20th Chicago European Union Film Festival
From March 3 through 30, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to our 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival. The largest festival in the nation showcasing films of the European Union nations, this anniversary festival presents Chicago premieres of 62 new feature films representing all 28 EU nations. See the full 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival program here.
The festival will present 6 French language films:
The Death of Louis XIV (La mort de Louis XIV)
2016, ALBERT SERRA, FRANCE, 115 MIN. WITH JEAN-PIERRE LÉAUD.
Sun., March 5 - 3:00 PM
Director Serra (QUIXOTIC, BIRDSONG) continues his project of reinventing the period film in his most accessible and classically satisfying work to date. A legendary historical figure is portrayed by a legendary actor (Léaud in a magnificently concentrated performance), but the film shows, in precisely selected details, how even an absolute monarch must bow to the weight of time and fleshly decay. Stricken with gangrene, the Sun King struggles—gallantly, grouchily, poignantly—to maintain his royal bearing, as his every gesture is scrutinized by anxious courtiers and his well-meaning but bungling doctors attempt to keep him alive. In French with English subtitles. Courtesy of The Cinema Guild. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
2016, FRANÇOIS OZON, FRANCE, 113 MIN. WITH PAULA BEER, PIERRE NINEY.
Sun., March 19 - 3:00 PM
Thu., March 23 - 6:00 PM
The prolific and versatile Ozon, known for such sophisticated romps as 8 WOMEN and POTICHE, breaks new ground in this delicate autumnal period piece with undertones of contemporary political relevance. In a German town after World War I, Anna (Beer in a breakthrough performance) develops a strange bond with the young Frenchman Adrien whom she discovers visiting the grave of her late fiancé Frantz, killed in battle. The story is loosely based on Ernst Lubitsch’s little-known 1932 film THE MAN I KILLED, although Ozon shifts the film’s center from the French visitor to the German fiancée and adds a crucial second half in which Anna searches for Adrien in France. Expanding the central story are a critique of divisive nationalism (especially in a harrowing scene of a French café bursting into a bloodthirsty rendition of "La Marseillaise") and a consideration of the ability of art to deal with death and mourning, which pays off in the haunting final shot. Recipient of ten César Award nominations, including Best Picture, Director, and New Actress (Beer). In German and French with English subtitles. Courtesy of Music Box Films. DCP digital widescreen. (MR).
2016, OLIVIER ASSAYAS, FRANCE/GERMANY, 105 MIN. WITH KRISTEN STEWART, LARS EIDINGER.
Sat., March 4 - 4:00 PM
Wed., March 8 - 6:00 PM
Mourning the death of her brother, who had promised her a sign from the other world, Maureen (Stewart) personal assistant to a French star, buries herself in the work of tracking gowns, bags and jewelry for her demanding client, until a string of intimately familiar and unnerving texts on her phone introduces an unidentified presence that knows her every movement and location. Eclectic and versatile director Assayas (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, IRMA VEP) is operating in full pop-culture mode in this au courant drama that is simultaneously a thriller of a ghost story featuring a big spooky mansion, a horror/murder mystery with a glimpse of gore, and a fashionista’s wet dream, with Stewart modeling fetish booties and high-powered haute couture. In English, French, and Swedish with English subtitles. Courtesy of IFC Films. DCP digital. (BS)
Slack Bay (Ma Loute)
2016, BRUNO DUMONT, FRANCE, 122 MIN. WITH JULIETTE BINOCHE, FABRICE LUCHINI, VALERIA BRUNI TEDESCHI.
Sat., March 11 - 4:00 PM
Thur., March 16 - 6:00 PM
Bruno Dumont followers know to expect the unexpected, but, even for them, SLACK BAY must qualify as an astonishment of the first order. Following the famously morbid auteur’s first forays into comedy in LI’L QUINQUIN (2015 CEUFF), Dumont plunges whole-hog into full-scale farce, boosted by doses of New French Extremity (cannibalism alert), surrealism (levitation alert), and staggeringly beautiful shorescapes of France’s Channel coast. There, the class divide is embodied — indeed, overdetermined — by two families: the twittish Van Peteghems, summer vacationers ensconced in their lofty eyesore of a mansion, and the cloddish Bruforts, shore-dwelling fisher-folk whose back-borne ferry service is just one of the unconventional ways they profit off the upper-crusters. Complications arise when romance blossoms between Ma Loute, the oldest son of the Brufort clan, and the Van Peteghem’s young beauty, Billie, a girl who sometimes dresses as a boy...or is it vice-versa? Recipient of nine César Award nominations, including Best Picture, Director, Actor (Luchini), and Supporting Actress (Tedeschi). In French with English subtitles. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)
The Son of Joseph (Le fils de Joseph)
2016, EUGÈNE GREEN, FRANCE, 113 MIN. WITH VICTOR EZENFIS, MATHIEU AMALRIC.
Fri., March 24 - 6:00 PM
Wed., March 29 - 6:00 PM
With a style as distinctively mannered as that of Wes Anderson or Hal Hartley, American-born French filmmaker Green (LA SAPIENZA — 2015 CEUFF) fashions a genuinely charming and moving parable of fathers and sons, with sly modern-day twists on the Nativity story and Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. Caravaggio’s painting of the latter event hangs in the bedroom of Vincent (Ezenfis), a sullen teenager frustrated by his mother’s (Natacha Régnier) refusal to reveal the identity of his father. A little detective work leads Vincent to Oscar (Amalric), an insufferable rich cad, and also to Oscar’s disinherited, decent brother Joseph (Fabrizio Rongione of LA SAPIENZA). Far from the being superfluous, the extensive references to the Bible and Baroque art illuminate an essential link between spiritual and artistic enlightenment, and they dovetail beautifully for an ending in which the film’s playful tone deepens into a epiphany of true joy. In French with English subtitles. Courtesy of Kino Lorber. DCP digital. (MR
CLOSING NIGHT FILM! Louise By The Shore (Louis en hiver)
2016, JEAN-FRANÇOIS LAGUIONIE, FRANCE, 75 MIN. WITH DOMINIQUE FROT, JEAN-FRANÇOIS LAGUIONIE.
Sat., March 25 - 2:00 PM
Thur., March 30 - 6:15 PM
Evoking MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY, "The Twilight Zone," and Post-Impressionist watercolors, this lovely, imaginative film by Jean-François Laguionie (THE PAINTING) is an "animation for adults" only in the sense of its mature and reflective sensibility. On the last day of the summer season at a quaint beach resort, 75-year-old Louise (Frot) misses the last train out. After a torrential downpour, she emerges from her room the next morning to find the streets flooded and the town utterly deserted. Days, weeks, months pass in this dreamlike interlude, as Louise, like a modern-day Crusoe, learns to fend for herself, her solitude interrupted only by a talking dog (voiced by director Laguionie) and by memories of the seaside episodes of her past. In French with English subtitles. Courtesy of First Run Features. DCP digital. (MR)
Note: No free passes or blue tickets will be valid for the closing night screening on March 30.
MARCH 30: Immediately following the Closing Night film and program, the audience is invited to a reception in our Gallery/Café generously hosted by the European Union National Institutes for Culture. Coffee sponsored by Intelligentsia.