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Chicago Latino Film Festival

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The 19th annual Chicago Latino Film Festival, presented by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, continues Friday through Thursday, April 11 through 17. Film and video screenings will be at Association House, 2150 W. North; Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.; Biograph; Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski; Facets Cinematheque; I.C.E. Cinema, 2258 W. 62nd St.; Morton College, 3801 S. Central, Cicero; North Park University, 3225 W. Foster; Northwestern Univ. Block Museum of Art; Three Penny; and Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center B2, 750 S. Halsted. Tickets for most programs are $9; $8 for students, senior citizens, and disabled persons; $7 for members of ILCC and the Illinois Arts Alliance. Festival passes, good for ten screenings not including special events, are $70, $60 for ILCC members. For more information call 312-409-1757. Films marked with an * are highly recommended; unless otherwise noted, all films are in Spanish with subtitles.

FRIDAY, APRIL 11

Dirt

Nancy Savoca (Dogfight) directed this 90-minute drama about an illegal immigrant from El Salvador trying to hold her family together in New York City. Also on the program: Gabriela Calvache's Ecuadoran short Phone Crush (11 min.). (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center B2, noon)

Mi casa, su casa

This silly and scattered 2002 comedy by first-time director Bryan Lewis centers on the Latino gardener (Gerardo Mejia) of a Beverly Hills mansion who wins $62 million in the lottery as his racist employer (cold fish Roy Werner) is going broke. Eager to win a green card for his tempestuous sister (Laura Elena Harring), the gardener begins lodging his extended family in the mansion, and a trite romance ensues between the employer and the sister. The dialogue is pretty stale ("What part of $62 million don't you understand?"), but the warm characterizations make this a pleasant enough experience. In English. 95 min. (Jennifer Vanasco) (Biograph, 6:00)

View of the Condor

Short vignettes reveal the different approaches taken by several Colombian artists in this sensitive 2002 documentary directed by Cecilia Posada. Jose Alejandro Restrepo says one needs to use delirious methods to approach a delirious reality; Alvaro Restrepo says his dances express his "internal searchings"; Andrea Echeverry says she likes the combination of beauty and utility in ceramics; Fernando Botero says his "almost nostalgic" themes reflect his childhood and adolescence. But the film loses focus because Posada doesn't keep the artists' comments together. Several discuss how the violence in Colombia affects their work, and Botero admits that it forces him to spend much of his time out of the country. 53 min. (FC) (Facets Cinematheque, 6:00)

The Tiger of Santa Julia

The early 20th-century bandit Jesus Negrete was mythologized as a Robin Hood figure in the contemporary Mexican broadside press, and this 2002 comic adventure by writer-director Alejandro Gamboa offers a sardonic, media-savvy take on his career. After wandering into town and saving a woman from her abusive husband, Negrete (Miguel Rodarte) is taken under the wing of a sly editor who promotes him as the righteous "Tiger of Santa Julia." A gang of rebellious women accumulates around the handsome desperado, but then group sex leads to jealousy and a deadly betrayal. The overall tone of the film is too light to accommodate its frequently sadistic violence: think of The Wild Bunch with raven-haired babes standing in for Ernest Borgnine and Warren Oates. 120 min. (JJ) Gamboa and Rodarte will attend the screening. Showing as part of the festival's "Noche Mexicana Fiesta"; tickets are $65, $50 for ILCC members, and include admission to a postscreening party. (Biograph, 6:30)

Dirt

See above for listing. (Richard J. Daley College, 7:00)

Rosa, la China

Set in the casinos of prerevolutionary Havana, this story of romantic betrayal was directed by Valeria Sarmiento (Notre mariage). A coproduction of Portugal, France, Spain, and Cuba. (2002, 106 min.) (I.C.E. Cinema, 7:00)

Southern Star

After years of exile in Argentina, a man returns home to Uruguay seeking peace, but his political past threatens to catch up with him in this 2002 Uruguayan-Argentinean-Spanish drama by Luis Nieto. 97 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

