FOREIGN FILM SERIES
Thursday | 7:30 pm
Friday | 7:30 pm
Saturday | 5 pm and 8 pm
Sunday | 2 pm and 5 pm
Switching to a different showtime is allowed and will be accommodated if possible. No prior notice is required.
Belgium | 2022 | Lukas Dhont | French language | 1h 44m
Sep 14-17, 2023
In rural Belgium, two thirteen-year-old boys, Léo and Rémi, are best friends who exhibit a deeply intimate affection for one another. After a carefree summer together, the two boys start middle school and find themselves in the same class and with a whole new set of social challenges to their friendship. Close is a miraculously subtle Belgian drama packing a formidable emotional wallop, so cumulatively affecting because it is carried off with no affect whatsoever--even the gorgeous, string-led score is understated. The disintegration of a friendship between two boys on the cusp of adolescence in rural Belgium triggers a tragedy. A study of children confronted with the kind of grief that they have neither the maturity nor the temperamental framework to fully understand is always going to be a powerful proposition, but the combination of knock-out performances and direction of uncommon sensitivity from Dhont makes for a picture which is intimate in scope but packs a considerable punch. IMDb
The Blue Caftan
Morocco | 2022 | Maryam Touzani | Arabic language | 2h 2m
Sep 21-24, 2023
Halim is more than a tailor. At the traditional shop in a Moroccan medina that he runs with his ailing wife Mina, he works lovingly and painstakingly hand-embroidering silks so exquisitely fine they are like wearing air. And in a way, this delicate, precise, time- consuming approach is mirrored in director Maryam Touzani’s film-making, with its focus on tiny details, the fleeting glance, an almost imperceptible brush of skin against skin. It is a gentle piece of Arabic-language storytelling, one that softly, slowly enfolds the audience rather than propels them on a journey. Halim, with his sad eyes and melodic, minor-key voice, loves his wife deeply, but the couple live with the secret of his homosexuality, something Mina has come to accept but that still generates an occasional stab of jealousy in her. When a new apprentice, Youssef, joins them, she is aware of the attraction between the two men. There is a sharp edge to her manner when she talks to Youssef, but the dynamic between the three subtly shifts over time. As Mina’s health fails, she weaves Youssef into the fabric of her own present and her husband’s future life. IMDb
Austria | 2022 | Marie Kreutzer | German language | 1h 54m
Oct 5-8, 2023
Set in the 1870s, Corsage depicts Elisabeth Empress of Austria at 40, struggling to maintain her flawless image and that of the empire she is expected to incarnate. Elisabeth’s aura of lofty grace depends on her rigorous control of her body, which involves the corsetry of the title being laced mercilessly tight, as well as workouts with exercise rings in her private gym. Enduring a politely loveless marriage to the emperor, Franz Joseph, Sissi yearns for affection, or libidinous release, but it evades her. One candidate is an English riding master, whom she visits in Northamptonshire; significantly, although Corsage does not specify this, Elisabeth’s actual historical visit was to none other than the Spencers at Althorp. Elisabeth is most relaxed when spending time with her famously troubled relation Ludwig of Bavaria, but he discreetly rejects her less cousinly attentions, prompting her to ask, in the film’s drollest line: “So the rumours about the stable boys are true?” IMDb
One Fine Morning
France | 2022 | Mia Hansen-Løve | French language | 1h 52m
Oct 19-22, 2023
With a father suffering from neurodegenerative disease, a young woman lives with her eight-year-old daughter. While struggling to secure a decent nursing home, she runs into an unavailable friend with whom she embarks on an affair. The film explores love, both romantic and familial, with no trace of drama or sappiness, and without ever feeling slight. It is a balm of a film and another glorious showcase for Hansen-Løve’s light touch when dealing with complicated emotions. One Fine Morning is concerned with life’s curveballs and catastrophes as well as its unforeseen joys. IMDb
South Korea | 2022 | Kore-eda Hirokazu | Korean language | 2h 9m
Nov 2-5, 2023
A young lady decides to give up her newborn child to a church for adoption but discovers that there is an active group that steals these children for sale. She catches the group red handed and joins them in an exciting road trip to find customers ready to buy the child. Broker is an accessible, high-concept genre movie that brings to mind the Coen brothers. Sang-hyun is the owner of a small launderette in Busan. He is proud of his work, but he is being leaned on by local gangsters, so he resorts to another, far less legal job: he sells babies. A church near his launderette has a "baby box" by the front door, a hatch with a basket inside where new mothers can leave unwanted infants.
