2012 Wisconsin Film Festival Film Guide

Page 15

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator the images you see in a theater are constantly disappearing before your eyes. I was in tears throughout the film; I missed it well before it was over.” 2011 Locarno, Telluride, and New York Film Festivals. (MK)

Granito: How to Nail a Dictator FRI, APR 20 • 5:00 PM SUN, APR 22 • 3:45 PM Bartell Theatre WISCONSIN PREMIERE • documentary • USA, 2011, color, HD projection • 103 MIN DIRECTOR: PAMELA YATES

editor: Peter Kinoy; producer: edited In Spanish, English with English subtitles Presented with the UW Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies Program

In 1982, Pamela Yates, then a naïve young filmmaker with a commitment to social justice, traveled to Guatemala to document and bring to light the hidden story of the government’s massacre of the Mayan people. The resulting film, When the Mountains Tremble, premiered at the first Sundance Film Festival, won a number of international awards, and helped launch the career of another young activist, Rigoberta Menchú, who narrates the film (and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992). It did not, however, stop the genocide. Nearly thirty years later, Yates picks up the story again beginning with Ms. Menchú’s criminal pursuit of the generals in Spain’s National Court, which has previously invoked the concept of universal jurisdiction to prosecute suspected war criminals. Lawyers called on Yates to provide her original footage — perhaps the only extant footage of the Mayan genocide — to use as forensic evidence to help prosecute former military dictators. Part political thriller, part memoir, Granito is an absorbing and ultimately satisfying story of justice, and a testament to film’s power to bear witness. (TY)

Green THU, APR 19 • 7:30 PM Bartell Theatre MADISON PREMIERE • narrative • USA, 2011, color, HD projection • 75 MIN + 30 MIN POST-FILM Q&A DIRECTOR: SOPHIA TAKAL

writer: Sophia Takal; director of photography: Nandan Rao; editor: Sophia Takal; original music: Ernesto Carcamo; producer: Lawrence Michael Levine; cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Lawrence Michael Levine, Sophia Takal FILMMAKER SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

A young Brooklyn couple retreat to a secluded Virginia farmhouse and enter a web of jealousy in this eerie indie. Sebastian is supposed to be researching a blog on sustainable farming; Genevieve (Kate Lyn Sheil, also appearing in the WFF 2012 selections The Zone and Somebody Up There Likes Me) is along for the ride. Their already fragile relationship is upended by Robin (writer/ director/editor Sophia Takal), a talkative local who inserts herself between them, creating a triangle of lust and envy. Caught between Sebastian’s pretentiousness and Robin’s bumpkin naïveté, Genevieve lashes out at both with pointed passive aggression. Like Mark Jackson’s Without (also playing this year’s Festival), Green is a devastating portrait of a young woman’s psychological unraveling, accomplished on a tiny budget with a cast of friends. Takal seizes on the implicit red state/ blue state divide for some subtly caustic sociological commentary, both needling the urban vogue for sustainable agriculture — Sebastian is comically clueless about farming — and making salient points about class in America. Winner, Chicken & Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award, 2011 SXSW Film Festival, 2011 AFI Fest. “One of the most notable debut films on this year’s festival circuit…a micro-budgeted back-tothe-country Black Swan, flirting

with psychological horror as rural quiet is mined both for its pastoral beauty and creeping sense of menacing unease.” — LA Times (MK)

Grey Matter (Matière Grise) THU, APR 19 • 7:15 PM Chazen Museum of Art MIDWEST PREMIERE • narrative • Rwanda, 2011, color, digital projection • 100 MIN DIRECTOR: KIVU RUHORAHOZA

screenplay: Kivu Ruhorahoza; director of photography: Ari Wegner; editing: Antonio Rui Ribeiro; executive producers: David Budge, Joel Betts; producers: Kivu Ruhorahoza, Dominic Allen; cast: Ruth Shanel Nirere, Ramadhan Shami Bizimana, Hervé Kimenyi, Jean Pierre Kalonda, Natasha Muziramakenga, Kennedy Mazimpaka In Kinyarwanda, French with English subtitles

