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2011 International Screenings Program, May 4-September 24

Experience the Chicago International Film Festival all summer long!

Together with the Chicago Cultural Center and our consular and cultural partners, the International Connections Committee of Cinema/Chicago is pleased to present the 8th annual International Screenings Program, voted by the Chicago Reader as the “Best Free Film Series in Chicago” in 2010.

This weekly film series, running May 4 - September 24, showcases 21 films from around the world that are not widely available in the U.S. The films, representing a wide array of genres from heart-pounding thrillers and laugh-out-loud comedies to soul-stirring dramas and poignant romances, demonstrate the wealth and artistry of filmmaking cultures from around the world.
The celebration of international cinema continues this fall when we bring the best and brightest films and filmmakers to the 47th Chicago International Film Festival, October 6-20! Don’t miss out on the fun and remember to mark your calendars!


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.

ADMISSION IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!



PREVIOUS SCREENINGS

Wednesday May 4, 6:30pm
JOHN & JANE

Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia, India, 2005
Co-presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Part observational documentary, part science fiction, John & Jane follows six ambitious young Indians answering calls from American customers in a Mumbai call center. After a heady mix of “culture training” and 14-hour night shifts, the job starts to take its toll. Counterpointing the fluorescent interiors of late night offices with the uneasy currents swirling around the characters, the film lays bare an uncanny world of American aliases and virtual reality, and raising unnerving questions about the nature of identity in a globalized world. 83 minutes.

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


Wednesday May 11, 6:30pm and Saturday May 14, 2:00pm
SHODO GIRLS!!



Dir. Ryûichi Inomata, 2010, Japan
Co-presented by the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Satoko, a student of Japanese calligraphy (shodô), translates her passion for the ancient art into civic pride when she organizes a calligraphy performance contest to revitalize her depression-laden hometown. The competition’s success depends on her ability to overcome the community’s traditional ways. Based on a true story, Shodô Girls presents a heartwarming portrait of the courage of youth in the face of adversity. 121 minutes. Japanese with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday May 18, 6:30pm
ROUGH CUT

Dir. Jang Hoon, 2008, South Korea
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Notorious thug Gang-pae longs to be an actor, while leading man Soo-ta plays the role of a gangster. When Soo-ta’s aggressive behavior drives his co-star from the set, Gang-pae is recruited to take on the role of a fictional crime lord. In this spirited comedy-cum-crime drama, the line between fiction and reality is as murky as the underworld it depicts. 113 minutes. Korean with English subtitles. 


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


Dir. Florian Gaag, 2006, Germany
Co-presented by the Goethe-Institut and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Conceived in collaboration with renowned graffiti artists Neon, Won, Cemnoz, Pure and Ciel, Wholetrain is a gripping drama that explores the underground world of the graffiti scene. Night after night a crew of four “writers” steal off to the urban subway stations, intent on leaving behind opulent images while dodging the watchful eye of the law. When another crew appears on the scene, a creative battle ensues. 85 minutes. German with English subtitles.
* a post-screening discussion will be led by Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University professor of film studies Therese Grisham, Ph.D.

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


Wednesday June 1, 6:30pm and Saturday June 4, 2:00pm
THE OFFICER’S WIFE

Dir. Piotr Uzarowicz, 2010, Poland
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events



After his father’s death, Chicago native Piotr Uzarowicz discovered a forgotten safe deposit box containing his Polish grandmother’s autobiography, old photos of an army officer, and a mysterious postcard. In this documentary about family and memory, weaving dramatic interviews with bold animation, the director undertakes an investigation that retraces his grandparents’ footsteps and eventually leads him back to the Katyn Forest Massacre. 80 minutes. English and Polish with English subtitles.
* director Piotr Uzarowicz will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A!

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


Wednesday June 8, 6:30pm and Saturday June 11, 2:00pm
AU REVOIR TAIPEI

Dir. Arvin Chen, 2010, Taipei

Co-presented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Life in Taipei has become meaningless to lovesick Kai since his girlfriend left for Paris. Brokenhearted, he daydreams of getting to France. Fast. When Brother Bao, a shady neighborhood gangster, offers to help, Kai cannot refuse. Over the course of one extraordinary night, in this caper of a rom-com, Kai finds the excitement and romance he was longing for. 85 minutes. Taiwanese with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday June 15, 6:30pm
THEMBA



