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2012 — 48th Chicago Film Festival

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Bad Seeds Bad Seeds

Belgium / France / Luxembourg
Director: Safy Nebbou

A tight, atmospheric thriller starring real-life father and son Charles (Summer Hours) and Émile Berling (A Christmas Tale) as a high school principal and his troubled son, Bad Seeds follows teenager Louis as he and his friend Greg kidnap their English teacher. Much to Louis’ horror, this act of naïve rebellion deteriorates into horrible violence as Greg’s cruel sadism manifests itself. As the crime progresses, Louis’ troubled family history comes to light.

French with subtitles, 95 min

The Believers The Believers

Director: Monica Long Ross

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.

English, 80 min

The Bella Vista The Bella Vista

Germany / Uruguay
Director: Alicia Cano

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

Benji Benji

Directors: _ Chike and _ Coodie

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

Beyond the Hills Beyond the Hills

Director: Cristian Mungiu

Mungiu, who took Cannes’ top prize in 2007 with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, returns to feature filmmaking with another gripping existential drama. Inspired by the real-life horror of a modern-day exorcism-gone-wrong, Mungiu follows two friends, Voichita and Alina, whose lives have taken them down drastically different paths. When the pair reconnects, Voichita’s stern, oppressive monastery proves to be a harsh, claustrophobic and ultimately tragic environment for Alina.

Romanian with subtitles, 150 min

Bite of the Tail Bite of the Tail


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

Black Pond Black Pond

Directors: Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe

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

Black's Game Black's Game

Director: Oskar Thor Axelsson

A nitro-fueled narco-thriller from director Oskar Thor Axelsson and executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Black’s Game chronicles the evolution of Iceland’s homegrown drug industry from boutique trade to deadly big business. Stebbi sets out to take over the Reykjavik drug trade by any means necessary. Axelsson captures the drug-induced rhythm of Stebbi and his cohorts in this stylish, thrilling tale of Reykjavik’s criminal underground.

Icelandic with subtitles, 104 min

Body Memory Body Memory

Director: Ülo Pikkov

String puppets twist and turn and struggle to break free from the mysterious prison in which they are confined in in this enigmatic animated parable.

Part of: Shorts 2: Blurring the Lines

No Dialogue, 9 min

Bound by Flesh Bound by Flesh

Director: Leslie Zemeckis

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

Boys Are Us Boys Are Us

Director: Peter Luisi

A playfully inventive jigsaw puzzle of a movie, Boys Are Us follows heartbroken teenager Mia, whose older sister Laura persuades her to take revenge on the male sex. Their plan involves Mia seducing a boy and making him fall in love with her before cruelly discarding him, although the predatory Laura can’t help but complicate matters by toying with the boys herself. Can Mia follow through on their plan? Does she want to?

Swiss-German with subtitles, 73 min