Are we roughly one month away from the 2016 Milwaukee Film Festival? Yes, yes we are. From September 22 through October 6, the screens of the Landmark Oriental Theatre, Landmark Downer Theatre, Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, Times Cinema, and Avalon Theater will be lit up with hundreds of films both big and small, dramatic and comedic, harrowing and entertaining, socially conscious and just plain weird. Oh, and two of those films will be Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Blue Velvet, which will be part of MFF’s always-awesome Cinema Hooligante program, which will be sponsored by Milwaukee Record.
Yes, Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic about adventure-prone Indiana Jones and the snakes and Nazis he hates will join David Lynch’s previously announced 1986 classic about mystery-prone Jeffrey Beaumont and the psychos and severed ears he hates in this year’s Hooligante program. Bullwhips will be cracked, faces will be melted, and no one will mention ancient aliens whose true treasure is “knowledge.” Raiders and Blue Velvet on the big screen. ‘Nuff said.
What else is in store for the oft-raunchy, violent, gory, offensive, and delightful program? Check it out below, courtesy of Milwaukee Film. (Discounted festival passes and ticket 6-Packs are on sale now.)
(USA / 1986 / Director: David Lynch)
David Lynch’s unforgettable snapshot of the rot at the heart of smalltown America comes to the MFF in a gorgeous 30th anniversary restoration! David Lynch is one of our foremost excavators of the cinematic subconscious, and here his “seamless blending of beauty and horror is remarkable” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out), deftly combining the darkly comic and surreal. Returning home to care for his ailing father, Kyle MacLachlan rekindles a romance with the wholesome Laura Dern only to find himself in the midst of a seedy mystery: severed ears, sultry nightclub singers (Isabella Rossellini), and dangerous sadists (Dennis Hopper, never better) plunge him ever deeper into a world that is equal turns thrilling and offputting.
(USA, Poland / 2015 / Director: Claire Carré)
A stunning scifi vision of an apocalyptic future where mankind has been ravaged by a neurological disorder that has eroded both our short and longterm memory, Embers announces the arrival of a distinctive cinematic voice in director Claire Carré. A man and woman wake in each other’s arms with no memory of who or where they are, an abandoned child seeks adult protection, and a father and daughter live in a sealed bunker, memories intact but fraying under the pressure of their isolation. This film is a thoughtful rumination on how memory shapes us, as these disparate people try to exist in the present despite their forgotten past.
(Denmark / 2015 / Director: Mikkel Nørgaard)
Casper and Frank (Klown, MFF2012) are back for another raunchy journey to the boundaries of good taste, but this time they’re coming to America! The estranged BFFs make their way to L.A., Casper in search of fame and fortune and Frank hoping to woo him back home to repair their strained relationship, only to find themselves in a series of escalating outré scenarios not for the easily offended (let’s just say that blindfolds, security cameras, and Great Danes are involved). Copious celebrity cameos (Isla Fisher, Adam Levine, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj CosterWaldau) and equally copious unflattering nudity help make this a worthy successor to the Klown crown.
Liza, the FoxFairy (Liza, a Rókatündér)
(Hungary / 2015 / Director: Károly UjjMészáros)
Amelie with a body count, the whimsical black comedy Liza, the FoxFairy follows the titular lovelorn caretaker and her only friend—the ghost of a 1950s Japanese pop star named Tomy Tani—as they navigate a macabre minefield of romance in 1970s Hungary. Liza’s search for love proves Tomy to be less imaginary and far more possessive than imagined, and as potential suitors pile up dead before her eyes, it draws the attention of the police (and the tenacious yet compassionate Sergeant Zoltan) while leading Liza to believe she may be a foxfairy, a Japanese demon known for devouring men’s souls.
The Love Witch
(USA / 2016 / Director: Anna Biller)
The beautiful and alluring Elaine uses every spell and bit of magic at her disposal to make men fall in love with her. But after each successful conquest, the men become simpering simpletons unworthy of her affection, leaving Elaine with a growing body count and growing desperation to find the perfect mate. An absolute aesthetic delight from director Anna Biller, The Love Witch features succulent Technicolor imagery (filmed in 35mm!) and impeccably designed costumes and sets, perfectly evoking the gauzy sexploitation horror movies of the ’60s and ’70s. That the film also provides trenchant commentary on female desire and gender roles is icing on the formally seductive cake.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(USA / 1981 / Director: Steven Spielberg)
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas at the peak of their powers. Harrison Ford reaching terminal velocity with his roguish charm. Need we say anything more? Perfectly balancing humor and action while harkening to an era of adventure serials that made these stars fall in love with the movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark stands alone in the pantheon of action adventures and remains one of the most entertaining movies of all time. Whether it’s your first or 100th viewing, join us for this big screen celebration of the 35th anniversary and savor every moment of this stone cold classic.
They Call Me Jeeg (Lo Chiamavano Jeeg Robot)
(Italy / 2015 / Director: Gabriele Mainetti)
The perfect respite from Hollywood’s formulaic entries into the superhero genre, Italy’s They Call Me Jeeg is a gritty delight. Enzo is a slobby, lowlevel criminal subsisting on yogurt and pornography, but when a heist gone wrong finds him stuck underwater with a drum of toxic waste, he’s delighted to find himself superpowered instead of simply dying. At the urging of his deceased partnerincrime’s naive daughter (whose affinity for a Japanese anime series gave this film its name), Enzo begins to rediscover his humanity, just in time to tussle with a psychotic local crime lord with dual aspirations of fame and destruction.
Under the Shadow
(UK, Jordan, Qatar / 2016 / Director: Babak Anvari)
As the IranIraq War rages on, Shideh ignores her departing husband’s advice to leave their Tehran apartment for the safer countryside, opting instead to remain home with her daughter amid airraid sirens and increasingly sparse neighbors. But the danger outside is eclipsed by what plagues them indoors—missing dolls, floating hijabs, and sudden noises that have mother and daughter coming apart at the seams. A psychological thriller from Sundance, Under the Shadow is a finely tuned haunted house story that crafts a modern horror masterpiece by combining the setting of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night with the expert formal tension of The Babadook.