2018, Nevio Marasović, Croatia, 103 min.
With Janko Popovic Volarić, Nataša Janjić
Maverick ad-man Alan (Volarić) courts comic career implosion after a broken engagement leads to unwise new adventures in the realm of the erotic. Following breakup sex with a chaser of yet more sex, Alan makes a dumb move that betrays his best friend and leaves a lucrative new contract in flames. Licking his wounds, he heads to the picturesque holiday island of Vis, where his estranged father is an artist. Setting up the genre expectations for a new-leaf sort of romantic comedy, director Marasović (GORAN) proceeds to defy them with his hero’s dive into giddy self-destructive escapades involving wine, women, and drugs, until an arrogant move-too-far pulls him up short. Better late than never is the wry message that COMIC SANS imparts when a belated enlightenment is delivered by way of a shipwreck. In Croatian, English, and Serbian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of the Croatian Audiovisual Institute. (BS)
On the Roof
2019 Jirí Mádl, Czech Republic, 97 min.
With Alois Švehlík, Duy Anh Tran
A crusty retired schoolteacher and a Vietnamese immigrant on the run from enslavement in a Prague grow-op find an unexpected synergy in this poignant comedy-drama. Successfully talking Song (Tran) down from an intended suicide leap from his apartment-building roof, Rypar (Švehlík) warily offers him shelter for the night. Defiantly without family or friends, the old man lets curiosity and loneliness get the better of him. The single night becomes many, and it engenders an odd-couple friendship when the young interloper proves useful around the house. Director Mádl (TO SEE THE SEA) resists easy stereotypes and pat solutions when Rypar develops an ill-advised scheme to lure the pretty stranger down the hall into a green-card marriage with Song, and Song takes it upon himself to delve into his host’s past. In Czech and Vietnamese with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Dawson Productions. (BS)
2019, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria, 115 min.
“Underlines the extent to which mankind is now the most destructive force on the planet…breathtaking images, many of them vast and awe-inspiring, highlight the magnitude of the issue.”—Patrick Gamble, Cinevue
“A strong element of awe at the grandeur of human enterprise…at once impressive and terrifying.”—Giovanni Marchini Camia, Sight & Sound
Activist filmmaker Geyrhalter (OUR DAILY BREAD, HOMO SAPIENS) visits seven high-tech mining and construction sites around the world, taking in the mind-boggling monumental aspect of the machines and practices that are routinely ravaging vast swaths of the earth beyond repair. From a leaking radioactive waste dump in Germany to leveling efforts in the San Fernando Mountains of California and the extraction of marble in Carrara, Italy, the director’s signature method of utilizing long and overhead shots endows the gargantuan scope of each enterprise with a gravely frightening and yet strangely lyrical import. In English, German, Hungarian, Spanish, and Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of KimStim. (BS)
The Ground Beneath My Feet
Der Boden unter den Fussen
2019, Marie Kreutzer, Austria, 108 min.
With Valerie Pachner, Pia Hierzegger
- Sun, Mar 8, 2020 - 03:00pm
- Mon, Mar 9, 2020 - 07:30pm
“[A] quietly intense gem of a movie…it’s as 21st century as portrayals get, and it’s a knockout.”—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“A powerful metaphor-driven fable…this is crafty, first-rank filmmaking.”—Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
Vienna-born Lola (Pachner of A HIDDEN LIFE; EGON SCHIELE: DEATH AND THE MAIDEN) works a high-powered job as a consultant to struggling corporations. Driving relentlessly to excel while battling the insidious prejudice of sexist male colleagues, she finds her carefully crafted public image threatened by a family crisis and long-held secret. The news that her schizophrenic sister Conny (Hierzegger of WILD MOUSE) has attempted suicide sends her personal life as well as her career into a tailspin. Director Kreutzer cannily steers the film into thriller territory as Conny takes on the aspect of Lola’s deranged mirror image. Is Lola on the brink of genetically predestined breakdown herself, or is she being manipulated by her solicitous boss and lover? In German and English with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Strand Releasing. (BS)
Le jeune Ahmed
2019, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France, 90 min.
With Idir Ben Addi, Myriem Akheddiou
“Subtly provocative and powerfully acted.”—Ed Potton, Times
“A compact, gripping return to the directors’ non-professional roots…unique among the socially marginalized subjects of the Dardennes’ filmography.”—Bradley Warren, The Wrap
With YOUNG AHMED, the Dardenne brothers (THE SON; TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT), Europe’s foremost social realists, tackle their most daring and ethically challenging subject yet, with this story of a 13-year-old Belgian Muslim boy who has become radicalized in the name of jihad. To the concern of his moderate and thoroughly assimilated immigrant family, Ahmed (Addi), under the influence of a popular young imam, begins to angrily criticize their lifestyle and attire, and declares his longtime tutor Ines (Akheddiou), also a Muslim, a heretic and infidel for dating a Jew. As the latest of the Dardennes’ career-long string of lost boys, Ahmed is equal parts pathetic and dangerous, childishly deluded yet lethal. His shocking plan to act on his newfound prejudices leaves the audience directly in the path of a moral quandary. In French and Arabic with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. (BS)
The Barefoot Emperor
2019, Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, Belgium/Netherlands, 99 min.
With Peter Van den Begin, Udo Kier, Geraldine Chaplin
- Fri, Mar 6, 2020 - 02:15pm
- Tue, Mar 10, 2020 - 06:00pm
“Elegant…an eye for poetry and introspection.”—Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
An absurdist deadpan comedy for the age of Brexit, this odd and imaginatively mannered political satire is a follow-up to the 2017 mockumentary road movie THE KING OF THE BELGIANS. Going with the premise that the EU has dissolved and is reforming as a loose conglomerate of fragmented nation-states in search of a supreme leader, the filmmakers leave no bizarre angle unexplored. These range from the fascist-tinged pageantry that marks the birth of so-called Nova Europa to the surreal charade of life on the exclusive island where King Nicholas III of Belgium (Van den Begin) finds himself under the care of a sinister asylum director (Kier) following his near-fatal wounding during a reenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Side-plots galore, sight gags, and ritualized dance numbers lead up to the fateful day when the yet-to-be-named emperor is revealed to his constituency in a TV special. In English, Dutch, French, and German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Be For Films. (BS)
2019, Stephan Komandarev, Bulgaria/Serbia, 106 min.
