Free Films – Cinema/Chicago’s Summer Screenings

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Summer Screenings Program

Cinema/Chicago, together with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and our consular and cultural partners, presents Summer Screenings, a free weekly film series that celebrates sports and games from around the world.

A long summer afternoon at the ballpark, an intense game of chess, early morning practices at the pool—sports, games, and competition are defining elements of the human experience. Through struggle and perseverance, victory and defeat, we learn about the joys, pains, and triumphs of being alive together. Featuring everything from timeless soccer legends and hilariously obsessed sports fans to breathtaking breakdance competitions and the epic clash of sumo wrestlers, this collection of films explores the ways in which sports, games, and competition shape our lives.

All virtual screenings take place on Wednesdays at 6:30pm CT from May 26 through September 29, 2021, and are free and open to the public. Free tickets will be available to reserve beginning on Mondays 16 days in advance of each screening. Limited tickets available. Films are unrated. Viewer discretion is advised.

2021 Summer Screenings

May 26 @ 6:30pm

We Wanted More
(Das Wunder von Taipeh)

Dir. John David Seidler | Germany

Officially banned in Germany until 1970, women’s soccer struggled to get institutional backing. Barely acknowledged and begrudgingly supported, a team of German women took center stage in the 1981 Women’s World Cup in Taiwan as they competed for more than just athletic glory. A blend of priceless player interviews and archival footage, We Wanted More chronicles their fight for gender equality and an equal playing field in a male-dominated world.

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June 2 @ 6:30pm


Dirs. Gadi Aisen & David Ofek | Israel

This perceptive documentary follows 12-year-old Idan, a talented young athlete anticipating his Bar Mitzvah. More than a rite of passage, it represents the first time the boy will meet his African father, Tony Toklomati, a professional soccer player removed from the country for lying about his age. But will the family raise enough money to pay his way to Israel, and how long will he be able to stay?

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June 9 @ 6:30pm

Gold (Goud)

Dir. Rogier Hesp | The Netherlands

In this sensitive yet fierce drama, top gymnast Timo, who is aiming for the World Championships, trains tirelessly with his exacting father, a former athlete who has used a wheelchair since a debilitating accident. Their intimate, if co-dependent, relationship and stringent daily routine are disrupted when Timo falls for Irene, the team physiotherapist. Will Timo be able to balance the rigor of his training and his filial duty with his surging emotions?

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June 16 @ 6:30pm

With Drawn Arms

Dirs. Glenn Kaino & Afshin Shahidi | United States

Tommie Smith is the track-and-field gold medalist who famously raised a gloved fist at the ’68 Olympic games to protest racial inequality in America. With Drawn Arms tells the story of that iconic moment and examines its lasting influence on the Civil Rights movement and the ongoing fight for racial equality. Featuring an intimate conversation with Smith himself in addition to interviews with Jesse Williams, Jemele Hill, Megan Rapinoe, and the late John Lewis, the film explores the historical intersections of protest, politics, race, and sports.

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June 23 @ 6:30pm

Champions (Campeones)

Dir. Javier Fesser | Spain

Marco, an assistant coach in Spain’s top basketball league, has both attitude and anger issues. One night, after a particularly bad game, he finds himself in hot water with the law. In court, the judge sentences him to the worst possible punishment for a man with his oversized ego: coaching a team of young men with disabilities. Through their guilelessness, tenderness, and good humour, they will teach Marco about the things that really matter. This comedy with enormous heart is a celebration of the true champions of life.

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June 30 @ 6:30pm

Nadia, Butterfly

Dir. Pascal Plante | Canada

Young and in her prime, Nadia decides to retire from her career as a world-class swimmer to escape a rigid and demanding life of sacrifice. After her very last race at the Tokyo Olympic games, Nadia drifts into nights of exploration and excess punctuated by episodes of self-doubt. But even this transitional numbness cannot conceal her true inner quest as she searches to define her identity outside the world of elite sports.

