alaskaLand tells the story of Chukwuma, an Alaska-raised Nigerian struggling to balance his cultural heritage with the pressures of the larger world around him. After a family tragedy forces a two-year estrangement from his younger sister Chidinma, the siblings reconnect in their hometown. Although their time apart has created new frictions, they find their reconciliation bringing them closer to each other and to their roots in this gorgeous, knowing debut film.
English, 75 min
In the late 1970s, when a mentally handicapped teenager is abandoned, a gay couple - a drag performer (Alan Cumming) and a closeted attorney (Garret Dillahunt) - takes him in and becomes the family he’s never had. But, once the unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men must fight a biased legal system to adopt the child they have come to care for as their own in this gripping testament to love and family.
English, 97 min
Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe
The Thompsons, a seemingly ordinary (if somewhat pathetic) family unit, are accused of murder when Blake, a mysterious, gloomy stranger they’ve invited over, turns up dead. The family’s struggle with their newfound notoriety plays out in a tragicomic disintegration of their already somewhat dysfunctional relationships in this offbeat, absurdist and laugh-out-loud funny mockumentary.
English, 86 min
A nitro-fueled narco-thriller from director Oskar Thor Axelsson and executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Black’s Game chronicles the evolution of Iceland’s homegrown drug industry from boutique trade to deadly big business. Stebbi sets out to take over the Reykjavik drug trade by any means necessary. Axelsson captures the drug-induced rhythm of Stebbi and his cohorts in this stylish, thrilling tale of Reykjavik’s criminal underground.
Icelandic with subtitles, 104 min
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, this docudrama from the Taviani brothers (Padre Padrone) captures the preparations for a staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Rome’s Rebibbia Prison. The performers - inmates, some of whom have been jailed for murder and other violent crimes - bring powerful new layers of meaning and emotion to the canonical play. Caesar Must Die is a memorable, emotional meditation on the transformative power of artistic production.
Italian with subtitles, 76 min
When a petty thief attempts to rob an old man, he not only fails but finds himself on a boat heading towards the lonely island where the man lives. A de facto prisoner on the island, the thief spends his days looking for escape, even as he can’t help but become more entangled in the lives of the few island misfits. Filled with beautiful images and light humor, Color of Sky is a thoroughly likeable modern-day fable.
Malayalam with subtitles, 117 min
Sabine Hiebler and Gerhart Ertl
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.
A melancholic, mesmerizing vision of backwoods gothic Americana, Consuming Spirits weaves together a spell-binding blend of cut-out, pencil-drawn and stop motion animation techniques, a painstaking artistic process which took Chicago-based director Chris Sullivan nearly 15 years to complete. Folksy storytelling tinged with the dark surrealism of David Lynch, this atmospheric, multi-layered tale of outcasts and misfits is haunting, funny and occasionally heartbreaking.
English, 130 min
The gruff, ogre-like Pumpkin and his young son live by themselves in the forest, but their comfortable isolation is disturbed when Pumpkin takes a near-fatal fall from a great height. His son, with the help of the benevolent spirits that inhabit the forest, must venture out into civilization for the first time in search of help. Filled with charming, gorgeous animation, Day of the Crows is an utterly delightful family film.
French with subtitles, 94 min
Mexico / Uruguay
Agustin, plagued by the physical and mental ailments of age, lives with his daughter Maria, a single mother who must now care for her father in addition to her three children. When Maria, overworked and overwhelmed, fails in her attempts to find another home for Agustin, she rashly acts out of desperation and must immediately face the consequences. Directed with flair and exquisitely photographed, The Delay is an intimate, touching family drama.
Spanish with subtitles, 84 min
France / Italy / Romania
The 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, drawing an estimated 200,000 protestors from around the world, became a disaster site when the local police violently stormed the Diaz school, a temporary shelter for many of the activists. An exhilarating yet tragic tale of students, journalists, and police on the front lines, Diaz follows the journeys of several characters involved, shrewdly examining the causes and consequences of the fateful events.
Various Languages with subtitles, 120 min
Liu Jin-xi (Donnie Yen) is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper’s life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro). Convinced that Liu’s martial arts mastery belies a hidden history of training by one of the region’s vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero
Mandarin with subtitles, 114 min
The lives of married couple Kanya and Satoko are turned upside down when they lose their restaurant in a fire. Depressed and desperate, the couple concocts an unlikely confidence scheme to pay the bills: Kanya marries and swindles lonely spinsters. Successful as they are, the fraud wears on the couple, driving an even greater wedge between them.
Japanese with subtitles, 134 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
When new mom Jenny inherits a cabin in Montana, she sees an opportunity to leave behind the drab routine of her stay-at-home life in Chicago. Baby in tow, she embraces a life of independence while she waits for her husband to join her. Her idyllic life takes an unsettling turn when she begins a relationship with a local handyman in this subtle, beautiful film from actor-filmmaker Kris Swanberg.
