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
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.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, two unlikely allies converge in a war-torn Kurdish village at the borders of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Both Baran, a former Kurdish independence war hero, and Govend, a beautiful young woman defying tradition by accepting a post at a newly-opened school, are hell-bent on seeing order and civilization restored to their damaged country. Elements of the Western genre combine with the awe-inspiring landscapes in director Hiner Saleem’s socially-inflected frontier tale.
Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish with English Subtitles 95
This atmospheric WWII thriller follows twin boys sent to the Hungarian countryside to wait out the war’s violent barrage with their embittered, cruel grandmother. Only 13 but grimly determined to survive, the brothers decide that the only way to endure the horrors of war is to by extinguishing their own humanity. A chilling portrait of young psyches warped by inconceivable trauma, this critical and audience favorite took the top prize at the prestigious Karlovy Vary film festival.
Hungarian with English Subtitles 110
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
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
When Enrico (Tony Servillo), the leader of Italy’s opposition party, abandons politics and disappears without a trace, the party leadership finds itself at a loss - until they uncover his long-estranged mad genius lookalike brother, Giovanni, fresh out of a mental institution. Passing perfectly for Enrico, Giovanni quickly garners overwhelming public support with his bracingly candid political ravings. Equal parts absurdist and contemplative, Viva la Libertà offers a droll satire of contemporary Italian politics.
Italian with English subtitles 94
As a first time director, do you feel a duty to address the political context in which you are working? Or do you prefer to focus on telling more personal stories? Do filmmakers working in politically volatile environments get pressured or pigeon holed into making political work, and what ethical dilemmas can this produce? Join a group of festival filmmakers who will consider and debate these issues in relation to their own practice.Panelists:Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, Director, Of Good ReportAbdeslam Kelai, Director, MalakBernard Attal, Director, The Invisible CollectionDiego Quemada-Díez, Director, La Jaula de OroRoberto Flores Prieto, Director, Chasing FirefliesJohn Rangel, Director, Girls on Liberty StreetModerator: Dan Rybicky, Columbia College ChicagoThis is a FREE event! No ticket required. Event takes place at Columbia College Chicago: 1104 S. Wabash, 502.
From the celebrated directors of My Nikifor comes a stunning account of the life of Papusza, Poland’s first celebrated Roma poet. Jowita Budnik gives a masterful lead performance, fully inhabiting the poetess over five decades as she finds and refines her voice against the backdrop of the Nazi invasion, subsequent Communist persecution, and eventual excommunication from her Roma community. Exquisitely filmed with painterly precision, this ravishing biopic pays tribute to a beloved but under-recognized literary figure.
Roma Language and Polish with English Subtitles 131
Teenager Erell (Blue Is The Warmest Color’s Adèle Exarchopolous) connects with the people in her life from behind her camera, documenting her friends and family, including her ailing mother and moody father. After years in which Erell had been left alone to run the household and care for her mother, her older sister Sarah suddenly returns. With her sister around, Erell begins to find her own voice without the safety of her camera in this refreshingly honest coming-of-age drama.
French with English Subtitles 89
Banklady tells the true story of Gisela Werler, a law-abiding factory worker from Hamburg, who falls in love with a thief and becomes a media darling as Germany’s first and most notorious female bank robber. Cunning, sexy, and exciting, Gisela and her beloved Hermann pull off one daring heist after another. Banklady follows this outlaw who captured Germany’s imagination, boldly defying gender expectations and living a decades-long Bonnie and Clyde romance.
German with English Subtitles 118
Troubled by his small island’s dwindling population, the young and dogmatic Father Fabijan teams up with the local pharmacist and newsstand vendor to take family planning into his own hands. Soon the picturesque island town is awash with pregnant women and shotgun marriages, and word of the island’s fertility turn it into a vacation spot for foreign tourists. The unintended consequences of the plan soon spin out of control in this irreverent, hilarious dark comedy.
Croatian with English Subtitles 93
Three Guatemalan teens depart on the treacherous 1,200-mile trek towards the United States, riding atop dilapidated trains in the hope of finding a new life. Together they must undergo an unrelenting, arduous journey in which no one they meet can be trusted and catastrophe waits around every corner. Constantly upending audience expectations, this unrelenting immigration thriller will leave viewers at the edge of their seats until its nail-biting climax comes to a shocking close.
