Welcome to the 13th annual International Screenings Program!
Cinema/Chicago, together with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and our consular and cultural partners, presents this free weekly film series that celebrates the richness and diversity of international and independent filmmaking.
This year, we’re proud to showcase comedy from around the world. These 18 films exemplify different styles and modes of comedy, ranging from satire and dark humor to slapstick and dramedy, and together they demonstrate the power of comedy across cultures, as we all laugh out loud together.
Discussions led by cultural leaders, scholars and film critics will be held after select screenings.
Dir. Andrzej Jakimowski, 2007, 95 min, Poland
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
Set in a small Polish town, this charming, award-winning film follows the exploits of Stefek, a six-year-old boy who is convinced he’s found his long-absent father. Big sister Elka is skeptical, but using “tricks” to play with fate, Stefek sets in motion a plan to bring his family back together. This quirky, captivating comedy was Poland's submission to the 2009 Academy Awards. Polish with subtitles.
Suck Me Shakespeer (Fack Ju Göhte)
Dir. Bora Dagtekin, 2014, 118 min, Germany
Co-presented by the Goethe Institute and Cinema/Chicago
Get ready for Bad Teacher, Bavarian-style. In this recent box-office hit from Germany, a newly released convict becomes the world’s worst substitute teacher in order to get to his stolen cash, which has been buried under the school’s gym. With rapid-fire dialogue, amusingly over-the-top antics, and terrific chemistry between its two leads (handsome Elyas M’Barek as the ex-con and charming Karoline Herfurth as a good-girl teacher), this hysterical high-school comedy is full of hijinks and wild humor. German with subtitles.
The Bit Player (Ekstra)
Dir. Jeffrey Jeturian, 2013, 112 min, Philippines
Co-presented by the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
In this touching and hilarious send up of TV soaps Filipino style, single mother Loida (screen legend Vilma Santos) and her fellow extras toil doggedly for a handful of pesos and the hope, however slim, that they might one day be discovered. Over the course of a one-day shoot, Loida manages to keep her head up in the face of innumerable indignations. Filipino and Tagalog with subtitles.
Together (Tian Mi Mi)
Dir. Chao-jen Hsu, 2012, 114 min, Taiwan
Co-presented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
Everyone around 17-year-old Xiao Yang seems to be falling in or out of love. Quietly observing heart throbbing turn into heartbreak and wandering eyes and hands, Xiao Yang naively believes that with a few offhand suggestions and a bit of backhanded scheming, he can turn amorous lemons into everlasting lemonade. In this whimsical and melancholic tale of love and youth, Xiao Yang discovers that all is indeed well that ends well. Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles.
My Internship In Canada (Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre)
Dir: Philippe Falardeau, 2015, 108 min, Canada
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
From the director of the highly popular Monsieur Lazhar comes this political satire about Canada on the cusp of war. Because of a parliamentary deadlock, small-town independent MP Steve Guibord holds the deciding vote, but the affable if naïve politician finds himself unable to choose sides. On the counsel of his idealistic Haitian intern, he decides to let his constituents decide. Will Guibord do the right thing? In this feel-good comedy, Western democracy offers the biggest punchline. French and English with subtitles.
Family Vacation (Vacaciones en familia)
Dir. Ricardo Carrasco, 2014, 90 min, Chile
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Chile in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
For as long as they can remember, the Kellys have been going on vacation every summer—with the rest of Santiago’s upper middle class. But times have changed and money is short. Concerned with keeping up appearances, the family pretends to jet off to an exotic Brazilian beach resort, all the while remaining secretly hidden inside their home. With nosy neighbors, stifling temperatures and flaring tempers, how long can they keep up the charade? Laugh with (or at) the Kellys in this sizzling comedy of manners. Spanish with subtitles.
Memories (Les souvenir)
Dir. Jean-Paul Rouve, 2014, 92 min, France
Co-presented by the Culture Service of the Consulate General of France in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
A charming family dramedy based on a bestselling novel by David Foenkinos, Memories follows Romain, an aspiring writer and sensitive dreamer, who discovers his grandmother has escaped from her nursing home. While visiting the seaside town in Normandy where she has fled, Romain learns valuable lessons about love, death and the passing of time, served up with a healthy dose of morbidly dry humor. French with subtitles.
Heart Attack (aka Freelance)
Dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2015, 130 min, Thailand
Co-presented by the Royal Thai Consulate General in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
It’s all work and no play for 30-year-old freelance designer Yoon—that is, until one day when he discovers a strange rash spreading over his body. At the hospital, he meets the pretty, young Dr. Imm, an equally stressed-out professional who similarly needs to find balance in her life. A whimsical and winning satire about modern-day workaholics, this delightful romantic comedy is as relevant as it is heartfelt. Thai with subtitles.
Dir. Jack C. Newell, 2015, 76 min, USA
Co-presented by Cinema/Chicago
Food and conversation abound in this comedy from Chicago writer-director-actor Jack C. Newell. Over dinner, friends trade wild stories about relationships, including a woman who falls in love with an amnesiac and an unforgettably sexy trip to Paris. Filmed locally, with a cast plucked from the city’s notable improv scene delivering witty, unscripted dialogue, Open Tables is a smorgasbord of fun.
Chigasaki Story (3-paku 4-ka, 5-ji no kane)
Dir. Takuya Misawa, 2014, 89 min, Japan
Co-presented by the Japan Information Center at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
Love is in the air at the picturesque seaside village of Chigasaki. Working singles Karin and Maki, staying at the local inn to attend a friend's wedding, can’t stay out of each other’s way in their quest for romance. Meanwhile, a group of eager archeology students on a nearby dig also find themselves looking for love. This understated winning comedy chronicles a merry-go-round of flirtations, confessions and implosions in the vein of Eric Rohmer and Woody Allen. Japanese with subtitles.
