
A gritty gangster film set in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Northwest follows small-time thief Casper. Still only 18, Casper’s self-serving ambition leads him to abandon the neighborhood boss, Jamal, for his rival Björn, who promises him more - more money and more responsibility. Tensions are high between the two gangs, however, and Casper soon finds himself and his family at the center of a conflict that threatens to destroy them.
Danish with English Subtitles 91
A Thousand Times Good Night follows driven war photographer Rebecca (Juliette Binoche in one of her most powerful performances), known for her willingness to tackle risky subjects. While photographing suicide bombers, she is badly hurt in an explosion. When she returns home to Norway, her husband (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and daughter are tired of her risking her life on dangerous assignments. They give her an ultimatum, making her choose between her work and her family.
English, Norwegian with English subtitles 111
Just before winning the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998, Linor Abargil was held captive, stabbed, and violently raped. Ten years later, Abargil resolves to confront her past and reach out to other survivors, encouraging women around the world to speak out. Director Cecilia Peck (Shut Up & Sing) follows Abargil as she speaks with teens in South Africa, visits campuses in the US, and returns to Italy for the first time since her attack in search of closure.
English, Hebrew, Italian with English subtitles 92
Catholic priest Adam works at a home for troubled boys in the isolated Polish countryside. Deeply committed to the Church, Adam’s convictions are thrown into turmoil when his close bond with a young teen named Łukasz forces his repressed homosexuality to the surface. Desperate to keep his secret but increasingly confronted by his desires, Adam must face who he is and who he has chosen to be in this humane, non-judgmental portrait of an earnest priest in conflict.
Polish with English Subtitles 102
Love-struck college students who meet on a working summer holiday in the idyllic Spanish countryside, Michal and Karina’s blissful moment of first love is cut short when Michal has a fateful - and shocking - encounter with a stranger. When Michal reveals his secret to Karina, their lives are thrown into chaos. With gorgeous, award-winning cinematography, the film sensitively explores the devastating fallout of Michal’s actions as their relationship is put to the test and the future grows increasingly unpredictable.
Polish and Spanish with English Subtitles 93
After years of European exile, Imatur returns to his native village of Tabatô to attend his daughter’s wedding, his head still saturated with horrific visions of a war he fought long ago. When tragedy strikes on the road to Tabatô, the entire village must come together in this entrancing, surreal film that blends music and magic with the lingering effects of Guinea-Bisseau’s history.
Mandinka with English Subtitles 83
In an attempt to deflect the public gaze away from Canada's most notorious serial killer and onto the lives of his victims, artist Pamela Masik creates paintings of the women killed by Robert Pickton. However, her work is quickly met with a backlash from the victims' families and the Vancouver Aboriginal community. Unafraid to confront moral ambiguity, this documentary examines every nuance of the debate over whether her work is art, tribute, or exploitation.
Since his divorce, Alberto has not spent much time with his children, Lucia and Federico. A trip to the hot springs seems like an ideal getaway, but an unrelenting storm traps the three of them inside their tiny rented cabin. Alberto’s sunny optimism begins to drain as floodwaters and close quarters bring out the worst in everyone. By turns achingly funny and poignant, this all-too-familiar drama is an affectionately drawn portrait of the classically fraught family vacation.
Spanish with English Subtitles 90
After the death of his father, young and sensitive Tom sees his life devolve into chaos. Getting into trouble with the law, Tom is assigned to work in the service of avuncular park ranger Al Thorpe. Initially resistant to the compulsory service, Tom eventually finds a father figure and a friend in Al and a sense of place in the Yorkshire countryside. A lyrical, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, Lad delicately captures a pivotal moment in a troubled young life.
Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education, and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild his country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba (Prometheus) stars as Nelson Mandela, and Naomie Harris (Skyfall) stars as Winnie Mandela, with Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) directing.
The lives of five seemingly unrelated lost souls intertwine in Sweden’s chilly capital in this delicate and wryly funny ensemble film. A precocious yet untalented young writer, a friendless advertising genius, a tight-lipped workaholic, a shy upper-class boy with a secret crush, and a recently dumped young woman all come to realize hard truths about love and life over the course of several days.
Swedish with English Subtitles 97
In the summer of 2011, Tunisia is finally free of its dictatorial shackles, but 23-year-old Abdallah is still a slave to his mundane life, dreaming of an escape to Europe - or “die Welt” - to fulfill his dormant ambitions. Following a chance encounter with Dutch tourist Anna, Abdallah’s passion to reach the other side of the Mediterranean burns brighter than ever before, prompting a desperate gamble for escape in this at turns comic and heartbreaking story.
