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2012 International Screenings Program, Apr 11- Sept 29

See the World for Free!

Together with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and our consular and cultural partners, the International Connections Committee of Cinema/Chicago is pleased to present the 9th annual International Screenings Program, voted by the Chicago Reader as the “Best Free Film Series in Chicago” in 2010.

This popular weekly free film series, running April 11 - September 29, 2012, showcases 22 films from around the world that are not widely available in the U.S. The films, representing a wide array of genres from quirky comedies to hair-raising thrillers to emotionally-charged dramas and eye-opening documentaries, celebrate the richness and diversity of the human experience.

All screenings take place at the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph Street, 2nd floor. Doors open 45 minutes before start time. Please arrive early as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to theater capacity. Admission is not guaranteed. Films are unrated. Viewer discretion is advised. 



No Screenings on Wednesday, September 12 or Saturday, September 15.

Wednesday September 19, 6:30pm and Saturday September 22, 2:00pm

Dir. Chen Kaige, 2008, China
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago 

Legendary filmmaker Chen Kaige’s epic tale recounts the life of Mei Lanfang, a central figure in the history of Peking opera. Bringing the Chinese opera world to life through exquisite sets and costume design, the film follows Mei’s rise to fame, the struggles of his personal life, and his defiant stance against the occupying Japanese army that would make him a national hero. 147 minutes. Mandarin with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here.

Wednesday September 26, 6:30pm and Saturday September 29, 2:00pm

CHINESE TAKE-AWAY (Un cuento chino)
Dir. Sebastian Borensztein, 2011, Argentina
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Argentine Republic in Chicago

After being separated from his fiancee in an opening scene that is at once tragic and hilarious, the hapless Jun is stranded in Argentina without money, friends, or the means to communicate. Meanwhile, the perpetually irate Roberto spends his days trying to avoid human contact, when he isn't scolding customers and suppliers alike at his hardware store. A brief lapse into sympathy brings Jun into Roberto's life, but the two are like oil and water. Light and quirky, this comedy about human connection is sure to leave audiences smiling. 93 minutes. Spanish and Mandarin with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here


Wednesday April 11, 6:30pm and Saturday, April 14, 2pm

HEAR ME (Ting Shuo)
Dir. Cheng Fen-fen, 2009, Taiwan
Co-presented by: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago  

With their missionary father in Africa, Yang Yang makes a meager living as a street performer to support her sister’s dream of swimming in the Deaflympics. But she must choose between family obligations and following her own path when lovable loser Tian Kuo begins to woo her. This gentle story of love, acceptance, and family drama is given a fresh twist with the majority of the dialogue in sign language.109 minutes.Taiwanese with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday April 18, 6:30pm and Saturday, April 21, 2pm

WAR OF THE ARROWS (Choijongbyeonggi Hwal)
Dir. Kim Han-Min, 2011, South Korea
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago  

In this thrilling, action-filled tale of honor, betrayal, and kinship, brother and sister Nam-yi and Ja-in are left orphans when their father, a legendary archer and loyal servant, is executed at the hands of his master, King Injo. Now, during the second Manchu invasion of 1623, the siblings face a similarly tragic fate with the invasion by the Qing. With Ja-in kidnapped and his beloved benefactor slain, Nam-yi’s archery skills and valor are put to the test in his efforts to avenge his benefactor and rescue his sister. 122 minutesKorean with English subtitles

To view the film's trailer, please click here 

Wednesday April 25, 6:30pm

HERE WITHOUT ME (Inja bedoone man)
Dir. Bahram Tavakoli, 2011, Iran
Co-presented by: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

Adapting Tennessee Williams to contemporary Tehran, Here Without Me follows an emotional powderkeg of a family: a mother who works non-stop to support her children, a son who whiles away his time in movie theaters and dreams of leaving Iran, and a disabled daughter who rarely leaves the home. The classic story and award-winning performances yield an unforgettable tale of family drama. 88 minutes. Farsi with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here 

Wednesday May 2, 6:30pm and Saturday May 5, 2:00pm

CHILL! (Scialla!)
Dir. Francesco Bruni, 2011, Italy
Co-presented by: Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago  

Bruno, who has long lost his passion for writing, makes a living ghostwriting fluff-filled autobiographies and tutoring high-schoolers. But Bruno’s world is turned upside down when a vivacious student’s mother shares a secret, giving him a chance at the role of a lifetime in this laugh-out-loud comedy with a touch of light-hearted family drama. 95 minutes. Italian with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here 

Wednesday May 9, 6:30pm

Dir. Onir, 2010, India
Co-presented by: Consulate General of India, Chicago and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  