Sang-hyun's big-hearted right-hand man, Dong-soo, works part-time at the church, so if a baby arrives while he is on duty, he spirits it away and erases the CCTV footage. The partners in crime then set up a black-market adoption. The going rate for boys is a lot higher than it is for girls, but they always take care to ensure that the baby is going to suitably caring parents. Broker keeps on getting funnier and knottier, as secret motives are revealed, sympathies shift, mysteries deepen, and dangers multiply. It is, on one level, a farcical crime caper, but it is so elegantly plotted that it never seems contrived. IMDb
Romania | 2022 | Cristian Mungiu | Romanian language | 2h 5m
Nov 16-19, 2023
A few days before Christmas, having quit his job in Germany, Matthias returns to his multi-ethnic Transylvanian village. He wishes to involve himself more in the education of his son, Rudi, who has been left for too long in the care of his mother, Ana, and to rid the boy of the unresolved fears that have taken hold of him. He is preoccupied with his old father, Otto, and also eager to see his ex-lover, Csilla. When a few new workers are hired at the small factory that Csilla manages, the peace of the community is disturbed. The Romanian filmmaker Mungiu returns with a portrait of Europe, perhaps the world, in the days of late capitalism. As bitter and biting as its winter landscape, it stars Marin Grigore as a Hungarian immigrant in a small village nestled among the snowy forests and sweeping mountains of Transylvania. R.M.N. stands for rezonanta magnetica nucleara, or nuclear magnetic resonance, a means to scan the brain looking for things below the surface. It is a metaphor played out with the health of Matthias’ father, whose well-being begins to falter as the village’s racist-fueled anger over the new workers’ presence begins to fester. IMDb
Poland | 2022 | Jerzy Skolimowski | Polish language | 1h 28m
Nov 30-Dec 3, 2023
EO is a donkey working for a Polish circus. He performs in an act with Kasandra, who loves and protects him. When animal rights activists help get the circus shut down, EO is taken away and brought to a horse stable to work. In the truck being transported and at the stables, EO sees horses running free and being pampered. After knocking over a shelf of trophies, EO is sent to a farm where he seems depressed and will not eat. He gives rides to children through woods where trees continue to be cut down to create space for humans. On paper, an existential Polish remake of a 1960s French arthouse classic about a donkey’s journey might seem intimidating, uninteresting, flat, droll, inaccessible, high art, but writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski is a filmmaking wizard. This is a story about a voiceless, armless, homeless, rights-less lead at the whim of the forces around him. The perspective triggers a flood of empathy and, to Skolimowski’s credit, opens an inner reservoir with the capacity to hold it all. IMDb
Sweden | 2022 | Taril Saleh | Arabic language | 1h 44m
Jan 25-28, 2024
Adam, the son of a fisherman, is offered the privilege to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the center of power of Sunni Islam. Adam becomes a pawn in the conflict between Egypt's religious and political elites. The film is set at Cairo’s Al Azhar University, the most prestigious Islamic school in the world, founded in 972. The story is a wild one, a tense political thriller centering on Adam, a naive freshman from the sticks who gets recruited as a mole by Col. Ibrahim, an officer from the state security agency, to manipulate the election of the school’s grand imam, one of the most powerful positions in Sunni Islam. The goal is to finagle things by whatever means necessary, so that the government’s preferred candidate is chosen over another cleric being groomed by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that some have called a terrorist organization. It is an engrossing tale, full of betrayal and chicanery, and it casts the Egyptian political-military complex and the religious hierarchy as riddled with corruption. IMDb
Mexico | 2022 | Juan Pablo Gonzalez | Spanish language | 1h 39m
Feb 8-11, 2024