Spanish with English Subtitles 102
This modern day film noir tracks Parker, a shy high school teacher arriving at a new school. While he is earnest in his passion for teaching, his extra-curricular attentions are drawn to a gorgeous young woman. When he realizes she is a student at his very school - and forbidden fruit - he grows increasingly obsessed. When the girl goes missing, a female detective comes snooping around, fueling Parker’s unstable, even dangerous, behavior as she gets closer to the shocking truth.
Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho with English Subtitles 109
David Robinson, director of the famed Pordenone Silent Film Festival, presents a program of silent short films, including rediscovered rarities that have emerged in his relentless search for the lost treasures of film history. This year’s program includes 21st century silent films made in the wake of The Artist, and films featuring the glorious Anny Ondra, known in her native Czechoslovakia as “Buster Keaton in skirts.”
Philomena focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son.
When 16-year-old Malak discovers that she’s pregnant, she quickly finds herself alone in a community that marginalizes and mistreats single mothers. Abandoned by the baby’s father, shunned by her family, and in dire need of cash, Malak is forced to take desperate measures. An elegantly-photographed portrait of a young woman’s struggles, Malak garnered major awards at Morocco’s National Film Festival, including the Jury Prize, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for its young star Chaimae Ben Acha.
Moroccan Arabic with English Subtitles 97
A brilliantly-observed, hilarious sex farce from Czech New Wave master Jirí Menzel (Closely Watched Trains), The Don Juans looks at a small town opera company’s efforts to mount a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The eccentric director Vitek has unusual views on opera and uses the production as an excuse to bed every woman he meets. Passions flare onstage and behind the scenes as the small company prepares for a wholly unique adaptation of the Mozart classic.
Czech with subtitles 98
This haunting melodrama from Chicago filmmakers Gabe and Alan Polsky follows Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan, brothers who scrape out a paltry living, working odd jobs and drinking hard while living in a motel. Everything changes after a hit-and-run accident sends them on the lam, making their way to the home of Frank’s old flame Annie (Dakota Fanning). Although they seem to be safe from the law, Jerry Lee’s instability and all-consuming guilt renders their future increasingly uncertain.
A successful businessman with a beautiful wife and daughter, Luc Segers leads an idyllic life. It all falls apart when a botched burglary leads to the murder of his wife and the death of his daughter. Luc quickly identifies the killer but a procedural error lets him off scot-free, devastating Luc even further. A taut, award-winning courtroom thriller, The Verdict follows Luc’s obsessive efforts to enact justice.
Flemish with English Subtitles 112
Filmmaker Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David and director of the notorious Boxing Helena, traveled to India in 2008 to make Hisss, a modern-day comedy-horror-musical film about the beautiful but vengeful snake goddess Nagin. But everything devolves rapidly into chaos as the bloated production falls behind schedule, the set growing increasingly tense and combative as Lynch fights with her producers for control of the film, all the while trying to look after her young daughter and maintain her sanity.
English, Hindi with English subtitles 85
An unreservedly honest, emotionally resonant love story from director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette), Le Week-End follows Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent), whose 30-year marriage is dominated by routine and built up resentments. An anniversary holiday to Paris only makes matters worse, with each word and action inciting deep-seated rancor. An accidental meeting with an old American colleague (Jeff Goldblum) challenges the couple to find some way to re-ignite the spark.
After a tragedy throws his life into turmoil, the self-absorbed young Beto ventures deep into the Brazilian countryside in search of a collection of rare prints his absent father had sold to a wealthy plantation owner decades earlier. When he locates the plantation, he finds it devastated and its inhabitants staunchly resistant to visitors. A sophisticated, engrossing thriller, the film follows Beto’s efforts to uncover the mystery of the prints and the family keeping them hidden from the world.
Portuguese with English Subtitles 89
When down-on-their-luck buddies Craig and Vince are propositioned by insouciant wealthy couple Colin and Violet to perform increasingly risky dares, the cash strapped duo agrees. Craig and Vince soon find themselves in the strangers’ living room, progressively degrading and debasing themselves and each other as the stakes get higher and higher. This twisted, darkly funny game of cat and mouse was the winner of the 2013 SXSW Audience Choice Award.
Subscribe to OurMonthly eNewsletter