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Chicago Latino Film Festival

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The 20th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival, presented by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, runs Friday, April 16, through Thursday, April 29. Film and video screenings will be at Art Institute Rubloff Auditorium, Columbus Drive at Monroe; Beverly Arts Center; Biograph; Chicago State Univ., 9501 S. King Dr.; Dominican Univ., 7900 W. Division, River Forest; Facets Cinematheque; Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake; Morton College, 3801 S. Central, Cicero; North Park Univ., 3225 W. Foster; Northwestern Univ. Block Museum of Art; Pipers Alley; Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk; Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski; 3 Penny; and Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center B2, 803 S. Morgan. Additional screenings in Aurora can be found at www.latinoculturalcenter.org/Filmfest/Locations/Partners.htm. Unless otherwise noted, all films are in Spanish with subtitles. Tickets are $10; $9 for students, senior citizens, and disabled persons; $8 for members of ILCC and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Festival passes, good for ten screenings, not including special events, are $80, $70 for ILCC members. For more information call 312-409-1757. Films marked with an asterisk (*) are highly recommended. Following is the schedule through April 22; a complete schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com.

FRIDAY, APRIL 16

* Valentin

Slated for commercial release in a few weeks, this 2002 Argentinean comedy by Alejandro Agresti might mistakenly be dismissed as sentimental claptrap along the lines of Cinema Paradiso: the title character (Rodrigo Noya) is an adorable cross-eyed boy whose aloof father has separated him from his mother and abandoned him to the care of his ailing grandma (Carmen Maura). The cuteness level climbs when Valentin and the father's beautiful new fiancee (Julieta Cardinali) fall for each other, but Agresti has more on his mind than tugging at heartstrings: a scene late in the film obliquely hints that Valentin's situation is more troubling than even he realizes, and buried even deeper is a robust critique of men's infantile responses to women. PG-13, 86 min. (JJ) Showing as part of the festival's 20th-anniversary gala; tickets are $20, $15 for ILCC members. (Art Institute Rubloff Auditorium, 6:00)

Alegre ma non troppo

Fernando Colomo directed this 1993 Spanish comedy about a mother-worshipping musician's quest to understand his own sexuality. 97 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

Bride to Be

A 1993 drama about two Jewish girls coming of age in Mexico in the 60s. Guita Schyfter directed. 115 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

A Question of Faith

On the run from the mob, a carver of religious statues and his assistant embark on a trip to deliver a life-size Virgin Mary to a remote mountain village, with the help of a professional gambler. Marcos Loayza directed this 1995 Bolivian drama. (Biograph, 7:00)

Jerico

A 16th-century Dominican monk sails to the Caribbean to proselytize the natives but ends up converting to their way of life. Then the conquistadors arrive. Luis Alberto Lamata directed this 1990 Venezuelan drama. 90 min. (3 Penny, 7:00)

Guantanamera

A Cuban civil servant devises a bureaucratic gasoline conservation scheme requiring towns to share the expense of transporting the dead to their graves. Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio directed this 1995 Cuban film. 101 min. (Biograph, 8:00)

Fruit of Labor

A pushcart vendor pursues the American dream on the streets of Oakland, California, in this 2003 documentary by Pepe Urquijo. 62 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:30)

SATURDAY, APRIL 17

Student segment

Admission is free. (Facets Cinematheque, 4:00)

Farmingville

Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini's 2003 documentary examines the attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers in a Long Island suburb. 78 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 5:00)

The Truce

This May-December romance is based on a novel by Mario Benedetti but strongly resembles TV soaps. Approaching retirement, a widower seems resigned to a life of solitary routine until he falls for a new, much younger employee in his office. The affair is complicated by his relationships with his three adult children, who have problems of their own. Director Alfonso Rosas Priego doesn't seem to trust the dramatic power of his material: time and again he rushes his scenes to an overwrought climax, followed by a fade to black. After the 20th fade-out--always underlined with gushy music--you start expecting commercials. 112 min. (Hank Sartin) (Biograph, 5:00)

