Embrace of the Serpent

The movie to catch this weekend is Ciro Guerra’s Colombian drama Embrace of the Serpent, the black-and-white tale of an Amazonian shaman whose encounter with a German doctor in 1909 comes back to haunt him 30 years later. It opens Friday at Music Box. We’ve also got reviews of: Knight of Cups, the latest from Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven), starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, and Brian Dennehy; Requiem for the American Dream, billed as the “final long-form documentary interviews” of public intellectual Noam Chomsky; and Trapped, a documentary about so-called TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) enacted in Texas and Alabama.


The European Union Film Festival continues at Gene Siskel Film Center, and we’ve got reviews of six features screening this week: The Fencer, a historical drama about an elite Estonian fencer hiding from the Soviet secret police; Free Entry, about two teenage girls running around unsupervised at a Budapest music festival; Lolo, a comedy by Julie Deply (Before Sunrise) about a woman’s romance being derailed by her oddball son; Love Island, a sex farce set at a Croatian “all-inclusive” resort; Viva, about a gay hairdresser whose career as a drag performer is cut short by his father’s release from prison; and Wondrous Boccaccio, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s screen adaptation of The Decameron.


Best bets for repertory: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011), Friday and Sunday at Doc; Isao Takahata’s Only Yesterday (1991), daily at Music Box; films by Tom Palazzolo, Friday at Logan Center for the Arts with the local filmmaker attending; Harold Lloyd in Speedy (1928), Friday at Filament Theatre, presented by the Silent Film Society of Chicago with live organ accompaniment by Jay Warren; and David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983), midnight Friday and Saturday at Music Box.


Don’t forget this special event: the Chicago Jewish Film Festival opens this week at Landmark’s Century Centre, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and other venues, with more screenings through Sunday, March 20. And don’t let me forget this special event: on Saturday I’ll be talking about this year’s Oscar winner, Spotlight, after its 7 PM screening at Doc Films.