Sheron R. Dayoc
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
Broken into four episodes, this sweeping historical epic follows the lives of three patriotic, fervent youth who devote their lives to the cause of Italy’s unification in the 19th century. Youthful idealism soon leads to disappointment, as the machinations of competing political factions come into play. With 2011 marking the 150th anniversary of Italy’s Risorgimento, this breathtaking tour de force traces the journey of sacrifice and tragedy taken to make Italy the country it is today.
Italian with subtitles, 170 min
What would happen if the Pope got cold feet? Multi-award-winning Italian master comic, actor and director Nanni Moretti’s comically poignant We Have a Pope, which finds newly elected Cardinal Melville (the legendary French actor Michel Piccoli) petrified by the idea of taking up the position. As the Cardinal agonizes over his ability to dispense religious and moral leadership, he sends the Vatican into a tailspin as they try to control their worst ecclesiastical and PR nightmare in this critically acclaimed Cannes Film Festival favorite.
Italian with subtitles, 102 min
In a tour-de-force performance, Tilda Swinton plays reluctant mother Eva grappling with her fraught relationship with troubled son Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on Lionel Shriver’s eponymous novel and featuring a shining performance by Chicago’s very own John C. Reilly as Eva’s husband, Lynne Ramsay’s masterful psychological thriller presents a provocative tale, which crescendos to a chilling, unforgettable climax.
Saddled with a guilt no teenager should have to bear, 17-year-old brooding Simon feels starkly out of place on his parents’ struggling dairy farm. Life on the farm is demanding, but no matter how hard Simon tries, he cannot live up to his father’s expectations. Resentments simmer, so when a tragic accident hits close to home, the question of blame haunts the family and possibilities for forgiveness seem ever remote, in this captivating family drama.
French with subtitles, 111 min
One of the most influential cameramen the cinema has ever known, Chicago-born Haskell Wexler’s expertise behind the camera has given the world such classics as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, In the Heat of the Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Thomas Crown Affair. In addition, he’s directed some extremely important films such as Medium Cool and Latino. Join Haskell Wexler in person, for a conversation about his truly visionary career, followed by a Q&A.
The 43rd film from Academy Award®-winning director and French New Wave maverick Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) elicits a vision that is as potent as ever. Driven by a spirited will, the turbulent life of Ilva Lemoine, from her delight-filled childhood through the Great War, the French Resistance, liberation, and memories of soldiers loved and lost, is recounted in this spectacular epic drama.
French with subtitles, 120 min
Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness is an eerily deft recreation of classic 1930’s studio horror fare. Professor Albert Wilmarth, a smug skeptic, is forced to question his views by a series of increasingly bizarre encounters with the supernatural. Genuinely terrifying and highly entertaining, Whisperer is a fitting homage for Lovecraft aficionados and, for newcomers, a perfect introduction to one of the great horror masterminds of the 20th century.
Not everyone is pleased when wild Bill Hayward rolls into town after serving eight years in jail on drug charges. His two sons, Dean and Jimmy, have been living alone ever since their mother abandoned them, and his old cohorts want Bill back in the “saddle” again. Bill and his sons begin to bond, but trouble strikes when Jimmy gets mixed up with his father’s old crew, causing Bill to realize that the town ain’t big enough for the both of them in this contemporary Western influenced gangster vehicle set in London’s East End.
A heavy pickaxe and chains aren't the only things weighing down a daydreaming chain-gang member. Mocking guards, cold weather, and meaningless work are all trying to break his spirit. However, with the help of a fresh snowfall the prisoner is able to make an escape. Winter’s unique look was achieved by shooting on 8mm and edited digitally.
On remote Whidbey Island, Joslyn is in charge of caring for an old man in a vegetative state while his family is on vacation. Totally isolated from the world - no Internet, no cell phone signal - her fragile mental state slowly begins to crumble. In a chilling and nuanced debut, Joslyn Jensen delivers an outstanding performance as a young woman struggling with her sexuality, loneliness, and frail mind in this haunting film.
France / Poland / UK
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
Joe just doesn’t get it. He has been enjoying the slacker life - until he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant. He is finally ready to settle down, but can a leopard ever change his spots? Enlisting the help of his best friend, Joe sets out to make amends for past misdemeanors in this Woody Allen-esque comedy.