The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival

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From March 1 through 28, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 16th Annual European Union Film Festival, the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of the European Union nations. This year’s festival presents the Chicago premieres of 61 new feature films, providing a broad picture of the creativity of Europe’s most adventurous filmmakers.

The festival screens the latest films by a host of major directors including Alain Resnais (YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET), Margarethe von Trotta (HANNAH ARENDT), Marco Bellocchio (DORMANT BEAUTY), István Szabó (THE DOOR), Ken Loach (THE ANGELS’ SHARE), Sally Potter (GINGER & ROSA), Ulrich Seidl (PARADISE: FAITH and PARADISE: HOPE), Sergei Loznitsa (IN THE FOG), and Jan Hrebejk (4SOME).

This could well be called “the year of the woman” at the festival, as our selection features twelve films directed or co-directed by women, ranging from newcomers including Kristina Nikolova (FAITH, LOVE & WHISKEY/Bulgaria) and Alexa Karolinski (OMA & BELLA/Germany) to established world-class artists like von Trotta and Potter.

According to the tradition of our festival, the opening night is presided over by the nation currently holding the presidency of the European Union. On Friday, March 1, our host is the Honorable Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland, Chicago. Our opening film, STELLA DAYS by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, stars Martin Sheen in a critically acclaimed performance as an embattled Catholic priest who tries to introduce the movies to his conservative rural flock.

We celebrate Spain in a special way this year, by incorporating the “Festival of New Spanish Cinema,” curated by Pragda, as a sidebar section of the EU festival. Enjoy this sparkling selection of the newest and brightest Spain has to offer, beginning with the premiere of the lively Andalusian comedy CARMINA OR BLOWUP on our Spanish opening night of Wednesday, March 6.

German actress Barbara Sukowa, renowned for her work with von Trotta, Fassbinder, and von Trier, appears in person on Friday, March 8, to discuss her tour-de-force starring role in HANNAH ARENDT. Chicago director, writer, and radio personality Mike Houlihan appears in person on Wednesday, March 13, with his personal documentary OUR IRISH COUSINS.

Director Robert Mullan appears at screenings of his Lithuanian historical drama LETTERS TO SOFIJA, and Romanian director Dan Chisu is tentatively scheduled to appear with a screening of CHASING RAINBOWS. Check back often for updates on appearances and added special events and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest information.

The festival closes on Thursday, March 28, with Ken Loach’s greatly anticipated THE ANGELS’ SHARE, the Scottish-themed whisky-loving comedy that brought down the house at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. A reception hosted by Whole Foods Market follows.

The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the consulates, the consuls general, and the cultural institutions of the European Union in Chicago, and their embassies in Washington, D.C., for their enthusiastic participation. We especially salute the efforts of all those who served as festival advisors.

—Barbara Scharres and Martin Rubin

Purchase a European Union festival pass for $50!

6 movies at a reduced price, plus a free small popcorn with each film. Turn your pass in at the end of the festival for a $5 discount on a Gene Siskel Film Center membership. An $87 value for $50!

Vote for the Audience Award!
Win an Annual Membership and a 2014 EU Festival Pass!

Vote for the European Union Film Festival's Audience Award, and your ballot may be selected for the grand prize of a year's membership to the Film Center plus an EU Festival Pass (6 films + popcorn) for the 2014 festival! Ballots are available in the lobby. Past winners of the award include I'M NOT SCARED (2004), COLOSSAL SENSATION! (2005), CLEAN (2006), AFTER THE WEDDING (2007), THE UNKNOWN WOMAN (2008), THE BEACHES OF AGNES (2009), THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (2010), and DESERT FLOWER (2011), and THE WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER (2012).

