When he develops a crush on the lovely young Kaltham, 16-year-old Mansoor finds himself unequipped for wooing her - an especially tricky problem in a society that regulates interaction between boys and girls. His best friend concocts the seemingly perfect solution of declaring his love with a gift, but that brings its own complications and deceits. Sea Shadow’s touching coming-of-age story brings out a tender, personal side of its Dubai setting.
Arabic with subtitles, 98 min
A slow-burning absurdist comedy, The Last Friday follows Youssef, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver whose lonely life changes suddenly when he learns he must have a testicular operation immediately. His son, meanwhile, must be sent to a private school. The money for both tuition and the operation is due by Friday. Youssef finds himself reaching out to estranged family members and friends, both for the money and to salvage what’s left of his life.
Arabic with subtitles, 88 min
A rodent gets in the way of a couple's mission to send the perfect photograph to their son in London in this entertaining comedy.Part of: Shorts 5: Spotlight Middle East
Arabic with English subtitles, 17 min
The Thompsons, a seemingly ordinary (if somewhat pathetic) family unit, are accused of murder when Blake, a mysterious, gloomy stranger they’ve invited over, turns up dead. The family’s struggle with their newfound notoriety plays out in a tragicomic disintegration of their already somewhat dysfunctional relationships in this offbeat, absurdist and laugh-out-loud funny mockumentary.
English, 86 min
A vicious attack on his wife leaves Tommy Cowley a nervous, paranoid wreck, terrified of leaving his house. When he finally dares to venture outside, he finds that the responsible gang is still at large. Convinced that these feral youths want to kidnap his baby daughter, he joins forces with a renegade priest for protection. A gothic, malevolent atmosphere pervades this dark, suspenseful tale, drawing us deeper into the protagonist’s tortured mind and increasing psychosis.
English, 84 min
Judy Dench is as charming as ever in this short comedic look at the mature generation dating in our modern, social networking-obsessed world.Part of: Shorts 4: Not OK, Cupid!
English, 12 min
From Apichaptong “Joe” Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee…), whose gorgeous, thoughtful films are counted among the most acclaimed masterpieces of the new century, Mekong Hotel is a portrait of a hotel near the Mekong River on Thailand’s border with Laos. Blending fantasy and reality, fiction and documentary, the present and the future, this exquisite poem of a film strikingly expresses the bonds of love and family between people, and the looming presence of the river in their lives.
Thai with subtitles, 61 min
Michael Fassbender stars in this dark, suspenseful tale of a professional safe cracker who encounters a hitch while on the job.Part of: Shorts 7: Chaos Theory
English, 13 min
A gritty political thriller, Shadow Dancer follows IRA agent Collette McVeigh as she’s caught by the police and forced to inform on her family. Collette’s handler, Mac (Clive Owen), is surprised and frustrated to find himself shut out of certain aspects of his own operation, while Collette is sure that her family and colleagues suspect her. An increasingly complex network of secrets and betrayals is uncovered in this stark, beautifully acted drama.
English, 100 min
With a cast featuring both renowned actors (including legendary thespian Derek Jacobi) and hundreds of prisoners, StringCaesar tells the story of the early, under-documented life of emperor Julius Caesar. Set in three working prisons across the world (in South Africa, Wales and Canada), this remarkable ensemble collaborates to bring to life the thrilling, tumultuous story of one of the most powerful, enduring personalities in Western history.
English, 88 min
In the fictional Nagashima prefecture, a cataclysmic earthquake and the subsequent explosion of a nuclear power plant devastates the region. With the Fukushima disaster and the resulting permanent evacuations at the front of their minds, Yoichi, his wife Izumi, and his parents must make a difficult choice. Staying means that their lives may be in danger, but leaving means they could lose - possibly forever - the home that has been in their family for generations.
Japanese with subtitles, 133 min
The delicacy and perfection of ballet dancers is juxtaposed cleverly with the gruff, masculine men who spend their lives making their shoes. Yet both processes are equally painstaking.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English, 9 min
Lines blur between patron and bartender as intoxication takes hold in this visually striking animation.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English, 15 min
Set in 1952 as England prepares for a coronation, The Scapegoat tells the story of two very different men with the exact same face. Almost identical replicas of each other, they meet by chance in a station bar. Each is at a crossroads in his life: one setting out on a walking tour after losing his job as a teacher; the other avoiding home after a disastrous business venture.
