The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2016, Roland Vranik, Hungary, 109 min. With Cake-Baly Marcelo, Ágnes Máhr.
A culturally biased citizenship exam promises to be the undoing of middle-aged African immigrant Wilson (first-time actor Cake-Baly, who brings breathtaking grace and nuance to the role). Wilson fled the civil war that killed his family and now works as a security guard in a Budapest supermarket, striving to become a full-fledged citizen of his new country. This touching humanist drama exposes the unwelcoming climate that greets many immigrants to Europe, as Wilson finds a sympathetic teacher and prospective lover in lonely abused wife Mari (Máhr). Coping with the daily needling of exclusion and racism, he makes the dangerous misstep of giving shelter to an illegal immigrant, a young pregnant Iranian. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Courtesy of ArtMattan Productions. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
2017, Jonas Carpignano, Italy, 118 min. With Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon.
“An unusually volatile coming-of-age story…[Carpignano] might be one of the world’s most vital filmmakers.” — David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“A compelling and accomplished film. The world is so realized that I felt as if I was living alongside its characters.” — Martin Scorsese
Italy’s official submission for Oscar consideration, A CIAMBRA incorporates the gritty authenticity of neorealism, the kinetic energy of early Scorsese (who exec-produced the film), and the moral urgency of the Dardenne brothers into a distinctively personal vision of modern, volatilely multicultural Europe. Like director Carpignano’s acclaimed first feature MEDITERRANEA, the film set in the Calabrian coastal town of Gioia Tauro, this time shifting the ethnic focus from recent African immigrants to similarly marginalized Romani, and centering the story on the Roma boy Pio Amato, who had a scene-stealing supporting role as a precocious hustler in MEDITERRANEA. Now fourteen and growing up too fast, Pio is eager to follow his older brother Cosimo in the manly arts of burglary and car theft. When his brother and father are both jailed, Pio readily steps into their shoes as the chief breadwinner of the large, boisterous Amato clan, finding a more suitable mentor in his African neighbor Aviya (one of the central characters in MEDITERRANEA) and an alternative family in Aviya’s African community. Then his brother and father return from prison, and Pio finds himself suspended between two worlds, faced with a difficult decision that pits family loyalty against his newfound growth as a human being. In Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)