For their generous assistance in obtaining films for the European Union Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks:

Austria: Dr. Thomas Schnoell, Joanne Ryan, Consulate General of Austria

Belgium: Nicolas Polet, Flanders House, New York; Valeska Neu, Loredana Cimino, Films Boutique

Bulgaria: Bouriana Zakharieva, Peripeteia Film Production; Kristina Nikolova; Mila Petkova, Bulgarian National Film Center

Denmark: Lizette Gram Mygind, Danish Film Institute; Jette Renneberg Elkjær, Embassy of Denmark

Estonia: Tristan Priimägi, Estonian Film Foundation; Piret Tibbo-Hudgins, Allfilm

Finland: Marjo Pipinen, Finnish Film Foundation

France: Institut Français; Fabrice Rozie, Jean-François Rochard, Laurence Geannopoulos, Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in Chicago

Germany: Werner Ott, Irmi Maunu-Kocian, Goethe-Institut, Chicago

Greece: Liza Linardou, Greek Film Center; Costas Kapakas

Hungary: Bela Bunyik, Bunyik Entertainment; Katalin Vajda, Magyar Filmunió, Hungarian National Film Fund; Alice Ramsey, Bankside Films

Ireland: Aidan Cronin, Katie Hamilton, Pat Neary, Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago; Jackie Larkin, Newgrange Films

Italy: Silvio Marchetti, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Chicago; Barbara Klein, Italian Film Festival of St. Louis; Pascale Ramonda; Celluloid Dreams

Latvia: Matthias Angoulvant, Wide

Lithuania: Marijus Gudynas, Agnė Vertelkaitė, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago

Luxembourg: Joy Hoffmann, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel (CAN); Lélia Di Luca, Samsa Film

Poland: Cosima Finkbeiner, Beta Cinema GmbH

Romania: Gheorghe Andrei, Alexandra Cojocaru, Da KINO Production

Slovakia: Alexandra Strelková, Slovak Film Institute; Clémence Perrier-Latour, MK2; Uta Gildhuis, Endorfilm

Slovenia: Nerina Kocjancic, Slovenian National Film Center; Danijel Hocevar, Emotion Film

Spain: Marta Sanchez, Pragda; Ignacio Olmos, Teresa Hernando, Instituto Cervantes de Chicago

Sweden: Gunnar Almér, Swedish Film Insititute

and also: Kathleen Sewall, Christina Dudash, Allied-THA; Lauren Elmer, A24 Films; Jeff Lipsky, Adopt Films; Ryan Krivoshey, The Cinema Guild; Rebeca Conget, Maxwell Wolkin, Mallory Jacobs, Film Movement; Jeremy Quist, Global Film Initiative; Mike Houlihan; Sean McDonnell, IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films/ATO Pictures; Ryan Werner, Elizabeth Brambilla, Cary Jones, Kim Kalyka, IFC Films; Gary Palmucci, Kino Lorber Films; Cindy Nelson, MonteCristo International; Michael Tuckman, MTuckman Media; Ed Arentz, Brian Andreotti, Rebecca Gordon, Music Box Films; Donald Crafton, Anthony Monta, Ted Barron, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame; Samantha Hubball, Oscilloscope Pictures; Paul Hudson; Outsider Pictures; LC Lim, 7th Art Releasing; Tom Davia, Shoreline Entertainment; Brandon Peters, Strand Releasing; Matthew Landers, Tribeca Film; Erin Lowery, The Weinstein Company; Clemence Taillandier, Ben Crossley-Marra, Zeitgeist Films.

STELLA DAYS

  • Opening Night Film
Ireland

Showtimes

Fri, Mar 1st at 6:00pm
Sun, Mar 3rd at 5:00pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)
  1. STELLA DAYS
  1. 2011, Thaddeus O’Sullivan
  2. Ireland/Norway/Germany, 100 min.
  3. With Martin Sheen, Stephen Rea

“Understated elegance and surpassing central performance…director O’Sullivan puts it over with a gentle hand.”
—Eric Hynes, Village Voice

“Splendidly acted…with sensitivity, gentle humor and poignancy.”
—David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

A stellar performance by Martin Sheen as Fr. Daniel Barry, a Catholic priest who has burned a few bridges in his time, brightens the darker recesses of this story of one man’s attempt to bring cinema to a small Irish town. Set in 1956 Tipperary, where the church holds sway and the movies are regarded as the devil’s work to many of his provincial flock, film buff Daniel sets out to open a movie house, royally riling his bishop and encountering the nemesis from hell in local politician Brendan McSweeny (Rea). In English. Special advance screening courtesy of Tribeca Films and Newgrange Productions. DCP video. (BS)

Immediately following the Friday screening, the audience is invited to an Irish Food and Drink Showcase and Reception, hosted by the Consul General of Ireland, Aidan Cronin.

