5 highlights of European Union Film Festival’s final weeks

SHARE 5 highlights of European Union Film Festival’s final weeks

Rolling into its third and fourth weeks, the European Union Film Festival offers five highly recommended features made with originality.


6 p.m. “Horse Money” (Portugal): Pedro Costa revisits the sun-etched netherworld of a Lisbon slum with arresting cinematography. This allusive memoir of a Cape Verdean migrant is challenging, perhaps the fest’s most unconventional entry. (Also, 6 p.m. March 23.)


EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL When: Through April 2 Where: Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Tickets: $11 ($7 students, $6 members) Info: siskelfilmcenter.org



3 p.m. “The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq” (France): Guillaume Nicloux directs notorious novelist Michel Houellebecq playing himself befriending the lowbrow trio that kidnaps him. Wry tense class comedy ensues. (Also, 6 p.m. March 23.)


4:45 “The Dark Valley” (Austria/Germany): A traveling photographer from Texas arrives in a 19th-century mountain hamlet run by a thug patriarch. How this stranger learned to speak the local language will explain why he will shoot with more than a camera in this wintry Western set in the Austrian alps. (Also, 7:30 p.m. March 24.)


8 p.m. “Shirley: Visions of Reality” (Austria): Gustav Deutsch will appear with an Art Institute curator to take questions about this entrancing re-creation of 13 Edward Hopper paintings. He casts an actress as the title character for vignettes imagined for each canvas. On the soundtrack we hear her thoughts over three decades, punctuated with radio news bulletins. This inventive exercise intrigues, as did “FILM IST. a girl & a gun,” the found-footage essay Deutsch earlier screened at the Siskel. (Also, 3 p.m. March 28.)


5:30 p.m. “In the Crosswind” (Estonia): Martti Helde offers a formally daring treatment of Stalin’s mass exile of “anti-Soviet elements” from Baltic states to Siberia in 1941. The camera wends its way among actors posed in dramatic dioramas. This inspired still-life turns transcendent when a tear or raindrop falls, or the wind catches a stray hair and rustles a garment. (Also, 8 p.m. March 30.)

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