The A.V. Club’s Milwaukee Ethnic Festival Film Festival
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Summerfest is finally behind us, which marks the middle of summer for many Milwaukeeans. It’s also the starting point for a series of ethnic festivals that celebrate great cultures by allowing folks to get totally shitty in their honor. This year’s brutal summer makes staying at home and offering blood sacrifices to the inventor of the compressed air coil a tempting option, so The A.V. Club offers these films available on Netflix Instant as a chance for a little cultural expansion from the comfort of your own couch.
Bastille Days: July 12-16
The film: There are several versions of The Three Musketeers to choose from, but the ’70s version is one of the more faithful adaptations that came ready-made with a sequel.
The festival is better because: There isn’t a French actor within a kilometer of this movie. The only non-English cast member is Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu.
The film is better because: At least the fights in the streets here feature witty banter and swordplay instead of slurred swearing and everyone uploading their phone video to the local news media.
Double feature: The OSS films by Jean Duardin, star of The Artist, offer a good look at what the Austin Powers movies would be like without all the dwarf fetishism.
Festa Italiana: July 21-24
The film: Once Upon A Time In The West is everything you could want in an Italian Western. The young Charles Bronson alone will blow your mind.
The festival is better because: It’s always more educational to see sweaty Italian Fest goers in their natural habitat.
The film is better because: Watching this will help you be part of the cool kids when Django Unchained comes out in December. That film is going to be chock-full of Spaghetti Western references.
Double feature: Planet Of The Vampires was a huge inspiration for Alien, even if it looks like a knock-off of a bad Star Trek episode.
German Fest: July 26-29
The film: Metropolis, a.k.a. the influential science fiction film that people skipped out of seeing in their film classes to play some version of Super Smash Brothers.
The festival is better because: In the dark dystopian future of the film, there are no sheepshead tournaments.
The film is better because: German Fest has great people watching, but little robot watching.
Double feature: Downfall is the award-winning tale of Hitler’s last days in his bunker. It’s not exactly light viewing, but after watching that clip of Hitler that became an Internet meme, seeing where it came from should be interesting.
Irish Fest: August 16-19
The film: The Boondock Saints is one of the few Tarantino knock-offs to stand the test of time, thanks to a South Boston setting and a devout cult following.
The festival is better because: It has enough sense to end after four days and not deliver a terrible sequel called Irish Fest: All Saint’s Day.
The film is better because: Where else are you going to see Willem Dafoe swanning around as a homosexual vigilante? (Besides the Spider-Man flicks?)
Double feature: The Historic Pubs Of Dublin may be a documentary, but it makes your living room feel like a pub even if you’re drinking Guinness from a can.
Mexican Fiesta: August 24-26
The film: Guillermo del Toro burst onto the scene with Mimic, a claustrophobic thriller about human-sized insects infesting the New York subway.
The festival is better because: There’s a ton of great food to sample on the festival grounds. A few scenes in Mimic will make you want to never eat again.
The film is better because: Besides being scary, it will inspire a lively debate about whether or not Mira Sorvino is alive or dead.
Double feature: Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino collaborated on From Dusk Till Dawn at the peak of their hotness. The movie never quite lives up to the sum of its parts, but anything with a tattooed, badass George Clooney and a snake-dancing vampire stripper Salma Hayek is worth a viewing.