Vladimir in Buenos Aires

The title character (Mikhail Rojkov in a strong performance) is a Russian emigre working as a security guard and trying to adjust to a corrupt Argentinean society. This 2002 feature by Diego Gachassin follows Vladimir's affair with a part-time prostitute and his friendship with another local Russian who works as an intern, plays the saxophone, and drinks increasing amounts of vodka. Gachassin is an accomplished stylist, and the black-and-white cinematography is appropriately claustrophobic. In Spanish and Russian with subtitles. 94 min. (JR) Also on the program: Monserrat Larque's Mexican short Poison (2002, 2 min.). (Three Penny, 7:00)

* Haunted Land

In 1982 the residents the Mayan village of Petanac were slain by the Guatemalan military, one of over 600 such massacres in a decades-long civil war. Canadian director Mary Ellen Davis documents the 2000 return of one of 13 escapees, Mateo Pablo, to the site of his family's murder in this rambling but nonetheless searing 2002 video. A ceremonial reburial of bones exhumed from a mass grave, with chant-ing and candles, is deeply poignant, as is Pablo's lament that the killers remain free "while the souls of others are broken by sadness." Also shown is work by artist Daniel Hernandez-Salazar, whose photographs addressing the massacre--although inadequately reproduced--look intriguing. In Spanish and French with subtitles. 74 min. (FC) Also on the program: Gustav Tarretto's Argentinean short Sunburn (2002, 15 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 8:00)

La Tropical

David Turnley's 2001 documentary centers on a Havana night club, the Salon Rosada de La Tropical, but its real subject is Cuban attitudes about race, class, and nationalism. Shot in beautifully textured black-and-white video and then transferred to film, the movie has an intoxicating, sexually charged rhythm and seems sharply attuned to the lives of the impoverished black musicians, singers, and dancers who perform at the club. Unfortunately, it's poorly structured, and the absence of a unifying shape significantly blunts its impact. 95 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Biograph, 8:30)

No sabe/no contesta

This 2001 Argentinean comedy directed by Fernando Musa concerns an obsessive film student who sees all of life as through a viewfinder. 90 min. Also on the program: Martin Rosete's Spanish short The Revolution (2002, 7 min.). (Biograph, 9:00)

Rancor

Initially promising, this 2002 Spanish thriller by Miguel Albaladejo deteriorates steadily, turning nasty and stupid in the final reel. In a sleepy coastal community a brittle singer (Lolita Flores) recognizes a small businessman (Jorge Perugorria) as a criminal she knew a decade earlier. Unwilling to allow him to turn over a new leaf, she sets in train a violent and unlikely sequence of events that culminates in a convoluted hostage crisis. Albaladejo never achieves a stable style or tone, the dialogue is strained, and the characters are poorly defined. 106 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Three Penny, 9:00)

Rosa, la China

See above for listing. (I.C.E. Cinema, 9:00)

The Inheritance

Four estranged sisters--a stiff housewife, a divorcee living in Paris, an unattached single addicted to sex and plastic surgery, and a lesbian graduate student--gather for the funeral of their mother and bicker over the sale of her apartment in Daniel Filho's fluffy 2001 comedy set in Rio de Janeiro. The script, which is filled with Dr. Phil-style psychologizing and Oprah moments, turns the men into buffoons and opportunists--obstacles to sisterly solidarity. The women are fun to watch when they're being bitchy, but the badly executed farcical end makes a travesty of any feminist message. In Portuguese with subtitles. 93 min. (TS) (Biograph, 9:30)

Mina Alaska

A young journalist travels to Bolivia in search of her treasure-hunting grandfather. Jorge Ruiz directed this 1968 Bolivian feature. 84 min. Also on the program: Vivienne Barry's Chilean animations Como alitas de Chincol (2002, 10 min.) and Tata colores (1993, 2 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 10:00)

Bitter Sweet

Sonia Valentine directed this 2002 murder mystery set in a Puerto Rican fish factory. 120 min. (Biograph, 11:00)

Eternal Blood

A journalism student agrees to take part in a role-playing game and finds herself beset by vampires in this 2002 Chilean horror flick. Jorge Olguin directed. 110 min. (Biograph, 11:00)