English, Arabic and Dutch with English Subtitles 80
In the dead of a snowy Russian winter, police major Sobolev, rushing recklessly to the hospital for the birth of his child, causes a fatal accident. Panicked and under great pressure from his colleagues, he participates in the cover up of his crime. But that decision will have disastrous consequences, compounded at each step by the increasingly elaborate scheme and its violent results. The tension builds to an electric climax as the guilt-wracked Sobolev goes on the lam in this thrilling crime drama.
Russian with English Subtitles 99
Jakob and Johanna were first loves, best friends, and ballroom dancers - until she found a better partner. Years later, embittered Jakob returns to find the once vibrant dancer wheelchair-bound and trapped in an unhappy marriage to the local priest, who makes the hoped-for miracle of her recovery the center of his ministry. Their romance rekindled, they must choose between love and security. A sense of mystery and doom pervade this gripping drama about passion, faith, and perversity.
Danish with English Subtitles 100
Teenager Adèle’s life is turned upside down the night she meets blue-haired Emma. Adèle’s passionate sexual awakening and the couple’s ensuing relationship are depicted in searing, intimate detail over the course of several years. With breathtaking performances from lead actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos and sharp, controlled direction from acclaimed director Abdellatif Kechiche (The Secret of the Grain), this groundbreaking erotic epic took the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
French with English Subtitles 179
When a body washes up on a Cape Town beach, ambitious township cop Sizwe seizes the opportunity to prove himself and earn the promotion he desperately needs. But when the investigation leads him to a black market smuggling ring, Sizwe is caught in the middle of a deadly power play orchestrated by an old friend. With no one left to trust, Sizwe must take the law into his own hands in this gritty crime drama.
Sotho, Xhosa, Afrikaans with English Subtitles 92
Thrown in jail for a violent crime of passion, dwarf and former circus performer Sadourní finds re-assimilation difficult upon his release. Quickly realizing that society holds his height against him, Sadourní goes to tortuous extremes for a “treatment” that will alter his physical appearance, allowing him to fit in and to gain the attention of the woman he loves. A surrealistic melodrama reminiscent of Fellini and Jodorowsky, Sadourní’s Butterflies endows its strange, magical subject with hallucinatory beauty.
Spanish with English Subtitles 94
With only one week left until she leaves for the Army, teenager Brianna spends her final days at her home in the Chicago suburbs packing and saying goodbye to friends. But in her quiet moments and the seemingly mundane interactions with family members, Brianna’s anxiety about her decision is palpable. Eschewing melodrama, the film imbues this simple story with a deft style and effortlessly natural performances, creating an assured portrait of a young woman in transition.
This expertly crafted, gorgeously shot drama explores the fading connection between Ela, a respected artist, and her husband Can, a successful architect. As the two grow apart, Ela worries that Can is cheating on her. Though in preparation for a major gallery show, Ela finds herself increasingly distracted. With the sophisticated tautness of a thriller and the devastating emotion of a tragedy, Lifelong tracks one relationship’s heartbreaking disintegration.
Turkish with English Subtitles 102
At the wall separating Israel and Palestine, artist and filmmaker Khaled Jarrar and his small, handheld camera observe people making the dangerous, difficult cross into Israel under constant threat of discovery by patrolling border guards, and the smugglers that assist them. With urgency and immediacy, Jarrar documents their efforts in this raw and endlessly compelling film that captures the struggle and determination of those whose lives have been forever disrupted by the wall.
Arabic with English Subtitles 70
Between performances of an Ibsen play in Calais, actress Alix (exquisitely played by Emmanuelle Devos) travels to Paris for an audition. On the train, she meets a mysterious, stoic Englishman (Gabriel Byrne). Played out over the course of a day, the film beautifully chronicles the blossoming of an all-too-brief love affair between the two, a momentary romance that brings hope and passion into Alix’s harried life, and comfort to her lover.
English, French with English subtitles 105
With a new generation of African musicians, we see once again, that there is always something new out of Africa. This program includes work that mixes regional forms with hip-hop and R&B, and reflects the intense cultural pride of musicians whose lineage in music can be traced back 1000 years.This is a FREE event. Tickets must be obtained from the box office.
Driven by the authorities from his underground hideout, the enigmatic Camiel Borgman is on the run. Covered in dirt, he arrives at Marina and Richard’s large suburban estate asking to use their shower, thus beginning a game of sly calculation as he insinuates himself into their home. He soon starts to manipulate the family with almost preternatural charisma as his more sinister plans make themselves known in this chilling demonic tale.
Dutch with English Subtitles 113
A young woman awakens in a concrete bunker, quickly discovering that she is not alone. Before she realizes what is happening, she is in combat for her life. So begins the first round of a modern-day gladiatorial tournament in which young women fight each other to the death at the whim of their sadistic unseen captors. If they lose, their loved ones will pay the price. Starring Tarantino’s go-to stunt woman, Zoe Bell, this gritty, ultra-violent tale pulls no punches.
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