2012 Milwaukee Film Festival: Day 7
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Today is the seventh day of the 2012 Milwaukee Film Festival, which runs through Oct. 11. In order to help you make sense of the bewildering array of films and panel discussions, The A.V. Club will be featuring selected picks for each day of the fest. If you ever wanted to stalk us (and see some great films in the process), now’s your chance.
• Shorts: “Quiet Riots” (Downer Theatre, 4:30 p.m.)
Milwaukee Film’s excellent shorts programs continue to be the best bang for your buck. Where else can you see nearly a dozen self-contained stories stuffed with drama, laughs, and gratuitous violence for the price of one ticket? The fest has a number of themed programs this year, including selections like “Date Night,” “Let’s Get Animated,” and “Whodunit?” Today’s “Quiet Riots” program is designed to “move you to unexpected places, call you to action, and command your attention.” With films like Honor The Treaties, Remember Me, My Ghost, and An American Contradiction, that shouldn’t be too hard.
• Let The Bullets Fly (Oriental Theatre, 6:45 p.m.)
Violent, cruel, and funny, Let The Bullets Fly is a 1920-set Chinese crime comedy with a Western flair that pits big shot Chow Yun-Fat against bandit-turned-conman “Pocky” (as in pockmarked) Jiang Wen in a battle of brutality and social competition that’s entertaining, though not always easy to follow. Chow, in spite of his fondness for suits and the veneer of civilization, is actually a major opium-runner and gangster, and Jiang, in spite of his background as the area’s most-wanted outlaw, is pretending to be the town’s new official, so the conflict between the two plays out via surface politesse and stealth ambushes. There are action sequences in which masked men communicate via birdcalls amid a shootout in the hills, but one of the most brutal acts occurs in a courtroom, in which a man is maneuvered into gutting himself to prove he didn’t steal.
• High Tech, Low Life (Oriental Theatre, 9:30 p.m.)
Though the United States currently enjoys (mostly) unrestricted access to this wild and crazy thing we call the Internet, China remains behind a government-censored “Great Firewall.” The award-winning High Tech, Low Life follows two Chinese citizen reporters, Zola and Tiger Temple, as they dig up and expose under-reported and banned stories.