SATURDAY, APRIL 12

Made in Chicago

Short work from Latino Art Beat, Video Machete, Columbia College, and Harriet Beecher Stowe School. (Facets Cinematheque, 4:00)

No sabe/no contesta

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 4:00)

El bruto

Pedro, an enthusiastic young butcher nicknamed "the Brute," leaves the slaughterhouse to work as a rent collector for a Mexico City slumlord. But the slumlord's wife is so impressed by his physical prowess (he kills a delinquent tenant with one blow) that she takes him as her lover. Katy Jurado and Pedro Armendariz star in this 1952 production from Luis Bunuel's Mexican period, showing as part of the festival's tribute to Jurado. 83 min. (Biograph, 4:15)

Barr--n y cuenta nueva

In this embarrassing mess (2002, 90 min.) by Venezuelan director Henrique Lazo, a middle-aged woman is jolted from the comfort of her life in a gated community by the discovery that her husband has been cheating on her. She subsequently becomes embroiled in a dalliance with a soap star and a mystery surrounding the death of the mistress of a high-ranking government minister; all the while looters and cops battle in the streets of Caracas. Lazo may have social satire in mind, but the inept script, hokey dialogue, and hysterical acting bring to mind the lesser work of Ed Wood. (TS) (Three Penny, 5:00)

Heads or Tails

This 2003 Ecuadoran drama by Camilio Luzuriaga concerns a grown woman returning from the U.S. to the family she has not seen since childhood. 90 min. (Biograph, 5:00)

The First Night

Two brothers from an impoverished Colombian farm family follow separate paths: one joins a guerrilla force while the other joins the army. Luis Alberto Restrepo directed. 90 min. Also on the program: El delivery (2002, 8 min.) by Juan Castilo of the Dominican Republic. (Biograph, 6:00)

Miranometokei: Thorns of the Soul

This 2002 Paraguayan video resembles the deliriously improbable Mexican soap operas shown on daytime television; the story careens from one unlikely plot twist to another and most shots are artlessly composed, but writer-director-cameraman Enrique Collar deploys the cliches with such abandon that it's hard not to surrender to guilty pleasure. In one of its four story lines, a shy schoolgirl (Katherine Catolino) gets a job at a chic clothing boutique and allows herself to be seduced by her boss (Jose Perez Chavez), a sleazy voyeur. Of course she's not the guileless wallflower she appears to be, and the unabashedly contrived climax attains a level of nearly surreal ritual. 115 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Biograph, 6:00)

* A Thief and His Wife

A career criminal (Ramon Llao), sent to prison for stealing a suitcase, implores his patient and forgiving wife (Amparo Noguera) to visit him in this buoyant and graceful 2001 Chilean feature. Director Rodrigo Sepulveda has an assured, low-key style that privileges his gifted actors, and the plot reversals, with their themes of freedom and chance, are beautifully framed by the movie's deeper concern with memory and time. It's a modest work, running just 74 minutes, but the characters' emotional attraction is never in doubt. (Patrick Z. McGavin) Also on the program: Jorge C. Dorado's Spanish short Lines of Fire (2002, 20 min.). (Biograph, 6:30)

Discovering Dominga

Patricia Flynn's 2002 drama centers on an Iowa housewife still haunted by memories of her childhood in Guatemala. 58 min. Also on the program: Javier Berazaluce Maturana's Chilean Private Property (2001, 38 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Dona Barbara

Fernando Fuentes directed this 1943 Mexican romance about a lady rancher who uses her feminine wiles to defend her land title, showing as part of the festival's tribute to actress Maria Felix. 139 min. (I.C.E. Cinema, 7:00)

* The Great Gato

Argentinean-born composer, lyricist, and singer Javier Patricio "Gato" Perez (1950-'90), who emigrated to Spain in his youth, is the subject of this engaging Spanish documentary by Ventura Pons (2002, 103 min.), in which lively performances of Perez's music are nicely juxtaposed with gab from his friends and relatives, both parts relaxed and intimate. Perez synthesized Gypsy songs, Catalan rumbas, rock, and elements of South American music while adding colorful and somewhat literary lyrics, and this is a warm tribute to his talent. In Catalan with subtitles. (JR) (Three Penny, 7:00)