English, 70 min
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
From Chicago filmmaker Julian Grant comes this “neo-noir musical crime drama.” Benji is set up to take the fall for an ill-fated kidnapping, but still finds time to sing when he isn’t hastily bandaging injuries or trying to determine the motivations of a stripper with questionable loyalties. Mixing visual styles and utterly defying any attempt at clear categorization, this catchy, gritty film is not to be missed.
English, 84 min
In a diverse and cosmopolitan contemporary Havana, young Arthur meets and falls in love with Cecilia, a beautiful prostitute. Their idyllic aspirations for love and happiness quickly meet with complications. Fable is ultimately a moving, sincere exploration of the possibilities for love in a city defined by economic and social adversity.
Spanish with subtitles, 92 min
A sense of vitality and excitement fills the lives of a nursing home’s inhabitants when they decide to compete in a television variety show competition. Although members of this newly-energized group are battling the effects of various illnesses or familial estrangement and neglect, they all come together in common enthusiasm to realize their dream, no matter who or what stands in their way in this heart-warming, rousing film.
Mandarin with subtitles, 105 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
Since the death of her mother, Hemel has been very close with her father Gijs, her only other consolation being an endless series of men. Gijs has gone through a number of romances with beautiful women, and, similarly, none of them were serious enough to threaten the father-daughter relationship. When Gijs meets Sophie, however, Hemel feels like her close bond with her father is in serious danger in this powerful, erotic melodrama.
Dutch with subtitles, 80 min
A one-night stand between Erik and Paul quickly grows into something more. However, the two men’s drastically different attitudes towards work, life, and intimacy, along with Paul’s struggles with addiction, soon chip away at their chances of happiness. This sensitive, subtle account of an intense, nine-year on-off relationship tenderly reminds us that love is not always enough.
English, 102 min
King Curling is a rollicking, boisterous comedy about the high-stakes world of curling, that most glorious of broom-based ice sports. After breaking under the intense pressure of championship competition, former star Truls Paulsen has fallen far from his former exalted station, battling OCD and a reliance on pills. When he learns that his former coach is in the hospital and in desperate need of an expensive operation, Truls gets himself together for one more, potentially lucrative competition.
Norwegian with subtitles, 75 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
France / Mexico / Uruguay
Jordan / UAE
Yahya Al Abdallah
A slow-burning absurdist comedy, The Last Friday follows Youssef, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver whose lonely life changes suddenly when he learns he must have a testicular operation immediately. His son, meanwhile, must be sent to a private school. The money for both tuition and the operation is due by Friday. Youssef finds himself reaching out to estranged family members and friends, both for the money and to salvage what’s left of his life.
Arabic with subtitles, 88 min
Argentina / France
Mila (Juliette Binoche) and Javier are brilliant heart surgeons and passionately in love. While their professional lives are clinical and require precision and perfection, their married life is entirely opposite - they drink, eat and make love to excess. When Mila discovers she is pregnant, she and Javier continue to deny what everyone else recognizes: that Javier is an alcoholic. As her pregnancy develops, their impulsive and unpredictable relationship is derailed - and held together by ego, addiction and hope.
French with subtitles, 91 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.
Chile / France
The final completed film from Raúl Ruiz (Time Regained), one of world cinema’s most inventive, iconoclastic filmmakers, Night Across the Street follows the ruminations of Don Celso, an elderly office worker, as he relives memories - both real and imagined - from his life. Stories hide within stories and the thin line between imagination and reality steadily erodes, opening up a marvelous new world of personal remembrance and fantastic melodrama.
Spanish and French with subtitles, 110 min
France / Romania
Tudor Giurgiu and
An absurdist drama tinged with dark humor, Of Snails and Men takes place in the small Romanian town of Muscel, where a French company plans to convert the town’s failed factory into a snail cannery. Knowing that thousands will be left unemployed, the union leader concocts an outlandish scheme to buy back the factory: the workers will, en masse, travel to Bucharest to earn money at a sperm bank.
Romanian, French, and Spanish with subtitles, 93 min
In this bittersweet family comedy, shy teenager Libby moves back to Israel to live with her hapless father Shaul, unexpectedly finding herself without a home as war breaks out around them. Shaul devises a creative solution: posing as refugees, they are taken in by a wealthy family in Jerusalem. Finally in a “normal” household, Shaul and Libby begin to build their father-daughter relationship, but their false identities can’t last forever.
Hebrew with subtitles, 86 min
Just out of medical school, Veronica takes a challenging position at a local public hospital. Full of doubts and insecurity and reluctant to give up her sense of freedom, she finds herself questioning her career, personal, and romantic choices. When her beloved father is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, she must face her adult responsibilities head on.
Portuguese with subtitles, 90 min
In the tumultuous South Africa of the late 1980s, young Otelo looks for freedom wherever he can find it. When he and his friends are introduced to surfing, they swiftly take to the sport, a welcome reprieve from pressures both societal and parental. As the group rises in skill and fame, tensions and egos inevitably develop, further flamed by Otelo’s romantic interest in his friend’s sister and the escalating political conflicts around them.
