This weekend, there is another film festival about 75 miles south of the Twin Cities, in Pepin and Stockholm, Wisconsin. The Flyway Film Festival has now reached the five-year mark.
FFF has been growing each year, with more and more people traveling from the Twin Cities (and other parts of Minnesota) to enjoy the four-day festival, with many of the 35+ films being U.S. and regional premieres. This year, over 30 visiting directors, producers, and writers will be present at the festival, and some great parties are planned. One film worth checking out is the opening-night picture, Mary Sweeney’s directorial debut Baraboo. Sweeney’s name may sound familiar to hard-core cinephiles as the long time editor and producer of many of David Lynch’s films (Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire). Another highlight is Ballhawks, a documentary film narrated by Bill Murray, about men who chase baseballs and dreams on the streets outside of Wrigley Field. If you couldn’t get into the sold-out screening of Matt Osterman’s Phasma ex Machina at the Twin Cities Film Festival a few weeks ago, you’ll get another chance here. Closing the festival on Sunday night is the documentary The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan, which has been screening at festivals across the US to rave reviews; director Henry Corra will be present.
Since the release of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, Swedish crime stories are more popular than ever—both at your bookstore and in your Netflix queue. This past Sunday on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery series, Irish actor Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Henry V, Dead Again) finished his second stint (there are three films in each series) as Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander in the terrific BBC crime series Wallander. The films are based on several mystery books by another Swedish crime novelist, Henning Mankell. Branagh, has played Wallander in six of the films, with the last three comprising Faceless Killers, The Man Who Smiled, and—the best of the three—The Fifth Woman. Wallander as a detective isn’t as wild as Lisbeth Salander the computer hacker or as laid-back as Mikael Blomkvist the journalist in the Millennium trilogy, but Branagh is convincing and sharp in the role and his performance could be his best work in years. If you missed the series on PBS, the latest films were released on Blu-ray and DVD yesterday and they can be watched online for a limited time.
Photo: Pepin, Wisconsin. Photo by Doug Wallick (Creative Commons).