In a move that’s no doubt already steamed the conservatives of Facebook, a documentary about freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will play at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival.
The news comes as part of a “preview of the preview” sort of deal the festival’s organizers offered local film fans, according to The Cap Times. The full lineup will be unveiled at a paid event tonight, March 6, and drops publicly tomorrow.
If you couldn’t shell out the $50 for tonight’s reveal, tide yourself over with a few highlights:
Knock Down the House
This doc is directed by Rachel Lears. It follows Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive women — Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin and Amy Vilela — who ran underdog congressional campaigns in 2018. The film won the Festival Favorite Award at Sundance before being sold to Netflix for a cool $10 million. (And no, former guv Scott Walker, AOC would not tax that for $7M.) Though AOC was the only subject of Knock Down the House to win her race, it hardly matters within the context of the film. This is about the dynamics of power and a glass ceiling that’s in the process of shattering.
Spoiler: This is not a film about the mandrill spirit guide from The Lion King. It’s actually about same-sex romance and its social ramifications in Kenya. Directed by Wanuri Kahiu and shot lyrically by Christopher Wessels, Rafiki was banned in its home country for its positive depiction of a lesbian relationship. Conversely, it’s also the first Kenyan film to play at Cannes.
Another critically lauded documentary, Hail Satan? challenges the Christian theocracy that’s always driven the United States. Here, the Church of Satan is depicted as the level-headed patriots, waging a politically war on the regressive, tyrannical religious policing of certain sects of Christianity. It’s a story about the freedom of both religion and expression. And it’s told through the lens of some very normal, very rational folks who just happen to worship the dark lord.
Light From Light
I’m fond of telling anyone who will listen how much I want to see Jim Gaffigan play a serial killer. It’s almost always engaging to watch a comedian embrace darkness, and there are few I’d like to see do it more than Gaffigan. In Light From Light, the food-loving dad joke maestro goes into the black, albeit in a gentler way. Gaffigan plays Richard, a widower who hires a paranormal investigator (Marin Ireland) to check out a possible haunting at his farmhouse.
The 2019 Wisconsin Film Festival will run April 4-11 at several locations on the UW campus and also the AMC Madison 6 (or as we like to call it around here, the Movie Hole). The full lineup will be available on Thursday, March 6, and tickets go on sale Saturday, March 9.