With Aleksandar Aleksiev, Ivan Barnev
In the dark streets of the capital, three sets of ethically compromised cops patrol on night duty in this episodic saga that ricochets between dark humor and heartrending drama. A master at creating a gripping mix of situational comedy with the pathos of characters trapped on the losing side of prosperity, director Komandarev (2009 Oscar short-listed THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER) tops his equally episodic DIRECTIONS with a film that unfolds deepest irony on the eve of the city’s anniversary celebration of the fall of communism. A running black joke involving the abandoned body of a junkie is the connecting thread through the night. Two cop partners engaged in an illicit affair squabble and face a personal turning point, while, across town, their colleagues are plunged into a maelstrom of temptation, corruption, and human perfidy. In Bulgarian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Beta Cinema. (BS)
2018, Antonio Nuić, Croatia, 90 min.
With Vito Dijak, Franjo Dijak
“Socially relevant, slow-burning and well constructed…dialogue that blends gritty realness with effortless cool.”—Marko Stojiljković, Cineuropa
Croatia’s official entry for Oscar consideration has a father-son story in the same deadpan guise as the characters themselves, while it poses as a criminals-at-play drama involving a clutch of smalltime bunglers and petty thieves. Frenki (Vito Dijak), a feisty sly-eyed drug dealer just out of prison, fears losing custody of his middle-school son Mali (Franjo Dijak) to his straight-laced in-laws once his terminally ill wife dies. The bond between the father and his boy runs deep, but emotions stay out of the picture, even as mom lies dying somewhere in the city. Under the surface, director Nuić (SEX, DRINKS AND BLOODSHED) ratchets up the pressure on Mali. Frenki’s impromptu fortieth birthday party escalates into a boozy all-male, all-night bash around the boy, who takes a path of no return in the morning. In Croatian with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Propeler Film. (BS)
Chinatown: The Three Shelters
2018, Aliki Danezi-Knutsen, Cyprus/Greece, 91 min.
With Katerina Misichroni, Richard Ng, Themis Bazaka
In a story boasting all the transplanted elements of Hong Kong’s martial arts dramas, director Danezi-Knutsen blends martial arts and the atmosphere and flavor of Athens’s Chinatown with a revenge quest involving mystical powers. Twin girls are born, on an auspicious date, of a Cypriot mother and a Chinese father. One infant is spirited away by the Chinese Mafia minutes after birth, but first-born Cleo (Misichroni), oblivious of her twin’s existence, is raised by their mother (Bazaka) in a tranquil Cypriot village. On her eighteenth birthday, Cleo is gifted with a cryptic clue to her beloved father’s murder, and she embarks on a single-minded revenge mission under the tutelage of aged Chinatown chef and martial arts master Lin (veteran Hong Kong actor Ng). Destiny calls, but only for one of the sisters, who have yet to meet. In English, Mandarin, and Greek with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of the director. (BS)
Queen of Hearts
2019, May el-Toukhy, Denmark, 122 min.
With Trine Dyrholm, Gustav Lindh
"One of the most complicated female villains of recent memory...Dyrholm gives a brave and shockingly bare performance."—Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com
"More films from women, and starring women, means more stories about complicated women, and that's what's captivatingly on display in QUEEN OF HEARTS."—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
One of the most controversial films at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Denmark's Oscar submission is a dark, psychologically acute spin on the Mrs. Robinson trope. Trine Dyrholm (NICO, 1988) once again gives a fearless, fully committed performance as Anne, a successful lawyer, wife, and mother with a stylish home on the edge of the woods. Used to pushing boundaries in the courtroom, Anne crosses another one at home when she becomes attracted to her husband's recently arrived teenage son from a previous relationship. Friendship leads to flirtation and then to a torrid, reckless affair, but, when threatened with exposure, Anne resorts to any means necessary to preserve her power and privilege. In Danish and Swedish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures. (MR)
2018, Maria Avdjushko, Estonia, 90 min.
With Ingrid Istotaam, Eva Eensaar-Tootsen
“Playing out as a feminist mystery…an ambiguous, enigmatic fable pregnant with possibilities.”—Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
“Carefully poised between psychological thriller and horror film…a masterful handling of mood and tension.”—Zoe Aiano, Eastern European Film Bulletin
A mystery rooted in female fertility is at the heart of this quasi-thriller in which director Avdjushko sidesteps inevitable comparisons with ROSEMARY’S BABY for a more subtle and open-ended story. Reeling from a bitter divorce and the news of the pregnancy of her ex-husband’s new wife, opthalmologist Pia (Istotaam), infertile herself, feels like a stranger in her own body and in her new apartment. Agreeing to babysit the five-year-old son of her best friend for some weeks, she uneasily goes through the motions of motherhood. Following an unconsummated series of bar hookups and an attempted rape, Pia begins to experience the symptoms of pregnancy, accompanied by the sensation that someone or something visits her in her sleep for nightly lovemaking. In Estonian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Meteoriit. (BS)
One Last Deal
2018, Klaus Härö, Finland, 95 min.
With Heikki Nousiainen, Pirjo Lonka
"Redemptive, moving, and stunningly shot."—Christopher Machell, CineVue
"A lovely-looking film...elegantly directed and beautifully written."—Jake Watt, Switch
Klaus Härö (THE FENCER, MOTHER OF MINE), four of whose previous films have appeared in the CEUFF, is a director with a gift for strong emotional hooks and richly rendered milieus. Here that milieu is the world of art dealers, with its auction houses, cluttered shops, and the eternal lure of a buried discovery. Olavi (Nousiainen)—widowed, about to retire, estranged from his daughter (Lonka)—yearns for a spectacular coup to close out his otherwise narrow life. That chance arrives in the form of a tucked-away painting—unsigned, possibly of a monk, tantalizingly evocative of the Russian master Ilya Repin. Staking everything he has on one final gamble, Olavi sets out to prove the provenance of his find and wrest it from the grasp of more powerful, unscrupulous rivals. Beautifully crafted in burnished golds and browns, its musty interiors punctuated by the glitter of snaking Helsinki streetcars, ONE LAST DEAL (the original Finnish title translates as AN UNKNOWN MASTER) is an art-history detective story, an absorbing indoctrination into the tricks of Olavi's trade, and a moving quest for redemption. In Finnish and Swedish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of LevelK. (MR)
As Happy as Possible
Rêves de Jeunesse
2019, Alain Raoust, France, 96 min.
