The lives of several couples intertwine through a complex web of love and infidelity in this intimate exploration of race and contemporary relationships. At the center of this romantic network is blogger Dark Mark, whose profile as a writer is growing as his penetrating essays on race relations earn him a regular magazine column and a book contract. When he leaves his girlfriend Vanessa for his white editor, a twisted, tragic fate awaits him and those he loves.
A lonely teenage girl in Ecuador travels by bus with her toddler to visit her mother in Girl With Child. Fatal Vittles is a dark, whimsical cautionary tale about 26 things to never, ever eat. The failure of a relationship is told from two sides in How To Abandon Ship. On a dark night, an injured couple is stuck on a remote road in the dead of winter, but the help on its way is not quite what they expected in AB-. A young girl’s feelings about her parents’ breakup come to the surface when she gets her ears pierced in Needle. A man undergoes diagnosis and treatment in a strange hospital in KOFN. Fox The Gambler is a tale of bowling and battling your inner demons. And in a dangerous world where innocence is destroyed, will The Painter survive?
When you’re stuck and injured on a remote road in the dead of winter ... who will come to save you?Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A dark, whimsical cautionary tale about 26 things to never, ever eat.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A story about bowling and battling your inner demons.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A lonely teenage girl in Ecuador travels by bus with her toddler to visit her mother.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
The failure of a relationship is told from two sides.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A man undergoes diagnosis and treatment in a strange hospital.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A young girl’s feelings about her parent’s break up come to the surface when she gets her ears pierced.Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
A boy, barely 12 years old, lives in a world where violence surrounds him and his sole means of survival is to escape through his art. In this dangerous world where innocence is destroyed, will the painter survive?Part of: Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes
Mateusz is an intelligent, romantic young man tragically trapped inside his own body, suffering from severe cerebral palsy that makes speech and controlled movement nearly impossible. Born into a loving family, Mateusz’s protected world is shattered when circumstances place him in an institution where he is misunderstood and mistreated. Featuring an astonishing, virtuoso lead performance, Life Feels Good beautifully recounts the true story of one man’s extraordinary efforts to endure in the face of impossible odds.
Polish with English Subtitles 107
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
Many of the films - both features and shorts - in this year's Spotlight Africa program are co-productions. Through the experiences of our visiting filmmakers, we look at how creative co-producing can enhance Africa's increasingly vibrant and diverse filmmaking culture, and what can be done to strengthen and support these important international film industry connections.Panelists:Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, Director, Of Good ReportJoel Karekezi, Director, Imbabazi: The PardonHakim Belabbes, FilmmakerModerator: Donald Smith, Associate Professor, Cinema Art + Science, Columbia College ChicagoThis is a FREE event! Tickets must be obtained from box office.
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
Forced to join a convent against her will at 16, Suzanne describes, in a series of letters written in secret, her yearnings for freedom and her persecution and mistreatment at the hands of her fellow nuns - including Isabelle Huppert in an electrifying performance as her Mother Superior. Her tragic life of suffering and her confrontations with hypocritical church authorities are chronicled with raw, powerful emotion in this moving adaptation of Denis Diderot’s treasured novel.
French with English Subtitles 114
After a decade of seclusion, young, idealistic priest Don Giulio is assigned to his first parish. But when he returns to Rome to find that even his own friends and family have readily succumbed to the Deadly Sins, he wonders if the town is afflicted with more problems than he alone can fix. The Mass Is Ended is a thoughtful comedic look at problems of the heart and soul from beloved writer-director-star Nanni Moretti (Caro Diario, We Have A Pope).Year: 1985Part of Comedy, Italian Style: This year, the Festival celebrates Italian cinema with a look back at beloved comedies covering five decades.
The passions and pitfalls of materialism are explored in Collectors (Switzerland). A teenage boy develops a seriously awkward sexual attraction in Peach Juice (Canada). The embarrassment of forgetting an acquaintance’s name leads to a mind-bending romp in Subconscious Password (Canada). In The Places Where We Lived (USA), a man wakes up with a weird feeling to find his parents are selling his childhood home. In Marilyn Myller (UK), the heroine is trying really hard to create something, but can expectation and reality ever truly align? The Bungled Child (France) is the terrifying tale of an attempt to separate conjoined twins. Human behavior in an era of information overload is explored in Tap To Retry (Israel). The Event (USA/UK) tells a haunting tale of love, and a severed foot, at the end of the world. Fish Boy struggles for acceptance in a remote fishing village in Ziegenort (Poland). A cowboy town torments the local drunk in Drunker Than A Skunk (USA). Marcel, King of Tervuren (USA) is Greek tragedy as acted out by Belgian roosters. A frog eats a grasshopper, a stork eats the frog, a crocodile eats the stork... and so it goes, on and on, in Chopper (Netherlands).
