In terms of Milwaukee film happenings, March 2013 came in like a lamb and out like a lion. With the winter – or as I often referred to it “Snow-mageddon“ – seemingly behind us (with Wisconsin weather, you can never really tell), there’s little doubt that April 2013 will keep up the pace and offer up a wealth of cinematic fare and experiences that should satisfy most tastes. It bears mentioning that the UWM Union Theatre is leading the charge in that regard with a rather impressive and varied schedule this month.
Tuesday, April 2: Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams
7 p.m. @ Landmark Oriental ($10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors (62+) and children (under 12), and $8 for students (with a valid College ID)
8 p.m. @ Bayshore’s iPic Theatres (General Admission Seating is $10 and VIP Seating is $16)
Former Fleetwood Mac front woman turned solo artist Nicks has been described as everything from beguiling to enigmatic and then some. Fellow rock icon Grace Slick has in the past referred to her as “the witch.” In 2010, Nicks started recording her new solo album, In Your Dreams, produced by former Eurythmics mastermind Dave Stewart, who had the good sense to put his filmmaking hat on as well and document their collaboration in the recording studio resulting in this 100-minute portrait of the singer-songwriter responsible for a litany of hits, including “Gypsy Queen.” It's playing just one day across the country. The film is not rated.
Tuesday, April 2: Documentarian with program curator Sally Berger
7 p.m. and 9 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre (free)
The UWM Union Theatre presents the latest offering in its Docufiction program this semester: Documentarian from directors Inese Klava and Ivars Zvidris. The film is about a Latvian woman who loves and hates to be filmed yet forms a friendship with the cameraman/director who comes to see her. So what is “docufiction,” you ask? The theater’s official website defines it as a “[showcase for] the development of new ways of storytelling…[that reflect] on creative film language and form using a hybrid of documentary and fiction techniques.”
Wednesday, April 3: The Sundance Award-winning documentary The Law in These Parts
7 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. @ The UWM Union Theatre (free)
The Laws in These Parts, Israeli filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s award-winning documentary about his home country’s 43-year military legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, plays as part of the UWM Union Theatre’s Documentary Frontiers program. It played at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema - Documentary competition. The 100-minute film is in Hebrew with English Subtitles.
Thursday, April 4: Portrait of Jason
7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. @ UWM Union Theatre ($5)
The Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival’s almost-monthly screening presents the Milwaukee premiere for the restored print of this landmark 1967 documentary. Restored by Milestone Film and Video, filmmaker Shirley Clarke’s documentary Portrait of Jason is a chronicle of the life and times of Jason Holliday, a charismatic would-be cabaret performer and self-proclaimed hustler who speaks rather candidly about what it was like for him to be both black and gay in America long before the civil rights movement and Stonewall. Clarke interviewed Holliday over a 12-hour, alcohol-infused period and crafted the monologue-driven film (which clocks in at 105 minutes) from that rap session. Acclaimed filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (no stranger to crafting intimate cinematic portraits in his own right) called Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason the most fascinating film he’d ever seen. High praise indeed.
Saturday, April 6 and Sunday April 7: Charlotte’s Web
10:30 a.m. @ The Times Cinema ($4)
The Times Cinema kicks off its “April Animals Adventure Series” with a series of 4 animal-centered films, starting with the big screen live-action/CGI (computer generated imagery) remake of Charlotte’s Web (2006) starring Dakota Fanning and featuring the voice talent of Julia Roberts, Kathy Bates and Oprah Winfrey, among others. Other films showing this month include Lassie Come Home (1943) starring a young Roddy McDowall and an even-younger Elizabeth Taylor, the comedy Mouse Hunt (1997) with Nathan Lane, and another early Taylor film, National Velvet (1944), co-starring Mickey Rooney.