Student segment

Admission is free. (Facets Cinematheque, 6:00)

A Titan in the Ring

Produced on a shoestring, this gritty 2002 drama from Ecuador surveys the torpid and duplicitous residents of a backward town in the Andes, among them a crooked wrestling promoter, a young thief who works for him, an alcoholic prostitute who services clients while her despondent young daughter tries to sleep, and a sensitive young priest (Norbert Stimpfig), recently transferred from Portugal, who moonlights as a mysterious hooded challenger at the town's Saturday-night wrestling matches. Director Viviana Cordero doesn't break any new ground, but this is a worthy contribution to the redoubtable genre of films dealing with poverty in Latin America. 111 min. (Joshua Katzman) (3 Penny, 6:00)

Carlos Against the World

Forced to take over as family breadwinner when his father dies, 25-year-old Carlos dons a suit each day but only pretends to go to work. Chiqui Carabante directed this 2002 Spanish feature. 91 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

The Con Game

Chico Durant directed this 2003 satire in which a con man sets out to dupe seven ethically challenged Peruvians from different walks of life. 98 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

War Takes

Colombian filmmakers Adelaida Trujillo and Patricia Castano spent several years compiling video journals documenting their respective families' methods of coping with life in a war-torn country on the brink of collapse. Although they're both middle-aged women of privilege, their tapes vividly demonstrate that social station is no buffer against chaos; people from all walks of life are regularly abducted by guerrillas or the opposing paramilitaries and often never heard from again. Humor, often pitch black, is the key to maintaining a semblance of sanity in both households. The scenes in which Trujillo and her biologist husband attempt to explain the state of things to their young children are deeply affecting. 78 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

The End of a Mystery

A goatherd nurses a wounded and amnesiac soldier to health in this 2003 drama set during the Spanish civil war. Miguel Hermoso directed. 103 min. (Biograph, 8:00)

India pravile

The title of this 2003 comedy, if you can call it that, is the name of a long-stalled screenplay by the protagonist, an out-of-work Argentine film director (Lito Cruz) plagued by suicidal tendencies despite living in material comfort surrounded by indulgent relatives and a genial best friend. In his 60s but still vigorous and strikingly handsome, Quiroga is a hypochondriac, yet won't abide by his physician's warning to cut down on the smokes. As advancing age collides with his narcissism, resulting in little beyond tedious conversations and selfish and irresponsible behavior--particularly toward his sensitive grandson--one begins to wish the washed-up artist would just get dispatched already. Mario Sabato directed. 97 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (3 Penny, 8:30)

Celeste & Estrela

Managing both to send up and suffer from cultural imperialism, Betse de Paula's fluffy Brazilian romantic comedy (2003) shamelessly borrows from Woody Allen (most blatantly the lobster scene from Annie Hall) and various American movies as it follows the screwball love affair between Celeste, an obsessed indie filmmaker (Dira Paes), and a chubby bureaucrat (Fabio Nassar) who vets scripts for state funding. Celeste's drive to encapsulate 500 years of Brazilian national history in one politically correct epic leads her to touchy-feely drama workshops and Hollywood screenplay gurus while her movie-within-a-movie's characters break the fourth wall to add asides. Meanwhile, her long-suffering lover's support raises the question of machismo's status in the new Brazil. In Portuguese with subtitles. 96 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (Biograph, 9:00)

Eva Peron: The True Story

Without singing even once, Esther Goris blows Madonna away as Eva Peron. Goris is riveting in this 1996 drama about the Argentinean politician whose acting career and affairs--central to Evita--are touched on only briefly; the focus is on her political goals and impact during the last years of her life. This slow-paced movie may appear dry and morbid compared to the musical version, but it's an effective character study with plenty of subtext: it's fascinating to watch Goris and Victor Laplace (as Juan Peron) demystify sensationalized figures. In Evita little Eva crashes her father's funeral; in Eva Peron she's allowed in--though when she recounts the story as an adult she says only that she was barred from the chapel because she was illegitimate. Eva Peron enables you to marvel at a character who's potent enough to command authority in a pink dress and frilly hat and passionate enough to evince fervor when bedridden; you're compelled to ponder her complex motivations throughout. Juan Carlos Desanzo directs a screenplay by Jose Pablo Feinmann. 119 min. (LA) (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

The Frontier

Exiled to a patch of coastal wilderness by the Chilean military government, a teacher finds love and confronts a tidal wave. Ricarrdo Larrain directed this 1991 drama. 115 min. (Biograph, 9:30)

Alegre ma non troppo

See listing for Friday, April 16. (Biograph, 10:00)

Rhythm of the Saints

Sarah Rogacki's feature debut is enhanced by playwright Cyn Canel Rossi's strong script, which deftly captures the slang and cadences of contemporary urban teenagers. Fifteen-year-old Rena (Daniella Alonso in a powerful, naturalistic performance) is sexually victimized by her mother's live-in lover. Afraid to confide in the parent, Rena spends as much time as possible away from home. When a girlfriend's aunt introduces her to the magical practices of Santeria, Rena and her pals earnestly attempt to put a hex on her abuser, with tragic results. While some of the ritual scenes seem contrived, the atmosphere of adolescent anguish is convincing. 83 min. (Joshua Katzman) (3 Penny, 10:30)

SUNDAY, APRIL 18

The King of the Farm

A fairly engaging children's film that mixes live action with computer and conventional animation. On a distant asteroid a young hero steals a powerful sphere from an evil tyrant and his robot henchman. He ends up stranded on earth disguised, due to his misinterpretation of intercepted TV signals, as an animated chicken from a cartoon show. The sphere falls into the hands of some kids at a summer camp, with shambolic results. The gentle humor focuses on the stupidity of grown-ups and the joy of food fights. Adults may find this a bit wearing, but young kids will like it. 84 min. (Hank Sartin) (Biograph, 4:00)

Student segment

Admission is free. (Facets Cinematheque, 4:00)

El Chino Bar

Martina, a director of superficial television documentaries, is assigned a project on tango bars. While researching a quaint dive called El Chino she meets Jorge, an older documentarian who long ago abandoned his own film about the joint. The two begin collaborating, and soon fall in love. Jorge is pessimistic about Argentina's economic situation but won't leave. Martina is torn between her love for Jorge and better job prospects in Europe. What begins as a simple love story gradually broadens into a complex meditation on Argentina's cultural and political history. Director Daniel Burak punctuates the story with bits of the interviews the two filmmakers are editing, to intriguing effect. 96 min. (Hank Sartin) (Biograph, 5:00)

Fruit of Labor

See listing for Friday, April 16. (Beverly Arts Center, 5:00)

Fruit of Labor

See listing for Friday, April 16. (Facets Cinematheque, 5:00)

The Agronomist

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this documentary about crusading broadcast journalist Jean Dominique ends with his assassination in April 2000 outside the offices of Radio Haiti, but it functions less as a biography than as a primer on the political conflicts that have roiled the island for decades, so it couldn't be more relevant now. Demme draws heavily on interviews with Dominique shot in New York in the early 90s during the coup against Aristide, and elicits lucid memories from Michele Montez, Dominique's wife and partner in the studio. The U.S.'s imperial influence on Haiti comes as no surprise, but I was struck by how closely the island's struggle for human rights has been tied to our presidential administrations. Take a wild guess which party's been on the wrong side. 91 min. (JJ) (Biograph, 6:00)

Student segment

Admission is free. (Facets Cinematheque, 6:00)