The first fiction feature filmed in Rwanda by a Rwandan director, this mesmerizing and highly unusual meta movie describes the difficulties faced by a young filmmaker named Balthazar as he attempts to launch his first production, The Cycle of the Cockroach. The movie-within-a-movie, a serious, sometimes shocking, and often surreal drama about a brother and sister dealing with the aftermath of genocide, finds no support from agencies only interested in funding upbeat policy-friendly films. Determined to get his vision on screen at any cost, Balthazar goes into the criminal underworld of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and eventually finds backing from a loan shark. Meanwhile, The Cycle unfolds before our eyes, reflecting on the horror and madness of Rwanda’s recent history, while offering bracing insight into the nature of political violence. “Ruhorahoza reveals the quietly terrifying depiction of violenceinduced madness to be the obverse of the policy of calculated, forwardlooking oblivion; his brilliant ending distills the paradoxes of normalcy atop a volcano of blood into a single,

stinging shot.” — Richard Brody, The New Yorker. Best Actor (Ramadhan Shami Bizimana), Tribeca Film Festival 2011. Grey Matter is co-presented by the Global Film Initiative and is part of the Global Lens 2012 film series. For more information, visit www.globalfilm.org (JH)

Her Glacial Speed SEE: Phil Solomon Selects

Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel FRI, APR 20 • 9:15 PM Bartell Theatre MADISON PREMIERE • documentary • USA, 2011, color, HD projection • 103 MIN DIRECTOR: P. DAVID EBERSOLE

writers: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes; cinematographers: Larra Anderson, Mark Putnam, John Tanzer; editor: P. David Ebersole; composer: Roddy Bottum; producer: Todd Hughes, Christina Soletti

Hit So Hard is a pull-no-punches portrait of the hell-and-back life of Patty Schemel, who played drums in Courtney Love’s seminal rock band Hole during its peak years. With remarkable access to Schemel, her band mates, and her personal, diary-like home videos that she shot on tour (including remarkable never-beforeseen footage of Kurt Cobain), David Ebersole chronicles one of grunge’s most important bands though the perspective of one of its most fascinating figures. Intimate, poignant, and by no means your typical rockumentary, Hit So Hard traces Schemel’s journey from closeted-lesbian teenager to international rock star to homeless heroin addict to recovery. A must-see for Hole fans or anyone who lived through the grunge era. (TY)

Horlick’s Malted Milk SEE: Made in Wisconsin: Industrial Visions of the Badger State


Few films have evoked the exhilaration and devastation of young love as truly as this heartfelt French reminiscence. Fifteen-year-old Camille is madly in love with Sullivan, who loves her back but not quite enough to forgo his desire to experience the world. When he leaves her in favor of a trip to South America, Camille’s anguish is so palpable it feels as if the film itself can’t take it, and skips forward throughout her life until their reunion in their mid-twenties. By that point, Camille is involved with her architecture professor, and unsure what effect Sullivan will have on her. Actress Lola Créton gives a truly astonishing performance as Camille, absolutely convincing as she ages from adolescent to young woman, a feat that is all the more incredible given that she was 17 when the film was shot. A protégé of Olivier Assayas (Carlos, WFF 2011), writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve shares his eagerness to toy with story structures, but filters it through the experience of memory: the film’s narrative follows the trainof-thought logic of recollections, mysteriously eliding entire years while dwelling on specific moments with tactile obsessiveness. Hansen-Løve vividly conveys the all-or-nothing nature of teenaged love with genuine sympathy, refusing to deny Camille her heartache just because she’s young. Most folks would tell Camille that she’ll love again, that there are other fish in the sea. Hansen-Løve isn’t so convinced, and it’s this clarity of purpose that makes Goodbye First Love an overwhelming experience. The cumulative emotional wallop was well described by Chicago Reader critic Ben Sachs, who named this the fourth best film of 2011: “Bittersweetly, but with eyes wide open and mind unclouded, Hansen-Løve conveys the impermanence of youth by playing up another basic fact that movies take for granted: that

Good Bye (Bé Omid É Didar)