Zulu with subtitles, 95 min
Belgium / France / Luxembourg / Switzerland
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
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
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
France / Germany / Mexico / Netherlands
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
Ever since she was abandoned as a toddler in the Jakarta Haven for Animals and adopted by their giraffe trainer, the zoo has been the only world Lana knows. When she encounters and falls in love with a charming magician, she decides to make her journey into the unfamiliar outside world in this delightful, romantic fable.
Indonesian with subtitles, 96 min
Zizo, a true rebel, is content to spend his days spewing subversive poetry to an audience consisting mostly of his fellow outsider friends. That is, until the arrival of the beautiful Eneida injects a love story into this carefree romp through the stoned and casually promiscuous world of Brazilian bohemian life. Gorgeous black and white cinematography and a dryly comedic, stylized tone perfectly convey the idealism of the youthful characters.
Portuguese with subtitles, 110 min
A sharp, crowd-pleasing satire on reality television, Reality playfully explores the pervasiveness of an all-consuming lust for fame. Luciano, a cheeky fish merchant, agrees to audition for the Italian version of Big Brother. When the producers show a slight interest, Luciano immediately lets what he assumes to be his inevitably massive fame and glory go to his head, doing everything he can to impress them and win himself a spot on the show.
Italian, 115 min
David Robinson will introduce a selection of discoveries from the Pordenone Silent Film Festival. An Italian comedy of 1914 THE MIRACULOUS WATERS shows that audiences of 100 years ago had no inhibitions about sexually risky subjects. Other moments from the festival demonstrate the importance of music in silent cinema, with an extract from the historic 2011 performance of Shostakovich's score for NEW BABYON. David Robinson also describes the spectacular 2012 restoration of the marvel of the 1900 Paris Exposition PHONO-CINEMA-THEATRE, which put on record the greatest stage stars of the day, so that the public of 2012 can still see Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet and legendary dancers like Cleo de Merode, masterfully recorded by cameramen of 112 years ago. In addition the Chicago audience will see Pordenone's resident silent star, Jean Darling, the blonde bombshell of 1920s OUR GANG movies, and later creator of the role of Carrie ("When I Marry Mr Snow") in the original 1944 Broadway production of CAROUSEL.
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
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 poetic, tender road movie, A Secret World follows tormented teenager Maria as she makes her way through Mexico seeking her place in life. The film focuses on the pleasant beauty of the landscape and the eccentric, endearing personality of Maria as she comes into her own. Gorgeously filmed, this lyrical coming-of-age story doubles as a wistful hymn to a young woman’s self-discovery.
Spanish with subtitles, 87 min
Ireland / UK
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
Kamel, a shy, good-natured security guard, is torn between two worlds: the Israeli society that treats him and his fellow Bedouins with suspicion and his own family, who are struggling to maintain their ever-threatened way of life. When the shacks where he and his family live on their ancestral lands are threatened with demolition, Kamel goes to extreme lengths to save his family home, in this starkly beautiful portrait of life on the margins.
Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles, 82 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
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
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
21-year-old “actress” Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her Chihuahua, Starlet. Sadie, an 85-year-old widow, passes her days alone tending to her flower garden. An unlikely friendship forms between the two after Jane makes an intriguing discovery at Sadie’s yard sale. Jane attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to satisfy her curiosity, and secrets emerge as their relationship grows.
English, 103 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
Following up his adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Darezhan Omirbaev returns to Russian literature, this time adapting Crime and Punishment to modern-day Kazhakstan. Goaded on by a lecture on modern capitalism, a philosophy student murders a local shopkeeper and must ponder the moral and philosophical implications of his actions. This much-adapted story is brought to new light in Post-Communist Kazhakstan, where crime and corruption have lingered following the transition to capitalism.Student 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.
Kazakh and Russian with subtitles, 90 min
India / USA
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
A remarkable, inspiring story of human resilience, War Witch tells the story of Komona, a 14-year-old girl whose life took a drastic, tragic turn when armed rebels stormed her village. Forced to join the rebel army and endure brutal training, Komona learns to survive, and even falls in love. Although she wishes to forget, the now-pregnant Komona realizes she must reconcile herself with her painful past.
French and Lingala with subtitles, 90 min
Set in the midst of the Tahrir Square demonstrations that, in early 2011, changed Egypt forever, Winter of Discontent explores the uncertainty, anxiety, and euphoria that filled the days and nights leading up to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. As seen through the eyes of activist Amr, journalist Farah, and State Security officer Adel, momentous, world-changing events unfold on the ground in urgent, intimate detail.
Arabic with subtitles, 94 min
This sweeping epic chronicles an important, still-relevant struggle in Brazilian history. Seeking adventure, the Villa Boas brothers set off from modern civilization into the jungles of Brazil, where they befriend an isolated Xingu village. Working with the Xingu, they help modernize the village. However, progress brings its own set of devastating problems and the brothers begin a decades-long fight to help the Xingu people. Stylish, energetic, and inspiring, Xingu vividly brings their struggle to life.
Portuguese with subtitles, 103 min
Czech Republic / Poland
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
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