Around Flamenco

This three-part Spanish documentary by Paco Millan explores the international reach of flamenco culture, showing its roots in Gypsy Spain and raising questions about globalism and authenticity as dancers and musicians in New York and Tokyo emulate and adapt the form for their own purposes. Is flamenco a style easily translated, or an inherently Spanish phenomenon that loses power and depth when practiced by non-Spaniards? Millan's answer is sluggishly delivered, but he seems to believe the former. In English and subtitled Spanish and Japanese. 93 min. (Peter Margasak) (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

B-Happy

The life of a quiet schoolgirl is thrown into chaos when her unscrupulous father is released from prison. Gonzalo Justiniano directed this 2003 Chilean-Spanish-Venezuelan coproduction. 90 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

Bought & Sold

Modestly scaled, well produced, and often persuasively acted, Michael Tolajian's 2003 working-class drama makes the most of its Bayonne, New Jersey, setting for this tale of cherished dreams and hard knocks. Ray (Rafael Sardina), a young Puerto Rican shoe salesman, yearns to become a DJ but can't afford the turntables at a local resale shop. The owner, Kutty (David Margulies), a broken man haunted by memories of the Armenian genocide, is himself in hock to the neighborhood crime boss (Joe Grifasi), who likes Ray's enterprise and hires him as the pawnbroker's "cash flow supervisor." Romantic entanglements are among the more cliched elements of the script, which nicely captures the rhythms of quiet, small-town lives but taxes credibility in several key scenes. In English. 91 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (Biograph, 7:00)

Marasmus

Mauricio Mendiola's 2003 crime drama purports to have something important say about the cruelty and violence that grips his native Colombia as a result of the cocaine trade, but the characters are so grotesquely overdrawn that it plays like a violent comedy. With the exception of the heroine, a young woman on a cross-country bus trip to visit a childhood friend, every character is morally repugnant, though only the principal heavy, a coke-snorting guerrilla who turns against his Che Guevara-like leader, goes far enough over the top to be interesting. 85 min. (Joshua Katzman) (3 Penny, 7:00)

The Waiting

Silvia leads a life of quiet desperation, working long hours in a factory and taking care of her pain-racked, bedridden mother, with whom she constantly quarrels. The episodic structure of this 2002 Uruguayan drama makes it feel as if nothing is happening, until it becomes abruptly clear that a melodramatic plot twist has been lurking in the details. Director Aldo Garay reinforces the bleakness of the situation with squalid imagery; the oddly flat presentation of dramatic events unsettles without ever quite satisfying. 70 min. (Hank Sartin) (3 Penny, 9:00)

More Than Famous

Graham Rich's modest yet effective documentary chronicles fighter Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez's preparations for a title bout against featherweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although American born, Hernandez identifies closely with his Salvadoran heritage and is a folk hero in the old country. Rich delivers some surprisingly intimate moments with Hernandez, revealing him to be a sensitive, articulate family man refreshingly free of machismo. 70 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Seville Southside

If the films of Carlos Saura and Tony Gatlif have already whetted appetites for Spanish Gypsy lore and flamenco, then Dominique Abel's 2003 docudrama should spark further interest in these vibrant, endangered cultural forms. Only the slenderest narrative thread connects dozens of musical performances and a handful of reenacted dramatic encounters to weave a portrait of Gypsy life in a Seville slum, culminating in a televised concert to benefit the residents of the Poligono Sur public housing project. The neglect and discrimination the Gypsies experience at the hands of the Spanish majority has long been an obstacle to social progress, but these days the biggest threat comes from drugs and the undermining of traditional close-knit relationships within the community. Although the film offers intriguing glimpses into the lives of a guarded people, their music is as much a shield as a window here. 105 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (Biograph, 9:00)

The Car

Luis Orjuela directed this 2003 comedy about a Colombian family whose lives are changed by the acquisition of a classic Chevy. 93 min. (Biograph, 9:30)

Rhythm of the Saints

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Biograph, 9:30)

MONDAY, APRIL 19

ANC Hip Hop Revolution

Melina Fotiada directed this 2003 documentary about the Cuban hip-hip group, Anonimo Consejo. 70 min. Admission is free. (Harold Washington College, 12:30)

