The 44th Annual Seattle International Film Festival opens on Thursday, May 17, with the opening night gala presentation of Goya-winning feature The Bookshop with Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, and Bill Nighy from Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet, and closes 24 days later on Sunday, June 10 with Portland-based filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. In between there are (at last count) 168 feature films, 66 documentary features, 10 archival films, and 164 short films among the multimedia presentations. All told: 433 films representing 90 countries (as of opening night).
Here is Parallax View’s coverage and guide to SIFF resources from around the web. We will update a few times a week.
“And do not, please do not, get him started on the people who approach him after the show with a Sling Blade DVD to sign. You just watched him perform his heart out for you and you are going to present him with a Sling Blade DVD? ‘Sure, I’ll sign your Sling Blade DVD,’ he says now. ‘And you can go home and fuck missionary like a metronome and never have an original creative idea in your life.’” Taffy Brodesser-Akner spends four days on tour with Billy Bob Thornton’s band, and with acidic comic precision captures the pretension and solipsism of the frustrated actor and swears-he’s-never-doing-that-again director, while making clear how under that remains a unique, untamable talent—and right under that, the survivor of horrible abuse trying to make a life for himself that works. Via Longform.
“Though Dreams received some appreciative reviews, many critics knocked it for what they saw as overt didacticism and stasis. They found the main character (played as a child by Toshihiko Nakano and Mitsunori Isaki and as an adult by Akira Terao), to be frustratingly passive, and the director’s themes—his fears about humanity and nature—to be mired in simplistic moralizing. Such criticisms, however, fail to appreciate the layers of meaning in Dreams, not to mention its stylistic strangeness. The film’s surfaces may be gentle; the experience of watching it is anything but.” Bilge Ebiri considers the autobiographical elements and experiments in stylization that make Dreams—not surprisingly—arguably Kurosawa’s most personal film.
The 8thCinema Italian Style series plays through the week at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It opens on Thursday, November 10 with Paolo Virzi’s Like Crazy with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and ends a week later on Thursday, November 17 with closing night feature Opposites Attract, a romantic comedy directed by Max Croci, who is scheduled to attend the screening and the closing night party. Among the 15 features and documentaries are Anna (For Your Love), which earned Valeria Golina the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival, the romantic comedy Solo, written and directed by actress Laura Morante, the award-winning documentary Libera Nos about the continued practice of exorcism on the Italian Catholic Church, and a new restoration of Ettore Scola’s A Special Day (1977) starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It continues for a week. Series and individual ticket available. Complete schedule and tickets here.
The 6th Seattle Shorts Film Festival opens on Friday, November 11 at SIFF Film Center with a feature film: Before I Disappear is Shawn Christensen’s feature-length adaptation of his 2012 Oscar-winning short film Curfew. The rest of the festival, which plays through the weekend at SIFF Film Center, presents 49 short films and music videos, including numerous Seattle premieres and works by local Seattle and Pacific Northwest filmmakers, and two panel discussions. Complete schedule and other information at the festival website here.
Mad Max: Fury Road Black & Chrome Edition, the black-and-white version of the film that George Miller called “more authentic and elemental,” plays exclusively at Cinerama for a ten-day run. Schedule and ticket information here.
The 8thCinema Italian Style series opens Thursday, November 10 at SIFF Cinema Uptown with Paolo Virzi’s Like Crazy with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. It continues for a week. Series and individual ticket available. Complete schedule and tickets here.
Christine Chubbuck, the local Sarasota TV newswoman who committed suicide on air in 1974, is the subject of two films opening in Seattle this weekend. Christine, from director Antonio Campos, stars Rebecca Hall as the newscaster spiraling into depression. It’s scheduled to play for a week at SIFF Cinema Uptown.
Kate Plays Christine, from dramatic / documentary hybrid from filmmaker Robert Greene, follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she attempts to get into “character” as Christine Chubbuck. It won the Special Jury Award for screenplay at Sundance. Plays through Sunday at NWFF.
Miss Hokusai, an animated Japanese feature from director Keiichi Hara and the creators of Ghost in the Shell, opens for a week at SIFF Cinema Uptown.
Archival and revival screenings:
Grand Illusion presents two contemporary twists of the vampire film on 35mm this weekend and on Halloween night: The Hunger (1983), the feature debut of director Tony Scott featuring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie, and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.
