Seattle Screens: Kiarostami in Japan and Park in America

The March edition of Framing Picture, the free monthly discussion about movies about the current cinema, is Friday, March 15 at Northwest Film Forum. The conversation begins at 5pm with Seattle film critics Robert Horton, Richard Jameson, and Bruce Reid. Mr. Jameson previews the discussion at Straight Shooting here.

While the filmmaking talents of Iran face greater censorship, intimidation, and outright oppression at home, Abbas Kiarostami continue his international tour with Like Someone in Love, a Japanese production about a schoolgirl and part-time prostitute, her jealous, hotheaded boyfriend, and the retired professor who hires her services and can’t decide if he wants to be sugar daddy or sage grandfatherly guardian. The story is pretty straightforward compared to the Euro-arthouse conceptual play of Certified Copy, but the characters and knotty relationships are layered in the lies and obfuscations they tell others and themselves and the inevitable unraveling of their relationships as the facades fall away frays into another perfect Kiarostami ending. Egyptian.

Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) is the second Korean director to make his American filmmaking debut this year, and his Stoker is far more interesting and accomplished than Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand. No surprise that the film, which shares the name of Dracula author Bram Stoker, plays like a vampire movie without vampires, at least traditional ones. But the elements are there: a girl turning 18 (a dreamy, disconnected Mia Wasikowska) with heightened senses and a preternatural connection to the natural world, an long lost uncle (Matthew Goode) who has an almost hypnotic ability to calm and seduce people, a mother (Nicole Kidman) so spellbound by his attention that she can’t summon the strength to stand up for her daughter. Beautifully directed, defined as much by mood and texture as story, and photographed so as to keep the audience having any solid, safe vantage point. Area theaters.

Openings

Two Oscar-nominated films arrive in Seattle this week. War Witch, a Canadian production but an African story shot in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film (it’s in French and Lingala). I review it for Seattle Weekly. The Uptown.

And Brian Miller reviews The Gatekeepers, one of the five documentaries up for an Oscar, also for Seattle Weekly. Harvard Exit.

West of Memphis is the fourth documentary to examine the case of the Memphis Three but the first one not helmed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky; this one was produced by Peter Jackson, who also helped fund their legal defense, and directed by Amy Berg. It was not nominated but it was on the Academy short-list, which in itself recommends the film in this era of superior non-fiction filmmaking. Moira Macdonald at The Seattle Times. Guild 45.

56 Up, the 8th installment in one of the most dedicated non-fiction film studies in the history of the form, is at SIFF Film Center.

Nairobi Half Life, Kenya’s submission for the Academy Awards, plays for one night only at The Uptown on Thursday, March 21.

Also opening: the dueling-magicians comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone with Steve Carrell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, and Olivia Wilde (area theaters); the abduction thriller The Call with Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin (area theaters); the animated The Rabbi’s Cat from France (NWFF), and The Matchmaker from Israel (SIFF Film Center).

Visit the film review pages at The Seattle TimesSeattle Weekly, and The Stranger for more releases.

Repertory / Revival

Grand Illusion continues their Bond series with 35mm prints of You Only Live Twice (1967) and the superior On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) with George Lazenby in his one and only turn through the part.

Week three of NWFF’s “L.A. Rebellion” series continues with screenings of Larry Clark’s Passing Through, Alile Sharon’s Your Children Come Back to You, and Jamaa Fanaka’s Emma Mae, plus a free salon discussion with local filmmakers Shaun Scott and Brian McDonald and film critic Charles Mudede on Saturday, March 16. Full schedule at NWFF here.

This week at Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount, Joan Crawford plays one of Our Dancing Daughters (1926). Harry Beaumont directs and Johnny Mack Brown and Nils Asther co-star. Jim Riggs is at the Mighty Wurlitzer.

Dance Cinema Quarterly presents a screening of West Side Story paired with Meredith Monk’s dance short Ellis Island. At NWFF on Tuesday, March 19, co-presented with Velocity Dance Center.

And in Seattle movie news, Moira Macdonald reports on the long-anticipated renovations at The Metro, which was taken over by Sundance Cinemas last year with promises of an overhaul. Looks like change is finally underway.

For more alternative screenings, read Moira Macdonald’s At A Theater Near You roundup at The Seattle Times.

Schedules and Showtimes

View complete screening schedules through IMDbMSNYahoo, or Fandango, pick the interface of your choice.

You can check your favorite independent cinemas, neighborhood theaters and multiplexes here.

Independent theaters:
SIFF Cinema
Northwest Film Forum
Grand Illusion
Majestic Bay Theatres
Cinerama
Central Cinema
The Big Picture
Seattle Art Museum

Multiplexes and Chains
Sundance Cinema
Cinebarre
Landmark Theatres (Egyptian, Guild 45, Harvard Exit, Varsity and others)
Regal Cinemas (Meridian 16, Thornton Place and others)
AMC Cinemas (Pacific Place, Oak Tree, Alderwood and others)
Kirland Park Place
Lincoln Square Cinemas
Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas