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September 12–18, 2014

Chicago Premiere

Gringo Trails

Film still: Gringo Trails


"[Pegi] Vail's film earnestly interrogates authenticity"
  —Village Voice
"A refreshing counterbalance... this film should start a necessary and overdue conversation"
  —Film Journal Intl

Gringo Trails is a timely documentary that raises urgent questions about how we travel as well as the unintended cultural and environmental consequences of tourism around the globe. This film reveals the complex relationships between colliding cultures, such as the host countries' need for financial security and the tourists who provide it in their quest for authentic experiences, via the well-worn "gringo trail" travel route. As dramatically as travelers are altered by new landscapes, values and belief systems, they also unavoidably alter the people and places they visit. A traveler's search for an "unspoiled" encounters poses ethical quandaries for locals who are in a position to profit from tourism. Are tourists destroying the planet or saving it?

Gringo Trails, a film more than a decade in the making by American anthropologist Pegi Vail, looks at the effect of the unplanned or mismanaged growth of the tourism industry in developing countries.

Directed by Pegi Vail, 2013, U.S.A./Bolivia/Thailand/Mali/Bhutan, 79 mins.


  • Fri., Sept. 12 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Sept. 13 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Sept. 14 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Tues. & Thurs., Sept. 15–16 & 18 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Wed., Sept. 17 at 9 pm
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$9 general admission

FREE 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