Cinema/Chicago, together with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and our consular and cultural partners, presents the 14th annual International Screenings Program, a free weekly film series that celebrates the richness and diversity of international and independent filmmaking.
Food and film bring people together, whether around a candlelit table or bbq pit or into a dark theater. This year, with “A Taste of Cinema”, we are offering a smorgasbord of international films showcasing culinary traditions from around the world. From grilled-meat documentaries to rom-coms showcasing celebrity chefs, you will leave the theater hungry for more.
Discussions led by cultural leaders, scholars and film critics will be held after select screenings.
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
Wednesday, May 31
Dir. Jakob Lass
As the gentle but awkward Clemens struggles to adapt to his new job as a massage therapist at a high-end spa, he falls for the beautiful but wild Lara, a sous chef at the resort’s restaurant. An unlikely relationship develops between the two, but her impulsive behavior leads them into unexpected and perilous territory. Using a distinctive improvisational style and a lively supporting cast of non-professional actors, Jakob Lass’s highly original first feature signals the emergence of a talent on the rise. German with subtitles. For Mature Audiences.
Wednesday, June 7
Dir. Jason Paul Laxamana
Carmen, the owner of a struggling eatery, dreams of starring in her own cooking show. When Mercury, a blonde American teenager, shows up at her door, things start to heat up. Carmen takes him in as her apprentice, teaching him how to make (and pronounce) the local delicacies, and his looks and charm attract new customers. The two, in desperate need of each other, develop a close relationship, but each has simmering secrets and obsessions that threaten to boil over. English and Tagalog with subtitles.
Wednesday, June 14
Dir. Maciej Zak
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
Mati is a thirtysomething single on a mission: in lieu of love, she wants a man who will give her a child. Bartek, a chef with a promising career, has always been more comfortable in the kitchen than in the bedroom. When he answers Mati’s personal ad, he realizes he has more to offer than just offspring. In this When Harry Met Sally-styled comedy, can the unlucky-in-love duo discover the right recipe for romance? Polish with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): vimeo.com/44501569
Wednesday, June 21
Dir. Kim Ju-Hwan
Co-presented by: Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago and Cinema/Chicago
In an attempt to recapture their youthful ambitions two young men, Dong-bin and Jong-ik, pour their heart, soul, and all their money into opening a small gourmet burger joint. But with no entrepreneurial experience, can they find the recipe for success? This charming comedy serves up a bittersweet portrait of friendship, loyalty, and the pluck it takes to buck convention and pursue your dreams. Korean with subtitles.
Wednesday, June 28
Le goût d’un pays
Dir. Francis Legault
In Québec, maple syrup is more than just for pancakes; it’s a way of life. Through conversations with sap collectors living on the lands of their ancestors and Montreal notables, this poetic documentary tells the story of the Québecois through their devotion to the sweet amber liquid. With striking northwoods scenery and insightful if, at times, polemical observations about Québec culture and history, The Taste of a Country is an homage to a people holding fast to their customs and convictions. French with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): funfilm.ca/fr/le-gout-dun-pays/
Wednesday, July 5
Dir. Matthew Salleh
As the Australians say, throw another prawn on the barbie! But grilling isn’t just for Down Under. This savory and sweeping documentary introduces us to 13 different traditions, ranging from the hāngi of the indigenous Maori of New Zealand to the smoked brisket of Texas to Japanese yakitori, and more--all connected by the social experience of cooking meats over an open fire. With a rich orchestral score, Barbecue is a celebration of community and the pleasures of the palate. With subtitles.
Wednesday, July 12
Dir. Sylvain Chomet
In this stylishly whimsical live action musical from celebrated animator Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), thirty-something Paul, orphaned as an infant, has spent his entire sheltered life raised by overprotective aunts. A piano virtuoso, he spends his routine days accompanying their dance classes and entertaining their friends, rewarded with a plateful of sweet chouquettes. But his mind and palette suddenly expand when the freewheeling hippy Madame Proust enters his life and introduces him to a world of exotic foods and herbal brews.
Wednesday, July 19
Confia em Mim
Dir. Michel Tikhomiroff
Mariana is a talented chef working in São Paulo where she meets and falls for the mysterious and charming Caio. As their relationship develops, Caio sells her on the idea of opening her own restaurant. Buoyed by his encouragement and enthusiasm, she is blind to his manipulation and ulterior motives until it is too late. Or is it? In this gripping rom-com-cum-thriller, Mariana must decide whether revenge really is a dish best served cold. Portuguese with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdysJAqSxXo
Wednesday, July 26
Dir. Maite Alberdi
For six decades, a group of women have met monthly for tea and talk. Always smartly dressed and carefully coiffed, they spend hours together gossiping, singing, laughing, reminiscing and contemplating life and death, all the while sipping tea and sampling sumptuous pastries. In this sensitive, funny and poignant portrait of these women—Alicia, Gema, Angélica, Ximena and Maria Teresa—lies a universal story of friendship and the changing roles of women in society. Winner of best documentary prizes around the world, Tea Time is a vérité treat. Spanish with subtitles.