The Japanese horror classic Kuroneko (Black Cat) (1968), directed by Kaneto Shindo, is both an eerie ghost story and a ferocious horror tale of righteous revenge. Set in feudal Japan, in a bamboo forest perpetually shrouded in fog and shadow as ethereal as the ghosts that seem to float through it, the film chronicles the spirits of two women, raped and murdered by scruffy samurai who are more like feral bandits, driven to revenge themselves on all samurai, which they lure to their ghost house, itself a spirit that moves through the forest like a supernatural creature. It’s one of the greatest of Japanese ghost stories, a horror film of elemental drive, feminist rage and visual grace. It plays three shows at Grand Illusion this week from a 35mm print.
Also at Grand Illusion in 35mm is Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan (1965), a quartet of ancient ghost stories. It may not be strictly speaking a horror film—it’s not scary or particularly unsettling apart for a few exquisitely created images—but it is breathtakingly lovely, visually composed like a painting, scored and sound designed by Toru Takemitsu with a spareness that leans on silence, and suffused in sadness, regret, and loss. The 160-minute film plays twice this week.
Twist 2016, the Seattle Queer film festival, has its opening night at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian on Thursday, October 13 with the world premiere of Seattle artist Clyde Petersen’ debut feature Torrey Pines and continues through Sunday, October 23 with screenings and events at the Egyptian, NWFF, 12 Ave Arts Building, Pacific Place, and other venues. The closing night film The Pass screens at Cinerama on Sunday, October 23. Complete schedule and other details at the website here.
The 11th Annual Seattle South Asian Film Festival opens on Friday, October 14 with a screening of Aynabaji (India) at Seattle Art Museum, moves to SIFF Film Center for a weekend of screenings, and screens films at Thompson Hall at the UW, Carco Theater in Renton, and other venues through Sunday, October 23. It closes with Waiting, a Hindi-language film from India. Complete schedule and other details at the website here.
The Seattle Polish Film Festival plays at SIFF Cinema Uptown this weekend with screenings of Cellin Gluck’s Persona Non Grata, Tomasz Wasilewski’s The United States of Love, Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes, and revivals of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Killing (1988) and The Double Life of Veronique (1991) among other films. It plays through Sunday, October 23. Complete schedule and other details at the website here.
Kinofest Seattle, a collaboration between The Portland German Film Festival and Northwest Film Forum, opens on Friday, October 7 with Margarethe von Trotta’s The Displaced World and continues through Sunday, October 9 at NWFF, screening seven German language features and a collection of shorts over three days. Among the featured films: Windstorm 2 by Katja von Garnier, the documentary Then Is it the End? from Dominik Graf, and the American premiere of Exit Oerlikon from director Paul Riniker. Complete schedule and ticket information here.
The Irish Reels Film Festival opens Friday, October 7 at SIFF Film Center with the coming of age drama My Name is Emily and ends on Sunday with You’re Too Ugly. Complete schedule here.
French Cinema Now kicks off a series of French language films from France and Canada at SIFF Cinema Uptown with on Thursday, September 29 with opening night feature Lost in Paris from filmmaking team Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. Among the highlights: the romantic comedy Two Friends from actor/director Louis Garrel, Don’t Tell Me the Boy was Mad from Robert Guediguian and set in 1970s Paris, the documentary Reset which takes viewers behind the scenes at the Opéra National de Paris, and the drama After Love with Be?re?nice Bejo and Ce?dric Kahn as a married couple sticking through a failing marriage for their kids. The series plays through Thursday, October 6. The complete schedule and ticket and festival pass information is here.
Mink Stole presents a midnight screening of the new restoration of John Waters’ trash classic Multiple Maniacs (1970) at SIFF Egyptian on Friday, September 30. The event is hosted by Peaches Christ and features a special performance by RainbowGore Cake.
Young Frankenstein (1971) returns to cinemas across the country for a special one-night-only screening on Wednesday, October 5 from Fathom Events. This screening features a live introduction by director Mel Brooks, who co-wrote the film with his star and good friend Gene Wilder. You can find participating theaters in your area here.
This week, Central Cinema goes classic with Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and crowd-pleasing with The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Showtimes here.