Note: No free passes or blue tickets will be valid for the opening night screening.

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THE ANGELS' SHARE

  • Closing Night Film
United Kingdom

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 23rd at 7:00pm
Thu, Mar 28th at 6:15pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)
  1. THE ANGELS’ SHARE
  1. 2012, Ken Loach, UK, 101 min.
  2. With Paul Brannigan, Siobhan Reilly

“Like good whiskey, Loach is mellowing and becoming subtler with age--though a swift chug still has a bit of a kick.”
—Kim Newman, Empire

One of the world’s greatest working filmmakers, Ken Loach executes a charming change-of-pace that combines his usual gift for social observation with a less commonly seen flair for upbeat comedy. Winner of the Cannes Grand Jury Prize, the film centers on Robbie (first-timer Brannigan in a remarkable performance), a young Glasgow delinquent who discovers that he has a rare nasal gift for identifying whiskies. He enlists two lads and a lass from his community-service group; posing as a whisky-tasting club, they don kilts and head for the highlands to heist a batch of ultra-valuable single malt. For all its high spirits, Loach and longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty ground their breezy tale in an awareness of the vicious circle of unemployment and crime, and an early scene in which Robbie is forced to confront one of his victims (shades of THE INTERRUPTERS) ranks as one of the most powerful in the director’s distinguished career. In English. Special advance screening courtesy of IFC Films. HDCAM video. (MR)

Immediately following the screening, the audience is invited to a closing-night reception in our lobby, hosted by Whole Foods Market. Included!: Please join Johnnie Walker and The Classic Single Malts for your own Scotch whisky-tasting adventure, hosted by Master of Whisky Kyle McHugh.

Note: No free passes or blue tickets will be valid for the closing night screening.

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Films of the 16th Annual
European Union Film Festival

By default, films are listed alphabetically by country. You can also search for films from a particular country or by language by making your selection from the appropriate drop-down menu.

PARADISE: FAITH

Austria

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 17th at 5:15pm
Thu, Mar 21st at 8:15pm
No votes yet
  1. PARADISE: FAITH
  1. (PARADIES: GLAUBE)
  2. 2012, Ulrich Seidl
  3. Austria/Germany/France, 113 min.
  4. With Maria Hoffstätter, Nabil Saleh

“Ruthless black humor…juicy moral complexity.”
—Leslie Felperin, Variety

The line between devotion and masturbation becomes blurred for Anna Maria, a missionary-minded nurse, whose attention to her punishing prayers is diverted by the untimely appearance of a contrary husband and the all-out rebellion of the junkie prostitute who is the object of her dubious good works. The second entry in maverick director Seidl’s PARADISE trilogy, PARADISE: FAITH explores delusion and obsession through this tale of a secret life of eroticized religious faith challenged by the intrusion of too-human needs. In German and Arabic with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Strand Releasing. HDCAM video. (BS)

Please note: The trailer below is not subtitled. All of our screenings will be subtitled in English.

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PARADISE: HOPE

Austria

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 24th at 3:00pm
Mon, Mar 25th at 6:00pm
Average: 4 (2 votes)
  1. PARADISE: HOPE
  1. (PARADIES: HOFFNUNG)
  2. 2013, Ulrich Seidl,
  3. Austria/Germany/France, 100 min.
  4. With Melanie Lenz, Verena Lehbauer

Provocateur director Seidl turns the conventional meaning of a virtue on its head once again in this final film of his PARADISE trilogy (see also PARADISE: FAITH), offering up hope as a skewed form of erotic attraction. Sent to a fat farm for kids while her mother indulges in a Kenyan vacation, zaftig 13-year-old Melanie adds a new regimen to her string of coming-of-age experiences by targeting a doctor forty years her senior for seduction. In German with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Strand Releasing. HDCAM video. (BS)

THE WALL

Country

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 3rd at 5:00pm
Wed, Mar 6th at 6:00pm
Average: 2.9 (8 votes)
  1. THE WALL
  1. (DIE WAND)
  2. 2012, Julian Pölsler
  3. Austria/Germany, 108 min.
  4. With Martina Gedeck

“Spectacularly-shot…riveting and emotionally involving from start to finish.”-
—Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“A showcase for the mesmerizing face of Martina Gedeck…a formidable actress.”
—Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety

Based on the novel by Marlen Haushofer, THE WALL features a tour-de-force performance by Martina Gedeck (THE LIVES OF OTHERS) as the seeming sole survivor of a cosmic catastrophe that has sealed off her ruggedly beautiful slice of the world with an invisible shield. Stranded Robinson Crusoe-like in an alpine cabin with only a dog for company, this resourceful castaway struggles with nothing less than the purpose and fate of the universe as the cycles of the seasons unfold with increasing hint of threat. In English and German with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Music Box Films. DCP video. (BS)

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BEYOND THE WALLS

Belgium

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 23rd at 9:00pm
Mon, Mar 25th at 7:45pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)
  1. BEYOND THE WALLS
  1. (HORS LES MURS)
  2. 2012, David Lambert
  3. Belgium/Canada/France, 98 min.
  4. With Matila Malliarakis, Guillaume Gouix

“Carefully crafted, gently moving.”
—Guy Lodge, Variety

“An intriguing storyline, confident execution and charismatic performances.”
—Allan Hunter, Screen Daily

The morning after a drunken revel finds Paulo in the bed of hunky bartender Ilir, an incident that proves to be the death knell for his engagement to fashion designer Anka. Screenwriter/director Lambert evocatively sketches the trajectory of this bittersweet gay love story as the bartender, an illegal immigrant, reluctantly succumbs to charms of his more reckless bed crasher until Ilir’s arrest and internment on a minor drug charge precipitously raises the stakes in their relationship. In French with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Strand Releasing. Presented in collaboration with Reeling, the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival. HDCAM video. (BS)

Please note: The trailer below is not subtitled. All of our screenings will be subtitled in English.

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THE FIFTH SEASON

Belgium

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 3rd at 7:15pm
Wed, Mar 6th at 8:15pm
No votes yet
  1. THE FIFTH SEASON
  1. (LA CINQUIÈME SAISON)
  2. 2012, Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth
  3. Belgium/Netherlands/France, 94 min.
  4. With Aurélia Poirier, Django Schrevens

“Simultaneously operatic and anthropological…equal parts Tarkovsky and Brueghel.”
—Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety

In a rural farming village steeped in ancient rituals, the effigy-topped bonfire that traditionally marks the end of winter refuses to ignite. Communal unease is only the first sign that something has gone perilously wrong when no harbingers of spring are seen. This apocalyptic tale by the directors of KHADAK and ALTIPLANO is haunting in its subtle imagery, surreal in the dread engendered when neighbor turns against neighbor in a slow-burning cycle of guilt and blame. In Flemish and French with English subtitles. DCP video courtesy of Films Boutique. (BS)

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THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON

Bulgaria

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 10th at 7:15pm
Mon, Mar 11th at 8:00pm
Average: 5 (2 votes)
  1. THE COLOR OF THE CHAMELEON
  1. (TSVETAT NA HAMELEONA)
  2. 2012, Emil Christov, Bulgaria, 114 min.
  3. With Ruscen Vidinliev, Irena Milyankova

“An exhilarating wild ride.”
—James McNally, Toronto Screen Shots

“A black, absurdist riff on the dank literary labyrinths of Kafka, Le Carré and Don DeLillo, by way of the cinematic influence of David Lynch and Bernardo Bertolucci.”
—The Globe and Mail

Based on the novel Zincograph by Vladislav Todorov, this allegory is a black-humorous chronicle of an opportunist’s journey to the top (or bottom, as the case may be) of the surveillance underworld. Springing from murky origins, Batko flubs his first assignment for the secret police thanks to his lusty landlady, but goes on to create his own convoluted network of counterfeit spies. One dirty trick too many and one femme fatale too alluring may indeed prove to be fatal. In Bulgarian with English subtitles. DCP video courtesy of Peripeteia Film Production. (BS)

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FAITH, LOVE & WHISKEY

Bulgaria

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 2nd at 8:45pm
Mon, Mar 4th at 8:00pm
Average: 3.9 (9 votes)
  1. FAITH, LOVE & WHISKEY
  1. 2012, Kristina Nikolova, Bulgaria, 75 min.
  2. With Yavor Baharov, Lidia Indjova

“Cerebral and sensual…vividly evokes a sense of the Eastern European after hours vibe.”
—Joe Bendel, Libertas Film Magazine

“Conveys the taste for abandon that binds two people.”
—Dennis Harvey, Variety

The pull of homesickness and the sure pleasures of wild, boozy nights are what draw upwardly mobile Neli to ditch her American fiancé in New York and fly home for a visit. The envy of the losers she left behind sets the stage for one more fling with the bad boy she can’t forget. Director Nikolova, an alum of the University of Chicago, injects an atmospheric road movie with the hot urgency of forbidden passion. Winner of the Vision award at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival. In Bulgarian and English with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of the filmmaker. DCP video. (BS)

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Comments


pleasure to watch and to remember!
—Anonymous, 03/03/13

Insightful, heartfelt and honest film that really should be seen by any young person who's living (or perhaps dating someone who's living) "between cultures." Great job but if you get into it, bring the kleenex ;-) http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/faith-love-and-whiskey-...

—Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, 03/05/13

ALOIS NEBEL

Czech Republic

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 2nd at 5:15pm
Tue, Mar 5th at 8:00pm
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)
  1. ALOIS NEBEL
  1. 2011, Tomas Lunak
  2. Czech Republic, 84 min.

“A sheer wonder…a bracing experience.”
—Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter

“Remarkable…wonderfully evocative with a dark, austere allure.”
—David O’Connell, MovieCritic.com

Based on the graphic novels by Jaroslav Rudis and Jaromir 99, with influences ranging from film noir to Jiri Menzel’s CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS, this intriguing dark adult animation is sure to linger in memory, not least of all for its technical brilliance. Alois, the aging dispatcher at a rural train station, is visited by ghosts. Their stories emerge from the mist along with pieces of the past that drive their host mad, yet propel him into the chaos of his nation’s next era. In Czech with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Zeitgeist Films. HDCAM video. (BS)

Please note: The trailer below is not subtitled. All of our screenings will be subtitled in English.

See video

Comments


An honestly stunning Czech adaptation of the “deep dark secret that can’t be kept secret forever” _film noir_ story line in this all black and white ANIMATED feature. Mild mannered, somewhat dour Alois Nebel, lifelong resident and train station conductor at a small mountain hamlet on the Czech-Polish border finds he needs help regarding troubling dreams he’s been having regarding the fate of a ethnic German teenager who had been his babysitter at the close of WW II. But now it’s 1989 and Communist Czechoslovakia’s psychiatric establishment isn’t really geared to help troubled people get better but to keep people who can no longer keep their mouths shut, SILENT… Then a strange man in his mid 40s who’s silent (is he mute?) comes into town with an old photograph … and an axe… Much ensues. (http://frdennismoviereviews.blogspot.com/2013/03/alois-nebel-2011.html)

—Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, 03/04/13

4SOME

Czech Republic

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 17th at 7:30pm
Wed, Mar 20th at 6:00pm
Average: 3.7 (3 votes)
  1. 4SOME
  1. (aka THE HOLY QUATERNITY)
  2. (SVATA CTVERICE)
  3. 2012, Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic, 78 min.
  4. With Jiri Langmajer, Hynek Cermak

“Plenty of fruity fun.”
—Mark Adams, Screen Daily

“An unapologetic comic romp.”
—Toronto International Film Festival program

Two marriages get a makeover in this sprightly comedy with lust in its heart. Co-workers and longtime neighbors Ondra and Vitek confess to each other thoughts of straying, and their respective wives appear primed for a game-changing proposal in a tropical paradise. But wait--their hormone-fired teenagers, two boys and two girls, are home alone, and the apple doesn’t fall very far from this particular tree. Director Hrebejk (DIVIDED WE FALL, BEAUTY IN TROUBLE) cuts loose on the bawdy side. In Czech with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Strand Releasing. HDCAM video. (BS)

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PERFECT DAYS

Czech Republic

Showtimes

Fri, Mar 8th at 8:00pm
Sat, Mar 9th at 3:00pm
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
  1. PERFECT DAYS
  1. (I ZENY MAJI SVE DNY)
  2. 2011, Alice Nellis, Czech Republic, 108 min.
  3. With Ivana Chylkova, Ondrej Sokol

