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2013 — 49th Chicago Film Festival

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

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H4 H4

Director: Paul Quinn

Touted as the first Shakespeare adaptation to deal with contemporary African American issues, H4 re-imagines Henry IV Part I and Part II in the context of modern-day Los Angeles, performed by a top-notch cast of black actors led by Harry Lennix (Man of Steel). As Henry’s unreliable son Hal comes of age, events compel him to increase power and responsibility as he becomes the face of a new nation and prepares to succeed his father.


Harmony Lessons Harmony Lessons

France / Germany / Kazakhstan
Director: Emir Baigazin

Writer-director Emir Baigazin announces himself as a major new voice with this startling, ecstatically received debut feature. 13-year-old Aslan lives with his grandmother in rural Kazakhstan, where young thugs run the local schoolyard like an extortion racket, systematically bullying children for their money. After a humiliating incident during a medical examination, Aslan becomes a social outcast, growing increasingly isolated until he decides to take grim revenge on his tormentors. Warning: contains scenes of animal violence.

Kazakh / Russian with English Subtitles, 115

The Harvest The Harvest

Director: John McNaughton

John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer) returns with this eerie tale of a couple - Samantha Morton (Minority Report) and Michael Shannon (Man Of Steel) in a pair of fierce, brilliant performances - that keeps their sick young son Andy isolated from the outside world. When young Maryann moves next door, her attempts to befriend Andy are met with vehement resistance from his overprotective parents, fueling her suspicions. But she could never imagine the shocking truth.


Heli Heli

Director: Amat Escalante

Factory worker Heli lives a modest life with his father and his sister Estela in rural Mexico. In a misguided attempt to finance his elopement with the 12-year-old Estela, police cadet Beto steals two large packages of cocaine, setting off a string of increasingly bloody, painful, and even fatal consequences. Awarded the prize for Best Director at Cannes, Heli takes an unflinching look at the cycle of drugs and violence in contemporary Mexico, depicting immense brutality with shocking frankness. Warning: this film contains extreme violence.

Spanish with English Subtitles, 95

Hide Your Smiling Faces Hide Your Smiling Faces

Director: Daniel Patrick Carbone

The death of a 9-year-old boy sends ripples through a bucolic town, jarring his friend Tommy and Tommy’s older brother Eric out of their routines and forcing them to stare their own mortality straight in the face. Battling chronic unhappiness and implacable restlessness, the boys look to escape their drab reality by retreating further into their natural surroundings - a lush, densely-wooded expanse that seems to represent both a sought-after freedom and an inexorable mortal peril in this patient and beautifully melancholic film.


Honor Diaries Honor Diaries

Canada / UK / USA
Director: Micah Smith

Spurred on by the Arab Spring, nine courageous women’s rights advocates gather to discuss gender inequality and a long history of oppression. Provided a platform by filmmaker and human rights lawyer Paula Kweskin, these women speak from personal experience about the hardships women endure in Muslim-majority societies. This inspiring documentary gives voice to these women as they recount their efforts to effect change in their own communities and in the larger world.


How I Live Now How I Live Now

Director: Kevin MacDonald

American teenager Daisy (Hanna’s Saoirse Ronan) is sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she slowly warms to her charming surroundings, falling madly in love with a boy. But an escalating political conflict is about to turn into a third world war. When the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state Daisy must fight bitterly for survival, trying to escape and reunite with the boy she loves in this gripping dystopian romance.


How to Abandon Ship How to Abandon Ship

Director: Robin McKay

The failure of a relationship is told from two sides.

Part of Shorts 1: City & State - Local Heroes

English, 11

How To Describe A Cloud How To Describe A Cloud

The Netherlands
Director: David Verbeek

Liling, a hip young DJ, returns to her rural village to care for her ailing mother. On the advice of the doctor, she tries to slow her blind mother’s memory loss by describing the world around her. As Liling herself struggles to stay connected to the physical world, she begins to become subsumed in her mother’s world of mysticism and imagination. Beautifully dreamlike, this sincere and poignant film follows Liling as she grows closer to her fading mother.

Chinese Mandarin with English Subtitles, 80

Hunger Hunger

Director: Guclu Aydogdu

A family of four plays a deadly game.

Part of Shorts 3: Midnight Mayhem