Fruit of Labor

See listing for Friday, April 16. Admission is free. (Chicago State Univ., 6:00)

My Hero

Beset by bullies, the new kid at a Seville grammar school takes refuge in the company of an imaginary friend in this 2002 drama. Director Antonio Cuadri will attend the screening, part of the festival's "A Night of Spain" program. Tickets are $30, $25 for ILCC and Instituto Cervantes members. 103 min. (Pipers Alley, 6:00)

Celeste & Estrela

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Biograph, 6:30)

Bought & Sold

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

The Con Game

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Biograph, 7:00)

The End of a Mystery

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Biograph, 7:00)

A Titan in the Ring

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (3 Penny, 7:00)

War Takes

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Farmingville

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

* Heaven

This 2003 documentary by Romanian filmmaker Alina Teodorescu picks up where Buena Vista Social Club left off, showcasing a group of young Cuban musicians, called Madera Limpia, who are the spiritual descendants of the earlier film's elder statesmen. Teodorescu opens on a beach as several players drum on tree limbs and plastic containers, and the hypnotically percussive music that follows, much of it produced by worn drum kits and tarnished trumpets, is a heady blend of rap, changui, samba, and son. The film captures the rhythms of daily life among the district's proud but impoverished inhabitants, though any documentary about urban Cuba is worth a look just for the music and the splendidly preserved American cars from the 50s that prowl the streets like so many dinosaurs. 96 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Biograph, 9:00)

Carlos Against the World

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (3 Penny, 9:30)

Confessing to Laura

A Colombian woman gets her husband to take a birthday cake to her best friend's house; snipers and rioting in the street oblige him to spend the night there. Jaime Orsorio Gomez directed this 1990 feature. 90 min. (Biograph, 9:30)

The Truce

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (Biograph, 9:30)

TUESDAY, APRIL 20

The Car

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Biograph, 6:30)

Invisible Evidence

A left-wing reporter from the U.S. arrives to find that his contact there has gone missing under sinister circumstances, and while investigating the disappearance he falls in love with the missing man's sister, who may know more than she's letting on. This inept Guatemalan video (2003) is framed as a political thriller, but the story is effectively depoliticized by the characters' endless conversations about the meaning of life, the nature of truth, and the eternal struggle between good and evil. Alejandro Castillo Close directed. In English and subtitled Spanish. 102 min. (Cliff Doerksen) Admission is free. (Dominican Univ., 6:30)

B-Happy

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Biograph, 7:00)

Breaking Up

In the opening scene of this very talky 2002 comedy, a group of Brazilian intellectuals discuss Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's famed stages of dying (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance); the screenplay then applies them to the breakup of a relationship. Cabral, the husband, justifies his desire to take a "time out" from his marriage with some philosophical sleight of hand; his wife at first resists, then agrees when sparks fly between her and another man. The couple spend the rest of the movie intellectualizing their angst like Brazilian versions of Woody Allen characters. Director Domingos de Oliveira's lively direction nearly compensates for none of the characters being particularly appealing. In Portuguese with subtitles. 116 min. (Hank Sartin) (Biograph, 7:00)

India pravile

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (3 Penny, 7:00)

Invisible Evidence

See listing for this date above. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Malamor

Seventeen-year-old Lisa is a lost soul: a heroin addict who talks to her teddy bear, "adopts" a human fetus in a jar, and obsesses about her mother's junkie boyfriend. Director Jorge Echeverri's chronicle of her last ten days of getting high and hanging out strives to equate mental illness with poetry, but its jarring mixture of dreamlike images and gritty realism never quite adds up to anything. 93 min. (Hank Sartin) (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

El Chino Bar

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Biograph, 9:00)

More Than Famous

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Seville Southside

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (3 Penny, 9:00)

Bought & Sold

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Biograph, 9:30)