English, 108 min
The Bella Vista tells the story of a onetime soccer team’s clubhouse in Uruguay. Left abandoned for years, the house is revived as a brothel for the town’s transvestite prostitutes, raising the ire of residents who seek to reclaim the building for a Catholic chapel. In capturing the opposing sides of this conflict over a rather small, mundane building, director Alicia Cano creates a lyrical, intimate portrait of a provincial city.
Spanish with subtitles, 73 min
Agustin, plagued by the physical and mental ailments of age, lives with his daughter Maria, a single mother who must now care for her father in addition to her three children. When Maria, overworked and overwhelmed, fails in her attempts to find another home for Agustin, she rashly acts out of desperation and must immediately face the consequences. Directed with flair and exquisitely photographed, The Delay is an intimate, touching family drama.
Spanish with subtitles, 84 min
For more than 20 years Charles Manson has refused to communicate with the outside world. Until now. Actual never- before- heard phone conversations between Canadian author Marlin Marynick and Charles Manson are brought to life through animation.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English, 7 min
In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award®-winner Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane. Flight stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Melissa Leo, and John Goodman, among others.6:30 pm Red carpet7:00 pm Screening10:00 pm Reception, LuxBar (18 E. Bellevue Pl.)
English, 138 min
The connection between a father and son is explored in this gorgeous paper-based stop motion animation set in a steam-filled old public bathhouse.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
No Dialogue, 8 min
Cole is home for the holidays … and now they’re over. A humorous look at a young man’s relationship with his parents and the trials and tribulations of returning to the family home.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English, 11 min
alaskaLand tells the story of Chukwuma, an Alaska-raised Nigerian struggling to balance his cultural heritage with the pressures of the larger world around him. After a family tragedy forces a two-year estrangement from his younger sister Chidinma, the siblings reconnect in their hometown. Although their time apart has created new frictions, they find their reconciliation bringing them closer to each other and to their roots in this gorgeous, knowing debut film.
English, 75 min
Starring director Terence Nance as a version of himself, a young man attempts to make a female friend something more. A single event motivates an abstract and witty introspection into the origins of his feelings toward her. Brazenly mixing live action with animation and eschewing classical narrative structure, An Oversimplfication of Her Beauty is a stylish, exhilarating American debut.
English, 90 min
A wolf in sheep’s clothing thinks he is a sheep … True character is revealed in this truthful portrait of the fading echoes of a relationship.Part of: Shorts 7: Chaos Theory
An audacious sci-fi thriller, Antiviral tells the gripping story of Syd March, an employee at a clinic catering to celebrity fetishists by selling them diseases extracted from their heroes’ bodies. Syd, who smuggles them onto the black market through his own body, infects himself with the mysterious virus that killed superstar Hannah Geist. Chased on all sides by those who want the disease, Syd realizes he must uncover an antidote before he succumbs.
English, 110 min
In the late 1970s, when a mentally handicapped teenager is abandoned, a gay couple - a drag performer (Alan Cumming) and a closeted attorney (Garret Dillahunt) - takes him in and becomes the family he’s never had. But, once the unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men must fight a biased legal system to adopt the child they have come to care for as their own in this gripping testament to love and family.
English, 97 min
Out of the heart of a violently divided region rose a unique form of expression that has given voice to two groups of people on opposing sides of a centuries-old conflict. Narrated by Vince Vaughn, this eye-opening documentary examines how the street art of murals tells the story of Northern Ireland’s history and the violent Troubles through interviews with muralists, political figures, art historians, and people who live and work in the region.
English, 73 min
The aftermath of the American financial crisis is perfectly distilled in Janesville, WI, where the shutdown of a GM plant suddenly leaves thousands of workers without jobs. Following both laid-off employees struggling to make ends meet and local business owners trying to lure investment back to town in alliance with Governor Scott Walker, As Goes Janesville gives refreshing insight into the very real effects of the recession that are so often diluted as rhetorical abstractions.
In 1984, all eyes were on Ben Wilson, a high school senior on the verge of leading Chicago’s Simeon High to its second straight state basketball championship and seemingly destined for NBA greatness. But Benji’s story was cut tragically short when he was shot and killed in broad daylight on his way to school. Interviews with family and friends give fresh insight into Benji’s life and untimely end, illuminating one of sport’s most tragic “what if”s.