Dir. Emmanuel Naccache, 2013, 97 min, Israel/France
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest and Cinema/Chicago
Like an Israeli version of Ocean’s 11 crossed with a spy spoof, this smart espionage satire begins with the alleged mysterious assassination of a terrorist by members of Kidon, an elite division within Mossad, Israeli’s secret service. We follow both a team of Mossad agents and government officials as they try to sort out the truth behind the attack and the beguiling gang of criminals who are behind it. But in this topsy-turvy tale, nothing and no one is quite what or who they seem to be. Hebrew and French with subtitles.
Fanie Fourie's Labola
Dir. Henk Pretorius, 2013, 97 min, South Africa
Co-presented by the South African Consulate General in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
This lighthearted story astutely tackles the messy, surprising, and often funny consequences of cross-cultural and unexpected romance. After a prank to irritate their conservative families evolves into undeniable love, Dinky, a Zulu woman, and Fanie, an Afrikaans man, must overcome cultural and familial differences, jealous ex-lovers, and even the Zulu "Lobola" (akin to a dowery) in an effort to legitimize their feelings and bridge a fractured community. Zulu, English and Africaans with subtitles.
Lampedusa In Winter
Dir. Jakob Brossmann, 2015, 93 min, Austria/Italy/Switzerland
Co-presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, and the Italian Cultural Institute in Chicago.
The Italian “refugee island” of Lampedusa is in the firm grip of winter's tristesse. Tourists have left, the remaining refugees fight to be taken to the mainland. As a fire destroys the worn down ferry, that connects the island to Italy, the mayor Giusi Nicolini and the local fishermen struggle for a new ship. The tiny community at the edge of Europe is engaged in a desperate struggle for solidarity with those who many consider the cause of the ongoing crisis: the African boat people. Italian, Arabic, Tigrinya with subtitles. Winner of the Vienna Film Award for Best Documentary, Viennale 2015.
God Willing (Se Dio vuole)
Dir. Edoardo Maria Falcone, 2015, 87 min, Italy
Co-presented by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
What does an authoritarian, atheistic father do when his son wants to become a priest? In this Italian box-office hit, the proud patriarch goes undercover to investigate and bring down the charismatic priest who he believes has brainwashed his son and upended his family. By turns hilarious and tender, this father-son comedy won the best new director prize at last year’s Italian Oscars. Italian with subtitles.
The Second Mother (Que Horas Ela Volta?)
Dir. Anna Muylaert , 2015, 112 min, Brazil
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
Beloved Brazilian actress Regina Casé stars in this compelling portrait of a live-in housekeeper in Sao Paulo. Val (Casé) is the perfect caregiver, raising the only child of the upper middle-class family while impeccably running the household. Her orderly world is overturned with the arrival of her clever, rebellious daughter, who breaks down the upstairs-downstairs hierarchy. This whip-smart socially conscious crowd-pleaser is also a loving look at a mother and daughter, who have a lot to learn from each other. Portuguese with subtitles.
Dir. Robert Connolly, 2014, 96 min, Australia
Co-presented by the Australian Consulate General in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
This soaring crowd-pleaser from Down Under follows a 12-year-old boy who discovers an amazing talent for building paper airplanes. As the adolescent sets out to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships, his father (Avatar’s Sam Worthington) must learn to overcome his own emotional obstacles. An inspiring and energetic film for the whole family.
The Noble Family (Nosotros los Nobles)
Dir. Gary Alazraki, 2013, 108 min, Mexico
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
What is a father to do when he realizes that his three grown children are completely spoiled with no future prospects? Patriarch Germán Noble decides to trick them into doing the unthinkable—getting a job. As his deceitful if well-meaning plans test their mettle, will the challenge make them stronger or tear them apart? This delightfully dark family farce took the Mexican box office by storm. Spanish with subtitles.
How To Steal A Dog (Gae-leul hoom-chi-neun wan-byeok-han bang-beob)
Dir. Sung-ho Kim, 2014, 109 min, South Korea
Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
In this modern fairy tale brimming with heartfelt humor, scheming villains, and lessons learned, ten-year-old Ji-so lives in a van with her mother and little brother, left homeless when their father disappeared after the family business failed. Spotting a missing dog poster promising a hefty reward, Ji-so believes the only way she can save her family is to steal a dog with a rich owner. But can the wily youngster, in cahoots with her best friend, get away with the perfect puppy heist? Korean with subtitles.
The Gold Bug (El escarabajo de oro)
Dirs. Alejo Moguillansky, Fia-Stina Sandlund, 2014, 102 min, Argentina
Co-presented by the Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
A fusion of the eponymous Edgar Allen Poe short story and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, this smart, self-reflexive comic concoction follows a team of Argentine-European filmmakers making a movie in Buenos Aires. When one of the actors finds a treasure map detailing the location of ancient treasure, he persuades the producers to relocate the film closer to the buried loot. The Gold Bug is a vibrant, imaginative and sharp-witted homage to history and the folly of moviemaking. Spanish, French, German, and Swedish with subtitles.
Wednesdays, June 1-September 28, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
FREE; Open to the public. Please arrive early as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to theater capacity. Films are unrated. Viewer discretion is advised.
For more information, visit www.chicagofilmfestival.com
The following services are available for persons with disabilities:
El: Pink, Orange, Green, Brown, Purple to Randolph; Blue to Washington; Red to Lake.
Bus: 3, 4, 6, 10, 14, 26, 143, 144, 146, 147, 151, 157.
Metra and South Shore to Millennium Station.
For more travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com