Wednesday, August 2
Little Forest: Natsu/Aki
Dir. Junichi Mori
Ichiko has moved back to her northern hometown of Komori and immerses herself in the local way of life, adopting the rhythms of the natural world and treasuring the earth’s bounty. In these two seasons of Little Forest, a lyrical ode to a rich, traditional lifestyle, we follow Ichiko’s journey cultivating the land through the steamy days of summer and harvesting in autumn’s early chill. As the crops sprout in the fields around her, she must decide if she, too, wants to put down roots. Japanese with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV4iprFnK98
Wednesday, August 9
Små citroner gula
Young and ambitious, Agnes’s life revolves around food. When she’s not slaving away at a fine French restaurant, she spends hours in her own kitchen perfecting family recipes. When given the opportunity to open her own place, she risks everything, including her parents’ life savings and a chance at romance, to make it a success. But will it pay off? In this mouth-watering tale of food, family and friendship, Agnes must discover the secret ingredient to love and happiness. Swedish with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksKiG3oW5qs
Wednesday, August 16
Dir. Rob Schermbrucker
Dir. Stephen Abbott
Good Business, a compelling documentary, introduces us to Raymond Ackerman, the man behind South African grocery giant Pick N Pay, who challenged the rule of Apartheid, giving all men and women equal opportunity to shop and work together. Lazy Susan, an acclaimed short drama, follows a hardworking waitress in a Cape Town diner, who maintains her positive attitude despite her customers’ behavior. But, as her shift comes to an end, one event will turn her humdrum day upside down.
Trailer (Good Business): vimeo.com/127704056
Wednesday, August 23
Dir. Cristiano Bortone
Told through a trio of loosely connected stories, Coffee explores human relationships through the drink that wakes the world up in the morning. In Italy, out-of-work barista Renzo, desperate to find a job doing what he loves, becomes ensnared in a roasting factory heist. In Belgium, immigrant pawnshop owner Hamed is attacked one night by protesters who steal an antique coffee urn. In China, Ren Fei’s allegiance to his employer and future father-in-law is tested when their chemical plant jeopardizes the coffee plantations in his hometown. Italian, Mandarin, French, Flemish with subtitles.
Wednesday, August 30
Dir. Roger M. Sherman
Forget falafel and hummus; in this delectable documentary, award-winning chef Michael Solomonov journeys across Israel to discover a burgeoning food scene that will surprise you. In meetings with top chefs, home cooks, vintners, cheese-makers and many more, Solomonov finds a rich melting pot of immigrants, ingredients and high-tech agriculture that’s transformed Israel into an exciting and multicultural culinary destination. Lively, funny, and informative, In Search of Israeli Cinema is an affectionate portrait of a diverse people, and their equally eclectic food.
Wednesday, September 6
Wo De Dan Nan Qing Ren
When dynamic marketing specialist Mei-Pao’s company decides to enter the frozen food industry, she seeks out the advice of celebrity chef A-Shi. In spite of their different approaches to cuisine, the two fall in love. But can they be happy? Like the food her company produces, Mei-Pao worries that her expiration date is drawing near – so she decides to freeze her eggs. This heartfelt romance, filled with food and fantasy, follows the journey of the lovers and of Mei-Pao’s frozen egg waiting to be born. Mandarin with English subtitles.
Wednesday, September 20
Ella es Ramona
Dir. Hugo Rodríguez
In this Amélie-esque rom-com, the chubby but cheerful Ramona approaches life and its problems with an easy optimism. She handles the scorn of mocking co-workers and the demands of her overbearing, slightly ridiculous mother with poise. Until everything seemingly falls apart. Seeking refuge in a bit of black magic and the joy of cooking, will she be able to right the wrongs done to her while also conquering the love of her life? Spanish with subtitles.
Trailer (without subtitles): www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIdgNtZ2auI
Wednesday, September 27
Todo sobre asado
Dir. Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat
Worshipped alongside fútbol, Messi, and Malbec, “asado” (or barbecue) is a point of national pride for Argentinians. This inventive mix of road-movie, documentary and fiction explores the ritual of grilling meats in the Latin American country. The film crew follows Carlos (played by celebrated comedian Carlos “El Negro” Álvarez), and his personal experience of asado, while interviewing cultural and grilling “experts” on its origins and significance. Piquant and irreverent, All About Asado is a celebration of a country’s cultural and culinary traditions. Spanish with subtitles.
Wednesday, October 4
Dir. Christopher Markos
Co-presented by Cinema/Chicago
In Fall 2014, Hot Doug’s, Chicago’s most famous “sausage and encased meat emporium,” closed its doors for good. This affectionate tribute captures the establishment’s final days and the near-religious fanaticism that drew devotees to mark their skin with “Doug’s” tattoos and stand in line for hours at a time. Was it the innovative menu (foie gras and duck sausage, anyone?), the anticipation, or the always amiable proprietor Doug Sohn and his hardworking staff? Hot Doug’s: The Movie revels in food as a cultural phenomenon.