UW-Milwaukee’s Union Theatre: a haven for cinephiles, apparently

Well, this weekend UW-Milwaukee’s Union Theatre rolled out its film schedule for the Fall 2009 semester, and it’s enough to lead a down-on-his-luck cinephile to consider a transfer. The schedule is absolutely stocked, with nearly every weekend getting one if not two recent and notable international films.

Perhaps I’m being glib but I don’t see any reason why an organization like the WUD Film Committee couldn’t put together a comparable semester-long program here in Madison; that they don’t is extremely unfortunate, as it’d be an essential contribution to many students’ cinematic educations when combined with the consistently excellent programs we get from UW’s own Cinematheque. I’m sure money plays a considerable role in dissuading WUD Film from going after films which have recently enjoyed critically successful commercial runs, like Jia Zhangke’s 24 City or Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Woman, but there’s almost a moral imperative at stake here: a schedule full of Fast and Furious and I Love You, Man, passable as those films may or may not be, is simply unacceptable. How can students learn to love cinema if they’re not exposed to a large variety and volume of films? UW-Milwaukee’s Union Theatre seems to ‘get it’, and UW-Milwaukee students have one hell of a schedule to look forward to; let’s keep our fingers crossed for a similarly loaded schedule when WUD Film announces theirs in the coming weeks.

Below I’ve compiled a list of films that I wouldn’t dare miss if I were a student at UW-Milwaukee (and I do hope to attend several of these, particularly The Headless Woman and Claire Denis’s 35 Shots of Rum, though Milwaukee is a bit of a schlep for those of us who rely on our feet as our primary mode of transportation). There are also a bunch of videos, documentaries and experimental/non-narrative films on the schedule, none of which I’m familiar with but most of which seem pretty interesting.

August 28 & 30: Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)

September 4-6: Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy, 2008)

September 11-13: Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)

September 18-20: Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008) & 24 City (Jia Zhangke, 2008)

September 25 & 26: Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968)

October 9-11: Goodbye Solo (Ramin Bahrani,2008)

October 10 & 11: The Straight Story (David Lynch, 1999)

October 27-29: Examined Life (Astra Taylor, 2008)

November 13-15: Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007) & Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

November 20-22: The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008) & Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-Eda, 2008)

December 4-6: 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008)

December 5 & 6: Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) [note: this is indeed the newly restored 35mm print, which I can personally vouch for as being must-see stuff, having seen it earlier this summer]

The rest of schedule is here here here.

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