English, 79 min
A woman suffering from an unexplained stomach pain believes her doctor has the answer, while her husband is more interested in snake hunting in this quirky experimental animated film.Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines
English, 10 min
A corpse wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife, but discovers a truth in death he didn't know in life. A bittersweet love story featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd, Tavi Gevinson and Academy Award® winner Kathy Bates.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English, 8 min
Mr Lee, an adopted stray cat, routinely disappeared from his South Carolina home for days on end. Intrigued by his whereabouts, his owner Juergen creates a special camera to put around his neck, and CatCam is born!Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English, 16 min
From acclaimed filmmakers Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski, the powerful and inspiring epic Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future. Drama, mystery, action and enduring love thread through a story that unfolds in multiple lifetimes as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. Cloud Atlas stars Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, and Jim Broadbent, among others.
English, 164 min
A melancholic, mesmerizing vision of backwoods gothic Americana, Consuming Spirits weaves together a spell-binding blend of cut-out, pencil-drawn and stop motion animation techniques, a painstaking artistic process which took Chicago-based director Chris Sullivan nearly 15 years to complete. Folksy storytelling tinged with the dark surrealism of David Lynch, this atmospheric, multi-layered tale of outcasts and misfits is haunting, funny and occasionally heartbreaking.
English, 130 min
When new mom Jenny inherits a cabin in Montana, she sees an opportunity to leave behind the drab routine of her stay-at-home life in Chicago. Baby in tow, she embraces a life of independence while she waits for her husband to join her. Her idyllic life takes an unsettling turn when she begins a relationship with a local handyman in this subtle, beautiful film from actor-filmmaker Kris Swanberg.
English, 70 min
From Chicago filmmaker Julian Grant comes this “neo-noir musical crime drama.” Benji is set up to take the fall for an ill-fated kidnapping, but still finds time to sing when he isn’t hastily bandaging injuries or trying to determine the motivations of a stripper with questionable loyalties. Mixing visual styles and utterly defying any attempt at clear categorization, this catchy, gritty film is not to be missed.
Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are skilled and ambitious graffiti-writers. When a rival gang destroys their latest masterpiece, the pair hatches a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark. Their spectacular scheme, however, comes with a $500 price tag. The capers - heists, petty thefts, swindles - they devise to raise money bring more setbacks than they do dollars, but their enthusiasm and energy never wane in this prize-winning debut from director Adam Leon.
English, 81 min
This eerie black and white animation depicts a little-known environmental catastrophe.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
English, 5 min
After being introduced to a paranormal street drug known as “soy sauce,” underachieving slackers John and David decide that an otherworldly invasion is about to hit, and only they can save the human race. Meanwhile, an enigmatic journalist (Paul Giamatti) is investigating the drug, which has bizarre, dehumanizing effects on some users. This mind-bending blend of sci-fi and deadpan stoner humor is destined to become a late night cult classic.
A one-night stand between Erik and Paul quickly grows into something more. However, the two men’s drastically different attitudes towards work, life, and intimacy, along with Paul’s struggles with addiction, soon chip away at their chances of happiness. This sensitive, subtle account of an intense, nine-year on-off relationship tenderly reminds us that love is not always enough.
English, 102 min
Voice-over and radio legend Ken Nordine (Word Jazz) has recorded hundreds of radio and TV spots and movie trailers over the past seven decades and has been the voice of our Festival for 47 years. From his far-out mind comes Agenbite of Inwit, which he describes simply: “The title comes from a phrase purported to be from a Benedictine monk who lived in the 14th century, and dealt with the inner workings of the bite on conscience. Take a look, hope you like it.”
English, 57 min
Set aboard a fishing vessel, Leviathan documents a story of treacherous waters and working conditions through the stunning imagery of waves, machinery, and animal life. Directors Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Paravel offer a thrilling first-hand view of roughnecked oceanic exploration. Not to be missed on the big screen, this film is a visceral, purely cinematic experience.
