Transcendence  (PG-13 / A-III - 3 Stars) - Fascinating scifi-ish film about Dr. Will Caster, an artificial intelligence researcher who after being shot/poisoned by a radical anti-technology group has his mind “uploaded” onto the specialized super-computer in his lab and later to flee said radical anti-technology group onto the internet. But is freedom from all human limitations a good thing for this disembodied previously human mind? And is the digital copy even “really Will” to begin with? If nothing else the story’s underlying concept can become one heck of a teen / young adult discussion piece ;-)
Elena  (UR would be R - 4 Stars) - Very very sad documentary made by a young Brazilian director about her older sister who came to New York to study acting. Initially she had done quite well, but then became very, very depressed and eventually killed herself. Twenty years on, her suicide remains a terrible hole in the fabric of the family and it still asks why and what could have been done: The mother and the younger sister (then 7) had even flown out to New York to live with the older sister during the last six months or year of her life in hopes that she wouldn’t feel so lonely and sad. But it didn’t help. This is just a very, very sad Latino and even specifically Brazilian story.
The Eternal Night of the Twelve Moons (orig. La Eterna Noche de las Doce Lunas)  (UR would be PG-13 - 3 Stars) - A fascinating documentary about a 12 year old girl from the Wayuu people of Northern Colombia who passes through a traditional 1 year (12 moons) period of seclusion following her first period. During that time she’s kept away from men and children (her friends…) and instructed the older women (her grandmother and her friends) become more serious (no more laughing … especially with boys/young men) and traditional skills (spinning yarn, weaving) that she’d need afterwards in adulthood. It’s clear that this traditional “rite of passage” is in the process of being _recovered_ by the community (the girl’s mother’s generation hadn’t gone through it … with a general sense in the community that perhaps they should have). But the film does ask by the end whether following the ritual custom was worth it, or how it should be altared/applied in the future. All in all a fascinating film about FORMATION for entry into adulthood.
Insurgents (orig. Insurgentes)  (UR would be PG-13 - 3 1/2 Stars) - Lovely, colorful, beautifully costumed Bolivian docudrama about the struggle of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples for dignity from the time of the arrival of the Spaniards up until the election of Evo Morales, the first indigenous (Aymara) president of the country. Makes one appreciate how much was lost through an ideology of racism that insisted that the European colonizers were simply superior to the indigenous people whose land they stole and yet, like it or not, with whom they shared their lives anyway. The film played on the opening day of the 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival
Honeymoon (orig. Líbánky)  (UR would be R - 4 Stars) - Czech film, closed the 17th Annual European Union Film Festival organized by the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. The film, set in the context of a wedding of a 30-something couple, is about resolving, coming to terms with events past.