A frog eats a grasshopper, a stork eats the frog, a crocodile eats the stork… and so it goes, on and on.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
The passions and pitfalls of materialism are explored.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
A cowboy town torments the local drunk.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
Greek tragedy as acted out by Belgian roosters.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
The heroine is trying really hard to create something, but can expectation and reality ever truly align?Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
A teenage boy develops a seriously awkward sexual attraction.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
A man wakes up with a weird feeling to find his parents are selling his childhood home.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
Japanese, English 7
The embarrassment of forgetting an acquaintance’s name leads to a mind-bending romp.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
Human behavior in an era of information overload is explored.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
The terrifying tale of an attempt to separate conjoined twins.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
A haunting tale of love, and a severed foot, at the end of the world.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
Fish Boy struggles for acceptance in a remote fishing village.Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division
A ferocious, funny, and poignant portrait of the one-of-a-kind Broadway legend still belting out Sondheim numbers at age 87, this documentary tribute showcases the brash, uncompromising Tony and Emmy winner both onstage and off. The film captures her immeasurable charm, acerbic wit, and impressive accomplishments with candid footage and interviews with friends and collaborators, including Sondheim, Tina Fey, and Nathan Lane. Sparkling with Stritch’s delightful character, this film is an inspiring portrait of an American treasure.
Touted as the first Shakespeare adaptation to deal with contemporary African American issues, H4 re-imagines Henry IV Part I and Part II in the context of modern-day Los Angeles, performed by a top-notch cast of black actors led by Harry Lennix (Man of Steel). As Henry’s unreliable son Hal comes of age, events compel him to increase power and responsibility as he becomes the face of a new nation and prepares to succeed his father.
In this lushly photographed romance set just after the end of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war, Buddhist pawnbroker Sarathsiri falls in love with the beautiful, enigmatic Tamil refugee Selvi. The couple avoids discussing their pasts on opposite sides of the bloody conflict until a chance visit from an old friend reveals a terrible secret, opening old wounds that threaten to rend the couple and their still-healing community as it comes to grips with the war’s lasting trauma.
Sinhala and Tamil with English Subtitles 90
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
When her neglectful family forgets her at a highway restaurant during a family vacation, housewife Rosalba grasps the opportunity to take her own vacation to Venice. But as she gets comfortable and finds love, leaving her old life behind and making her detour a permanent fix becomes increasingly tempting. Rosalba’s journey in Bread and Tulips sets off a comical and touching domino effect that helps her, as well as those around her, to rediscover passion and adventure in life.Year: 2000Part of Comedy, Italian Style: This year, the Festival celebrates Italian cinema with a look back at beloved comedies covering five decades.
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
Filmed in secret in defiance of director Jafar Panahi’s 20-year filmmaking ban, Closed Curtain tells the story of a writer whose plans of working in seclusion are disrupted when strangers break into his home. Just as the situation between the mysterious, inquisitive visitors and the paranoid writer reaches its apparent resolution, the film takes a step back with a surreal blend of fiction and autobiographical documentary, as Panahi himself finds the fiction film bleeding into his everyday life.
Farsi with English subtitles 106
Best friends Manzi and Karemera find themselves on opposing sides in Rwanda’s ethnic civil war, with Tutsi Karemera’s family paying a horrific price for Manzi’s allegiance to his Hutu heritage. When Manzi is released from prison fifteen years later, his return re-opens old wounds. Filmmaker Joel Karekezi draws from his own experience as a survivor of Rwanda’s violence in creating this moving account of two former friends who must contend with the unimaginable horrors in their past.
Returning home to Buenos Aires following a stint at a psychiatric clinic, sensitive, reserved teen Liso must work to rebuild his life. Struggling to reconnect with family and friends, he drifts from one experience to the next, while those around him unsuccessfully try to understand him. A quiet but impactful drama about one young man’s search for peace, La Paz explores the depths of unyielding loneliness with subtle yet intricate imagery, drawing the viewer into its complex emotional universe.
Spanish with English Subtitles 73
In a secluded cruising spot tucked away on a picturesque lake, Franck notices the muscular Michel and quickly falls for him. Franck’s desire continues to grow even as he witnesses Michel commit a terrible, violent act. Aware of the potential danger, possibly even excited by it, Franck ignores the advice of his wary friend Henri and indulges his passion in this brilliantly observed, sharply insightful meditation on sex and desire that was awarded a directing prize at Cannes.