The four distinct stories that make up this omnibus center around characters in conflict with social mores and intolerance. Ranging from single parenthood to the politics of Kashmir, each story documents a personal drama engendered by a society in flux. The tales told resonate far beyond India, illustrated by the international grassroots financing that poured into the film through social media. 95 minutes. Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Marathi and English with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday May 23, 6:30pm

Dir. David Sieveking, 2010, Germany
Co-presented by: Goethe-Institut 

Looking for artistic inspiration, recent film school graduate David makes a pilgrimage to see his idol David Lynch speak at a conference. When Lynch uses the talk to espouse the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, David finds his own creative voice as a muckraking journalist. His good nature and seeming naïveté allow David amazing access to the inner workings of the TM organization, and the spiritual and creative journey he documents both entertains and enlightens. 96 minutes. German with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday May 30, 6:30pm and Saturday June 2, 2:00pm

VENICE (Wenecja)
Dir. Jan Jakub Kolski, 2010, Poland
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago  

A carnival of opulence and imagination, this magical-realist tale chronicles a journey never taken. When the outbreak of war in Poland in 1939 quashes 11-year-old Marek’s dream of a trip to Venice, he escapes the frightening reality surrounding him in the basement of his family’s country home. Together with his aunt, he enters a subterranean dream world - one that celebrates the magic of childhood in the face of stark reality and the possibility of deliverance through dreams. 110 minutes. Polish with English subtitles. Wednesday screening will have Venice actress Magdalena Cielecka in attendance.

To view the film's trailer, please click here 

 Wednesday June 6, 6:30pm and Saturday June 9, 2:00pm

Dir. Mark A. Reyes, 2006, Philippines
Co-presented by: Philippine Consulate General in Chicago  and GMA Pinoy TV 

Photographer Marco is on vacation in the sleepy old town of Sitio Verde when a near accident brings three women into his life: Rosa Santos, who saves his life; Lianne, who stirs up deep feelings of love and loneliness; and Divina, a woman from the past who, it seems, has come to rescue him. In this old-fashioned romance, time bends to bring two solitary souls moments of love. 104 minutes. Tagalog with English subtitles.

Wednesday June 13, 6:30pm and Saturday June 16, 2:00pm

Dir. Pau Freixas, 2010, Spain
Co-presented by: Instituto Cervantes Chicago  

A high-strung professional - pantless, walletless and running late - resorts to picking up a free-spirited hitchhiker to borrow money for gas. His troubles go from bad to worse, and the two are forced to walk for miles, allowing their conversation to turn nostalgic and cueing extended flashbacks to a childhood summer in this bittersweet coming-of-age tale that has all the makings of an instant classic. 104 minutes. Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday June 20, 6:30pm* and Saturday June 23, 2:00pm

THE SANDMAN (Der Sandmann)
Dir Peter Luisi, 2011, Switzerland
Co-presented by: Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicago  

The ever-petulant Benno wakes up one morning to find sand in his bed. Worse, he seems to be the source of it, and the leaking won’t stop. Even more peculiar, downstairs neighbor Sandra, whose singing and entire being drives Benno to near madness, inexplicably begins to inhabit his nightly dreams. But what does Sandra have to do with the sand? This absurdist comedy playfully surveys the space between who we are and who we could be. 87 minutes. Swiss-German and German with English subtitles.*post-screening discussion.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday June 27, 6:30pm* and Saturday June 30, 2:00pm

Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, 2011, Canada
Co-presented by: Consulate General of Canada in Chicago 

By turns tender and tragic, this unconventional love story interweaves two tales separated in place and time but united by music and passion. In 1969 Paris, devoted single mother Jacqueline will do whatever it takes to make sure that her young son with Down syndrome is not marginalized, while internationally successful DJ Antoine must cope with the aftereffects of his passionate love affair in present-day Montréal. Mystical forces unite these many lives, chronicling intense moments of love, loss, and destiny. 120 minutes. French with English subtitles. For mature audiences. *post-screening discussion

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday July 4, 6:30pm and Saturday July 7, 2:00pm: NO SCREENINGS

Wednesday July 11, 6:30pm and Saturday July 14, 2:00pm

THE WOLBERG FAMILY (La famille Wolberg)
Dir. Axelle Ropert, 2009, France
Co-presented by:
 Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Chicago and Institut-Francais 

He can deliver an awe-inspiring discourse on the American soul to dumbfounded schoolboys, effortlessly entangle himself in the private lives of his citizens, and even get his 18-year-old daughter to swear that she will never, on her life, leave home. Meet Simon Wolberg: small town mayor, love-struck husband, meddling father and provocative son. This man is driven by an obsession with his family, which leads him to test the force and fragility of their bonds. 95 minutes. French with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday July 18, 6:30pm and Saturday July 21, 2:00pm