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July 7 @ 6:30pm

Breaking Ice

Dir. Jason Branagan | Ireland

Tired of watching the Winter Olympics pass by without any Irish representation, a ragtag band of determined and talented multi-sport athletes banded together to brave the dangerously icy tracks and form a bobsledding team. Breaking Ice combines fascinating archival footage and charm-filled interviews with members of the 1992 Irish men’s bobsledding team to tell the previously untold story of the country’s first-ever Winter Olympians—a portrait of struggle, resilience, and national pride.

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July 14 @ 6:30pm

The Shiny Shrimps
(Les Crevettes pailletées)

Dirs. Cédric Le Gallo & Maxime Govare | France

Under fire after making a homophobic statement on TV, Olympic swimmer Matthias is in hot water. Desperate to make good, he’ll do anything to regain his place on the national team. The penance? Coach the Shiny Shrimps, a flamboyant and amateur gay water polo team angling to qualify for the Gay Games in Croatia. This boisterous comedy, dripping with screwball gags, effervescent laughs, and an enormous heart, chronicles a bumpy-yet-joyful ride where both coach and teammates have something to prove.

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July 21 @ 6:30pm

Knuckle City

Dir. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka | South Africa

Dudu, a womanizing, aging professional boxer is threatened by and young up-and-coming talent. When his career-criminal brother, Duke, is released from prison, the two leverage criminal connections in hopes of one last shot at a comeback, fame, and glory. Rendered with bracing visuals and a human touch, Knuckle City examines the legacy of apartheid and its imapact on South Africa’s Indigenous communities.

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July 28 @ 6:30pm

You Are My Passion
(Eres mi pasión)

Dir. Anwar Safa | Mexico

Pedro eats, sleeps, and breathes soccer. He schedules his entire life around the sport, dropping anything and everything to watch his beloved, downtrodden club, Cruz Azul. Fed up with being ignored, his family’s patience with his obsession begins to wear thin. On the verge of losing everything, Pedro must choose between his family and his favorite team in this warm, hilarious sendup of modern day sports fanaticism.

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August 4 @ 6:30pm

Sumodo: The Successors of Samurai (Sumodo – Samurai wo tsugu monotachi)

Dir. Sakata Eiji | Japan

The world of sumo wrestling has always been something of a mystery to the world at large. Who are these gigantic athletes who willingly, violently collide with one another? Sumodo: the Successors of Samurai peels back the curtain on this invigorating sport by exploring the lives of the wrestlers themselves. Featuring rare footage of rikishi in training, the film offers a portrait of two dedicated wrestlers as they train, eat, and compete in larger-than-life tournaments in their quest to attain sumo’s highest rank.

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August 11 @ 6:30pm

Zen in the Ice Rift

Dir. Margherita Ferri | Italy

Maia, a talented hockey player and relative loner, is isolated and focused on her future. Training with the boys’ team, she is antagonized for her masculine appearance. But Maia’s world begins to shift when her classmate Vanessa runs away from home and uses Maia’s family lodge as a hideout. The two begin to trust one another as they explore their dormant desires and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

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August 18 @ 6:30pm

Baseball Girl

Dir. Yun Tae Choi | South Korea

Soo-in, Korea’s top female baseball player, can pitch with the best of them. Dreaming of becoming the first woman to join a professional club in Korea, she enlists her coach as her personal trainer. When her fastball fails to hit pro-level speeds, the two develop a new strategy. In the face of skepticism and seemingly insurmountable odds, Soo-in strives to make history with her strikeouts.

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August 25 @ 6:30pm

The Australian Dream

Dir. Daniel Gordon | Australia

The life and legacy of celebrated Australian rules football star Adam Goodes is inspirational not only for his remarkable play on the field but also for his courage and resilience off the field. Goodes, a player of Aboriginal heritage, faced racism and descrimination from players, fans and society at large but used his stature to expose, educate, and heal. Dynamic and potent, The Australian Dream draws on Goodes’ particular experience as the prism through which to tell a deeper, if all-too-familiar, story about race, identity, and belonging.

