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May 19–25, 2017

Chicago Premiere


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Film still: Violet Film still: Violet Film still: Violet


Jury Prize—Best Feature Film
Berlin Intl Film Fest
"Intensely stylized, highly original and utterly mesmerizing, Violet could stun arthouse audiences worldwide"
"Beguiling... deft and rigorous"
  —Village Voice
"Evocative and atmospheric"
  —Hollywood Reporter
"[Director Bas] Devos's impressive debut bores into the mourning process and its piquant combination of emotional numbness and sensory vulnerability"
  —Slant Magazine
"An exquisitely shot suburban tale of trauma, stretching the 'show-don't-tell' golden rule of filmmaking to the furthest reaches... an artistic tour-de-force"
"Like [Gus] Van Sant, Devos seems to have a real affinity with the secret inner world of teens, and he has picked a cast of them that is both enigmatic and charismatic"

Violet tells the story of 16-year-old Jesse, as played by Cesar De Sutter, who is the only one to witness the stabbing of his friend. The attackers do not confront or acknowledge Jesse, and he does not engage or pursue the attackers, as he simply backs away. But now he has to face his family and the friends in his BMX crew to tell them about how he really feels, grappling with the aftermath of the crime within his community.

These are the questions posed by Violet, a carefully calibrated character study of the process of coping in the midst of senseless trauma. Jesse's parents and friends all seem to have their own (often destructive) reactions to the incident, but it is the parents of the victim to whom he develops a strange connection. This meticulously calculated debut by Bas Devos is constructed like a series of lush photographs and in each of the film's compositions, we see a sophisticated mosaic of loss, the permanence of trauma, and the tumult of youth.

Directed by Bas Devos, Belgium/Netherlands, 2014, 82 mins. In Flemish with English subtitles.


  • Fri., May 19 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., May 20 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., May 21 at 1, 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Tues.–Thurs., May 23–25 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation