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2011 — 47th Chicago Film Festival

Overview Movies A-Z Directors A-Z Countries A-Z



720 Degrees 720 Degrees

A one-take journey discovers the layers of relationships and our perception of reality within two circular panoramas. This award-winning short film experiments with the strength of non-diegetic sound elements and explores the fundamentals of visual language.

5 min


Bullhead Bullhead

Jacky is a cattle farmer tied into the livestock underworld that uses illegal growth hormones to enhance their meat. Following the assassination of a local police officer investigating this illegal trade, a series of events force Jacky to deal with a brutal incident from his past. What begins as a crime thriller slowly unravels into an intense character-driven film that holds no punches.

Dutch, French with subtitles, 129 min

The Giants The Giants

Abandoned at their late grandfather’s house for the summer, teenage brothers Zak and Seth are left to their own devices. With the endless possibilities of summer fun and (mis-)adventure to be had in the idyllic Belgian countryside, the world, they feel, is their oyster. But when money runs short and with no help in sight, the boys scheme to support themselves by renting their home to a local drug dealer. A Mark Twain adventure-like tale takes a dark turn in The Giants, artfully capturing the underside of carefree youth.

French with subtitles, 84 min

Hotel Swooni Hotel Swooni

What is happiness? How do we grasp it? Six characters fumble desperately as their lives intersect over the course of one day and night in Brussels’ luxurious Hotel Swooni. A couple must face the truth about their marriage, while a mother and daughter seek to repair their fractured relationship and a young African boy urgently searches for his missing father. Emotions run high in this hotel in which no one checks out quite the same as they checked in.

Dutch, French with subtitles, 90 min

The Kid with a Bike The Kid with a Bike

11-year-old Cyril's only connection to his father, who left him in a children's home, is his bike. Desperately trying to retrieve his bike and reunite with his father, the kid is charged with confusion and anger. When local hairdresser Samantha agrees to foster Cyril on the weekends, she finds herself battling his self-destructive tendencies. Awarded the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Film Festival, this tale of redemptive love bares the Dardennes’ evocative signature style.

French with subtitles, 87 min

The Extraordinary Life of Rocky The Extraordinary Life of Rocky

It seems Rocky was born on the wrong side of luck; all the people he loves die from a fatal accident. First his father, then his grandfather and on it goes - and every single time Rocky is at the center of it all. He is like a magnet for misfortune. A darkly comedic fable with an aesthetic that fans of Wes Anderson-esque quirkiness will eat right up.

Dutch, with subtitles, 14 min


Circus Columbia Circus Columbia

After living in exile in Germany for 20 years, Ditko returns to his hometown in Yugoslavia hoping to start a new life. He comes back in style: sexy girlfriend, new Mercedes, wads of cash and a black cat named Bonny. He tries to reconnect with his 20-year-old son, Martin, but the lad is far more interested in Dad’s new girlfriend. Soon the winds of war blow into town, forcing Divko and the townspeople to decide which side they are on.

Bosnian with subtitles, 113 min


The Clown The Clown

What do those who make people laugh for a living think is funny? Benjamin, a clown traveling with the Circus Esperanza, tackles this question and more when he decides to leave the circus he grew up in and pursue his own dreams. With only a copy of his birth certificate in hand, Benjamin looks for answers, and for his identity, away from the bright lights of the big top.

Portugese with subtitles, 88 min

The Silver Cliff The Silver Cliff

Violeta, a dentist in Rio de Janeiro, is happily married and still engages in passionate morning lovemaking with her husband. Then he leaves on business and calls to tell her he never plans to return. Confused, she begins to wander the streets, trying to figure out what happened and why. Rio is as much a protagonist as Violeta, its energetic and melancholic landscapes a reflection of her changing moods in this ode to resilience in the face of heartbreaking loss from Gold Hugo winner Karim Aïnouz (Madame Sãta).

Portugese with subtitles, 82 min

Southwest Southwest

In a small fishing village in Brazil, Clarice experiences her entire life, beginning at birth, in the space of a day. The villagers remain oblivious to Clarice’s unique situation, living life just like us, one day at a time. In an attempt to understand her reality, Clarice tries to change her destiny as well as the destiny of those around her in this haunting and thought-provoking film.

Portugese with subtitles, 128 min

Valley of the Forgotten Valley of the Forgotten

In a secluded area of Brazil’s Mato Grosso region, an impossible land dispute rages between Indians evicted from their homeland, squatters, land-grabbers, the Landless Workers Movement, and the ranchers who own property. With no resolution in sight and violence threatening to erupt at any moment, the film looks closely at each group’s perspective, offering a meditation on the concept of private property across social and cultural boundaries.

Portugese with subtitles, 72 min

Ostrich's Flight Ostrich's Flight

A struggling mattress salesman decides to try a novel money making approach - renting out his mattresses as beds by night when the store is closed. Naturally this opens his life to a parade of odd figures. An offbeat, charming film featuring some truly enormous fried eggs.

Portuguese, with subtitles, 15 min