The 16th European Union Film Festival continues through Thursday, March 28, at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, 312-846-2800. Tickets are $11, $7 for students, and $6 for Film Center members. Following are selected films screening; for a complete schedule see siskelfilmcenter.org.
Aliyah Caught up in drug dealing, a French Jew (Pio Marmai) hits on the idea of emigrating to Israel; his plans are complicated by his growing romance with a golden-haired gentile (Adele Haenel). To make his pilgrimage, the hero has to learn Hebrew and obtain an official “certificate of Jewishness,” but writer-director Elie Wajeman isn’t much concerned by questions of religion or ethnicity; this story of a young dreamer looking to get out often seems like an Al Pacino vehicle from the 70s. Veteran French filmmaker Cedric Kahn (Red Lights) has a supporting role as the young man’s father. In French with subtitles. —J.R. Jones 88 min. Sun 3/24, 3 PM, and Mon 3/25, 6 PM.
Beyond the Walls This sleep-inducing Belgian romance recounts the doomed love between Paulo (Matila Malliarakis), a pretty blond boy who lives with his girlfriend, and Ilir (Guillaume Gouix), an Albanian bartender who takes him home one night. The first half of the movie plays like an endless “meet cute” between the two men, punctuated by a few heavy-breathing bedroom encounters; once Ilir is incarcerated, however, Paulo reveals a hitherto-unknown gift for drama-queen theatrics. Only the scenes showing him as a silent-film accompanist suggest any inner life beyond his desire to be Ilir’s little buttercup, yet even this occupation seems more like a screenwriter’s conceit than an aspect of his character. David Lambert directed his own script. In French with subtitles. —J.R. Jones 96 min. Sat 3/23, 9 PM, and Mon 3/25, 7:45 PM.
Dormant Beauty This brooding ensemble drama by Marco Bellocchio centers on a young woman who’s been kept alive in a vegetative state for 17 years, her case inspiring a national debate about mercy killing; the conscious characters include a young demonstrator (Alba Rohrwacher) campaigning for her right to live, a senator (Toni Servillo) about to vote on euthanasia legislation, and the girl’s mother (Isabelle Huppert), who’s given up her acting career for a life of Catholic devotion. Bellocchio’s films range from masterpieces (Fists in the Pocket, Vincere) to pretentious misfires (Devil in the Flesh, The Conviction); this one ranks somewhere in between, a convoluted story that considers politics, religion, and individual will but never really gets to the point. In French and Italian with subtitles. —Ben Sachs 110 min. Fri 3/22, 8 PM, and Sun 3/24, 5 PM.