With Salomé Richard, Estelle Meyer
"Endearing and subtly poignant…marked by flashes of deadpan comedy mixed with moments of poetic reflection, this is a small movie that says some big things in its own humble and humorous terms."—Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
A low-key and deceptively modest film with considerable emotional and political depth, AS HAPPY AS POSSIBLE uses a tiny, seemingly marginal microcosm to evoke the spirit of a lost generation that is leaving their twenties behind with diminished expectations for an uncertain future. Going back to the small town that she had left ten years earlier, city-dweller Salomé (Richard) takes a summer job that effectively serves as a return to ground zero: caretaker of a rarely visited garbage dump on the far outskirts of town. The isolation of her lazy August days is broken by the abrupt arrival of Jessica (Meyer), an off-course contestant from a Survivor-like reality-TV show, and, later, by Clement, the brother of Salome's onetime boyfriend, who, she learns, was killed in a political demonstration. Along with some other misfits, they form the nucleus of a micro-society united by a kind of soulful anarchy, taking its cue from a quote attributed to Alice in Wonderland: "If the world has no meaning, why not invent one?" In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of UniFrance USA and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. (MR)
Joan of Arc
2019, Bruno Dumont, France, 137 min.
With Lise Leplat Prudhomme
- Sat, Mar 7, 2020 - 05:00pm
- Wed, Mar 11, 2020 - 07:30pm
"There is a God and his name is Bruno Dumont. His piously poisonous sequel to last year’s best film, JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC, is artier, holier, and will give you Catholic goose bumps."—John Waters, Artforum
Following his eccentric musical JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC, French iconoclast Bruno Dumont returns to the fifteenth century and the life of Joan of Arc with this stand-alone feature detailing Joan's arrest, trial, and execution. Picking up Joan's story following her military successes, JOAN OF ARC initially finds a teenage Joan (played by ten-year-old Prudhomme, returning from JEANNETTE) locked in a struggle over leadership with the French military before the young martyr is whisked away to the imposing halls of the Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens to be tried for heresy before a panel of ghoulish, stuttering religious authorities. Working from the same cycle of plays by Charles Péguy that provided the inspiration for JEANNETTE, Dumont's comparatively somber sequel is another left turn for the director, switching out the heavy-metal calisthenics of his prior film for a suite of synthesizer ballads by acclaimed French songwriter Christophe and wringing pathos from Prudhomme's tremendous performance as a young woman whose faith remains unwavering under fire. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of KimStim. (CW)
C'est ça l'amour
2018, Claire Burger, France, 99 min.
With Bouli Lanners, Justine Lacroix
"A beautifully-wrought, refreshingly understated study of love and parenting…extremely believable, never histrionic, and often moving."—Demetrios Matheou, Screen International
"This gorgeous film's gentle miracle is to take its well-worn, soapy setup and rinse it of cliché, so it comes up new and shining. For any father who ever loved his child, or any child who ever loved their father, REAL LOVE brings real joy."—Jessica Kiang, Variety
This wise, warm comedy-drama is about letting go and moving on, along with the power of art to give us some perspective on our messy emotions. Bull-headed, big-hearted civil servant Mario Messina (Lanners in a marvelously sympathetic yet unsentimental performance) is in limbo: his wife Armelie has recently moved out (not without reason), leaving him to care for their two teenage daughters. Still clinging to the hope of reconciliation, he auditions for a workshop production at the theater where Armelie works, becoming more involved in his role as he reluctantly faces the fact that she has left for good and his maturing daughters will soon follow. In her first solo effort following the co-directed Cannes Camera D'Or-winner PARTY GIRL (2014), writer-director Burger displays a Renoiresque generosity toward her flawed characters and an ability to work the cringe-comedy border region between the farcical and the excruciating. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of UniFrance USA and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. (MR)
2019, Justine Triet, France, 101 min.
With Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos
"Entertaining and absorbing…I don't think obsession and addiction has ever been this scandalous and fun."—Kevin Lee, Film Inquiry
"Stylish black comedy…twisty and enjoyable."—Eric Kohn, Indiewire
In her third and most accomplished film, Justine Triet (AGE OF PANIC) confirms her promise as one of France's most talented young directors, with a special knack for depicting female protagonists who recklessly test the tenuous borderlines between their professional and private lives. Although Parisian psychiatrist Sibyl (Efira) is unloading her patients in order to concentrate on writing her first novel, she responds to a desperate phone call from Margot (Exarchopoulos of BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR), a young movie actress caught in a messy triangle with her co-star (Gaspard Ulliel of SAINT LAURENT) and her director (Sandra Hüller of TONI ERDMANN). Boundaries dissolve with dizzying ease as Sibyl begins mining Margot's sessions for material for her novel, neglects her family, involves herself in her patient's life to a highly unprofessional degree, and, at one point, takes over the direction of the Stromboli-set film in which Margot is performing. Triet juggles the film's shifts between past and present, comedy and drama, and fact and fiction with Resnais-like fluidity and a distinctive lack of moralism. In French, English, and German with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Music Box Films. (MR)
2019, Nadège Trebal, France, 107 min.
With Arieh Worthalter, Nadège Trebal
"Trebal's film is political, though never at the expense of its sensual and poetic drive. Indeed, it is this lighter and, in some respects, carefree side of the movie which lends it its timeless quality."—Muriel Del Don, Cineuropa
The intertwined but often opposing forces of love and money are at the heart of this auspicious first feature, which takes a gritty proletarian tale out of Dardenne/Loach playbook and infuses it with vibrant doses of eroticism, romanticism, poetry, and dance. Living a lusty but cash-strapped existence in an economically depressed French port city, passionate lovers Franck (Worthalter) and Maroussia (director Trebal) calculate that they need 12,000 francs—no more, no less—to start a new, independent life together. Franck sets off to take a job in a distant city, only to find that the job has evaporated. He proceeds to hustle the twelve grand by any means necessary, including a series of inside-job heists by an all-female gang at the container warehouse where he works as a security guard. But will the twin temptations of lust and greed lead him astray? In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of UniFrance USA and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. (MR)
All About Me
Der Junge muss an die frische Luft
2018, Caroline Link, Germany, 96 min.
