Chicago premiere! Film Series : Stranger Than Fiction 2018

The Challenge

2016, Yuri Ancarani, France/Italy/Switzerland, 70 min.

Show Times

  • Sat, Jan 13th 5:15pm
  • Mon, Jan 15th 6:00pm

“A non-fictive but scarcely less fantastical equivalent to Matthew Barney’s cinematic oeuvre.” — Dennis Harvey, Variety

“Brings alive a phrase that you normally think of as being simply a conventional pairing of words: ‘fabulous wealth.’” — Jonathan Romney, Film Comment

In the seclusion of the Qatar desert, a band of young oil-rich sheiks pursue the arcane pastime of falconry and show off pricey vehicles and high-tech toys in a hallucinatory film that is less a documentary than a starkly elegant composition of tableaux vivants. A full-grown cheetah is perched in the front seat of a Lamborghini speeding across the sand to the desolate spot where his white-robed master will join fellow sheiks (including one arriving on a gold-plated Harley) for a high-stakes falconry competition. Pampered birds valued at upwards of $24,000 pursue a doomed pigeon, while their owners gamble fortunes on the outcome. Director Ancarani’s distanced observation eschews overt social comment for a surreal portrait of an exclusive and very private subculture. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. In Arabic with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)

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