CLFF The Prize

April 14 Update: OK now we’ve seen it & we all loved it (“we” = Jan & Rich plus Monica & Jim). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, so attend the 2nd screening on Monday @ 6:15 PM if possible. This is a difficult film to watch but beautifully done & very worthwhile.

Mazel Tov, Schvester Paula!

Alas, as always happens, Jewish-themed films arrive at our annual Chicago Latino Film Festival without obvious markers… But as soon as I scan the list of festival guests, my JewDar kicks in. And so, even though CLFF staff didn’t realize the characters in The Prize were Jewish, I saw the filmmaker’s name (Paula Markovitch) & immediately began Googling…

And here’s what popped up first on the Jerusalem Film Festival website:

“Argentina, the 1970s, at the height of the ‘dirty war’ waged by the military junta that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983. A mother and her seven-year-old daughter arrive in a remote coastal region. Though it is not explicitly stated, it is clear that the family is Jewish. The desperate mother decides to send Cecilia to school—with instructions to tell that her mother is a housewife and that her father (who has in fact disappeared), has a curtain shop in the city. When the girl writes an essay on the subject of ‘Our Army,’ terrible problems are in store for daughter and mother. When a rewritten, patriotic version is sent to the national competition, and wins first prize, the threat to the family becomes even greater.”

In their statement giving Markovitch their “In the Spirit of Freedom” Award for 2011, the JFF Jury members said:

“For her fascinating artistic ability based upon the director’s autobiography, emphasizing the feeling of anxiety, detachment, and persecution of the mother and daughter under the repressive fascist regime of 1970s Argentina. For making use of unique cinematic means, Markovitch succeeds in reaching emotional intimacy with the characters while motivating the actors specifically the young girl in the main role, in a touching and convincing manner.”

I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t make my own personal comments except to say that Paula Markovitch will be our guest in Chicago starting tomorrow, & her first feature film has already accumulated an impressive array of international accolades in addition to recognition from the JFF described above.

CLIFF screenings are Sat (4/14) @ 3:45 PM & Mon (4/16) @ 6:15 PM, & both screenings are at the Landmark Century in Lincoln Park.

Click HERE to purchase tickets. Me, I have my tickets for the 4/14 screening so if you’re there too, then please find me & say hi 🙂

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