With Julius Weckauf, Luise Heyer
Oscar-winning director Link (NOWHERE IN AFRICA) scored the biggest German box-office hit of the year with this episodic childhood memoir of comedy star and best-selling author Hape Kerkeling. Beginning in the Ruhr Valley in the early 1970s, ALL ABOUT ME (the original German title translates as THE BOY NEEDS FRESH AIR) roots Kerkeling's development in his family life —as he says, "I'm all this: my mother, father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles." Pudgy and redheaded, nine-year-old Hape (Weckauf) soon learns that comedy is a useful tool for dealing with all sorts of things —embarrassment, bullies, and even tragedy, when a botched operation sends his mother (Heyer) into a spiral of depression. His penchant for drag serves to express his emerging gayness (as one grandmother euphemizes, "He'll always be a bachelor"). After his mother 's death, his upbringing is taken over by his doting grandparents, who have to prove their competence to the child-welfare authorities. In German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut Chicago. (MR)
2018, Andreas Dresen, Germany, 128 min.
With Alexander Scheer, Anna Unterberger
This superbly crafted biopic dominated the 2019 German (aka Lola) Film Awards, taking six prizes, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Actor. Singer-composer Gerhard Gundermann (Scheer) was a cult figure in East Germany both before and after the fall of the Wall, compared to Dylan and Springsteen for his anthem-like songs that combine a poetic sensibility with strong social consciousness. Hopscotching through the chronology, the film captures the contradictions of Gundermann's complex personality: a contentious idealist who remained faithful to the communist cause even when his subversive opinions caused him to be expelled from the Party, who continued to work as a heavy-machine operator at a coal mine even after he had achieved musical success, and who, after reunification, was revealed to have been a prolific informer for the Stasi secret police. In German with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut Chicago. (MR)
2019, Nora Fingscheidt, Germany, 120 min.
With Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch
"A tender and visceral film...crafted with heaps of heart."—Millicent Thomas, Little White Lies
"Mesmerizing... Nora Fingscheidt proves herself as a fierce directorial force to be reckoned with."—Mary-Catherine Harvey, The Upcoming
Germany's official Oscar submission is a challenging film in a way totally befitting its subject. Nine-year-old Benni (Zengel in an awesomely intense performance) is a "system crasher"—a severely traumatized child whose treatment challenges the capabilities of child protective services. Her mother is loving but too emotionally fragile to deal with Benni's bursts of unrestrained fury; the girl's attacks on other children have rendered her unacceptable to foster parents, schools, and group homes. In her first fictional feature, documentarian Fingscheidt offers no easy solutions or miracle cures; neither does she routinely indict the system, whose representatives at times display almost superhuman patience and devotion. Benni's outbursts are rendered with a punk-rock expressionism—clashing cymbals, rapid cutting, explosions of pink—that is both exhilarating and terrifying. Should her anarchic energy be respected or contained? SYSTEM CRASHER poses an insoluble problem not from pessimism but as a call to radical thinking. In German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut Chicago. (MR)
2018, Steve Kriskris, Greece, 104 min.
With Aris Servetalis, Yannis Stankoglou
“Transforms a quietly observational story, with echoes of Aki Kaurismaki’s poker-faced dramedies, into something closer to James M. Cain…compelling to watch.”—Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
The Greek cinema’s so-called “weird wave,” spearheaded by Yorgos Lanthimos (THE LOBSTER), strikes again, with this deadpan tale of a staid waiter who is sucked into a series of odd encounters in a neighboring apartment of his high-rise. Renos (Servetalis) waits tables in an upscale patisserie, and otherwise keeps to himself in a life based on ritualized routine. One day, the man across the hall, with whom he has a nodding acquaintance, is replaced by a stranger, who claims to be a house-sitter. A suspicious bag in the building dumpster suggests another possibility. The stranger makes insistent chummy overtures of friendship, including an invitation to dinner. A gourmet meal of unknown provenance, and the meeting with a compliant femme fatale, lead to a sinister ménage a trois. In Greek with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of TVCO. (BS)
2019, Vardis Marinakis, Greece, 92 min.
With August Lambrou-Negreponyis, Dimitris Xanthopoulos
“Peculiar and moving and subtly bewitching…extraordinary, conducting us guilelessly into the emotional heart of every scene.”—Jessica Kiang, Variety
“Powerful and lyrical.”—David González, Cineuropa
A single mother readies her nine-year-old child for a family portrait, inscribes one of the photos lovingly, and then abandons the little boy among the crowds at a rural music festival. Frightened, Jason (extraordinary first-time actor Lambrou-Negreponyis) wanders hungry and cold through the woods, and breaks into a cabin where he helps himself to food and the unknown owner’s bed. Evoking the storybook tale of the Three Bears, director Marinakos (BLACK FIELD) sets up the initial confrontation between the child and the rugged mute hermit Minos (Xanthopoulos), who makes his living by smuggling refugees. Balanced between realism and myth, ZIZOTEK charts the growing love between two outcasts, whose future as a pseudo-family will be shadowed by the fantastical presence of a bear. In Greek with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of StudioBauhaus. (BS)
2019, Attila Szasz, Hungary, 112 min.
Tamas Szabó Kimmel, Vica Kerekes
- Sat, Mar 7, 2020 - 05:00pm
- Mon, Mar 9, 2020 - 07:30pm
In 1945 Budapest, Hankó (Kimmel), a man who may or may not have been a war hero, plies a heartless con among the mothers, widows and sweethearts of men missing in action, by posing as their loved one’s best friend from the front. Director Szasz (ETERNAL WINTER) gives a gripping noirish cast to this romantic thriller as the action moves from the city to a remote rural area, where the imposter begins an uneasy friendship with Judit (Kerekes), the wife of a local hunter presumed dead in the war. The oppressive Soviet presence looms as an overriding danger, but when the husband unexpectedly returns to brutally reclaim his wife, the threat to a newfound furtive love hatches a murder plot. In Hungarian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Sponsored by the Consulate General of Hungary, Chicago (BS)
2018, Pál Sándor, Hungary, 112 min.
