53rd Chicago Int’l Film Festival International Competition Lineup

16 Films from Around the World Compete for the Esteemed Gold Hugo Award

9/19/2017, 1:23 p.m.
The Chicago International Film Festival has announced the 16 filmsselected for the International Competition category, a selection of outstanding films ...

Chicago - The Chicago International Film Festival has announced the 16 films

selected for the International Competition category, a selection of outstanding

films competing for the Festival’s top honor, the Gold Hugo. Eleven of the 16 films

in this year’s International Competition are made by Festival alumni returning with

their latest masterpieces, including previous Gold Hugo winners (Joanna Kos-Krause

and Aki Kaurismäki) and Silver Hugo winners (Mohammad Rasoulof and Diego Lerman).

The Competition is rounded out by a collection of internationally celebrated,

award-winning filmmakers and directors with ambitious second feature-length films

(Jimena Montemayor, Andrea Pallaoro, and Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza).

“All of the films in this exceptional competition are defined by the strength of

their storytelling and their powerful emotional resonance. It is very exciting that

a number of Festival favorites are returning with their most recent work, as we

continue to trace their careers,” said Artistic Director Mimi Plauché. “Be it the

streets of Kinshasa, a small Georgian village, the borderlands between the Ukraine

and Slovakia, or the highways of Los Angeles, each film has a unique flavor in its

specificity of place while telling stories that have universal reach.”

The following films will compete for the Festival’s top honor, the Gold Hugo. The

International Feature Film Competition is supported by Penelope R. and Robert


Arrhythmia -- Dir. Boris Khlebnikov, Russia/Finland/Germany

In this compelling, relatable drama, writer-director Khlebnikov trains his frenetic

lens on Oleg, a hard-charging, rule-breaking Russian paramedic determined to save

lives at any cost. But the stressful nightly calls fuel a destructive alcohol

dependency, which, in turn, threatens his marriage to a promising young doctor.

Beneath Oleg’s brash exterior lies a punishing self-doubt, but love offers a chance

at redemption. Russian with subtitles. 116 min.

Birds are Singing in Kigali (Ptaki Spiewaja w Kigali) -- Dir. Joanna Kos-Krauze, Poland

Polish ornithologist Anna saves a colleague's daughter from being swept up in the

Rwandan genocide and brings her back to Europe, where 23-year-old Claudine hopes to

build a new life. But the lure of Africa proves too strong—only there can either

woman come to terms with the tragedies they witnessed. With rich, nuanced

performances and evocative storytelling, Kos-Krauze crafts a bittersweet story about

the circuitous routes of healing. Polish, English, Kinyarwanda with subtitles. 113


The Confession -- Dir: Zaza Urushadze, Georgia/Estonia

In his follow-up to the arthouse hit Tangerines, Urushadze tells the story of a

film-director-turned-Orthodox-priest who uses cinema to bring the parishioners of a

small village closer to the church. After a screening of Some Like It Hot, the

residents note the resemblance between a local music teacher and Marilyn Monroe.

When Father Giorgi meets the siren in question, even he is not immune to temptation.

Georgian with subtitles. 89 min.

Félicité -- Dir. Alain Gomis, France/Belgium/Senegal

Single mother and chanteuse Félicité ekes out a living performing in a rough

Kinshasa bar. Her fiercely guarded independence is threatened after her son is

involved in a life-altering accident, and she must find a way to pay for his care. A