Chili's Blues

Director: Charles Biname
Screenwriters: Jose Frechette

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


This first feature by Charles Binamé is ostensibly an account of an archetypical adolescent romance set thirty years ago in a snowbound train station. But as the adage goes, appearances are deceiving, and the eccentric, even bizarre, twists in this tale transform it from melodrama into an existential exploration.

A sudden storm causes the cancellation of travel. Amongst the stranded are a group of female students, all in uniform, as well as a young traveling salesman, Pierre-Paul, who chances upon one of them as she is about to take her life. Immediately seeking help, he returns to find her gone, and although he’s sure she was a student, he’s unclear which one. He finally settles on Chili, a beautiful, confused, and mysterious figure, and thus begins a quite unique romantic interlude.

Binamé creates characters whose inner angst and alienation are a far cry from stock teenagers. Gradually sharing confidences, exploring points of view, and perhaps exorcising childhood demons, the two young people slowly form a bond. But is Chili the troubled potential suicide? As this tale unfolds, full of interesting characters and narrative tangents, we discover the truth. Finely crafted and well acted, Chili’s Blues is an unconventional love story that will both charm and stimulate you.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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