- Views & Opinions
Film fans still trying to see this year’s Oscar-winning films can check off two features on their lists by attending the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison.
The Salesman, the French/Iranian suspense thriller that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and My Life as a Zucchini, the French/Swiss film that took honors for Best Animated Feature, will be shown at the fest, which runs March 30–April 6.
“We were surprised and happy that we are able to screen them,” says Ben Reiser, coordinator of the festival presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arts Institute in association with the UW Department of Communication Arts. “As an added bonus, Nick Offerman, who does the character voicing for the English language version of Zucchini, is coming to the festival to support this film, as well as three others.”
Also attending the fest: Terence Davies, director and screenwriter for 2016’s A Quiet Passion about American poet Emily Dickinson — and Larry Peerce, director of One Potato, Two Potato, the groundbreaking 1964 film about interracial marriage.
The festival, now in its 19th year, boasts more than 120 films shown at five venues on campus and around the city. Categories — consisting of features, documentaries and shorts produced in the United States and other countries — include restorations and rediscoveries, as well as films made in Wisconsin or that have state connections.
There’s also a short selection of children’s films and features by new women directors.
Despite the wide range of film styles, subject matter and treatment, Reiser has no trouble naming the festival’s most unusual film: Fraud, a 52-minute work of “metafiction” that creates a brand-new genre — the found-footage crime thriller.
The 2016 film chronicles the years 2008–15 in the life of a working-class family using recorded footage from their everyday lives that was uploaded to YouTube. Director Dean Fleischer-Camp deftly weaves the banal footage into a pulp fiction odyssey that finds the family fleeing the law. They’re victims of their own excessive and ill-advised spending habits at equally banal big-box stores and on weekend getaways.
“Fraud is a blazing-fast mindbender and without a doubt this year’s wildest cinematic ride,” Reiser says.
His other top selections include:
For a list of films and other information, visit 2017.wifilmfest.org.