Daily Archives: May 14, 1999

Theme and Variations [THE LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE]

From the Chicago Reader, May 14, 1999. —J.R.

The Lovers of the Arctic Circle

Rating *** A must see

Directed and written by Julio Medem

With Fele Martinez, Najwa Nimri, Nancho Novo, Maru Valdivielso, Peru Medem, Sara Valiente, Victor Hugo Oliveira, and Kristel Diaz.

Julio Medem’s fourth feature is a love story spanning 17 years — from the time Otto and Ana first meet, as children in a Spanish school yard, to their improbable reunion in the wilds of northern Finland when they’re 25. But the film starts at the end rather than the beginning, and like the names of the two characters, the story can be read backward as well as forward. That story is told by Otto and Ana in alternate bursts, inflected mainly by how Otto views Ana and vice versa, skipping back and forth in time. To make things trickier, the two versions of what happens are sometimes at variance.

When The Lovers of the Arctic Circle joined Open Your Eyes at the Fine Arts last week, it became possible to conclude, with a sigh of relief, that the age of Pedro Almodovar was finally over. I don’t mean that Almodovar won’t continue to make movies or get American distribution, but that his brand of smart-aleck entertainment will no longer have to stand for the whole of Spanish cinema.… Read more »

A Place Called Chiapas

An intelligent and informative feature-length documentary by Canadian filmmaker Nettie Wild about the Zapatista movement and uprising in southern Mexico, concentrating on events that occurred between 1994 and 1997. The film focuses mainly (and cogently) on the struggles of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Mexico and in cyberspace, but it also allows the government-allied, paramilitary group north of Chiapas, which calls itself Peace and Justice, to speak on its own behalf (when it isn’t assaulting the film crew). This is sturdy as well as stirring political filmmaking that asks all the right questions, including ones about the role of the U.S. in the outcome. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, May 14, 8:15; Saturday, May 15, 6:00 and 8:00; Sunday, May 16, 4:00 and 6:00; and Tuesday and Thursday, May 18 and 20, 6:00 and 8:00; 312-443-3737.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.… Read more »