With Gerõ Botond, Jazmin Gonzales
- Sat, Mar 28, 2020 - 07:45pm
- Wed, Apr 1, 2020 - 08:00pm
A young soldier embarks on a rollicking adventure with an impromptu career change when he joins a ragtag company of traveling players who ply their trade along the back roads in nineteenth-century Hungary. A play that concludes with the staged hanging of a woman caught in adultery touches off a violent melee among its unsophisticated rural audience, sending the players fleeing with the accidental deserter in their wake. The handsome newcomer shows promise as a leading man under the tutelage of a woman of experience, but one of the troupe runs away with all of their scripts. Left in disarray, the group faces internal melodrama as adultery, betrayal, secret romance and disputed paternity divide them. Veteran director Sándor (MISS ARIZONA) keeps it colorful and comic, even with the addition of a duel and a murder. In Hungarian with English subtitles. DCP digital. Sponsored by the Consulate General of Hungary, Chicago. (BS)
2019, Sophie Hyde, Ireland/UK, 109 min.
With Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat
"Engaging and enjoyable...an exciting example of the female-centered, female-made content that is making waves across the film industry."—Siomha McQuinoa, Film Ireland
“Wonderful…gloriously untamed study of friendship, one that refuses to play by the rules.”—Benjamin Lee, Guardian
The recurring image of a little urban fox running the night streets of Dublin is the perfect metaphor for this rowdy but affecting tale of the codependent party-girl friendship of Laura (Grainger) and roommate Tyler (Shawkat), based on the novel by Emma Jane Unsworth (praised by The New York Times as “go-for-broke-witty”). Wacky, wild, and untamed, the pair share frequent night-crawling adventures followed by massively hungover mornings, enjoying an adolescence that seems giddily endless, even as they approach thirty unattached. Laura calls herself a writer and carries a notebook, although her muse never seems to visit. A meet-cute encounter in a bar leads to serious romance for Laura, and a major rift in the ten-year friendship with Tyler, but the lure of copious quantities of white wine, cocaine, and erotic escapades yet to come still beckons. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Cornerstone Films. (BS)
The Last Right
2019, Aoife Crehan, Ireland, 106 min.
With Michiel Huisman, Niamh Algar, Colm Meaney
“Gently heartwarming…odd surprises…pretty good gags.”—Mike McCahill, Guardian
“Impressive…full of heartbreak, humor, and human kindness.”—Liam Hanlon, Film Ireland
A self-admitted A-hole gets a lesson in life on a road trip that takes in a panorama of rural Ireland from Cork to Rathlin Island in the North, while hauling a body in a cardboard coffin. On his way home to Ireland for his mother’s funeral, New York-based lawyer Daniel (Huisman of GAME OF THRONES) is played a sly trick by the elderly passenger in the next seat, resulting in his being identified as the next of kin when the old man dies en route. New complications abound while Daniel juggles the future of his teenage autistic brother Louis (Samuel Bottomley) with efforts to extricate himself from a last-wish obligation to a total stranger. In the way of a tall tale, Daniel, Louis, and winsome mortuary assistant Mary (Algar) end up on the semi-sweet journey of a lifetime, with family secrets detonating like bombs, and a blustery police inspector (Meaney) in hot pursuit. DCP digital. Courtesy of WaZabi Films. (BS)
Aspromonte: Land of the Forgotten
Aspromonte - La terra degli ultimi
2019, Mimmo Calopresti, Italy, 86 min.
With Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marcello Fonte
"A poignant film, whose fairy-tale elements in no way detract from the authenticity and urgency of the story."—Vittoria Scarpa, CineEuropa
The isolated village of Africo needs a doctor. Nestled high in the Aspromonte mountains of Calabria, it lacks a road to the outside world, and people die before they can be transported down steep, rocky paths to a distant town with medical facilities. Facing indifference from the government and violent threats from the local mafioso (Sergio Rubini), the villagers band together to build the road themselves. Meanwhile, a newly arrived teacher from the north (the radiant Bruni Tedeschi) is building a road of a different sort, by teaching the local children standard Italian that will integrate them with the rest of the country. Aided by luminous cinematography and a top-notch cast (including Fonte of DOGMAN as the village poet), director Calopresti invests this stirring story with epic sweep and a sense of tragic irony: the very means that the Africesi fight for to improve their village might also pave the way for an exodus that will leave it a ghost town. In Italian and Calabrian dialect with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Minerva Pictures. (MR)
2019, Pietro Marcello, Italy, 128 min.
With Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy
"MARTIN EDEN is momentous…Pietro Marcello's decade-long evolution from idiosyncratic film essayist to grand narrative storyteller represents one of the most significant artistic flowerings in contemporary cinema."—Jordan Cronk, Cinema Scope
"A spectacular performance…[Luca Marinelli] is clearly destined for great things."—Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
Previously known for experimental work in documentary and docu-fiction, director Marcello moved into the limelight with this adventurous adaptation of Jack London's 1909 novel, garnering praise, controversy, and awards at major film festivals (including Best Actor at Venice and the Platform Award for "bold directorial vision" at Toronto). London's semi-autobiographical bildungsroman traces the artistic and political development of an uneducated seaman who makes a hard climb to self-education and literary success, only to be undone by the widening gulf between his socialist ideals and his commitment to rugged individualism. Although MARTIN EDEN falls closer to the mainstream than Marcello's earlier films, it retains an invigorating experimental edge, transposing the novel's setting from Oakland to Naples, mixing signifiers from different time periods, and lacing the narrative with snippets of archival (and faux-archival) footage that expand its poetic and historical dimensions. The eclecticism of the film's style and the contradictions of its central character are anchored by the charismatic lead performance of rising star Luca Marinelli. In Italian, Neapolitan dialect, and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. (MR)
2019, Abel Ferrara, Italy/UK/USA/Greece, 118 min.
