Chiaroscuro International Film Series Returns


The Chiaroscuro International Film Series returns to Grand Rapids this month with five films from around the world.

The theme for this year’s award-winning roster of films is “Fate.” Using a variety of narrative, cinematic and thematic devices, each film explores the idea of fate—destiny, chance, luck, karma, providence and serendipity, exploring “what’s the idea of fate?”

The programs begin at 2 p.m. on scheduled Sundays from January through March and include the feature presentation, a panel discussion and a reception with refreshments. All programs are free and open to the public. All films are shown at the UICA, 2 West Fulton. Updates and other announcements will be shared on social media.

The Chiaroscuro film selection committee considers various criteria during the nominating process of the international films including variety in country of origin, length, critical acclaim, availability, and status as a West Michigan premiere viewing.

The panel discussion is organized with consideration of each film selected. Two experts are invited to sit on the panel, one is knowledgeable in film studies and the other deeply connected to the culture represented in the film. Feedback and questions from audience members is greatly encouraged.

The reception that follows the film viewing and panel discussion completes the afternoon immersion in world culture by offering complimentary food and drink and a comfortable space to gather outside the theater. This allows participants a space to mingle with others and build upon the ideas presented earlier in the program, encouraging further dialogue and cultural exchange in a friendly, casual setting.

"The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki"
“The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki”


January 13
Phoenix (Petzold, 2014) Germany

After undergoing reconstructive surgery, a concentration camp survivor tries to find out if her husband betrayed her to the Nazis. 

January 27
Girlhood (Sciamma, 2014) France

Marieme joins an all-girl gang in the projects of Paris and is slowly turned out of her shell by her three sassy neighbors. As she falls further under their bravado and volatile energy, she begins making brave and foolish choices.

February 10
The Cakemaker (Raul Graizer, 2017) Israel

A German pastry chef travels to Jerusalem in search of the wife and son of his dead lover.

February 24
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Kuosmanen, 2016) Finland

As fiercely talented as he is modest, Finnish boxer Olli Mäki is swept into national stardom as he trains for a once-in-a-lifetime fight against the World Featherweight Champion. There’s only one problem: he’s just fallen in love.

March 10
Jauja (Alonso, 2014) Argentina

A Danish settler journeys into the South American desert in a desperate search for his daughter, a solitary quest that takes him to a place beyond time, where the past vanishes and the future has no meaning.

*Photos courtesy of Chiaroscuro International Film Series

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