I’ll return to highlight specific titles; some we’ve already profiled and are tracking, like the Colombian coming-of-age drama La Playa DC, from director Juan Andres Arango.
But, in the meantime, feel free to dig through the lineup yourselves… from the press release (the 48th Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 11-25, 2012.):
ONE HEMISPHERE, MANY STORIES
The 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s Cinema of the Americas Program Showcases One of the Most Exciting Filmmaking Regions of the World CHICAGO (October 1, 2012) – Dystopian futures. Idyllic love stories. Rites of passage. Sweeping epics. The 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s Cinema of the Americas Program will once again celebrate the fresh and vibrant work of emerging and established filmmakers from South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean through fifteen films that are as diverse in style as the countries they represent.
Cinema of the Americas
After Lucia Mexico/France (Director: Michel Franco) – Teenager Alé (short for “Alejandra”) is mourning her mother and lonely in a new school. When a video emerges of her drunkenly having sex in a bathroom, she immediately becomes a target for the school’s popular kids. Their torments grow in intensity and cruelty, wearing down the weary Alé’s resistance. After Lucia’s intense, shocking exploration of the violent effects of bullying earned it the prestigious Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. North American Premiere
The Bella Vista Uruguay/Germany (Director: Alicia Cano) – The Bella Vista tells the story of a onetime soccer team’s clubhouse in Uruguay. Left abandoned for years, the house is revived as a brothel for the town’s transvestite prostitutes, raising the ire of residents who seek to reclaim the building for a Catholic chapel. In capturing the opposing sides of this conflict over a rather small, mundane building, director Alicia Cano creates a lyrical, intimate portrait of a provincial city. North American Premiere
The Cleaner Peru (Director: Adrián Saba) – In the midst of a mysterious epidemic that has decimated Lima’s population and shows no signs of abating, Eusebio – a forensic cleaner whose job is to remove corpses and sterilize the apartments of the dead – discovers an eight-year-old boy hiding in an uninhabited house. A grizzled loner who’s never been able to relate to people, Eusebio suddenly finds that he must care for the boy as civilization crumbles around them in this quietly compelling dystopian drama. North American Premiere. Director Adrian Saba and actor Victor Prada are scheduled to attend.
The Delay Uruguay/Mexico (Director: Rodrigo Plá) – Agustin, plagued by the physical and mental ailments of age, lives with his daughter Maria, a single mother who must now care for her father in addition to her three children. When Maria, overworked and overwhelmed, fails in her attempts to find another home for Agustin, she rashly acts out of desperation and must immediately face the consequences. Directed with flair and exquisitely photographed, La Demora is an intimate, touching family drama. Chicago Premiere
Drought Mexico (Director: Everardo González) – In the arid plains of northeastern Mexico, a group of communal ranchers confronts the annual drought, eking out survival as conditions force them to search far and wide for any signs of water. Following the residents of the community throughout their daily lives, the filmmakers create an inspiring portrait of human perseverance in the face of a natural environment that defies domestication in this much-praised, award-winning documentary. Chicago Premiere
Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me Mexico (Director: Raúl Fuentes) – Alejandra and Maria make an unlikely couple, to say the least. Alejandra is a painfully shy middle-aged intellectual, while Maria is a loud, outgoing teenager attending a private high school. This stylish film explores the joys, complexities, and limitations of love between two very different people. U.S. Premiere Fable Cuba (Director: Lester Hamlet) – In a diverse and cosmopolitan contemporary Havana, young Arthur meets and falls in love with Cecilia, a beautiful prostitute. Their idyllic aspirations for love and happiness quickly meet with complications. Fable is ultimately a moving, sincere exploration of the possibilities for love in a city defined by economic and social adversity. Chicago Premiere
Germania Argentina (Director: Maximiliano Schönfeld) – This gorgeously shot debut feature follows an Argentine family as they prepare to leave their tightly-knit German-speaking village for good. After a plague decimates their farm, they have no choice but to leave their home behind. As they say goodbye to old friends, the family attempts to reconcile the past and all their memories, good and bad, with their uncertain future in a town far away. North American Premiere
Night Across the Street Chile/France (Director: Raúl Ruiz) – The final completed film from Raúl Ruiz (Time Regained), one of world cinema’s most inventive, iconoclastic filmmakers, Night Across the Street follows the ruminations of Don Celso, an elderly office worker, as he relives memories – both real and imagined – from his life. Stories hide within stories and the thin line between imagination and reality steadily erodes, opening up a marvelous new world of personal remembrance and fantastic melodrama. Chicago Premiere
Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica Brazil (Director: Marcelo Gomes) – Just out of medical school, Veronica takes a challenging position at a local public hospital. Full of doubts and insecurity and reluctant to give up her sense of freedom, she finds herself questioning her career, personal, and romantic choices. When her beloved father is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, she must face her adult responsibilities head on. U.S. Premiere. Director Marcelo Gomes is scheduled to attend.
