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The ‘Cinebuds’ guide to week two of this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival

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Three of the many movies you can catch during week two of the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival.
Milwaukee Film
Three of the many movies you can catch during week two of the 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival.

Every week, Kristopher Pollard from Milwaukee Film and Radio Milwaukee’s Dori Zori talk about movies — because that’s what you do when you’re Cinebuds.

Did you know that over the course of its two weeks, this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival will have screened 131 features and 169 shorts? For the math heads out there, that’s a whopping 300 titles filling the 2024 event’s program. Even for a cinephile with unlimited time and energy reserves, seeing every single one isn’t an option. That’s why we’re here.

By “we” I mean Kpolly and Dori — AND returning for yet another Milwaukee Filmtastic episode is the organization’s programing director, Kerstin Larson. If you missed our last installment, Kerstin joined our ’Buds to provide the kind of recommendations you might expect from the person responsible for picking the films that show up in the fest.

But that was just week one. We have a whole second week to tackle, and you can hear the trio’s must-see movies (and a brief digression about movie snacks) by tapping the “Listen” button on this page or finding Cinebuds wherever you ingest your podcasts. We also included a helpful list of their recommended films below.

Closing-Night Screening

Robot Dreams
Pablo Berger | 2023 | Spain, France

Dog lives in Manhattan and he’s tired of being alone. One day he decides to build himself a robot and they become inseparable friends. One summer night, Dog, with great sadness, is forced to abandon Robot at the beach. Will they ever meet again? "Bolstered by the resilient spirit of New York City, this is one of the loveliest movies that you will see this year, animated or otherwise." (TheWrap)

  • Thursday, April 25 | 7:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)

Kerstin Larsen’s picks

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (feat. the Anvil Orchestra)
Robert Weine | 1920 | Germany

Widely considered the first horror film, Robert Wiene's 1920 silent German expressionist tale deals with the mysterious eponymous doctor and his sleepwalking companion, Cesare. With live accompaniment by our friends from the Anvil Orchestra, this screening is not to be missed if you consider yourself a fan of the genre, cinema history and/or innovative music — or if you're just looking for an experience you can't get anywhere else.

  • Thursday, April 18 | 5:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)

Concrete Utopia
Um Tae-hwa | 2023 | South Korea

The world has been reduced to rubble by a massive earthquake, and there is only one apartment building left standing in Seoul. Tenants are grateful to have been spared, but tensions mount as survivors from the surrounding city arrive seeking shelter. As days pass and no rescue teams arrive, the tenants vote to evict the outsiders. Concrete Utopia follows its characters’ gradual descent into ruthless tribalism in a way that eerily mirrors so many contemporary global events.

  • Thursday, April 18 | 9:30 p.m. | Downer Theatre (North Cinema)
  • Tuesday, April 23 | 8:45 p.m. | Avalon Theater

Jason Yu | 2023 | South Korea

Hyun-su and Soo-jin are newlyweds. One night, Hyun-su starts talking and wandering their apartment in his sleep. “Someone’s inside.” Soo-jin becomes overwhelmed with anxiety that her husband could hurt her family while she sleeps and can barely sleep a wink because of this irrational fear. Despite sleep treatment, Hyun-su’s sleepwalking only intensifies, and Soo-jin begins to feel that her unborn child may be in danger.

  • Saturday, April 20 | 10:30 p.m. | Times Cinema

The Milwaukee Music Video Show

Back for 2024, our showcase of locally made music videos runs the gamut of musical genres while also showcasing the exquisite diversity allowed within the music video format. Consider these a series of short, sonic bursts of creative excitement. Artists include Rose of the West, Fuzzysurf and XPosed 4Heads, plus there will be a Q&A with several of the directors and artists following the screening.

  • Sunday, April 21 | 6:30 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)

Let the Canary Sing
Alison Ellwood | 2023 | United States, United Kingdom

Follow Cyndi Lauper through exclusive never-before-seen footage, candid interviews and untold stories as she fearlessly blazes her own trail after achieving chart-topping success in her 30s and continuing to create, innovate and champion her beliefs four decades later. Famous pop artists such as Boy George share their thoughts on her musical talent and unique vocal sound, as well as how she has drawn attention to subjects like emancipation, abortion, racism and gender discrimination.

  • Sunday, April 21 | 3:45 p.m. | Oriental Theatre (Abele Cinema)
  • Thursday, April 25 | 6 p.m. | Avalon Theater