With Willem Dafoe, Cristina Chiriac, Anna Ferrara
"Fascinating—no, riveting—because of the multiple male sexual anxiety and wish fulfillment subtexts dancing around the screen."—Amy Taubin, Film Comment
"Scrappy and often endearing... elevated by Dafoe’s extraordinary performance and a striking intimacy that sets the movie apart from much of Ferrara’s work."—Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Against a daily grind of teaching acting workshops and attending AA meetings, filmmaker Tommaso (Dafoe) begins to suspect his much younger wife is having an affair, pulling him into a series of fantasies and daydreams that run the gamut from erotic to suicidal. Best known for his cinematic studies of self-destructive personalities living in New York City, the now Rome-based Abel Ferrara (BAD LIEUTENANT, PASOLINI) returns with this fictionalized self-portrait, filmed with the intimacy of a home movie in the director's own apartment and featuring a cast of performers culled from Ferrara's life (including his wife and daughter) and the streets of Piazza Vittorio where he lives. Starring Ferrara's real-life neighbor Dafoe as his on-screen surrogate, TOMMASO draws liberally from both Ferrara and Dafoe's lives and cinematic personas, portraying the quotidian struggles faced by an American expat filmmaker and recovering drug addict with all the candor and hard-won sensitivity that fans of Ferrara have come to expect. In English and Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. (CW)
2018, Inara Kolmane, Latvia, 114 min.
With Ruta Kronberga, Elina Vane
Based on the autobiography of Latvian Nobel Prize-nominated poet and author Vizma Belševica, BILLE is the bittersweet chronicle of a child of the Great Depression growing up poor in the ever-widening gap in her parents’ unhappy marriage. Meticulously evocative production design creates a nostalgic historical view, while bringing the alternate reality of an imaginative little girl’s escapist fantasy of “Dreamland” to life. A gifted child noticed by teachers and other adults but disdained by her angry hard-bitten mother and stern grandmother, plain but precocious Bille is the apple of her drunkard father’s eye, and an impish ringleader among the street-running neighboring children. The ethnic German family of her best friend and partner in adventures is preparing to leave town for good, hinting at the political changes that loom at the edge of Bille’s insular world. In Latvian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of TVCO. (BS)
2019, Tomas Vengris, Lithuania, 97 min.
With Severija Janušauskaitė, Matas Metlevski
"An impressive feature debut which explores ideas of cultural identity and legacy."—Wendy Ide, Screen International
A coming-of-age story is colored by the upheavals of recent Lithuanian history in this visually impressive first feature. Set in 1992, the film centers on 12-year-old Kovas (Metlevski), who was raised in America after his mother Vikorija (Janušauskaitė) fled Lithuania during the Soviet occupation. Now, with her marriage collapsing and Lithuania gaining independence, she returns to her homeland in the hope of reclaiming the family property that had been seized by the Soviets. Reconnecting with relatives and a former boyfriend, she finds that the land is now occupied by Russian immigrants who have no intention of giving it up without a fight. The action is presented entirely from the perspective of Kovas, who is framed in tight, shallow close shots that emphasize the boy's isolation and dislocation, as the drama reveals itself to him through sidelong glimpses, obstructed views, and overheard snatches of conversation. In Lithuanian, English, and Russian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania. (MR)
2019, Max Jacoby, Luxembourg, 93 min.
With Peri Baumeister, Maarten Heijmans
“The look Jacoby casts over his city is one that we rarely see in Luxembourg fiction…boasts an aesthetic which is well worth a visit.”—Guilhem Caillard, Cineuropa
The cliffhanging streets and parks of Luxembourg City are the fittingly atmospheric setting for this noir-inflected crime thriller laced with dark eroticism. Deep in a gorge at the city center, the body of a young girl is found in a heavily wooded park. She was one of the charges of Lara (Baumeister), a newly divorced social worker who counsels orphaned and homeless youth. Lara is being stalked by her jealous ex, a police detective on the case, who targets her mysterious new lover Joakim (Heijmans) as the possible killer. An air of threat hangs over the sexually violent relationship of Lara and Joakim, and, when he is finally charged with the crime, his alibi begins to crumble in her uneasy mind, even as she stands by him. In English, German, and Luxembourgish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Samsa Film. (BS)
The Weeping House of Qala
Hemm Dar il-Qala
2018, Mark Doneo, Malta, 85 min.
With Lawrence Buontempo, Louise Doneo
A desolate mansion abandoned behind high walls on the picturesque island of Gozo, off the coast of Malta, is the setting for an intense ghost story-turned-psychological drama loosely based on the novel The Children of the Dead by Elfriede Jelinek. Despite being rebuffed by his potential producer, documentary filmmaker Aaron (Buontempo) proceeds with his plan to shoot a film in the desolate grey house, where the last residents, a woman and her three children, had disappeared without a trace forty years ago. The crew arrives to spend the night in search of poltergeists on the very anniversary of the disappearance, and tension mounts to the breaking point with the belated arrival of the angry producer. A child’s spinning top, a homemade Ouija board, and a crew member with a secret past up the ante. In Maltese with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of the director. (BS)
Living the Light: Robby Müller
2018, Claire Pijman, Netherlands/Germany, 86 min.
“Functions both as a tribute and as the final lesson of a master.”—Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
“Impressive…revealing a person who viewed, quite literally, everything through a lens.”—Christian Gallichio, The Playlist
Revered Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller (PARIS, TEXAS; THE AMERICAN FRIEND; DEAD MAN; DANCER IN THE DARK) is profiled in this diary-like documentary based largely on his own visual material. Known for an evocative use of natural light that has invited comparisons with Vermeer and Edward Hopper, Müller was as obsessive in recording images from his private life as he was on set for directors including Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Lars von Trier, and Peter Handke. Director Pijman, a cinematographer herself, had extensive access to Müller’s home movies, film sketches, video diaries, and Polaroids prior to his 2018 death, in order to create this one-of-a-kind mosaic of images from a life and career that merged through the camera eye. Interviews include Wenders, Jarmusch, von Trier, and more, with generous and wide-ranging film clips from many of the seventy films for which Müller was director of photography. Guitar score by Jarmusch and Carter Logan. In English, German, Dutch, and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Wide House. (BS)
Take Me Somewhere Nice
2019, Ena Sendijarevic, Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina, 91 min.