La Playa DC Colombia (Director: Juan Andres Arango) – Tomás, an Afro-Colombian teenager driven from his home by war, settles with his brothers in the section of Bogota known (ironically) as “La Playa.” Working as a barber’s apprentice, Tomás is just beginning to find a place for himself when his younger brother Jairo disappears. Tomás must make a risk-filled journey in search of Jairo, a rite of passage that forces him to find, and earn, his own identity in this impressive, wonderfully energetic debut film. North American Premiere
Post Tenebras Lux Mexico (Director: Carlos Reygadas) – An astonishing visual tour de force from Mexican filmmaker Reygadas (whose previous film, 2007’s Silent Light, won the Gold Hugo), this enigmatic, elusive film presents the occurrences around a family of four. Mundane domestic events are punctuated with tableaux of overwhelming beauty, while some sinister force lurks outside. Filled with arresting images from one of world cinema’s most innovative visual masters, Post Tenebras Lux is a truly sui generis work. U.S. Premiere
Rat Fever Brazil (Director: Cláudio Assis) – Zizo, a true rebel, is content to spend his days spewing subversive poetry to an audience consisting mostly of his fellow outsider friends. That is, until the arrival of the beautiful Eneida injects a love story into this carefree romp through the stoned and casually promiscuous world of Brazilian bohemian life. Gorgeous black and white cinematography and a dryly comedic, stylized tone perfectly convey the idealism of the youthful characters. Chicago Premiere. Producer Julia Moraes is scheduled to attend.
A Secret World Mexico (Director: Gabriel Mariño) – A poetic, tender road movie, A Secret World follows tormented teenager Maria as she makes her way through Mexico seeking her place in life. The film focuses on the pleasant beauty of the landscape and the eccentric, endearing personality of Maria as she comes into her own. Gorgeously filmed, this lyrical coming-of-age story doubles as a wistful hymn to a young woman’s self-discovery. U.S. Premiere. Director Gabriel Mariño is scheduled to attend.
Xingu Brazil (Director: Cao Hamburger) – This sweeping epic chronicles an important, still-relevant struggle in Brazilian history. Seeking adventure, the Villa Boas brothers set off from modern civilization into the jungles of Brazil, where they befriend an isolated Xingu village. Working with the Xingu, they help modernize the village. However, progress brings its own set of devastating problems and the brothers begin a decades-long fight to help the Xingu people. Stylish, energetic, and inspiring, Xingu vividly brings their struggle to life. Chicago Premiere. Director Cao Hamburger is scheduled to attend.
Festival Passes, Ticket and Theater Info Tickets for the 48th Chicago International Film Festival are on sale and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com/chicagofilmfestival; by phone at 312-332-FILM (3456); or by visiting the Festival box office at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois St.) or at the Cinema/Chicago office (30 E. Adams, Suite 800).