Cinema Chicago Logo

2011 — 47th Chicago Film Festival

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



Bol Bol

A box office hit in Pakistan and India, this story from the heart of Lahore features a family bursting with vitality but teetering on the brink of poverty and a patriarch whose rules and value system reflect the religious zealousness of the society around them. When Hakeem’s eldest daughter can’t take it anymore, she rebels, spiraling the family out of any remaining sense of stability. This searing family drama amplifies the socio-religious issues of contemporary Pakistani society.

Urdu with subtitles, 165 min


Man Without a Cell Phone Man Without a Cell Phone

A young Arab Israeli finds his political voice in this genial comedy about Israel-Palestine tensions. Jawat loves to endlessly call girls on his cell phone, even though his heart belongs to another. His father, Saleh, is causing a ruckus over a newly constructed cell phone tower near his olive grove, going so far as to attempt its destruction. When Jawat’s calls to the West Bank draw the attention of Israeli authorities, the young slacker finally takes a stand.

Arabic with subtitles, 83 min


Ways of the Sea Ways of the Sea

Solidarity, hope, and fear beget friendship in this tale of a perilous journey across the South China Sea. A motley group of individuals - from children hoping to be reunited with absent mothers and would-be prostitutes to human traffickers preying on the locals’ desperation - cross paths while waiting to be smuggled by boat, destination Malaysia. The possibilities for a bright future seem increasingly distant as they near the shore in this slow-burning, suspense-filled verité drama.

Filipino, Tagalog with subtitles, 78 min


George the Hedgehog George the Hedgehog

This hilariously profane animated comedy follows George, a skateboarding booze guzzler with a libido to match, as he turns from randy rodent into spiky statesman, by way of some pretty far out genetic manipulation techniques. Both a bold piece of satire and a refreshing break from the animated norm, the film brims with as much irreverent energy as its prickled protagonist. Mature audiences only.

Polish with subtitles, 80 min

King of Devil's Island King of Devil's Island

Only twice in its history has the Norwegian army fired on its own people. King of Devil’s Island focuses on one of these incidents: the 1915 uprising at a boys’ reform school and its deadly aftermath. Erling is the newest resident of Bastøy Boys Home and immediately rebels against the school’s oppressive regime. His rebellious spirit soon spreads like wildfire among the inmates of this bleak institution. The epic struggle for freedom that ensues brings to light issues of class structure, repression, and the consequences of control.

Norwegian with subtitles, 120 min

The Mole The Mole

Pawel and his father Zygmunt make a living importing second hand clothing from France to Poland. When Zygmunt is suddenly and publicly accused of being a past Communist informant, he flees the country leaving the stubbornly apolitical Pawel to pick up the pieces and face the pervading legacy of Poland's troubled past. With strong performances and sympathetic characters, The Mole candidly explores how the weight of history affects a son's love for his family and his motherland.

Polish, French with subtitles, 108 min

Woman in the Fifth Woman in the Fifth

Reality and imagination become indistinguishable in this loose adaptation of Douglas Kennedy’s novel. Tom (Ethan Hawke in an extraordinary performance) arrives in Paris to reconnect with his daughter, even though his ex-wife has placed a restraining order on him. To make ends meet, Tom accepts a job as a watchman for a seedy operation. Life takes a strange turn when he meets mysterious Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas), and down the rabbit hole he goes in this strange Kafka-esque tale.

English, French with subtitles, 84 min

The Gallery The Gallery

A black and white line, with only a few accents provided by a bright red stain, form a satirical parable of the consumer habits of modern society in a surreal shopping mall. The Gallery features an innovative, amorphous style which fuses elements of painting, animation and graffiti.

5 min


Bonsai Bonsai

To read Flaubert and Proust with your girlfriend after a passionate bout of lovemaking…what more could a young intellectual want? How about, years later, being asked by a veteran novelist to type out the handwritten notes for his next novel? Julio is in literary heaven. But life, like literature, can be surprising, and very soon Julio is forced to live up to the lies he has been spinning. Bonsai presents a charming Chilean spin on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.

Spanish with subtitles, 95 min