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CEUFF 2017: 2 Nights Till Morning, Beloved Days & Franca: Chaos and Creation

March 6, 2017

 

Along with a final showing of Malta’s “20, 000 Reasons”, there are also films from Finland, Cyprus and Italy playing today at the Gene Siskel Film Center as part of their month-long, annual Chicago European Union Film Festival. “2 Nights Till Morning”, from Finland, is a romantic drama with a unique take on a one-night stand between two strangers, while the other two films, “Beloved Days” from Cyprus and “Franca: Chaos and Creation”, are two engaging documentaries that cover locations and people that you may have never heard of before. The quality of films featured at this festival continue this week and the rest of the month of March. 

Below are my thoughts on three of the films showing today – and if you haven’t already, check out my thoughts on “20,000 Reasons” which opened the festival last Friday.

 

 

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2 NIGHTS TILL MORNING (2015) – Finland

A one-night stand occurs between two strangers, when French architect Caroline (Marie-Josée Croze, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) and Finnish musician Jaakko (Mikko Nousiainen “5 Days of War”) hook-up at a hotel bar in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. The next morning it’s no big deal, until the unexpected occurs – a volcanic ash cloud prevents all flights from departing indefinitely, causing the two to look at their sexual encounter more closely.  Questions and reevaluations follow that reveal unavoidable truths and lies, as the they face the repercussions of their actions. What’s most interesting is how neither character speak with same language, forcing them to explore other ways of communication. Written and directed by Mikko Kuparinen (“Body Fat Index of Love”), who won Best Director Award at the Montreal World Film Festival, the romantic drama is an intriguing exploration of intimate connection despite internal limitations and external difficulties. (in English, Finnish, and French with English subtitles)

RATING: ***

  • Mon, Mar 6th 6:00pm
  • Wed, Mar 15th 6:15pm

 

 

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BELOVED DAYS (2015) – Cyprus

Here is a documentary that will enlighten film enthusiasts and travel fanatics. It’s the story of what transpired almost 50 years ago on the island of Cyprus, when sex symbol/actress Raquel Welch invaded the small village of Karmi, to film “The Beloved” a  film directed by George Cosmatos (“First Blood”, “Tombstone”) in 1970. Director Constantinos Patsalides interviews those involved in the film – casting director, producer Patrick Curtis (then husband to Welch), actor Nicos Shiafkalis, as well as cinematographer Marcello Gatti (“The Battle of Algiers”) and lead actor Richard Johnson (“Zombie”), both of whom have since recently died – and those villagers who were either in the film as extras or recall stories about the production passed on by relatives. We learn how important this seldom-seen film was and remains to Cypriots and how the island has changed since the Turkish invasion in 1974. There is a bittersweet tone of nostalgia and sadness now that Karmi is still a Turkish occupied village, but Patsalides facilitates a hopeful atmosphere as he follows Curtis and Johnson returning to the island for a screening of the film. It’s a fascinating documentary, especially for those who appreciate films about films. (in English and Greek with English subtitles).

RATING: ***

  • Mon, Mar 6th 7:45pm
  • Thu, Mar 9th 8:15pm

 

 

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FRANCA: CHAOS AND CREATION (2016) – Italy

Director/co-producer, Francesco Carrozzini has created an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, who served as editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue, from 1988 right up until her recent death in December 2016. Known for her astonishing, often controversial covers that would highly influence other fashion magazines, Sozzani would often explore subject matter that was deemed off limits, such as the legendary “black issue” and “plastic surgery issue”, which would redefine the potential of such a magazine and the definition of beauty. Carrozzini includes candid interviews with the likes of: Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love,  Marina Abramović, publisher Jonathan Newhouse  and philosopher Bernard Henri-Levi, and takes viewers behind the scenes into his mother’s creative process, revealing her motivations and vulnerabilities. It’s an insightful look at an unapologetic, strong-willed woman, as well as a affective act of endearment from her son. (in Italian, English, and French with English subtitles)

RATING: ***

  • Mon, Mar 6th 7:45pm

 

NOTE: Following the March 6th screening, a panel chaired by Gillion Carrara, Director of the Fashion Resource Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and including Debra Riley Parr, Associate Professor of design history and theory at Columbia College Chicago, Geoffrey Rhodes, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Communication Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and fashion journalist and consultant Maria Vanessa Colapinto will discuss the issues.

 

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