Facets Cinémathèque

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September 26–October 2

Chicago Premiere

Swim Little Fish Swim

Film still: Swim Little Fish Swim Film still: Swim Little Fish Swim
Best Film
Best Direction
Best Actor
Gen Art
Film Fest
"Vibrant... it succeeds in its humanistic storytelling"
3 stars½ "Swim Little Fish Swim presents New York City in its silliness and random grit and beauty in a way that seems to 'get' the city"
  —The Dissolve
"Anyone can make claims to being an artist; sustaining it professionally is a different matter.... Swim Little Fish Sim studies this truth with rare eloquence"
"[The film's] thoughtfulness will resonate with people committed to living a creative life... and with those determined to love and support them"
  —Huffington Post

Swim Little Fish Swim is a story of art, family, and the struggle to stay creative in a world that urges conformity Leeward (Dustin Guy Defa) and Mary (Brooke Bloom) are married and sharing a New York City apartment with their young daughter. The daily grind of making ends meet has gotten the best of them, and Mary, who works long hours as a nurse, finds herself particularly frustrated with her husband as well as his dreams. Leeward, an artist, musician and self-described revolutionary, consistently turns down work that could help pay the bills, seeing it as a form of selling out. He spends his days making music with friends and playing with his daughter, often leaving Mary as the sole breadwinner and only "adult" in the household.

Enter Lilas (played with great charm by co-director Bessis), a young French artist trying to escape the shadow of her successful painter mother, and make it on her own terms. A chance encounter with Leeward (who is always game to take in a stray, to Mary's chagrin) invites her to take up residence in the couple's living room. Lilas is an attractive girl and even though Leeward sees her as a kindred spirit, Mary sees her as a threat to their struggling union. Her presence in their precarious relationship may just force the cathartic moment that this couple so desperately needs.

Directed by Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar, 2013, U.S.A., 95 mins. In English and French with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Sept. 26 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Sept. 27 at 5, 7 & 9 p.m.
  • Sun., Sept. 28 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon. & Wed.–Thurs., Sept. 29 & Oct. 1–2 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Tues., Sept. 30 at 9 pm
Order tickets


$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