The Gene Siskel Film Center’s Chicago European Union Film Festival, the largest festival in the nation showcasing films of European Union nations exclusively, will open on Friday, March 9, and play on both our screens through Thursday, April 5. Now in its 21st year, the festival annually presents Chicago premieres of more than 60 feature films representing the 28 EU nations. With Bulgaria in the presidency of the EU, our festival will open with DIRECTIONS by Stephan Komandarev, a zesty tragicomic tale of one night in the lives of five late-night cab drivers.
Highlights of the festival confirmed to date include JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC, an unorthodox musical by Bruno Dumont, and GODARD MON AMOUR (formerly titled REDOUBTABLE) by Oscar-winning Michel Hazanavicius (THE ARTIST), a fictitious biopic of Jean-Luc Godard. Another biopic, NICO, 1988, portrays the final years of the Warhol muse and Velvet Underground singer. Isabelle Huppert stars as a has-been pop singer attempting a comeback with the help of a twenty-something lover in the Belgian film SOUVENIR, while Geraldine Chaplin and her daughter Oona Chaplin are featured in the romantic comedy ANCHOR AND HOPE, set on and around London’s historic Regent’s Canal.
German films include the black-comic caper film BYE BYE GERMANY, in which a band of Holocaust survivors scheme to score a tidy fortune at the expense of their former oppressors. The story of a notorious womanizing art forger revolves around the provenance of a painting coveted by a high-ranking Nazi in the Dutch film A REAL VERMEER. Romanian films include Radu Jude’s THE DEAD NATION, a searing documentary ingeniously constructed from a trove of rediscovered photographs from the 1930s and 1940s.
Hungary’s latest box office blockbuster BET ON REVENGE brings 19th-century political intrigue and romance together in a horseracing tale loosely based on the life of a national hero. Glamour, showbiz, and the sisterhood of a pair of conjoined twins figure in Italy’s INDIVISBLE, while the tense Irish drama MAZE dramatizes the infamous 1983 prison break of 38 IRA prisoners.
The 21st Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival brings the vibe of Europe’s movie culture as close as your theater seat. Be there!