Today at the Chicago International Film Festival: A love triangle in 1973 Chile in ‘Spider’

Also, a weird short by Brandon Cronenberg.

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“Spider” is Chile’s entry for the Best International Feature Film Oscar.

Fox Searchlight

In 1973, under the banner of Fatherland and Liberty, a lovers’ triangle in Chile leads terrorist attacks on Marxists. Forty years later their past resurfaces when one of these ultra-nationalists plots violence for the cause of racial purity.

“Spider” director Andrés Wood delivers a timely and intriguing thriller with fluent editing between the pre-Allende and post-Pinochet eras. “I was 8 years old when the military overthrew Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973,” noted Woods in 2004, when he released “Machuca,” based on his childhood experience of the coup.

At a Q&A during Sunday’s screening. Woods said “Spider” is another personal lens on national trauma.

His affection for his father and grandfather conflicts with their political opinions about history. That’s typically Chilean, he says.

“Spider” is one of over a dozen features in this year’s fest that are their country’s entry for Best International Feature Film, as the Academy renamed its Best Foreign Language category. 5:45 p.m. Oct. 21; 2 p.m. Oct. 25

Also Monday at the festival at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois:

• ‘Shorts 3: Up at Night — After Dark.’’ Deragh Campbell, from the weird 2013 feature “Stinking Heaven,” stars in a really weird short by Canadian filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg (yes, son of David). “Please Speak Continuously and Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You” echoes tech motifs from his 2013 feature “Antiviral.” Electrical implants spark meta-dreams at an asylum recalling Dr. Caligari’s. One of nine shorts programs in the festival, this one includes work from Argentina, Finland and the U.S. Noon Oct. 21; 10:30 p.m. Oct. 26.

Bill Stamets is a Chicago freelance writer.

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