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 through Thursday, March 21; for a compete schedule see siskelfilmcenter.org.
4Some This low-key sex farce may be a minor effort for director Jan Hrebejk (Up and Down, Beauty in Trouble), but it still advances his generous worldview. As usual he fashions a knowing portrait of the Czech bourgeoisie that’s neither complacent nor mean-spirited, and the characters seem real enough that you can imagine them existing outside the plot. The movie depicts two long-married suburban couples, all of them close friends, who decide to experiment with group sex; to everyone’s surprise, it works out just fine. Sincerely and affably, Hrebejk asserts that normal life doesn’t have to be dull and that sex is good for you. The original Czech title translates as “The Holy Quaternity.” In Czech with subtitles. —Ben Sachs 75 min. Sun 3/17, 7:30 PM, and Wed 3/20, 6 PM.
In the Fog Set in Belarus during the Nazi occupation, this bleak 2012 drama follows a small-town railway worker, suspected of collaborating with the Germans, as he tries to escape to another part of the country. Director Sergei Loznitsa (My Joy) often employs dreamy, intricately choreographed long takes reminiscent of Russian filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky, Aleksei Guerman, and Aleksandr Sokurov, and like them he maintains a heightened sense of the present moment while deliberately blurring the story’s historical context. If you admire any of those directors, you’ll probably appreciate this, though you may also experience a feeling of deja vu. The movie was shot by Oleg Mutu, the brilliant cinematographer of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; his stunning landscape photography demands to be seen on a big screen. In Russian with subtitles. —Ben Sachs 123 min. Sat 3/16, 3:45 PM, and Wed 3/20, 7:45 PM.
Madrid, 1987 A self-important newspaper columnist (José Sacristán) attempts to seduce a naive young writing student (Maria Valverde) and ends up locked in a bathroom with her overnight. David Trueba, who wrote and directed this cerebral Spanish drama (2011), keeps the conversation fluid despite the cramped setting, and he achieves some moments of genuine eroticism. His lead characters are fully realized, if never exactly likable; the film offers some solid insights into Spanish history and the writing process, but you might not feel like putting up with these people in order to hear them. In Spanish with subtitles. —Ben Sachs 108 min. Sun 3/17, 5:15 PM, and Tue 3/19, 6 PM.