The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2015, Jonas Carpignano, Italy, 107 min. With Koudous Seihon, Alassane Sy.
"This calm, hardheaded film never sacrifices it toughness...impressive for the degree to which it lends its characters complex human dimensions." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"Tender, devastating...No other film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival hits such a profoundly topical note." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
In his first feature, Italian/African-American filmmaker Carpignano provides a timely and immersive tale of the current immigrant crisis that merges the real-life experiences of charismatic lead actor Seihon and the 2010 immigrant riots that took place in Rosarno in Southern Italy. Pragmatic Ayiva (Seihon) and his volatile friend Abas (Sy) make their way from Burkina Faso to Italy in a harrowing odyssey. Arriving in the promised land, they find that the troubles have just begun — they have three months to find a steady job in a strange and hostile world where they are at the mercy of exploitative bosses and teenage thugs. Carpignano counterpoints the hardships with passages of camaraderie, humor, and tenderness, until frustration and rage produce a climax that extends the story’s relevance far beyond the shores of Italy. In Italian, French, and Arabic with English subtitles. Courtesy of IFC Films. DCP digital. (MR)
The Paradise Suite
2015, Joost van Ginkel, Netherlands/Sweden, 118 min. With Issaka Sawadogo, Anjela Nedyalkova.
"A critical and raw snapshot of modern-day Europe." — Guglielmo Bettinardi, Cineuropa
"Beautifully shot, with classic direction…a natural lyrical sensibility about how the stories flow together…compelling." — Robert Bell, Exclaim!
In this Dutch submission for Academy Awards consideration, five separate stories converge fatefully in present-day Amsterdam, for a provocative glimpse of Europe’s dark underbelly across economic and class lines. An illegal African immigrant struggles to make an honest living in a rigged system. A naïve Bulgarian teenager is offered a bogus modeling job and ends up a prisoner in an Amsterdam brothel. A Serbian war criminal begins a new life, stalked by a woman whose life he shattered. A bullied child looks for a way out. In French, Bosnian, Swedish, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Dutch with English subtitles. Courtesy of Media Luna New Films. DCP digital. (BS)
This program is supported by the European Union Center of the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York