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2009 — 45th Chicago International Film Festival

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Germany

Antichrist Antichrist

Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star in this dark, highly erotic psychological horror story from the controversial writer/director of Dogville, Dancer in the Dark, and Breaking the Waves. A grieving couple retreats to an isolated cabin in the woods to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course, and things go from bad to worse.... Gainsbourg was named best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her astounding performance.

109 minutes

The Athlete The Athlete

In 1960, the barefoot Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila stunned the world by becoming the first African to win the Olympic gold medal. Then he won gold again four years later in Tokyo. But his story had just begun with Olympic medals. A few years later in Ethiopia, fate presents this champion with his greatest challenge. Seamlessly blending autobiography, biopic, drama, and documentary, The Athlete is a beautiful and moving investigation of a man who is ceaseless in his journey for greatness.

English, Amharic with subtitles, 93 minutes

Berlin '36 Berlin '36

With Nazi-ruled Berlin facing boycotts of its 1936 Olympic Games if Jewish athletes aren’t allowed to participate, party officials bully expat champion high jumper Gretel Bergmann into training alongside a team that reviles her. At the same time, they use über-athlete Marie Ketteler as a pawn in a covert campaign to defeat Gretel. This powerful true story celebrates the small triumphs strong-willed individuals can win over tyranny and hatred.

German with subtitles, 100 minutes

Effi Briest Effi Briest

In 19th-century Germany, 17-year-old Effi Briest sees her carefree life disappear when her parents marry her off to a man 20 years her senior. To find respite from her dull domestic existence, she begins an affair with a handsome young officer, but their dalliance carries a high cost…. This adaptation of the famous novel approaches the classic story through a post-women's-lib lens, allowing it to transcend costume-drama conventions.

German with subtitles, 118 minutes

Eyes Wide Open Eyes Wide Open

Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community offers the comfort of belonging, but the conformity can be suffocating. Aaron, a devoted husband and father, is well respected in this world. Then he meets Ezri, a charismatic 22-year-old, who quickly steals Aaron's heart. Soon he's choosing this taboo love over his family. Guilt, torment, and pressure from the community will lead him to make a radical decision…

Hebrew, Yiddish with subtitles, 91 minutes

Storm Storm

At the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague, prosecutor Hannah Maynard takes on the trial of a general accused of atrocities committed in Bosnia. But when her principal witness crumbles on the stand, the rushed search for new evidence uncovers a story that political forces on all sides want swept under the rug. Justice is not a foregone conclusion in this globe-hopping courtroom drama.

English, German, Bosnian, Serbian with subtitles, 107 minutes

Greece

A Woman's Way A Woman's Way

Taboos of love, sex, and family are defiantly and happily broken in A Woman's Way. Following a love affair between an ex-con and a transsexual hooker, the film has a shocking twist echoing the classic tragedies of Greek theater. Vibrant colors and sensational costuming balance the deep-dark storyline, propelling this melodrama to sensational heights.

Greek with subtitles, 113 minutes