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2013 — 49th Chicago Film Festival

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Banklady Banklady

Director: Christian Alvart

Banklady tells the true story of Gisela Werler, a law-abiding factory worker from Hamburg, who falls in love with a thief and becomes a media darling as Germany’s first and most notorious female bank robber. Cunning, sexy, and exciting, Gisela and her beloved Hermann pull off one daring heist after another. Banklady follows this outlaw who captured Germany’s imagination, boldly defying gender expectations and living a decades-long Bonnie and Clyde romance.

German with English Subtitles, 118

Battle Of Tabatô Battle Of Tabatô

Guinea Bissau and Portugal
Director: João Viana

After years of European exile, Imatur returns to his native village of Tabatô to attend his daughter’s wedding, his head still saturated with horrific visions of a war he fought long ago. When tragedy strikes on the road to Tabatô, the entire village must come together in this entrancing, surreal film that blends music and magic with the lingering effects of Guinea-Bisseau’s history.

Mandinka with English Subtitles, 83

Big Bad Wolves Big Bad Wolves

Directors: Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

When the seemingly meek schoolteacher Dror is arrested - and then released due to a police blunder - as the lead suspect in a brutal child murder, renegade detective Miki and enraged grieving father Gidi take the law into their own hands in search of information and bloody justice. Their violent rage quickly spins out of control in this fantastically intense, darkly funny revenge thriller from the pioneers of Israeli horror cinema.

Hebrew with English Subtitles, 110

Black South-Easter Black South-Easter

South Africa
Director: Carey McKenzie

When a body washes up on a Cape Town beach, ambitious township cop Sizwe seizes the opportunity to prove himself and earn the promotion he desperately needs. But when the investigation leads him to a black market smuggling ring, Sizwe is caught in the middle of a deadly power play orchestrated by an old friend. With no one left to trust, Sizwe must take the law into his own hands in this gritty crime drama.

Sotho, Xhosa, Afrikaans with English Subtitles, 92

The Blinding Sunlight The Blinding Sunlight

Director: Yu Liu

Three generations of men live together in a poor Beijing neighborhood: father Li drives an illegal motorcycle taxi; son Kai is trying to graduate before getting expelled; and Li’s father collects recyclables for petty cash. They do whatever it takes to get by, negotiating the systems of authority that rule their daily lives. With a raw visual style, this stark neo-realist drama presents a penetrating look at working-class life and the corruption and graft pervading every level of society.

Chinese with English Subtitles, 85

Blue Is The Warmest Color Blue Is The Warmest Color

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Teenager Adèle’s life is turned upside down the night she meets blue-haired Emma. Adèle’s passionate sexual awakening and the couple’s ensuing relationship are depicted in searing, intimate detail over the course of several years. With breathtaking performances from lead actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos and sharp, controlled direction from acclaimed director Abdellatif Kechiche (The Secret of the Grain), this groundbreaking erotic epic took the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

French with English Subtitles, 179

Blue Ruin Blue Ruin

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Blue Ruin is a classic American revenge story that recently won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival where it screened in the Directors’ Fortnight. The film follows a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when her returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.


Bluebird Bluebird

Director: Lance Edmands

The quiet lives in a small logging town in northern Maine are irrevocably changed when a seemingly minor oversight leads to tragedy in the dead of winter. Lesley (Steppenwolf’s Amy Morton), a school bus driver, is overwhelmed with remorse, while her husband (Mad Men’s John Slattery) offers little solace. Another family grieves its own immeasurable loss and must deal with questions of culpability. Gorgeously shot in a severe, unforgiving landscape, Bluebird presents a moving meditation on family, responsibility, and redemption.


Boneshaker Boneshaker

Director: Frances Bodomo

A Ghanaian family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for their problem child.

Part of Shorts 5: Spotlight Africa

English, 13

The Book Thief The Book Thief

USA and Germany
Director: Brian Percival

Based on the beloved bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. With Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech), Emily Watson (Gosford Park), and introducing Sophie Nélisse. The screenplay was written by Michael Petroni based on the novel by Markus Zusak, and produced by Karen Rosenfelt, p.g.a., and Ken Lancato, p.g.a.


Borgman Borgman

Director: Alex van Warmerdam

Driven by the authorities from his underground hideout, the enigmatic Camiel Borgman is on the run. Covered in dirt, he arrives at Marina and Richard’s large suburban estate asking to use their shower, thus beginning a game of sly calculation as he insinuates himself into their home. He soon starts to manipulate the family with almost preternatural charisma as his more sinister plans make themselves known in this chilling demonic tale.

Dutch with English Subtitles, 113

Brave Miss World Brave Miss World

Director: Cecilia Peck

Just before winning the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998, Linor Abargil was held captive, stabbed, and violently raped. Ten years later, Abargil resolves to confront her past and reach out to other survivors, encouraging women around the world to speak out. Director Cecilia Peck (Shut Up & Sing) follows Abargil as she speaks with teens in South Africa, visits campuses in the US, and returns to Italy for the first time since her attack in search of closure.

English, Hebrew, Italian with English subtitles, 92

Bread and Tulips Bread and Tulips

Director: Silvio Soldini

When her neglectful family forgets her at a highway restaurant during a family vacation, housewife Rosalba grasps the opportunity to take her own vacation to Venice. But as she gets comfortable and finds love, leaving her old life behind and making her detour a permanent fix becomes increasingly tempting. Rosalba’s journey in Bread and Tulips sets off a comical and touching domino effect that helps her, as well as those around her, to rediscover passion and adventure in life.

Year: 2000

Part of Comedy, Italian Style: This year, the Festival celebrates Italian cinema with a look back at beloved comedies covering five decades.


Breathe In Breathe In

Director: Drake Doremus

A bittersweet tale of ill-advised romance from director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy), Breathe In follows music teacher Keith Reynolds (Guy Pearce), a family man who once held lofty musical ambitions. His life with his wife Megan and daughter Lauren, about to start her senior year of high school, is disrupted when the talented, intelligent, and devastatingly beautiful British exchange student Sophie comes to live with them for the semester.


The Bungled Child The Bungled Child

Director: Simon Filliot

The terrifying tale of an attempt to separate conjoined twins.

Part of Shorts 2: Animation - Cel Division


Burn It Up Djassa Burn It Up Djassa

France / Ivory Coast
Director: Lonesome Solo

Shot on a miniscule budget but positively bursting with style and energy, this hugely inventive DIY crime thriller follows Tony, a young cigarette seller in an Abidjan ghetto. Ignoring the pleas of his policeman brother to stay on the right side of the law, Tony gets increasingly mixed up in local gambling and criminal activities until a moment of violence puts him on the run from the law.

French and Nouchi (Ivorian dialect) with English Subtitles, 70

Butter Lamp Butter Lamp

Director: Hu Wei

A young photographer takes a group of Tibetan nomads’ pictures against various exotic backdrops.

Part of Shorts 7: Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

Tibetan, 15