Mi casa, su casa

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Urban Poet

This amateurish digital video is supposed to be a gritty drama from the streets of Humboldt Park, but its most authentic moment is an establishing shot of a construction worker pouring cement. Gloricelly Martinez-Franceschi, who cowrote the script, stars as a young Puerto Rican woman who blossoms after getting involved in poetry slams at a local cafe. Her best friend, an aspiring musician, gets taken in by a smooth-talking record producer, and her hardworking boyfriend is caught between his union-busting boss and his angry coworkers, but both these subplots are aborted to make way for a climactic 30-minute poetry showdown whose outcome is numbingly predictable. Antonio Franceschi directed. 98 min. (JJ) Also on the program: Hugo Diogo and Nuno Jardim's Portuguese short Blue Moon (2001, 14 min.). (Richard J. Daley College, 7:00)

Mondays in the Sun

A group of friends struggle to make ends meet after being laid off from their shipyard jobs. Fernando Leon de Aranoa directed this 2002 feature, a Spanish-French-Italian coproduction. 113 min. (Biograph, 8:00)

Dirt

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 8:45)

Neither Living, nor Dead

Set in 1980, at the time of the Argentinean military junta, this gripping 2001 feature by Victor Jorge Ruiz is a story of moral complicity, isolation, voyeurism, and loss of individuality. A Buenos Aires mathematician whose wife has been missing for two years is taken from his children by state security operatives, who install him in a building and offer to free his wife if he'll decipher wiretaps and surveillance photographs for them. His task is complicated by a sexual relationship with a mysterious woman living in the same building, whose motivation only deepens the movie's ambiguous, off-center rhythm. In English. 94 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) Also on the program: Guido Jimenez's Spanish short As Far Out as Here (From the Vatican With Love) (2002, 17 min.). (Three Penny, 9:00)

Rancor

See listing for Friday, April 11. (I.C.E. Cinema, 9:00)

Resistencia: hip-hop en Colombia

A British-Colombian documentary (2002) about rappers and DJs, directed by Tom Feiling. 51 min. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Carol's Journey

A restrained story about a 12-year-old tomboy from New York City who suddenly finds herself on the periphery of the Spanish civil war. Clara Lago plays Carol, a quiet but willful girl whose American father, a commercial airline pilot, has volunteered for the International Brigades; her elegant Spanish mother returns to her native village with Carol in tow. Showing the savagery of war from the eyes of a child is a well-worn conceit, but this 2001 Spanish feature peers into the opposite end of the telescope: in one sweet if unlikely scene, Carol's father takes a break from the fall of Madrid to fly over the village and drop her a birthday gift. Imanol Uribe directed. 104 min. (JJ) (Biograph, 9:30)

Bitter Sweet

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 11:00)

Cuban Rafters

Carlos Bosch and Joseph M. Domenech directed this 2002 film that follows the lives of seven Cuban emigres. 120 min. (Biograph, 11:00)

Minimal Knowledge

This supernatural police thriller (2002) doesn't do its genres justice; plot developments are either ludicrously coincidental or telegraphed way in advance. A Chilean-American homicide detective (Cristian de la Fuente) has solved every murder he's been assigned, but he's haunted by the memory of his first American sweetheart being killed by a truck (an annoying and repeated slow-motion flashback) and becomes smitten with a woman (Izabella Miko) who might be her incarnation. Writer-director-editor Gregory J. Corrado goes for a noirish atmosphere, but his lack of formal command defeats him. In English with Spanish subtitles. 95 min. (Joshua Katzman) (Facets Cinematheque, 11:00)

SUNDAY, APRIL 13

Urban Poet

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Morton College, 2:00)

Dirt

See listing for Friday, April 11. (North Park Univ., 3:30)

Made in Chicago

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Facets Cinematheque, 4:00)

La Tropical

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 4:30)