Director Alice Nellis has her finger on the pulse of the contempo woman with this comedy, which, akin to her earlier films MAMAS & PAPAS and LITTLE GIRL BLUE, raises the burning question of how to have it all. Celebrity hairdresser Erika is almost there--almost over-the-hill according to her loudly ticking biological clock, that is. A birthday strip-o-gram socks the problem home, and whether she heeds the advice of her nagging mom with the bad taste in sweaters, or that of her too-cool gay BFF, this cougar is on the prowl for a baby daddy. In Czech with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of MonteCristo International. 35mm. (BS)

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  1. The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival Welcomes: The Festival of New Spanish Cinema

In a special collaboration with Pragda, the Gene Siskel Film Center is integrating Pragda’s Festival of New Spanish Cinema with this year’s European Union Film Festival in order to give our EU Festival access to some of the most exciting recent Spanish films. The two films in the Festival of New Spanish Cinema that have already premiered in Chicago, SLEEP TIGHT and THE DOUBLE STEPS, will be shown in the week following the EU Film Festival.

—Martin Rubin

In its fifth consecutive year, the Festival of New Spanish Cinema consolidates itself as the most important itinerant festival of contemporary Spanish Cinema in North America. Once again, the festival will screen some of the riskiest and most innovative Spanish films of the year.

The festival opens on March 6 with Paco León’s CARMINA OR BLOW UP, the popular phenomenon that has been winning over audiences since its release. Other films selected include David Trueba’s MADRID, 1987, a sensual and intelligent encounter between two very different generations; Gabriel Velázquez’s ICEBERG, an insightful study of adolescence; WILAYA, a window into the lives of a Sahrawi family living in a Saharan refugee camp, directed by Pedro Pérez Rosado; THE DOUBLE STEPS, Isaki Lacuesta’s gorgeously shot award-winning film; and SLEEP TIGHT, the latest chiller by mastermind of suspense Jaume Balagueró.

The Festival of New Spanish Cinema was organized by Pragda in collaboration with Instituto Cervantes of Chicago. Supported by the Ministry of Culture of Spain-ICAA, the Embassy of Spain in Washington, and American Airlines.

—Marta Sanchez, Pragda


CARMINA OR BLOW UP

Spain

Showtimes

Wed, Mar 6th at 6:30pm
Sat, Mar 9th at 5:15pm
Average: 3 (6 votes)
  1. CARMINA OR BLOW UP
  1. (CARMINA O REVIENTA)
  2. 2012, Paco León, Spain, 71 min.
  3. With Carmina Barrios, María León

“Distinctive, enjoyable.”
—Jonathan Holland, Variety

“Short, swift and lively as hell.”
—James van Maanen, TrustMovies

Comedy star León makes his directing debut with this unique film that has become a popular phenomenon in Spain. The subject is Carmina Barrios, played by the director’s mother and greatly resembling her, although the film plays slyly with the distinction between fact and fiction. Owner of a bar in Sevilla, saddled with a shiftless husband and a mountain of debts, she holds court in her kitchen, reminiscing and philosophizing as she tries to deal with a disastrous robbery of 80 hams. Compared by critics to a character out of Almodóvar, Carmina is funny, raunchy, outrageous, and never less than fascinating. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP video. (MR)

Part of The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival.

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WILAYA

Spain

Showtimes

Fri, Mar 8th at 6:00pm
Thu, Mar 14th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)
  1. WILAYA
  1. (aka TEARS OF SAND)
  2. 2012, Pedro Pérez Rosado, Spain, 97 min.
  3. With Nadhira Mohamed, Memona Mohamed

“WILAYA offers insight into a little-publicised world, and derives most of its dramatic pull from the charismatic presence of lead actress Nadhira Mohamed."
—Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

This visually stunning drama offers a fascinating look at the culture of the Sahrawi people, a stateless ethnic group many of whom live in refugee camps in northwest Africa. After living sixteen years with a foster family in Spain, a young Sahrawi woman returns to her family at a refugee camp named Wilaya. Suspended between two cultures, she is stifled by her new home’s traditionalist ways, which she challenges by becoming the first female truck driver in the region. The widescreen desert vistas and Aziza Brahim’s haunting solo voice music cast a spell in this often wordless movie. In Spanish and Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR)

Part of The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival.

