It taking me ages to post these is becoming a bit of a tradition, sadly. Anyway, without further ado, here is what I saw at the Wisconsin Film Festival this year:
Breaking and Entering was the first film of our weekend. This entertaining documentary followed a number of people who have obtained records for the Guinness Book of World Records for some rather unusual feats: grape catching, "joggling", phone book tearing, etc.
It was well-edited and there was humor without mockery, along side some pathos and a helping of "Holy cow, that's amazing!" It was a good entry to start us off on this year's FIlm Fest journey.
Our second film of the weekend ended up being my favorite: Louder Than a Bomb, which follows a number of schools/students participating in the Chicago-area high school poetry slam of the same name. As was fitting from the title, I was blown away. The passion and talent of the kids was intense, the doc was well-filmed, and the editing was tight. I will watch it again if I get the chance. Watch the trailer and tell me you wouldn't, too.
Soul Boy was charming, particularly when you know the making-of backstory. It screened with The Woman in Purple, during which almost nothing actually happened. Plot kept threatening to break out, but then it never did. It wasn't a bad little film, just extremely uneventful.
Mozart's Sister (Nannerl, la soeur de Mozart) was the last film of the day on Saturday. It was interesting, intriguing, and a little odd. I kept finding myself trying to sort out the true emotions and motivations of the characters, many of whom were behaving in unusual (to me) fashions and/or keeping their cards close to their chests. Marie Féret, as Nannerl, was particularly hard for me to read much of the time. One thing I did get from the film, however, was the correct pronunciation of that name.
Our one shorts program was Sunday at the Monona Terrace. Only three selections, and frankly, only one was what I would call "short."
Mary and Bill (50 minutes), about a 90-year-old triathlete and an 83-year-old high jumper from the Madison area was roughly made, but sweet.
Optimo Hat Company (10 minutes) was an actual short, in my opinion. It was very beautifully filmed. It also could have been a straight-up advertisement for the business.
Style and Grace (40 minutes) was frustrating to me. For one thing, the sound (and lack of sound design, editing, balance, etc) drove me nuts. For another thing, I sensed a lot of potential in the documentary, and bet it could have been truly fascinating in different hands. As it was, probably only interesting to those who were actually involved. And anytime things threatened to get interesting, they would cut away to film out the window as someone got into their car. I think this could have been a goldmine for a better filmmaker.
We closed off the weekend with what is becoming another film fest tradition, British Television Advertising Awards. I don't think this year's batch were necessarily quite as good as in previous years, they were still quite witty and clever, including this Youtube campaign from the London Metro Police, which seems like a remarkably good use of new media.
And so another year, another belated sumary. Here's to next year!