English, 87 min
Elijah Wood stars as a psychotic loner with a tendency to scalp women and a penchant for mannequins in this bold re-imagining of the 1980 cult classic. Daringly shot entirely from the first-person perspective of its lead anti-hero, this deeply disturbing horror film from director Khalfoun and co-writer Alexandre Aja (High Tension) paints a nightmarish portrait of a deranged mind overwhelmed by violence and obsession.
From Oscar® and Gold Hugo winner Alex Gibney comes this searing documentary about the response to sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. Starting with a string of allegations at a Milwaukee school for deaf boys in the late 70s and early 80s, the film charts a decades-long, systematic cover-up that reaches all the way to Vatican. Mea Maxima Culpa provides an impassioned and detailed look at one of contemporary society’s enduring controversies.
English and Italian with subtitles, 106 min
An offbeat, touching documentary portrait of Bruce Metz reveals how he became Mr. Christmas, a man whose astonishing holiday light displays have earned him fame in his community.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
English, 14 min
In the 90s, Ron Waters (Harry Lennix) was the hottest comic in Hollywood. Richard Pryor-like in his trenchant social and political commentary, Ron ultimately was driven away by controversy that increased as he grew more successful. Now settled in Chicago doing regular standup routines at his wife’s (Tatum O’Neal) club, he is given a second shot at the big time. But, as he learns once again, fame and fortune come at a price.
It’s 1964, the Rolling Stones appear on television and three best friends from the suburbs of New Jersey decide to form a rock band. Starring James Gandolfini.
English, 117 min
Nimer, a Palestinian student, dreams of a better life abroad. One fateful night he meets Roy, an Israeli lawyer. As their relationship deepens into love, Nimer is confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept him for his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects him for his nationality. Nimer soon must choose between love and the life he thought he wanted.
Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles, 96 min
Three Mexican immigrants risk their lives washing windows on some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago. This thoughtful portrayal of their everyday lives reveals their thoughts about working, mortality, and the people they observe inside the high-rises they clean.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English and Spanish subtitles, 10 min
Beecham House is abuzz: the home for retired musicians is soon to welcome a new, possibly famous, resident. Reginald (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred (Billy Connolly) and Cecily (Pauline Collins) receive a special shock when the new arrival turns out to be their estranged former singing partner, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Can the passage of time heal old wounds? And will the famous quartet be able to patch up their differences in time for Beecham House’s gala concert?
A “subjective documentary” exploring the numerous theories about the secret, hidden meanings of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Room 237 is a guided tour through the most compelling attempts to decode this endlessly fascinating film. Director Rodney Ascher introduces us to the passionate amateur critics who devote themselves to Kubrick’s gothic horror masterpiece, following their dizzyingly complex, brilliant, and inventive analyses wherever they lead, creating a compulsively watchable tribute to obsessive cinephilia, and to a remarkable film.
Desperately needing a change after a painful break-up, Simon relocates to Paris to find solace and affection in the “city of love” in this unsettling chronicle of a young man’s descent into madness. As he becomes involved with both a young prostitute and a sweet, perky college student, Simon’s fundamental mental instability becomes increasingly apparent, and it appears he may have an ominous potential for violence.
English, 105 min
Stand Up Guys stars Academy Award® winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in a tough but touching action comedy as retired gangsters who reunite for one epic last night. Val (Pacino) is released from prison after serving twenty-eight years for refusing to give up one of his close criminal associates. His best friend Doc (Walken) is there to pick him up, and the two soon reteam with another old pal, Hirsch (Arkin). Their bond is as strong as ever, and the three reflect on freedom lost and gained, loyalties ebbed and flowed, and days of glory gone by. And despite their age, their capacity for mayhem is still very much alive and well; bullets fly as they make a hilariously valiant effort to compensate for the decades of crime, drugs and sex they’ve missed. But one of the friends is keeping a dangerous secret; he’s been put in an impossible quandary by a former mob boss, and his time to find an acceptable alternative is running out. As the sun rises on the guys’ legendary reunion, their position becomes more and more desperate and they finally confront their past once and for all.**SOLD OUT**
English, 94 min
21-year-old “actress” Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her Chihuahua, Starlet. Sadie, an 85-year-old widow, passes her days alone tending to her flower garden. An unlikely friendship forms between the two after Jane makes an intriguing discovery at Sadie’s yard sale. Jane attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to satisfy her curiosity, and secrets emerge as their relationship grows.