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MADRID, 1987

Spain

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 17th at 5:15pm
Tue, Mar 19th at 6:00pm
Average: 4.5 (2 votes)
  1. MADRID, 1987
  1. 2011, David Trueba, Spain, 104 min.
  2. With José Sacristán, María Valverde

“A vibrant and compelling drama that’s always highly cinematic because Trueba’s primary objective is to make an entertaining movie.’
—Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

Trueba’s tour de force ingeniously uses a sex-farce premise to launch an in-depth exploration of generational shift during the transitional period following Franco’s death. A famous if pompous political columnist (Sacristán) in his 70s meets with a pretty young journalism student (Valverde). She wants to do a story about him; he wants to get her into bed. His clumsy attempts manage to get the two of them locked naked in a small bathroom in the midst of a heat wave. There the two generations confront each other in an exhilarating talkfest (the old man’s aphorisms are especially quoteworthy) that critics have compared to MY DINNER WITH ANDRE and BEFORE SUNRISE. In Spanish with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR)

Part of The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival.

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ICEBERG

Spain

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 23rd at 5:15pm
Tue, Mar 26th at 6:00pm
Average: 2.5 (4 votes)
  1. ICEBERG
  1. 2011, Gabriel Velázquez, Spain, 84 min.
  2. With Jesús Nieto, Carolina Morocho

“Challenging but extremely rewarding...evoking with memorable power and compassion the enormous trauma that hides beneath the surface of its young protagonists’ lives.”
—Jonathan Holland, Variety

The title refers to the film’s wintry setting and, metaphorically, to the emotional depths that lie hidden beneath the visible surface of its teenage characters. Three plotlines intersect along the lonely banks of the Tormes river in Salamanca. Mauri, orphaned by a car crash, seeks to recover a ring that belonged to his late parents. Rebecca, dumped in a Catholic boarding school by her absent parents, thinks she’s pregnant. Simon and Jo live wild and free in an abandoned boathouse. Adults never appear in this spare, subtle, and intensely focused film. In Spanish with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR)

Part of The 16th Annual European Union Film Festival.

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THE DOUBLE STEPS

Showtimes

Sat, Mar 30th at 5:00pm
Mon, Apr 1st at 7:45pm
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)
  1. THE DOUBLE STEPS
  1. (LOS PASOS DOBLES)
  2. 2011, Isaki Lacuesta, Spain, 86 min.
  3. With Bokar Dembele, Miguel Barceló

“A bedeviling, blithe Spanish meta-film...Sweet stuff.”
—Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

“Strange and wondrous.”
—Vanessa Martinez, Indiewire

The title refers to a method of eluding your pursuers by walking backwards over your own footprints. Lacuesta’s tantalizing mind-bender, winner of the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival, revolves around the elusive traces left by François Augiéras, an American-born artist (1925-71) who wandered through the Sahara and reputedly created a “Sistine Chapel of the desert” only to let it be covered over by the sands. This highly unusual film retraces Augiéras’s steps by means of two modern-day alter-egos: a young West African man who seems to re-live the artist’s life, and the well-known Spanish painter (and Augiéras admirer) Miguel Barceló, who leads a search party to find the lost frescoes. In French and Bambara with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (MR)

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SLEEP TIGHT

Showtimes

Sun, Mar 31st at 3:00pm
Wed, Apr 3rd at 7:45pm
Average: 4.3 (7 votes)
  1. SLEEP TIGHT
  1. (MIENTRAS DUERMES)
  2. 2011, Jaume Balagueró, Spain, 102 min.
  3. With Luis Tosar, Marta Etura

“A nifty new Euro-horror film, with several wicked-cold Hitchcockian twists, that shows off the range and craft of terrific Spanish director Jaume Balagueró.”
—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

Best known as co-creator of the rough-and-ready [REC] franchise, director Balagueró goes for scares on a deeper level with this superbly crafted psychological thriller that drew critics’ comparisons to Hitchcock and Polanski. Tosar, one of Spain’s best actors, creates a creep par excellence in the form of César, an ever-so-helpful apartment-building concierge who secretly strives to make the tenants’ lives miserable. He focuses his malice on the radiantly beautiful Clara, invisibly invading and disrupting her life in ever more perverse and shocking ways. Enticing us to root for the bad guy, Balagueró creates a double-edged suspense that reaches heights of exquisite unbearability. In Spanish with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (MR)

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