* Lovesick Dust

A top-notch script makes this steamy 2003 melodrama a guilty pleasure even as it explores the psychodynamics of religious ecstasy and the moral limitations of faith. A voluptuous young bride, who's given up convent life under protest to marry her much older godfather, the mayor of a Peruvian fishing village, remains a pious virgin, much to the consternation of her besotted husband and his equally smitten son. The town's new priest, a virile freethinker and political activist, joins the community's fight against corporate predators but can't evade the snares of lust. Although it tackles some of the same themes as Carlos Carrera's El crimen del Padre Amaro, in place of cynicism and church bashing Luis Barrios' film offers insight and nuance. The sex is hotter too. 106 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (Biograph, 9:30)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21

Remembrance

A 2003 documentary about Luis Frank, a Lithuanian emigrant to Mexico and an American spy. Marcela Arteaga directed. Admission is free. 86 min. (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, noon)

* About the Living

After a young Mexican girl is killed by a car, her brother, mother, and father each cope with her death differently, but 11 years later all three are still haunted by the tragedy: the brother has become fascinated with the notion of death by drowning, the mother is obsessed with her job hosting a tabloid talk show, and the disconsolate father wanders the city, filming girls he imagines could be his daughter. With sleek monochromatic visuals and a dense, haunting score, this astute 2001 psychological drama by Jorge Aguilera shows how grief and denial have irrevocably alienated the survivors from each other, creating another kind of death. 80 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Biograph, 6:30)

Finally, the Sea

At a time when the new Argentinean cinema seems to be going through an unusually exciting and fertile period, the festival continues to select the most banal and conventional stuff imaginable from that country. This lachrymose and poorly acted Argentinian-Cuban coproduction (2003), about a Wall Street hotshot traveling to Havana to investigate his emigre roots, is distinctive only for its utter lack of distinction. Jorge Dyszel directed. In English and subtitled Spanish. 95 min. (JR) (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Marasmus

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (3 Penny, 7:00)

My Hero

See listing for Monday, April 19. (Biograph,7:00)

Study for a Paraguayan Siesta

Lia Danzker directed this 2003 drama, filmed in Buenos Aires with a nonprofessional cast. 87 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Tieta do Agreste

Carlos Diegues directed this 1996 comedy based on a Jorge Amado novel. Sonia Braga stars. 115 min. In Portuguese with subtitles. (Biograph, 7:00)

The Little Polish

A 13-year-old street kid literally sings for his supper, imitating a famous tango singer on the trains running through Buenos Aires's famed Central Station. He dreams of better things for himself and the prostitute he loves, but you know from the first frame that he is doomed. Juan Carlos Desanzo's 2003 drama is purportedly based on a true story, but it's the ghosts of other films about kids living on the margins (Pixote, Central Station) that seem to hover in the background. In sum: solid but thoroughly familiar. 93 min. (Hank Sartin) (Biograph, 8:45)

The Agronomist

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (3 Penny, 9:00)

Jerico

See listing for Friday, April 16. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Guantanamera

See listing for Friday, April 16. (Biograph, 9:30)

Malamor

See listing for Tuesday, April 20. (Biograph, 9:30)

THURSDAY, APRIL 22

Finally, the Sea

See listing for Wednesday, April 21. Admission is free. (Morton College, 11:30 am)

Plan Colombia: Cashing In on the Drug War Failure

Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy's advocacy video makes a compelling case against American antidrug and military aid programs in Colombia. Tight montages of talking heads argue that 20 years of aerial spraying of coca crops has failed to curtail cocaine production while causing unconscionable ecological and human damage (a farmer recounts how his banana and yuca crops were also sprayed). The video further suggests that "Plan Colombia"--which entailed billions of dollars in aid to the Colombian military--was actually intended as an intervention in Colombia's civil war: since 9/11 the aid package has been defined as a measure against "terrorism" in the form of leftist guerrilla forces, which may have been our real target all along. 56 min. (FC) Admission is free. (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, noon)