Dir. Stefanie Sycholt, 2010, South Africa
Co-presented by the South African Consulate General in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Themba, a gifted youth from the Eastern Cape, dreams of becoming a soccer star. But, the reality of life in his round-hut village, fraught with economic hardship and an unstable home, could not be further from his ambitions.  Beautifully set on the stunning South African coast, Themba tells the inspiring story of a boy who braves the battlefield of African reality to discover that anything is possible. 96 minutes. English and Xhosa with English subtitles.
*post-screening discussion

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


Wednesday June 22, 6:30pm and Saturday June 25, 2:00pm
GIOVANNA’S FATHER (Il papa di Giovanna)

Dir. Pupi Avati, 2008, Italy
Co-presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



After mentally unstable teen Giovanna is sent to a psychiatric hospital having committed a heinous crime, only her father, unwavering in his devotion, is willing to care for her. While their emotional bond, which has always had an exclusive element to it, becomes even closer, Giovanna’s mother becomes increasingly distant. Set in war-torn fascist  Italy, this compelling family drama examines the nature of madness and the price of forgiveness. 104 minutes. Italian with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday June 29, 6:30pm and Saturday July 2, 2:00pm
THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE (Ce qu'il faut pour vivre)


Dir. Benoît Pilon, 2007, Canada
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



A poignant, life-affirming drama The Necessities of Life depicts the experiences of Tivii, an ailing Inuit hunter. Diagnosed with TB by the Canadian authorities, Tivii is forcibly removed from his family and quarantined in a Quebec City sanitarium. Finding himself in an unknown culture surrounded by an unfamiliar language, he slides into a deep depression, until discovering hope in the unlikeliest of friendships. 102 minutes. French and Inuktitut with English subtitles.
*post-screening discussion

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


Wednesday July 6, 6:30pm and Saturday July 9, 2:00pm
BEST OF TIMES (Khwaam jam sun... Tae rak chan yao)


Dir. Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, 2009, Thailand
Co-presented by the Royal Thai Consulate General in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Some people spend most of their lives trying to forget past loves while others spend a lifetime reminiscing. When timid Keng’s high school crush reappears in his life, he pursues her with a newfound passion. Sparks fly when Jamras and Sompit meet in an internet class for seniors, but their golden romance faces unexpected challenges. Interweaving two tales of burgeoning romance, Best of Times presents a bittersweet rumination on the connection between love and memory. 117 minutes. Thai with English subtitles.


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


Dir. Philippe Lioret, 2010, France
Co-presented by the Consulate General of France in Chicago, Institut Francais and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee, has struggled his way through Europe for the last three months, trying to reunite with his girlfriend who recently emigrated to England. His journey comes to an abrupt halt when  he is stopped by the authorities on the French side of the Channel in Calais. With no apparent alternative, Bilal decides to swim across.  105 minutes. French, English and Kurdish with English subtitles.
* post-screening discussion

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


Wednesday July 20, 6:30pm and Saturday July 23, 2:00pm
REEF HUNTERS (Muro Ami)



Dir. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1999, Philippines.
Co-presented by the Philippine Consulate General in ChicagoGMA Pinoy TV and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



In this dramatic underwater adventure, master fisherman Fredo tyrannically commands a rattletrap ship crewed by boys from poor fishing villages. Their hazardous free-diving fishing expeditions are driven by Fredo’s obsession with catching the greatest number of fish. Recklessly disregarding all signs of danger, he blatantly flaunts the laws of the sea, against whom he bears a grudge. But the forces of nature cannot be ignored. 120 minutes. Tagalog with English subtitles.


Wednesday July 27, 6:30pm and Saturday July 30, 2:00pm
NOODLE


Dir. Ayelet Menahem, 2007, Israel
 Co-presented by the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Miri, a twice-widowed flight attendant by age thirty-seven, does what she can to maintain control in her life. Her well-ordered existence is suddenly turned upside down by an abandoned Chinese boy whose migrant-worker mother has been summarily deported from Israel. At turns funny and touching, tells the story of two people, as different as kugel is from lo mein, who join together on a remarkable journey back to a joy-filled life. 90 minutes. English, Hebrew and Mandarin with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday August 3, 6:30pm and Saturday August 6, 2:00pm
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET (O Outro lado da rua)