Collect Call

A sleazy, cynical, self-referential tale from director Luis Argueta, in which actor Oscar Almengor--star of Argueta's 1994 film The Silence of Neto--plays himself, a Guatemalan farmhand who dreams of a movie career. Lured to New York by Argueta's promise of work, Almengor arrives to learn that the director is out of town and falls prey to Argueta's girlfriend and his driver, sadomasochistic lovers who take him for all he's got. Although Argueta manages to wring some genuine emotion out of Almengor's thwarted dreams, his film is ultimately pointless. 82 min. (TS) Also on the program: Kristin Pichaske's short Teatro Roots (2001, 9 min.). (Facets Cinematheque, 5:00)

No sabe/no contesta

See listing for Friday, April 11. (I.C.E. Cinema, 5:00)

One or the Other

Marcel Sisniega directed this 2002 drama about twin sisters in northern Mexico competing for the love of a man. 90 min. (Biograph, 5:00)

Rancor

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 5:00)

Discovering Dominga

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Morton College, 5:30)

Urban Poet

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Beverly Arts Center, 6:00)

Miranometokei: Thorns of the Soul

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Biograph, 6:30)

A Beautiful Secret

Leopoldo Laborde directed this 2002 Mexican feature, a coming-of-age tale about a 12-year-old boy who forges a friendship with an ill-tempered old woman (Katy Jurado in her final role). Showing as part of the festival's tribute to Jurado. 129 min. (Biograph, 7:00)

* Chico

Eduardo Rozsa Flores plays the title role, the child of a communist revolutionary, who grows up to be a soldier, a journalist, and finally a guerrilla fighter for the far right in Croatia. Directed by Hungarian Ibolya Fekete, this 2001 Chilean-European coproduction speeds from one revolutionary battle zone to another, showing desperate lives everywhere from Chile to Israel to Albania to Hungary to Croatia. Part fiction and part documentary, the story is moving even when jumps in time and space leave it rather opaque; the hero's search for moral and ideological certainty in a blurry world offers a challenging meditation on war and political collapse around the globe. In English and subtitled Hungarian and Spanish. 108 min. (Jennifer Vanasco) (Three Penny, 7:00)

Francisco Sanchez-Paco de Lucia

Daniel Hernandez traces a rambling path through the life of brilliant flamenco guitarist Francisco Sanchez (known as Paco de Lucia), beginning with his wealthy background in Algeciras, Spain, and ending with one of his tours of the United States. This 2002 Spanish documentary is strictly for fans: Gomez snorkels in Mexico (again and again) and relaxes with pals who drown him in vapid praise. His fluid, jazzy improvisation is gorgeous, his fingering deft--if this were a concert video instead of a biography, the result would likely be stunning. 94 min. (Jennifer Vanasco) Also on the program: The Lady in Yellow (2002, 11 min.), a short by Robert-Louis James. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Something in the Air

This timely 2002 Brazilian film tells the true story of Radio Favela, a renegade station started in the slums of Rio de Janeiro in 1980 as a sharp retort to racism, police repression, and the corporate stranglehold on the airwaves. An angry young student (Alexandre Moreno) and several friends patch together the most basic equipment to broadcast their message, a heady dose of community activism, speechifying, and contemporary music. With agitprop zeal directors Helvecio Ratton and Jorge Duran depict a period in Brazilian black culture when funk and hip-hop erupted as an expression of solidarity and discontent. The police spend years dogging the pirate broadcasters, continually arresting them and destroying their transmitters, but they keep reemerging as potent as ever. In Portuguese with subtitles. 92 min. (Joshua Katzman) Also on the program: Carlos Villegas's Venezuelan short Rose, a Delusion (2001, 13 min.). (Biograph, 7:00)

The Tiger of Santa Julia

See listing for Friday, April 11. (I.C.E. Cinema, 7:00)

Mi casa, su casa

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 9:00)

Eternal Blood

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Three Penny, 9:30)

* Haunted Land

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:30)

Potestad

Riding a subway, an aging doctor relives traumas associated with the kidnappings and killings of Argentina's "dirty war" of the 70s, including the loss of his daughter. Director Luis Cesar D'Angiolillo adapted a play by actor and theater director Eduardo Pavlovsky, leading us through a procession of melodramatic memories and nightmares that are less evocative of Fellini and Bergman than of their heavier imitators (e.g., Sidney Lumet in The Pawnbroker); this 2001 Argentinean drama also reminded me of Arthur Miller, but not at his best. The suitably oppressive title, which means "power," is glossed at both the beginning and end of the picture to make the feeling of doom even more inescapable. 89 min. (JR) Also on the program: Salvador Aguirre and Alejandro Lubezki's Mexican short From Mesmer With Love or Tea for Two (2002, 10 min.). (Biograph, 9:30)