English, 103 min
Produced by members of the film collective behind the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tchoupitoulas provides a very different evocation of New Orleans life. The Ross brothers’ cameras follow three young boys and their dog as they cheerfully wander the French Quarter from sunset to sunrise. The result is a lyrical city symphony, capturing New Orleans, childhood, and the spirit of exploration with quiet observation and deft imagery.
English, 80 min
In 1989, the future of energy production seemed at hand, when Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced to the world the discovery of “cold fusion.” Garnering sensational media attention, their fast-rising reputation quickly faded when nobody could reproduce their claimed results. The Believers is not only the story of a quirk in the history of science, but a personal tale of belief, integrity, disappointment, and acceptance.
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Each spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before the actual criminal’s confession led to their exonerations. This powerful documentary from the great Ken Burns (The Civil War) explores this horrific crime and the appalling, racially-fraught miscarriage of justice that followed in its wake.
English, 119 min
The mysterious story of an outbreak of poisonous mold in a small town, and one boy's attempt to understand his mother's death, his grandmother's obsession with their discarded recliner, and the roots of this short-lived, strange, and inexplicable plague.Part of: Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem
By the time he was arrested, Jeffrey Dahmer had killed and dismembered 17 victims, mostly in his nondescript Milwaukee apartment. Through interviews with neighbors and police, this documentary offers new insights even for those who know Dahmer’s story well, and a mixture of archival footage and recreations brings fresh detail and surprising humanity to the life of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
In the stark volcanic landscape of a remote Hawaiian community, Marshallese patriarch Jacob struggles to provide for his large family. When diagnosed with cancer, he eschews treatment in favor of earning as much as possible for his children and grandchildren. As his illness worsens, Jacob turns a small video camera on himself and begins to tell his own story and the tragic history of the Marshallese people in this hauntingly beautiful affirmation of family.
Marshallese with subtitles, 87 min
Baltazar has made a living harvesting glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador for fifty years in this sensitive, beautifully lensed snapshot of one man struggling to adjust to his changing community.Part of: Shorts 6: Truth Be Told
Spanish/ Quichua with English subtitles, 15 min
A delightful late-silent era masterpiece from the great King Vidor (The Crowd), The Patsy follows Pat (a thoroughly charming Marion Davies), the overlooked, put-upon member of her family. Glamorous and popular, her sister Grace gets all attention. When the two sisters find themselves in competition over a boy, Pat must employ all her wiles to win him over. This beloved classic is presented with live musical accompaniment by David Drazin.Post-screening discussion led by renowned silent film expert, David Robinson
English, 78 min
As a young girl, Fawzia Mirza fell under the spell of Bollywood heroines and their promise of love and feminine perfection. As an adult, she re-imagines it in a queer light.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English, 3 min
In the lush, weedy Serbian countryside, a first time human trafficker becomes stranded with the Roma boy he is to deliver in this compelling short drama.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English, 18 min
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes.
English, 95 min
Gulzar, a boatman on Kashmir’s gorgeous, peaceful Dal Lake, plans on leaving his home for the city alongside his best friend Afzal. A military curfew puts their plans on hold, however. Forced to remain in his hometown, Gulzar meets Asifa, a pretty Kashmiri-American researcher studying the lake. A sweet and tender romance soon develops against a backdrop of jealousy, competition, and ongoing political turmoil.
Kashmiri with subtitles, 82 min
Wandering amongst the plotted rows of houses within the motherly arms of the suburbs, two brothers sip liquid courage in this honest, atmospheric film about the fear of change and leaving home behind.Part of: Shorts 1: City & State
English, 19 min
The Hilton sisters’ incredible story begins in England in the early 1900s when their mother, after discovering she had given birth to conjoined twins, sold the babies to a woman who viewed the girls exclusively as “cash cows.” Their new caretaker/manager put the young pair on display in the back of pubs, eventually taking them on tour in carnivals and circuses. When the twins came to America, they instantly became a gigantic success, but the 23-year-old sisters were unable to cope with the dishonest agents and managers that would exploit them over and over again throughout their lives. Leslie Zemeckis’ compelling documentary explores the colorful, tragic lives of the world’s most famous conjoined twins.
English, 91 min
Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own who offers to help, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.