In the bucolic hills of Mexico's Jalisco highlands, iron-willed businesswoman Maria Garcia fights the impending collapse of her tequila factory. The film is at once a vivid portrait of a place and its people, an unsentimental ode to the art and craft of tequila-making, a damning depiction of the results of globalizing economic policies, and an exquisite character study, with Teresa Sánchez delivering a performance of potent restraint. It is rare when a debut feature strikes the perfect balance of ingredients and especially rare when it does so in a distinctive and memorable way. Writer-director Juan Pablo González achieves precisely this in Dos Estaciones. The sense of place is powerful, whether the director takes us into the fields where the jimadores harvest the agave or traces the plants’ fermentation process through the distillery’s machinery, or simply invites us to observe the land and the sky. This is a drama with great attention to detail in those visuals, in the words and silences between characters, and in the layers of sound beneath the dialogue. IMDb
Tori & Lokita
Belgium | 2022 | Jean-PierreDardenne | French language | 1h 28m
Feb 22-25, 2024
Tori and Lokita is a heart-stopping thriller that casts an unflinching eye on the trials of the young and dispossessed. Like most of the Dardenne brothers’ work, Tori and Lokita leverages the irreducible nature of human dignity against the ever-worsening apathy of human civilization. The film’s threadbare story hinges on parentless children whose need for support leads them toward danger. The story revolves around two underage African immigrants who are posing as siblings in order to secure the older Lokita’s permission to stay as a refugee. Tori and Lokita live together in the same shelter for unaccompanied foreign minors. They deliver drugs together for the same awful drug dealer, and they give most of the money they make to the same violent smuggler who helped them get to Belgium in the first place. The kids have been drawn reluctantly into the criminal underworld to pay debts and send desperately needed money back home. This may be the Dardennes’ most emotionally engaging film in a while--a tragedy told with utter clarity, centered on protagonists entirely deserving of our sympathy and empathy. IMDb
Chad | 2002 | Mahamat-Saleh Haroun | French language | 1h 24m
Mar 7-10, 2024
The lives of two brothers who live in N'djamena are upended when they awake one Saturday morning to find that their father has left the family. They are Amine, about eight years old, playful and asthmatic, and Tahir, fifteen, handsome, quiet, and his brother's protector. The boys go in search of their father and find only trouble. Dad's leaving also debilitates their mother. Haroun gives us a glimpse of central Africa's soul with this simple yet powerful tale. The film has an accomplished visual style. It is beautifully shot with a superior sense of style and color, catching the feel of the settings nicely without either falling into cliché or locking the action too specifically in a time or place. This means that even those of us who have never experienced such a life can identify with Tafir and Amine's situation. The plot can be read allegorically as the story of Chad itself, a people adrift and badly in need of returning to their true roots. IMDb
Iran | 2022 | Jafar Panahi | Turkish language | 1h 46m
Mar 14-17, 2024
The rigidity of borders—literal and figurative—is the primary interest of No Bears Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s latest film. Completed two months before the director’s most recent arrest—culminating in a six-year prison sentence for “propaganda against the regime” in his native Iran—the film is a meta-commentary on the artistic suppression that Panahi has been increasingly subjected to throughout his career, also currently affecting a large swath of Iranian filmmakers, artists, and activists. No Bears incorporates two parallel plot lines. The first involves Panahi (who plays himself) covertly renting a room near the Iranian border and secretly overseeing the shoot for his next film, which is happening in a nearby Turkish city. Restricted from leaving Iran (much like the real-life Panahi), he monitors the production’s progress via Zoom and cell phone calls—that is, when the frequently-spotty reception allows for it. In his free time, he takes photographs of the small town he’s lodging in, with special emphasis on its provincial residents. However, he quickly becomes embroiled in a local scandal involving a photo he allegedly took of a young couple whose union is strictly forbidden by the town’s traditional customs, though he vehemently swears that no such photograph exists. The second storyline occurs within Panahi’s intra-film narrative, which similarly concerns a star-crossed couple. IMDb
UK | 2022 | Charlotte Wells | English language | 1h 42m
Apr 4-7, 2024
