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2009 — 45th Chicago International Film Festival

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Mexico

Backyard Backyard

The most chilling frame of this thriller, from the director of The Crime of Father Amaro, may be the one that reads: “based on actual events.” In the border town of Juárez, Mexico, hundreds of women have gone missing or turned up as sun-burnt corpses in the desert, but new police Captain Blanca Bravo (Ana de la Reguera) is determined to stop the savagery. Jimmy Smits also stars.

Spanish, English, Tzotzil with subtitles, 122 minutes

Daniel & Ana Daniel & Ana

Affluent and well-loved with bright futures, Daniel and Ana Torres have it all. But when the siblings are kidnapped on the streets of Mexico City, the two are given a heinous ultimatum that will change the rest of their lives. Deftly directed by Michel Franco, Daniel & Ana created a buzz at Cannes for its unsentimental handling of the story of two young lives utterly shattered.

Spanish with subtitles, 90 minutes

Just Walking Just Walking

Revenge is a dish served smoking hot and lightning-quick in this full-throttle heist flick. When macho Mexican crime lord Felix and his brooding, baby-faced triggerman (Diego Luna) cross a quartet of sexy Spanish safecrackers, they'll find out that hell truly hath no fury like a gang of tough-as-nails women out to settle a score.

Spanish with subtitles, 100 minutes

Northless Northless

An endless stretch of corrugated metal fencing and armed patrolmen aren't the only barriers keeping Andres from illegally jumping the Mexican border into the U.S. Failing at his first attempt, he is dumped into Tijuana, where two benevolent women care for him and vie for his attention, forcing him to confront issues beyond what it takes to survive a border crossing-questions of duty, family, and fidelity.

Spanish with subtitles, 95 minutes

Raging Sun, Raging Sky Raging Sun, Raging Sky

This strangely hypnotic tale follows a young man's quest for love through the seediest spots in contemporary Mexico City. Named best gay-themed feature at Berlin, the film creates a deeply sensual atmosphere by blending intense eroticism and arresting monochrome visuals. For art film lovers, the rewards are worth the challenge.

Spanish with subtitles, 191 minutes

Those Who Remain Those Who Remain

This intimate documentary depicts the impact immigration has had on the families who have watched brothers, sons, and fathers leave Mexico in order to support their families. A film about nostalgia and longing for those who have left, Those Who Remain gently presents the gorgeous landscape of Mexico's ranchland and the quiet life of its inhabitants, those who have remained.

Spanish with subtitles, 96 minutes