French with English Subtitles 97
Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth tells the extraordinary story of one of America’s greatest living writers, from her childhood in a family of Georgia sharecroppers to a distinguished career as an activist and author. The first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Color Purple, Walker found herself at the center of a national controversy surrounding the book and the film adaptation’s depiction of the relationship between black women and the men in their lives.
In this brooding, sharply written drama, long estranged brothers Marten and Volker reunite at their abandoned childhood home. Hoping to convince his still angry younger brother to reconcile with their imprisoned mother, Marten finds his efforts to reunite the family thwarted by Volker’s deep-rooted resentments. Steadily paced and saturated with intriguing twists, Nordstrand tracks the troubled history and painful present of a family torn apart.
German with English Subtitles 89
Stifled by his ailing father’s oppressive presence, Helmer moves him to the second floor of their isolated rural farmhouse. Free from his father’s judgmental gaze, Helmer finds himself developing increasingly warm relationships with the milk truck driver and an attractive young farmhand who moves into the house. Helmer quietly develops a newfound self-confidence and openness towards his own sexuality in this gorgeously acted, intricately plotted film.
Dutch with English Subtitles 93
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.
Mafia hitman Salvo is solitary, callous, and ruthless. His deep-rooted cold-bloodedness is tested, however, when, on a job, he comes across his target’s sister, a blind woman named Rita. Disturbed by her unseeing stare, Salvo cannot bring himself to silence the potential witness. In choosing to spare her, he must become her protector. The once amoral Salvo must risk his life to save hers in this masterfully executed story of love and redemption.
Italian with English Subtitles 104
Pioneering documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman (Titicut Follies, Crazy Horse) has become the cinema’s great chronicler of institutions. With his characteristic focus on the human side of a large and complex organization, Wiseman trains his camera on the University of California, Berkeley during the fall 2010 semester. With unrestrained access, Wiseman goes inside classrooms and administration meetings to paint an engrossing, multi-layered portrait of an elite university in a time of financial uncertainty.
With the closure of the local sugar mill, the picturesque Cuban town of Melaza has become desolate and lifeless. School teacher Aldo and now-unemployed Monica eke out a meager living, going as far as renting out their tiny home to the local prostitute for extra cash. When they get in trouble with the authorities, resulting fines lead to more desperate measures. This funny, heartfelt romantic drama explores the limits of love and trust in the face of hardship.
Spanish with English Subtitles 80
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
Young psychiatrist Ryo attempts to find catharsis by ruminating on the stories of his patients who have taken their own lives. While on a lone voyage off the coast of Southeast Asia, he writes about each patient, the film staging each of these vignettes in a beautiful surrealist landscape. As Ryo tries to find solace, he realizes that life and death are both part of the same great journey in this surprisingly playful meditation on depression.
From the director of The Devil Wears Prada, One Chance is the remarkable and inspirational true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night. Paul became an instant YouTube phenomenon after being chosen by Simon Cowell for Britain's Got Talent. Wowing audiences worldwide with his phenomenal voice, Paul went on to win Britain’s Got Talent and the hearts of millions.
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 lighter take on the Romanian New Wave, Adrian Sitaru's wry comedy presents the exploits of three families living in a single building. All share a love for (or malice towards) various domestic and/or edible animals, which somehow keep finding a way of bringing out strains within their families. Sitaru captures this all with a formal precision attuned to both the slyly hilarious comedic timing of each scene and the expressive potential of long-take aesthetics.
Romanian with English Subtitles 85
A dark psychological thriller, A Pact tells the twisted story of a contentious love triangle. As teenagers, Paul tricked Georg into handing over his girlfriend Anna to him. Georg agrees, on the condition that he can have her back whenever he wishes. After decades of silence, when Anna and Paul have a family together, Georg suddenly re-appears. Strange things start happening to Paul, and it soon becomes clear that Georg has not forgotten the pact.
German with English Subtitles 83
In the summer of 1989, beautiful yet melancholy linguistics student Boaz finds his quiet life with his devoted girlfriend Noa derailed when he begins receiving amorous letters from a closeted secret male admirer. Both flattered and troubled, Boaz is thrown into a profound internal conflict, questioning his own sexuality and alienating Noa in this tender, affecting drama.
Hebrew with English subtitles 85
Anne struggles to rebuild her life after Kenya’s civil unrest has killed her husband, gravely injured her son, and left her isolated farm in ruins. Joseph, a quiet and troubled young gang member who took part in the countrywide violence, is drawn to Anne and her farm, seemingly in search of connection and redemption. This powerful story of forgiveness and reconciliation presents an intimate look at the aftermath of violence on both perpetrators and victims.
Swahili with English Subtitles 85
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.
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