LADDALAND (Soi-lát-daa-laen)
Dir. Sopon Sukdapisit, 2011, Thailand
Co-presented by: Royal Thai Consulate General in Chicago and GTH

In this edge-of-your seat horror film, a young family leaves Bangkok for a newly-built suburban housing project. Soon, the peace and quiet of the idyllic community is spoiled by a grisly murder, and the children’s curious visits to the scene of the crime incite a horror the family never could have imagined. 113 minutes. Thai with English subtitles. For mature audiences. May contain frightening scenes.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday July 25, 6:30pm and Saturday July 28, 2:00pm

Dir. Michael Henry Wilson, 2010, South Africa
Co-presented by: South African Consulate in Chicago  

This compelling documentary follows Nelson Mandela’s rise to power and the titular miracle he made a reality: South Africa’s peaceful transition from Apartheid to democracy. Made up of interviews, archival footage, and an outsider’s perspective provided by Clint Eastwood on the set of InvictusReconciliation makes fascinating viewing for both neophytes and those who know this remarkable historical period by heart. 88 minutes

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday August 1, 6:30pm and Saturday August 4, 2:00pm

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES (É proibido fumar)
Dir. Anna Muylaert, 2009, Brazil
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Chicago  

Baby, a chain-smoking guitar teacher in her forties, is desperately looking for love. When a musician named Max moves in next door, she believes she may have found her Romeo; but Max may not be all that he seems… Striking a delicate balance between the comedic and tragic, this unconventional love story takes its characters on the rollercoaster ride that is love. 86 minutes. Portuguese with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday August 8, 6:30pm and Saturday August 11, 2:00pm

FUKUSHIMA HULA GIRLS (Ganbappe Hula Girls!)
Dir. Kobayashi Masaki, 2011, Japan
Co-presented by: Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago  

The holiday theme park Spa Resort Hawaiians, constructed in 1966 to breathe life back into the ailing mining town of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, faces renewed challenges in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that devastated the region in March 2011. Following the resort’s path to recovery as it shelters disaster victims, undergoes structural rebuilding, and faces the arduous task of luring back holiday visitors, this riveting documentary provides unique insight into the staggering ramifications of the earthquake and its aftermath. 100 minutes. Japanese with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday August 15, 6:30pm* and Saturday August 18, 2:00pm

Dir. Erwin Wagenhofer, 2011, Austria
Co-presented by: Austrian Consulate General in Chicago (link to and the Austrian Film Commission  

Over the years, truck driver Don Pedro and his paraplegic business partner have devised an elaborately clever but also illegal scheme smuggling Africans into Europe. When Don Pedro encounters Jackie, a young Nigerian woman heading north, destination Geneva, with young son Theo in tow, his well-laid plans and well-protected heart are thrown into disarray. This tender portrait of a hard-edged man’s encounter with a grace-filled refugee shines a light on the plight of African immigrants in Europe. 106 minutes. German with English subtitles. *post-screening discussion

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday August 22, 6:30pm and Saturday August 25, 2:00pm

Dir. Nir Bergman, 2010, Israel 
Co-presented by: Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest

With a rich inner life developed beyond his years, young Aharon Kleinfeld struggles to find his place among both his peers and his dysfunctional family in 1960s Israel. Following Aharon over three years, as his adolescent soul develops but his body refuses to keep up, this resonant coming-of-age tale presents a portrait of a boy struggling to make sense of it all on his journey to manhood. Based on the novel The Book of Intimate Grammar by David Grossman. 110 minutes. Hebrew with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

Wednesday August 29, 6:30pm and Saturday September 1, 2:00pm

Dir. Sebastian Bednarik, 2007, Uruguay
Co-presented by:
 Consulate General of Uruguay in Chicago

After a 20-year hiatus, a group of veteran musicians are reunited to perform a murga, a traditional Uruguayan musical and theatrical performance, at the 2004 carnival in Montevideo. Shadowing these old masters as they prepare to sing and dance to the rhythm of La Matinée, a murga that is said to “carry the historical essence of a country and Latin American society,” this Uruguayan-style Buena Vista Social Club enchants us with the lives, traditions, and rhythms at the heart of a nation. 80 minutesSpanish with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here

 Wednesday September 5, 6:30pm and Saturday September 8, 2:00pm

DONKEYS (Burros)
Dir. Odín Salazar, 2011, Mexico
Co-presented by: Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago

People tend to forget that donkeys, apart from being stubborn, also have the invaluable ability to carry other people’s burdens. In 1940s Mexico, ten-year-old Lautaro is sent to live with his aunt to avoid the same fate as his father - murder. With one foot planted firmly in reality and the other in the world of magic, this coming-of-age drama follows Lautaro on his journey home, as he discovers this world in his encounters with the living and the dead. 93 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

To view the film's trailer, please click here