The Three Marias

In this 2002 revenge drama set in Brazil's northeastern frontiers, a brooding widow dispatches her three daughters (all named Maria) to hire three assassins to kill the men responsible for murdering her husband and sons. Striving for the elemental power of a Sergio Leone western, director Aluizio Abranches lards his schematic story with mystical portents (the number three is everywhere, and biblical allusions abound) and props it up with some dazzling visuals, but the stylistic bombast undercuts the storytelling and the vengeful matriarch's feminist posturing borders on the ludicrous. In Portuguese with subtitles. 90 min. (TS) Also on the program: Carlos Caridad Montero's Venezuelan short Tough Guy's Day (2002, 12 min.). (Biograph, 9:30)

MONDAY, APRIL 14

Discovering Dominga

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center B2, noon)

Dirt

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Biograph, 6:30)

Three Nights in a Saturday

In this 2001 Chilean feature directed by Joaquin Eyzaguirre, fate brings reveling strangers together on a Saturday night. 80 min. Also on the program: Pedro Carvana's Brazilian short Candido's Short Story (2001, 15 min.). (Biograph, 6:45)

Dirty Laundry

The murder of a nun leads to a witch-hunt inside her convent in Carlos Palau's 2002 Colombian feature. 132 min. (Three Penny, 7:00)

Francisco Sanchez-Paco de Lucia

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Herencia

The title of this so-so Argentinean indie (2002, 93 min.) means "heritage" or "inheritance," which apparently alludes both to the 24-year-old German (Adrian Witzke) who arrives in Buenos Aires with minimal Spanish looking haplessly for the love of his life and to the aging, cantankerous Italian restaurant owner (Rita Cortese) who takes him in and recalls how she once came to the city for similar reasons. I wasn't happy with the Muzak-like score, the predictable sentimental flourishes, or Witzke's inexpressiveness, but Cortese has her moments. Written and directed by Paula Hernandez. (JR) Also on the program: Diego Leon Ruiz's Cuban short Lost Line (2002, 19 min.). (Biograph, 7:00)

Minimal Knowledge

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Potestad

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (North Park Univ., 7:00)

Cuban Rafters

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Three Penny, 9:00)

The First Night

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Biograph, 9:00)

Oscar Aleman: A Swinging Life

As you might guess from the banal subtitle, this 2002 documentary by Hernan Gaffet is a less than satisfying look at the intriguing Argentinean jazz guitarist and entertainer Oscar Aleman (1909-'80). Raised by an impoverished Spanish-Indian family and untrained as a musician, Aleman made a name for himself in the 30s as part of Josephine Baker's Paris orchestra (and may have been her lover); World War II drove him back to Argentina, where he eventually became even more popular. Gaffet's approach is frustrating: he provides analyses of Aleman's improvisational style but no musical illustrations, and most of the film consists of photos and talking heads with random bits of his music chugging in the background. But a few tantalizing clips show how charismatic Aleman could be as a guitarist, singer, dancer, and comic actor. 104 min. (JR) (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Story of a Kiss

A man relives his childhood when he returns to Spain to bury his beloved uncle. Jose Luis Garci directed this 2002 Spanish feature. 105 min. (Biograph, 9:30)

Gangs of Rosario

After 30 years in prison in Rosario, two small-time stumblebums (Federico Luppi and Ulises Dumont--the latter a significant figure in classic Argentinean cinema) try to recover their hidden loot, with messy results. Writer-director Rodrigo Grande has an inventive and nuanced style; he knows how to fill a wide-screen frame and even manages to incorporate a couple of intriguing musical numbers in his melancholy tale. But, as with Catch Me if You Can, the offhand misogyny leaking around the edges of this 2002 drama spoiled most of it for me. 90 min. (JR) (Biograph, 9:30)