Parents and children can develop a sixth sense about each other, or, at very least, they can attune some of their five basic senses to each other’s wavelengths without even trying, and those sensitivities sometimes linger. Aftersun communicates its understanding of this connection right away. When Calum, a young father on vacation with his eleven-year-old daughter Sophie, pauses before leaving her alone for a moment, even though he is out of her sight, she can hear his hesitation. She assures him it is fine to leave her. Calum’s uncertainty makes sense. Gradually, the movie reveals the basics of their relationship. Sophie’s parents are divorced, seemingly amicably, at least by this point. Sophie lives with her mother in Scotland. Calum lives in London and does not see her as often as either of them might like. Now they are on end-of-summer holiday in Turkey, at a resort hotel, though Calum cannot afford the all- inclusive passes that would get them unlimited food, drink, or whatever else. Eventually, flashes of Sophie as an adult make it clear that she is remembering this trip with the help of some home videos we see her taking at the time and rewatching later. The movie is mostly from Sophie’s point of view, but sometimes Wells follows Calum away from his daughter’s eyes. Are we seeing the truth of those moments, or Sophie’s attempt to reconstruct them years later? In its gentle, modest way, Aftersun might well break your heart. IMDb
Iran | 2021 | Asghar Farhadi | Persian language | 2h 7m
Apr 18-21, 2024
What’s the price for having a conscience? In Iranian master Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero, a good deed spirals out of control to a messy conclusion, providing fertile ground for the filmmaker’s command of aesthetic realism and close-knit interpersonal dynamics. Rahim (Amir Jadidi), a jailed debtor, returns a bag filled with money that he found on leave. The consequences from that act, pushed and prodded and wheedled by Farhadi’s script, which adds a deft understanding of social media to a sharply constructed web of relationships and reputations, are an endurance test for the tear-ducts. Rahim’s big toothy smile and world-beaten posture allow him to find the perfect amounts of charm or pathos in Rahim. IMDb
SUPPORT AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO FOREIGN FILM
We are proud to offer 14 foreign films for one very low subscription price. However, providing this program – film licensing fees along with mailing and labor cost – is increasingly expensive.
To help us defray the cost of the program, and to ensure that we can keep the subscription price low, we are seeking additional support from patrons who are able to chip in. Donations can be made online or by mail.
We understand that patrons may need to see a film at an alternative time. Switching to a different showtime is allowed and under normal circumstances will be accommodated; it requires no prior notice, but patrons are encouraged to switch to our least crowded screenings if possible, Saturday 8 pm and Sunday 5 pm.
ONLINE BOX OFFICE
Admission is based on season subscription only. Tickets are not available for individual films, but at $2 per film, a season pass is an outstanding entertainment bargain. In addition, all season ticket holders receive three free guest passes.
We recommend that you order your season tickets as soon as possible. Our most popular show times (Thursday 7:30 pm, Friday 7:30 pm, and Saturday 5:00 pm) have sold out for a number of years running.
The UW-Parkside Foreign Film Series does not provide ratings generated by the Motion Picture Association of America. Many foreign films have not received ratings from the MPAA, and the rating system itself may not reflect the sensibilities of our patrons.
For FFS patrons who are interested in taking children to one of our films, we recommend that they visit kids-in-mind for more information about a film's violence, sex, and profanity content. This site, however, does not include films that have not received a MPAA rating. In those cases where MPAA ratings are not available we encourage patrons to read reviews.
The UW-Parkside Foreign Film Series is a program of the College of Arts and Humanities and is included in the array of arts and cultural programming bearing the Rita name. Despite the film screenings taking place outside of the walls of the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts & Humanities, we are proud to be counted among the the state-of-the-art instructional facilities, stunning performance venues, and award-winning academic programs that serve our community. Learn more about The Rita.