With Sara Luna Zoric, Lazar Dragojevic
“Playfully delightful and offbeat.”—Joseph Owen, The Playlist
“Low-key deadpan charmer…all three main performers bring authenticity and freshness.”—Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
This semi-autobiographical coming-of-age road movie traverses cultures in a humorously poignant saga that reflects the dual perspective of director Sendijarevic, herself transplanted from Bosnia to the Netherlands. Young Alma (Zoric), motivated as much by the restless need for a change of scenery as the desire to find the dying father she never knew, takes off alone from Amsterdam to Sarajevo. Sendijarevic aims for an edgy air of slacker adventure in this fresh homage to Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE, when Alma links up with her jerk of a cousin Emir and his best friend Denis. Reinventing herself with a dye-job and the contents of an abandoned suitcase, she tests her mettle in a series of bizarre travel incidents, somehow ending up in a compact car with her father’s coffin on the roof. In Bosnian, Dutch, and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Heretic Outreach. (BS)
2019, Kamila Jozefowicz, Poland, 68 min.
- Fri, Mar 6, 2020 - 04:30pm
- Mon, Mar 9, 2020 - 06:00pm
Director Jozefowicz creates a framework of mournful lyricism around the testimonies of the elderly residents of a Polish farm town, who speak openly of growing up in a time when some families hid their Jewish friends and others assisted in slaughtering their neighbors. In farming villages throughout pre-WWII Poland, Jewish families owned shops, plied trades including tailoring and blacksmithing, and sent their children to the local school. The film pieces together the life in one such village. That life filled with Jewish friends and classmates changed horrifically when the Germans came and the synagogue was set ablaze. The film’s storytellers represent the last living witnesses to the unmarked locations of the pits where the Jewish families were unceremoniously buried following their murder. In Polish with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of 7th Art Releasing. (BS)
The Last Witness
2018, Piotr Szkopiak, Poland/UK, 97 min.
With Alex Pettyfer, Robert Wieckiewicz
“A brooding and increasingly fatalist noir.”—Graham Fuller, Culture Trip
This low-key thriller based on a real story of multi-national collusion brings a post-WWII mystery to light. The search for the devastating truth behind the politically motivated suppression of first-person testimony on the 1940 Katyn Massacre of 22,000 Polish soldiers is a personal quest for director Szopiak, whose grandfather was one of the victims. The plot unfolds in Bristol, England, in 1947, where Stephen Underwood (Pettyfer), reporter for a small newspaper, investigates the suspicious deaths of men from the nearby internment camp, all labeled as suicide. Although his inquiries are clearly unwelcome in every quarter, the reporter is soon endangered by official stonewalling, lies, and the betrayal of a lover, while he continues to pursue damning clues including a diary taken from a corpse and a mysteriously missing Russian who has been hiding in the camp posing as a Pole. In English. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of eOne/Momentum Pictures. (BS)
2018, Bruno Gascon, Portugal, 113 min.
With Michalina Olszanska, Victor Norte
A transport semi pulls off the road in a remote location to disgorge its illegal cargo: women and children smuggled from Eastern Europe. These passengers seeking a better life, including stoic but frightened Viktoriya (Olszanska), are delivered into the hands of human traffickers, who load them into vans to sort them at their lair. Before the women are shipped off to brothels, the process of breaking them down with beating and rape begins. Viktoriya’s effort to protect a child marks her as a troublemaker. Director Gascon divides this brutally realistic chronicle between a harrowing bid for freedom and guilt-ridden truck-driver António’s (Norte) efforts to extricate himself from bondage to the Russian brother and sister mobsters who control their operation through the ruthless use of force. In English, Russian, and Portuguese with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures. (BS)
2019, Radu Dragomir, Romania, 77 min.
With Dana Rogoz, Răzvan Vasilescu, Mădălina Craiu
- Sat, Mar 7, 2020 - 08:00pm
- Wed, Mar 11, 2020 - 06:00pm
“A rare Romanian thriller…tackles head-on a #MeToo-related narrative, an even rarer occurrence in the county’s national cinema.”—Stefan Dobrou, Cineuropa
Two female college students conspire to cheat on a critical exam but are apprehended by the stern male professor Ursu (Vasilescu), setting the stage for a dangerous convoluted game that eventually plays out in the teacher’s apartment. Boldly rebellious Mo (Rogoz) and her more reticent friend Vera (Craiu) are wary but hopeful when Ursu seems to offer a chance for amnesty, and invites the pair for a home-cooked meal. Vasilescu (BIBLIOTHÈQUE PASCAL), one of Romania’s most popular actors, gives a stunningly multifaceted performance as Ursu, slipping seamlessly in and out of the roles of villain, generous mentor, savior, and merciless predator. In the best tradition of the contemporary Romanian cinema, a savage dissection of ethics and the question of consent is at the heart of the plot as the susceptible students fall into a trap. Note: Includes sexual violence. In Romanian with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Wide House. (BS)
By a Sharp Knife
2019, Teodor Kuhn, Slovakia, 89 min.
With Roman Luknár, Ela Lehotská
“A family tragedy in a broken system…serves as a statement of social activism.”—Martin Kudlac, Screen Anarchy
A family is torn apart by grief and guilt when the police come calling late one night, requesting the parents to identify the body of their only son David. Based on a high-profile 2005 murder in Bratislava that exposed Mafia influence at the highest levels, this drama becomes a gripping psychological study of a father-son conflict and the father’s belated contrition in the search for justice for his murdered boy. Out to celebrate his high school graduation with friends, David is attacked by four skinheads lurking under a bridge. The case would seem clear-cut, but, to the family’s dismay, the perpetrators are protected and coddled by authorities, who seek to put the blame on the victim. In Slovak with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Wide House. (BS)
Stories from the Chestnut Woods
Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov
2019, Gregor Božič, Slovenia/Italy, 81 min.
