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2011 — 47th Chicago Film Festival

Overview Movies A-Z Directors A-Z Countries A-Z



Amnesty Amnesty

An unemployed mother of two with a convict for a husband and a meddlesome father-in-law, Elsa’s life could not get any harder. When a new law coerces her into joyless conjugal visits, she unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in Septim, whose monthly visits to his wife coincide with Elsa’s. Their newfound joy, however, has an expiration date. This unconventional, pathos-filled love story probes the possibility for solace in companionship in the face of adversity and poverty.

Albanian with subtitles, 83 min

The Forgiveness of Blood The Forgiveness of Blood

Nik is your run-of-the-mill, digitally savvy, fun-loving teenager. But his dreams for the future come to a screeching halt when a long-simmering feud between his father and a man who inherited land that once belonged to Nik's family comes to a violent end. Now, thanks to an ancient Albanian law, Nik and his brother find themselves under house arrest while their father is on the lam, causing already high tensions to reach a boiling point in this tense drama.

Albanian with subtitles, 109 min


Bonsai Bonsai

To read Flaubert and Proust with your girlfriend after a passionate bout of lovemaking…what more could a young intellectual want? How about, years later, being asked by a veteran novelist to type out the handwritten notes for his next novel? Julio is in literary heaven. But life, like literature, can be surprising, and very soon Julio is forced to live up to the lies he has been spinning. Bonsai presents a charming Chilean spin on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

Spanish with subtitles, 95 min

Cold Sweat Cold Sweat

Online dating? What’s the worst that could happen? Well, apparently, you could find yourself trapped in an old house at the mercy of a pair of aging right-wing revolutionaries turned sadists with a penchant for torturing young women with decaying dynamite and buckets of nitroglycerin. Prolific low-budget horror maestro Bogliano serves up a stylish slice of extreme genre cinema, which also alludes to the troubled state of generational politics in his homeland.

Spanish with subtitles, 80 min

The Student The Student

Roque goes from young Lothario to activist and general rabble-rouser in this cleverly plotted parable revealing the underbelly of Argentinian politics. Set at the University of Buenos Aires, the heady mix of sex, intellectualism and shady ploys that would make Richard Nixon smile, soon become all too real and Roque finds that he’s in way over his head. With nuanced performances and dynamic pacing, Santiago Mitre’s debut feature has earned comparisons to Truffaut, Godard and Alexander Payne.

Spanish with subtitles, 110 min


Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty

Forget everything you thought you knew about Sleeping Beauty. In Julia Leigh’s unsettling take on the classic tale, the beauty is Lucy (Emily Browning), a young woman who begins working at a niche job in the sex industry in order to pay for her education. Drugged and placed in a “sleeping beauty chamber”, Lucy becomes the play thing of paying customers, where almost anything is permissible. With so much beyond her control, will Lucy ever wake up to the world around her?

101 min

Snowtown Snowtown

Based on true events, this skillfully crafted psychological thriller centers on 16-year-old Jamie, who lives in a squalid, crime-ridden slum on the outskirts of Adelaide. When John Bunting, a charismatic older man, enters his life, he offers friendship and escape from his deadbeat existence. But as Bunting’s behavior becomes increasingly sinister, Jamie finds himself caught up in horrors he could never have imagined as he realizes his new father-figure is actually a cold-blooded serial killer.

120 min

Bride Can Bride Can

A witty deconstruction of women’s life in traditional Iranian society, emphasizing gender oppression and lack of control over their already determined fate. Bride Can uses surprising juxtapositions of imagery to criticize objectification of women in Iran.

7 min

Cropped Cropped

The Australian outback has been decimated by the brutal drought, destroying the livelihoods of farmers across the land. Barry and his family have been hit particularly hard, but their lives soon take a dramatic turn as they discover a mysterious object on their property. Each member of the family reacts differently to the gruesome new addition to the family which slowly stretches their relationships to breaking point. Sometimes it’s hard to keep your head … Cropped is a hilarious and disturbing black comedy.

15 min


Michael Michael

While troubling to use subtle and pedophilia in the same sentence, there’s no better way to describe this matter-of-fact story of a man who keeps a young boy locked in his basement. The horrors of unseen sexual abuse merge with the banal cues of modern domestic life as this understated film carefully plots its twists and turns. The film forgoes explicit visuals in exchange for an ending that you won’t forget.

German with subtitles, 96 min

My Best Enemy My Best Enemy

Deception and irony fuel this World War II-set comedy. Victor Kauffman, the son of a wealthy Jewish gallery owner, and Rudi are lifelong friends. When Rudi returns to Vienna from Germany as an S.S. officer in the Third Reich, the Kaufmanns don't just have their own safety to worry about. A rare, long lost Michelangelo drawing the family has secretly held for centuries has become the most desired object of Adolf Hitler, and a comedy of errors ensues as the two old friends find themselves trying to outwit the other in a race to track down the work of art.

German with subtitles, 106 min

Foal Foal

A young pregnant woman enthusiastically hurls herself into her new family, but her husband is worried and uncertain about their marriage. The forced family structures begin to crumble away. Sensing her partner’s rejection, the woman bolts herself in her majestic estate in this gorgeous, atmospheric tale of rejection and betrayal.

German, with subtitles, 16 min