Dir. Marcos Bernstein, 2004, Brazil.
 Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Regina (Fernanda Montenegra), a 65-year old woman, escapes the tedium of her daily life by working as an informant for the Copacabana Police. One night while looking through her binoculars, she witnesses a man killing his wife across the street. When the police dismiss the case, she sets out to solve the crime on her own. Montenegra’s remarkable portrayal of the intriguing, ironic Regina drives this ever-absorbing thriller. 97 minutes. Portuguese with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday August 10, 6:30pm and Saturday August 13, 2:00pm
LATE BLOOMERS (Die Herbstzeitlosen)



Dir. Bettina Oberli, 2006, Switzerland.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicagoand the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Martha, an 80-year old widow, decides to pursue her passion for lingerie design. Her friends like the idea and support her all the way. When they open a boutique in the small Swiss village they call home, the scandalized villagers resolve to shut them down at all costs. This enchanting comedy about friendship and courage shows it is never too late to follow your dreams. 90 minutes. Swiss German with English subtitles.
* Post-screening discussion on Wednesday with Hank Sartin, Senior Editor for TimeOut Chicago  

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



Wednesday August 17, 6:30pm and Saturday August 20, 2:00pm
THE CAMERAMURDERER (Der Kameramörder)

Dir. Robert Adrian Pejo, 2010, Austria.
Co-presented by the Austrian Consulate General in Chicago, the Austrian Film Commission and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events



An anonymous snuff video is circulating online at the outset of the Easter weekend, when Heinrich and Eva visit their old friend Thomas and his new girlfriend at his remote lake house. The horrific content of the video inserts itself into their reality when it turns out that three neighborhood children have gone missing. Distrust and suspicion surface between the friends, turning their idyllic holiday into a nightmarish ordeal in this taut psychological thriller. 95 minutes. German and Hungarian with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday August 24, 6:30pm and Saturday August 27, 2:00pm
THE STORM (De Storm)


Dir: Ben Sombogaart, 2009, 
The Netherlands.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



The historic 1953 storm that flooded the Dutch coast forms the backdrop of this soul-stirring drama. In the middle of the tempest, young mother Julia is rescued by Aldo, an air force sergeant, against her will. What Aldo doesn’t realize is that Julia’s baby, safely hidden in a box, has been left behind. Together they set out on a near-impossible quest. 96 minutes. Dutch with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday August 31, 6:30pm and Saturday September 3, 2:00pm
THE POPE’S TOILET (El baño del Papa)



Dirs. César Charlone and Enrique Fernández, 2007, Uruguay.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Uruguay in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



The Pope's impending visit to a small Uruguayan town stimulates a flurry of activity among the residents, who hope to strike it rich by catering to the needs of the 50,000 expected pilgrims. Convinced that his idea is failsafe, one man uses all his family's savings to build a pay toilet. The Pope’s Toilet tells an alternatingly touching, humorous and poignant story of human dignity and solidarity. 90 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday September 7, 6:30pm and Saturday September 10, 2:00pm
THE MAN NEXT DOOR (El hombre de al lado)

Directors: Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat, 2009, Argentina.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Argentine Republic in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



In this dark comedy that explores class, vanity and the nature of friendship, architect Leonardo’s perfect existence is threatened when his lower-class neighbor begins to construct a window in the dividing wall between their homes. Fearful that the view from his beautiful Le Corbusier-designed house will be ruined and his family’s privacy invaded, Leonardo is willing do whatever it takes to restore peace to his life. 103 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.

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


Wednesday September 14, 6:30pm and Saturday September 17, 2:00pm
VISA TO PARADISE (Visa al Paraíso)

Dir. Lillian Lieberman, 2010, Mexico.
Presented by the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Mexican Consul General in France from 1939-42, diplomat Gilberto Bosques has come to be known as the “Mexican Schindler”.  At great personal and professional risk, Bosques issued as many as 45,000 exit visas to Jews, Spanish Republicans and others persecuted by the Nazis, leading to his eventual arrest and imprisonment. Through firsthand accounts, still photographs and archival footage, this engrossing documentary shines a light on one of the unsung heroes of the war. 108 minutes. Spanish with English subtitles.


Wednesday September 21, 6:30pm and Saturday September 24, 2:00pm
HONEYMOON (Ai, zai lu shang)

Director: Chen Jun, 2006, China.
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.



Liu Yan expects her life to be perfect now that she has married the man of her dreams. But domestic bliss doesn’t come easy. When her 16-year old stepson runs away from home while his father is away on business, Liu Yan has no choice but to go after him. This remarkable family drama unfolds along the banks of the Yellow River, as mother and child find mutual love and understanding in China’s heartland. 85 minutes. Mandarin with English subtitles.