With Massimo De Francovich, Ivana Roščić
“An exquisite visual poem…extraordinary.”—Carlota Moseguí, Cineuropa
“One of a kind film that amazes and immerses its viewers in the classic, long-forgotten true cinema experience.”—Arman Fatić, Duart
Richly burnished colors enhance this timelessly mythical view of a post-WWII village on the Slovenian-Italian border, as first-time director Božič evokes the legacy of directors including Sergei Parajanov and Emir Kusturica with his magic-realist take on the past. The fate of the village carpenter, a recently widowed skinflint, intersects with that of a desperate woman who makes her living gathering and selling the region’s plentiful chestnuts. Within this loose narrative, ancient customs prevail, dreams come to life, and visions burst forth. The Three Kings stand watch at a death bed; a fabulous banquet unfolds in a humble cottage; a majestic bear silently joins the party; and the pageant of the seasons prevails. In Slovenian and Italian with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Cercamon. (BS)
The Days to Come
Els dies que vindran
2019, Carlos Marques-Marcet, Spain, 101 min.
With Maria Rodríguez Soto, David Verdaguer
"A strange and special blend of the fictional and the real...tackling the complex mess of emotions at the heart of the situation with great delicacy and extreme compassion."—Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter
"A tender, moving experience."—Stephen Saito, A Moveable Feast
During the filming of director Marques-Marcet's ANCHOR AND HOPE (which played in the 2018 CEUFF), actors Maria Rodríguez Soto and David Verdaguer conceived a child, which in turn inspired the conception of this film. Blurring the boundaries between documentary and fiction, THE DAYS TO COME follows the lives of Vir (Rodríguez Soto) and Lluis (Verdaguer) during the term of the actress's real-life pregnancy. The film's stunningly intimate camerawork captures with unparalleled authenticity not only the physical effects of pregnancy but also its emotional effects on a couple's relationship. As they confront such questions as whether to abort, what to name the baby, and which school to send her to, the cracks in their relationship deepen and widen, with Vir feeling coerced, and Lluis feeling excluded. When Vir goes into a difficult labor, the tenuous line between documentary and fiction seems to dissolve completely, in extended long takes of extraordinary immediacy. In Catalan with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Avalon Distribución Audiovisual. (MR)
Window to the Sea
Una ventana al mar
2019, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Spain, 105 min.
With Emma Suárez, Akilas Karazisis
Emma Suárez, the star of Almodóvar's JULIETA, delivers a moving performance as Maria, a 55-year-old woman living in Bilboa who learns that she has an advanced stage of cancer. Before beginning treatment, she takes a trip to Greece with two gal pals, but her mood remains guarded ("I'm not a risk-taker") until they visit the small Aegean island of Nisyros. Seduced by the island's simplicity and serenity, she impulsively decides to stay on by herself. Exploring the isolated beaches and rediscovering passion with a local sponge fisherman, Maria keeps postponing her departure, much to the dismay of her worried son. Inspired by his own mother's death, director Jiménez says, "I wanted to make a very simple, honest film," and the results are moving without being mawkish, beautiful but not fancy. In Spanish and Greek with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. Courtesy of Heretic Outreach. (MR)
2019, Johannes Nyholm, Sweden, 86 min.
With Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon
"Spine-chilling...plays like the bastard offspring of GROUNDHOG DAY and THE BABADOOK."—Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter
"**** Nyholm's greatest triumph in KOKO-DI KOKO-DA lies in the way he drives home his story's emotional weight through particularly cinematic means."—Sucheta Chakraborty, CineVue
A happy family vacation at a kitschy resort that ends badly. Another vacation, three years later, shadowed by the emotional fallout of the previous one. A trio of grotesque sadists who evoke fairy-tale monsters and an old-time vaudeville act. A ferocious dog. A white cat. A catchy, sinister song. A silhouetted puppet show. A smorgasbord of alternative outcomes à la GROUNDHOG DAY and RUN LOLA RUN. These are the ingredients of KOKO-DI KOKO-DA's ingenious, puzzle-like structure. Discovering how the pieces come together is essential to the impact of this offbeat psychological horror film with a haunting emotional payoff. In Swedish and Danish with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures. (MR)
2019, Brian Welsh, UK, 102 min.
With Cristian Ortega, Lorn Macdonald
"It's miraculously authentic...exploding with energy and emotion."—Alex Godfrey, Time Out London
"An infectiously enjoyable slice of knockabout nostalgia...the biggest word-of-mouth hit at this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam."—Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
A bittersweet last-hurrah-of-adolescence story à la AMERICAN GRAFFITI and DAZED AND CONFUSED is doused with the gritty regional naturalism of Ken Loach and Shane Meadows in this critically acclaimed Scottish film. The time is 1994, the setting is a dead-end West Lothian town, and the heart of the film is the bromance between two 15-year-old boys: gangly, gonzo Spanner (Macdonald) and short, serious Johnno (Ortega), whose more upscale family is about to move to a better neighborhood. Though temperamentally opposed, the boys share a love of techno music. Sensing that their friendship is coming to an end, they head for an epic illegal rave party, with the police and Spanner's abusive older brother in hot pursuit. The film's pièce de résistance is the rave itself, which unleashes a ten-minute tidal wave of pulsating frenzy that puts scores of more conventional strobe-and-techno scenes to shame. In Scottish-accented English with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Music Box Films. (MR)
Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin
2019, Werner Herzog, UK, 90 min.
"A lovely, elegiac documentary about two men who shared a real brotherhood."—Gary M. Kramer, Film International
"Gorgeously shot...a riveting film that encourages the audience to never take life, or the planet, for granted."—Rich Cline, Gay Essential
Filmmaker Werner Herzog and author Bruce Chatwin were close friends and kindred spirits—restless adventurer-artists who admired and were influenced by each other's work. NOMAD is a deeply felt memoir of their friendship; an overview of Chatwin's life and work; and a personal affirmation of the "quest for strangeness" that drove both men to seek illumination at the geographical and psychic extremes of existence. Roving the globe, Herzog explores some of the key sites that inspired Chatwin—the caves and cemeteries of Patagonia, the stone circles of Avebury, the aboriginal Outback of Australia—mixing awesome vistas and insightful interviews with those who knew, studied, and loved him. In English, Aboriginal, and German with English subtitles. DCP digital. Courtesy of Music Box Films. (MR)