Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


The Badger Herald’s picks for WUD Film’s Marquee International Film Festival

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The Badger Heralds picks for WUD Films Marquee International Film Festival
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The Wisconsin Union Directorate Film Committee is having their Marquee International Film Festival this weekend starting with “Enter the Serpent” (2015) Thursday.

It will feature 16 foreign films new and old, serious and funny, but all in all just plain good.

Since it can be hard to keep up with cinema, here are The Badger Herald’s picks for the festival’s cream of the crop.


My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

In a world where Disney and Pixar rule, it’s easy for Western audiences to occasionally overlook some of the excellent animated output from Japan.

This is not to imply that Japanese animation is new to the game. Many of the all-time greats are at least 20 to 30 years old. From “Akira” to “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” these Japanese classics give the pinnacle of Western animation a run for its money. Among these excellent works is 1988’s “My Neighbor Totoro,” one of the legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s earlier films.

Like many of Miyazaki’s works, “Totoro” creates a childlike sense of wonder, as two sisters Satsuki and Mei meet and interact with a massive spirit named Totoro. Miyazaki’s animation is enthralling, and the simple story keeps even the youngest of viewers engaged. “Totoro” is definitely not to be missed, and will be among the high points of the Marquee International Film Festival.

— Peter Culver

The Treasure (2015)

One of the strangest films featured at this weekend’s festival will probably be Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Treasure,” a highly regarded deadpan comedy that leaves audience members reeling.  

Its offbeat pace and extremely low amount of conflict lead to a good number of unexpected laughs. This is exactly the type of comedy that film reviewers and enthusiasts love to see, due to the fact that it is so different from today’s normal quasi-improvised style of riffing. This movie thrives in the ineptitude of its characters and their inability to realize just how little they have done.

Porumboiu’s style of ridiculously long takes are apparently a large part of this odd style of humor. Based on this very different style of filmmaking, this film promises to be unending in its awkwardness, but offers some great humor out of the sheer absurdity of it all.

— Zach Druckery

Mediterranea (2015)


“Mediterranea” is not the standard account of the America-centric immigration trope of struggle, bravery and resolve for a better life. Though it certainly contains these elements, this film portrays them in a way mainstream audiences have never consumed.

The film follows two main characters, who are not typical protagonists by any means, as they assimilate into an Italian life plagued by racist factions and violent uprisings.

The two men, Aviya and Abas, seek refuge from their home country of Burkina Faso, located in western Africa. The reasons for their move are left unknown throughout the entire narrative. Director Jonas Carpignano most likely intentionally left this ambiguous — so many accounts of migration are subjective.

As an artistic choice, the audience witnesses a raw, unadulterated story of deliberate movement from one place to another. The two men navigate the Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean Sea and other countless adversarial conditions to grasp supposed refuge in Europe.

Questioning the notion of a better life is further explored as both characters resort to depraved means to stay alive. This is depicted with erratic jump cuts and shaky cam cinematography. Ultimately, the film shows how strongly one’s sense of place influences decisions and disposition.

Carpignano’s debut film, “Mediterranea” will highlight the best programming the WUD Film Festival has to offer. While many stories of immigration are anonymous, the struggles of acculturation, identity loss and consequent crises of morality should be anything but.

– Kaden Greenfield

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