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September 1 @ 6:30pm

Puskás Hungary

Dir. Tamas Almasi | Hungary

Legendary footballer Ferenc Puskás was many things—a superstar player for Real Madrid, captain of the Magical Hungarians, a globetrotting political exile, and a soccer genius whose life reflected Europe’s tumultuous postwar history. Puskás Hungary utilizes breathtaking footage of legendary 1950 – 60s matches and interviews with the people who knew him best to paint a complex portrait of the international soccer sensation and the era in which he lived.

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September 8 @ 6:30pm

The Ice King

Dir. James Erskine | United Kingdom

Fed up with the strictures and traditions of competitive figure skating, John Curry set out to change the sport forever, partly as the first openly gay Olympian. He blurred the boundaries between sport and art by injecting his routines with elements of ballet, modern dance, and personal expression. Utilizing incredible archival footage and modern-day reflections from Curry’s friends and contemporaries, The Ice King examines the twists and turns in the life and extraordinary legacy of the skating icon.

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September 15 @ 6:30pm

We Are Champions
(Xia ban chang)

Dir. Jung-chi Chang | Taiwan

Tung-hao and Hsiu-yu are living on the fringes of society, struggling to help their family make ends meet. When a video of the brothers playing basketball goes viral, the two become coveted recruits for the annual High School Basketball League championship. After an argument between the two causes a rift in their relationship, they join separate rival squads in the leadup to the big tournament. When they cross paths in the biggest game of the year, the brothers discover that some things in life are more important than basketball.

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September 22 @ 6:30pm

The Missed Round
(El Piedra)

Dir. Rafael Martínez Moreno | Colombia

In this unexpected and poignant drama, Reynaldo “El Piedra” Salgado is a once powerful boxer who, facing the end of his career, enters matches as “bait” – one who fights with no chance of winning. One day Breyder, a scrawny kid living on the streets in the outskirts of the coastal Carribean city of Cartagena de Indias, shows up on the ex-champion’s doorstep claiming to be his son. As father and son learn to live together, Reynaldo begins to reconsider his own sense of self as Breyder learns to admire the father who values sacrifice above all else.

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September 29 @ 6:30pm

Martha & Niki

Dir. Tora Mårtens | Sweden

In 2010, Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos became the first women to win the world’s biggest international street dance competition, Juste Debout, in Paris. Following their victory, the newly minted champions have the opportunity to bring their brand of hip-hop dance around the globe but must also grapple with their newfound fame. Featuring intimate interviews and exhilarating dance performances, Martha & Niki is a tender examination of friendship, identity, and artistic expression.

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Special Thanks

Cinema/Chicago’s Summer Screenings Program would not be possible without the support of the following individuals and organizations:

Australian Consulate-General in Chicago
Consul-General David Bushby and Deputy Consul-General Jo Christopherson
British Consulate-General, Chicago Consul General Alan Gogbashian and Deputy Consul General Maria Rennie
Consulate General of Canada in Chicago Colleen Duke
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Mark Kelly
Chicago Film Office Thavary Krouch
Consulate General of Colombia in Chicago Consul General Dixon Moya
Dutch Culture USA / Netherlands Consulate General in Chicago
Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago Tanguy Accart and Laurence Geannopulos
Alliance Française de Chicago Aimée Laberge
Consulate General of Hungary in Chicago Consul General Kovács Tamás and Erzsebet Pappne Mate
Goethe-Institut Irmi Maunu-Kocian
Illinois Arts Council Agency Teresa Davis
Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Executive Director Anastasio Sanchez and Cultural Program Curator Teresa Hernando
Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago Consul General Kevin Byrne and Vice Consul Sarah Keating
Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest Consul Daniel Aschheim and Zoe Puerner
Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago Luca Di Vito
Japan Information Center at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago Consul-General Kenichi Okada, Tsutomu Shibata, and Wataru Inoue
Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago Consul General Young Sok Kim, Consul Namjin Kim, and HeeJu Han
Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago Cónsul Reyna Torres Mendivil
South African Consulate General in Chicago Consul General Phumzile Mazibuko
Swedish American Museum Karin Moen Abercrombie
Honorary Consulate of Sweden – Chicago Karin Moen Abercrombie
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago Director General Johnson S. Chiang

Summer Screenings Sponsors

Major Sponsor

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Additional Support

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