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Chiaroscuro International Film Series connects world cultures through award-winning films

The season begins on January 14, 2018 at UICA. The program is free and open to the public.
Image from the film "Meditteranea"

Image from the film "Meditteranea" /Courtesy of Chiaroscuro International Film Series

Underwriting support from:

Films begin 2:00 p.m. at UICA. The 2018 films and their screening dates include:

January 14

Mediterranea (Carpignano, 2015) Italy/France/USA/Germany/Qatar

Two men make the dangerous journey from Burkina Faso in Africa to Italy for a better life, only to face hostility and violence once they arrive at their destination in this revealing look at the life-and-death struggle of refugees.

January 28

Force Majeure (Östlund 2014) Sweden/France/Norway                 

A Swedish family vacationing in the French Alps is confronted with a devastating avalanche. In more ways than one, the family’s world is shaken to its core.

February 11

House Without Roof  (Yusef, 2016) Germany/Iraq/Qatar                   

A difficult journey to the homeland of three siblings who were born in the Kurdish area of Iraq and subsequently raised in Germany. They want to fulfill their mother's dying wish to bury her in her home village beside her husband, who was killed in the war under the Saddam Hussein regime.

February 25

Two Days, One Night (Dardenne, 2014) Belgium/France/Italy       

A factory worker discovers that her workmates have opted for a EUR1,000 bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She has only a weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses in order to keep her job. Starring Marion Cotillard.

March 11

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Waititi, 2016) New Zealand

A charmingly offbeat comedy about a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who are targets of a manhunt through the wild New Zealand bush country. Starring Sam Neill.

Image from the film, "Force Majuere"

Image from the film, "Force Majuere" /Courtesy of Chiaroscuro International Film Series

Poster from "House Without Roof"

Poster from "House Without Roof" /Courtesy of Chiaroscuro International Film Series

The Chiaroscuro International Film Series opens its 12th season this Sunday, January 14 at the UICA theatre in downtown Grand Rapids. Each season includes five celebrated films from around the world. The theme for this year’s award-winning roster of films is “Borders.” Using a variety of narrative, cinematic and thematic devices, each film explores the idea of borders – geographical, interpersonal, metaphorical, or otherwise. The programs begin at 2:00 p.m. on scheduled alternating Sundays 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.

The community of Grand Rapids continues to grow and thrive, and attract talent from around the world. An awareness and appreciation of diverse perspectives and experiences moves us toward becoming a truly welcoming, cosmopolitan destination. Chiaroscuro enriches the West Michigan cultural landscape by presenting exceptional films in a setting that encourages discussion and enjoyment through a shared social experience.

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 panel discussions last about 15 minutes and provide thoughtful analysis and cultural context in a interactive, conversational environment.

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.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy Sunday afternoons of film, food, and cultural exchange. The series offers an engaging way to experience the world without leaving town. All films are shown in the state-of-the-art theater at the UICA in downtown Grand Rapids, 2 West Fulton. Parking garage is available, entrance is off Commerce Street.

More information on Chiaroscuro and the films can be found at

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