TUESDAY, APRIL 15

Discovering Dominga

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (North Park Univ., 5:00)

Urban Poet

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lecture Center B2, 5:00)

Borr--n y cuenta nueva

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Biograph, 6:30)

A Beautiful Secret

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Biograph, 6:45)

Discovering Dominga

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Beverly Arts Center, 7:00)

Collect Call

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Oscar Aleman: A Swinging Life

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Northwestern Univ. Block Museum of Art, 7:00)

Something in the Air

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Three Penny, 7:00)

12 Hours

Several stories intertwine over a period that stretches from dusk to dawn in this 2000 Puerto Rican feature, and director Raul Marchand Sanchez, to his credit, doesn't try to make them dovetail at the conclusion. Among the characters out for a night on the town are a trio of female coworkers, each with a hard-luck story to tell but determined to have a roaring good time, and the daughter of one of them, a teenage girl who decides this is the night she should lose her virginity. As in many films with multiple story lines, the structure often seems forced, with some characters functioning as plot devices, and Sanchez subverts his best intentions with editorializing and maudlin dialogue. All things considered, this is a mess, but there's something appealing in its gritty look at San Juan nightlife. 89 min. (Joshua Katzman) Also on the program: Sergio Umansky's Mexican short Here Was the Anthem (2002, 22 min.). (Biograph, 7:00)

Mondays in the Sun

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Biograph, 9:00)

Paco de Lucia

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Potestad

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Three Penny, 9:00)

The Three Marias

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Biograph, 9:15)

Cuban Rafters

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Biograph, 9:30)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16

Herencia

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Biograph, 6:00)

Speaker Phone

Three parallel story lines, none the least bit convincing, dovetail at the climax of this frothy 2002 Brazilian comedy by Paulo Morelli. A young businessman unwittingly speed-dials his wife on a cell phone while his mistress is climbing all over him, and the line remains open while the adulterers are carjacked by a couple of thugs; meanwhile the businessman's partner, in cahoots with the mistress, sneaks into his office and tries to hack into his on-line bank account. With its flashy style, breezy humor, and Tarantino-style story construction, the film is so clearly modeled on hip American indies that I began to question the point of an international festival. 85 min. (JJ) Morelli will attend the screening. Showing as part of the festival's closing-night celebration. Tickets are $50, $40 for ILCC members, and include a postscreening party. (Biograph, 6:30)

Dirty Laundry

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Biograph, 6:45)

* Chico

See listing for Sunday, April 13. (Three Penny, 7:00)

Oscar Aleman: A Swinging Life

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Story of a Kiss

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Biograph, 8:30)

Dona Barbara

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Three Penny, 9:00)

Urban Poet

See listing for Saturday, April 12. (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Gangs of Rosario

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Biograph, 9:30)

Three Nights in a Saturday

See listing for Monday, April 14. (Biograph, 9:30)

THURSDAY, APRIL 17

Encore presentation

(Three Penny, 6:00)

Encore presentation

(Biograph, 6:30)

Encore presentation

(Biograph, 7:00)

Mina Alaska

See listing for Friday, April 11. (Facets Cinematheque, 7:00)

Raising Victor Vargas

A sneak preview of Peter Sollett's romantic comedy about a teenage lothario in a Dominican section of New York's Lower East Side. The film will open commercially next week. 88 min. (Biograph, 9:00)

Encore presentation

(Three Penny, 9:00)

12 Hours

See listing for Tuesday, April 15. (Biograph, 9:00)

Hacienda el Amor...Brujo

Set in Chicago, Ricardo Islas's 2002 video is a tiresome pseudodocumentary about the making of his earlier epic, a Spanish-language horror flick called Amor Brujo. Casting himself as a narcissistic filmmaker, Islas rips off Woody Allen's screen persona as well as the freewheeling sketch format of Allen's early films, all to disastrous effect. Most of the humor is misogynist or driven by sexual embarrassment, and none of it shows even a rudimentary grasp of comic timing, rhythm, or pace. In English and subtitled Spanish. 100 min. (Patrick Z. McGavin) (Facets Cinematheque, 9:00)

Encore presentation

(Biograph, 9:30)

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