ANC Hip Hop Revolution

See listing for Monday, April 19. Admission is free. (Richard J. Daley College, 1:00)

Finally, the Sea

See listing for Wednesday, April 21. Admission is free. (Morton College, 1:30)

Stray Bullet A short film by Victor Lopes. (Biograph, 6:00)

Durval Records

The freewheeling rock-driven opening credits are in stark tonal contrast to the rest of this downbeat 2002 black comedy from Brazil about a fortysomething Sao Paolo music seller resisting the seismic shift from vinyl to digital, circa 1995. It's not just his preference for golden oldies that leaves Durval (Ary Franca) stuck in the past and a dead-end business; he's also a quintessential mama's boy, which makes him the perfect mark for a fetching new maid. Enter a charming but willful moppet, and what initially felt like a domestic sitcom morphs into a bleak absurdist parable of the dangers of passivity and denial. Anna Muylaert coscripted and directs. In Portuguese with subtitles. 96 min. (Andrea Gronvall) (Biograph, 6:30)

Fruit of Labor

See listing for Friday, April 16. Admission is free. (Richard J. Daley College, 7:00)

Police Woman

A grieving young widow (Amelia Coroa) discovers that her eight-year-old son (Ludovic Videira) has joined a gang of young thieves. Rather than lose him to reform school, she flees their backwater town with him and another child in tow. What seems at first a bucolic journey through the countryside becomes an inescapable nightmare, and the final act unfolds almost exclusively after dark, reflecting writer-director Joaquim Sapinho's sense of human depravity. The resolution is heartbreakingly tragic, though the modest narrative ultimately buckles under its own existential weight. In Portuguese with subtitles. 84 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Biograph, 7:00)

Profit and Nothing But!

Raoul Peck's 2001 video essay argues that capitalism is "spinning out of control." To make his case Peck intercuts footage of his native Haiti with strangely depopulated views of New York and Paris, but striking imagery is no substitute for analysis, and the theoretical segments, comprising interviews with European leftists and an intrusive narration, are lifelessly didactic. Aside from some details about the small profits to be earned in a Haitian market, Peck has no use for facts; the paucity of information he provides about its people, history, and culture ultimately fulfill Peck's weird declaration that Haiti "doesn't exist." In English and subtitled French and Haitian Creole. 57 min. (FC) (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Red Passport

Paroled early thanks to Mafia connections, a convicted counterfeiter hits the streets of New York City; he hopes to reclaim an engraved plate for $100 bills so he can repay his mob benefactors with funny money and go home to the Dominican Republic, but his double-crossing ex-partners won't tell him where it is. Albert Xavier's 2003 crime drama strives to be gritty, but it has a holding pattern for a plot and the tough-guy dialogue bears the awkward, repetitive stamp of amateur improvisation. The editing is pretty good for such a modestly budgeted film. In English and subtitled Spanish. 93 min. (Cliff Doerksen) (3 Penny, 7:00)

Alex Lora, Rock 'n' Roll Slave

El Tri was one of the first Mexican rock bands to write songs in Spanish, and its lyrics identify strongly with the working class, but you'd never guess either from this adoring concert film. Director Luis Kelly provides no history or perspective as he follows the veteran musicians on tours of South America and the U.S., just fart jokes and endless hard-rock performances. The overwhelming focus is on lead singer Alex Lora, who plays a bass custom-built in the shape of a hand, its neck an extended middle finger that shoots white liquid on the audience; returning the compliment, thousands of screaming fans lovingly address him as "Asshole." 120 min. (Peter Margasak) (Biograph, 8:30)

The Waiting

See listing for Sunday, April 18. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Eva Peron: The True Story

See listing for Saturday, April 17. (3 Penny, 9:00)

* Heaven

See listing for Monday, April 19. (Biograph, 9:00)

The Nominee

Gabriel Lopez and Nacho Argiro directed this 2003 Chilean satire of reality TV set in the near future. 100 min. (Biograph, 9:00)

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