The Wisconsin Film Festival turns 25 this year! Presented over eight days, from Thursday April 13 through Thursday, April 20, 2023 IRIS NRC is excited to sponsor three different films over the course of the festival! Be sure to check out the festival’s full listings and tickets by visiting their ticketing website. Tickets are free for students with a UW student ID, act fast because seats fill up quick.
Mother and Son
Narrative story; France; 116 minutes; 2022
At the start of Léonor Serraille’s Mother and Son, we see Rose and her two young sons—Jean and Ernest—huddled together while gazing out of a train window. Having emigrated from the Ivory Coast, they speed toward Paris to make a new life for themselves. Spanning a sweeping twenty-year period, Mother and Son offers slice-of-life scenes that chart the joys and tribulations that the family experiences in France. At times, Rose’s best intentions go awry; her attempts to find a father figure for her sons lead her into less-than-ideal relationships, and her desire for her sons to succeed can prove to be stifling. For their part, the sons experience the growing pains that all adolescents feel; they navigate youthful romances and rebel against the adults in their lives. Yet Mother and Son is as much a treatise on the immigrant experience in France as it is a subtle family drama. Through all the shifting complexities of their relationships, the family is haunted by the memory of the two children Rose was obliged to leave behind in the Ivory Coast. Recalling Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum in its relaxed rhythms and themes of immigration, Mother and Son boasts a superb lead performance from Annabelle Lengronne as Rose. Mother and Son is being screened as part of Young French Cinema, a program of Unifrance and Villa Albertine. (JB) For more information and to grab your tickets click here.
Bobi Wine: The People’s President
Documentary; Uganda, United Kingdom, United States; 113 minutes; 2022
Born in the slums of Kampala, Bobi Wine, former member of Uganda’s parliament, activist, and a national superstar musician, has dedicated his life to fighting the ruthless current regime led by former military leader Yoweri Museveni. Museveni has been in power since 1986 and when he changed Uganda’s constitution to enable him to run for yet another five-year term, Bobi Wine announced that he was running in the Country’s 2021 presidential elections. In this fight, the opposition candidate uses his music to denounce the dictatorial regime, but he must also directly confront the country’s police and military, which are not afraid to use violence and torture in a vain attempt to intimidate and silence him and his supporters. Thanks to generous access provided by Bobi Wine and his wife Barbie, what sets Bobi Wine: The People’s President apart from most journalistic documentaries is the remarkable and often frightening footage that was captured by filmmakers Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo, as they follow the day-to-day struggles of their subject during his historic and courageous campaign. Sharp and Bwayo began their project thinking it would be a portrait of a World Music celebrity with a conscience. They finished with the story of two loyal citizens who risk their own lives, and the lives of their children, to dislodge and liberate their nation and defend the oppressed and voiceless people of Uganda. The filmmakers put themselves at great risk too, and, in fact, Bwayo survived being shot in the face during filming and spent several nights in prison. Ultimately, the directors and their subject have delivered a movie that has all the trappings of a riveting political thriller, and it is all real. (JH) For more information and to grab your tickets click here.
The Happiest Man in the World
Narrative story; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, Slovenia; 85 minutes; 2022
At an all-day Saturday speed dating event in present-day Sarajevo, Asja, a 40-year-old single woman looking to meet new people, is matched with Zoran, a 43-year-old banker. However, while some couples are matched at the start of the event, Zoran has pre-arranged to be paired with Asja. We soon learn that these two middle-aged people have shared links to Sarajevo’s war-torn past and Zoran is not looking for love but forgiveness. Director and co-writer Teona Strugar Mitevska eschews the stripped-down, austere style that is so prevalent in Eastern European cinema, in favor of a lively, inventive approach that blends humor with sometimes shockingly serious dramatic revelations. Mitevska also makes the most of her limited locations, framing the action and using the camera in arresting ways within a series of hotel conference rooms named after cities in Switzerland. It is against this banal, neutral backdrop where the principal characters reveal their personal histories, vividly bringing to the present decades of complex and conflicted emotions. Co-writer Elma Tataragic based the movie’s scenario on an incident from her actual life, transforming decidedly personal material into an expertly staged, unified drama “about memory, wounds, healing and the possibility – or otherwise – of reconciliation and catharsis” (Jonathan Romney, Screen International). (JH) For more information and to grab your tickets click here.