The Milwaukee Film Festival - Winter Edition starts tomorrow, March 12 and runs through the 18th. This is a great opportunity to get out and see some interesting and critically acclaimed films that might not have otherwise come to Milwaukee. Having a mini film festival in between the large scale fall festival is really a great idea. The Milwaukee Film Festival and previously the Milwaukee International Film Festival has really done a lot for Milwaukee's reputation as a film town. The Midwest is trying to build a foundation for a film industry that would be comparable to those in New York and Hollywood. Though it will likely never be as big as those two markets, it would be beneficial for the Midwest to be recognized in their company. Milwaukee seems to be working harder to achieve this than any other city in the area.
The high quality of films on display at the winter festival are also an indicator of Milwaukee's film presence. The fall festival usually features several high-profile films, but also many smaller films (which is what a festival should do), but the winter festival is treating us to, what I'd call, all high-profile films.
Things start off tomorrow with BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF NEW ORLEANS, directed by the legendary Werner Herzog. I will be in attendance for this as I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see a Herzog film. I'm also a fan of Abel Ferrara's BAD LIEUTENANT, which starred Harvey Keitel. I'm not exactly clear how Herzog's film is related to Ferrara's because it's not a sequel and it's not a remake. I'm thinking that the spirit and tone of both movies is supposed to be similar. The original BAD LIEUTENANT is a really insane film in which Keitel, and NYPD officer runs amok in New York. Even though I'm not a huge Nic Cage fan, he can really entertain me sometimes and I look forward to him stepping into Keitel's drug-addled shoes.
Here's a trailer for Ferrara's 1992 film -
And now Herzog's film:
I will also be heading out to the festival on Sunday to catch FISH TANK. FISH TANK is a film by acclaimed British director Andrea Arnold. It just recently won the BAFTA film award for Outstanding British Film, putting it in the company of such great films as THE THIRD MAN, SHALLOW GRAVE, and THIS IS ENGLAND.
Also coming to the festival:
RED CLIFF - John Woo's return to foreign cinema and the most expensive Asian film ever produced. Supposed to be quite an epic.
WHICH WAY HOME - The Oscar-nominated documentary about child migrants trying to make it America.
MINE - A documentary about Katrina victims trying to reunite with their pets who were evacuated separately. I really wanted to see this, but I won't be able to make any of the screenings. As an animal lover, I can only imagine it would leave me in tears.
For the complete list of films and showtimes and to buy tickets, visit http://www.milwaukee-film.org/winter.shtml