Back for another go: The Art of the Story: The Hero’s Journey is a workshop that looks at the power of myth and the hero’s journey in storytelling through Star Wars (1977) and its relationship to Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Conducted by media educator Malory Graham. Sunday, October 2 at SIFF Film Center.
The 39th edition of the longest-running film noir series in the world kicks off on Thursday, September 29 with a screening of Nightmare Alley (1947). Matinee idol Tyrone Power is brilliantly cast as the opportunistic carnie who tramples his partners to climb out of the sideshow and into nightclub glamour and high society in one of the most offbeat examples of film noir. Opening and closing in the dregs of a two-bit carnival, the rise and fall of a drifter who connives a mind-reading act from a rummy has-been and transforms it into a scam targeting the gullible rich straddles the chasm between sleaze and class, thanks to the oddly interesting miscasting of studio stalwart Edmund Goulding as director. He never manages to sink to the depths suggested in Jules Furthman’s screenplay (behold the Geek!) but his studio elegance has its own rewards. Tyrone Power’s self-conscious screen persona perfectly fits his character, a phony whose entire life is a performance, and Colleen Gray is film noir’s baby-faced innocent, though she’s anything but naïve here. Joan Blondell and Mike Mazurki co-star as Gray’s protective carnie pals and Helen Walker proves herself just as ruthlessly cunning as Power’s scam artist in the role of a corrupt analyst. It screens from a 35mm film print at 7:30 pm at Plestcheeff Auditorium at the Seattle Art Museum. More information here, and the series continues on Thursday nights through December at SAM.
SIFF Cinema Uptown celebrates Arthouse Theatre Day with a screening of the newly restored cult horror film Phantasm (1979) on Saturday, September 24 at SIFF Cinema Uptown, with a live stream Q&A with director Don Coscarelli joined by J.J. Abrams.
Central Cinema gets back to school with repertory runs of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Mean Girls (2004). Showtimes here.
More openings: The conspiracy thriller Operation Avalanche at Sundance Cinemas, the French drama Come What May at Guild 45, the romantic comedy/fantasy Zoom at Grand Illusion, and the documentaries Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary at SIFF Film Center and Three Days in Auschwitz at Sundance Cinemas.
The autumn movie calendar brings a handful of essential annual events to local screens—for instance, the Seattle Art Museum’s Film Noir series (kicking off Sept. 29) is the world’s longest-running showcase for noir, and SIFF presents its yearly French Cinema Now festival (also Sept. 29). An increasingly important mainstay is the Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Film Festival. Launched in 1997, Local Sightings draws its roster from movies made throughout the Northwest, casting its net far enough to include Alaska and Montana as well as near-flung Canadian provinces.
The result is inevitably a mixed bag, but that’s part of the point. Some of the films are authentic finds, some are not ready for prime time. But all movies need air, and the festival provides a way to get these things onto a screen and exposed to audiences, where they can flourish or wither. Almost as important, Local Sightings surrounds a year’s worth of regional films with panels, workshops, and parties, all part of maintaining the we-can-do-this-here energy.
The 19th edition of Local Sightings, “Seattle’s only festival dedicated to Pacific Northwest films and filmmakers,” opens at NWFF on Thursday, September 22 with “The Future is Zero: Local Sightings Edition,” a local game show taped live in locations around Seattle. The festival presents over 100 features and short films, including 26 world premieres (four of them features), plus workshops and panels and other events. Plays through Saturday, October 1 at NWFF. Complete schedule and other details here.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, a documentary directed by Ron Howard (his first), opens for a week-long run at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It also plays on Hulu for streaming subscribers, but the theatrical version features an exclusive 30 minute concert of The Beatles’ performance at Shea Stadium in 1965. Reviewed on Parallax View here.
Heidi (1992) is an experimental reinterpretation of the classic children’s novel by artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley. It screens on Sunday, September 18 at NWFF in a special presentation co-sponsored by the Henry Art Gallery.
Cinerama’s 70mm Film Festival opens on Friday, September 9 with screenings of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Tron (1982) and continues through Monday, September 19. The offerings are wide ranging, from such large-gauge standbys as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Spartacus (1960) to modern 70mm event releases The Master (2012) and Interstellar (2014) to unconventional choices like Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985), John Carpenter’s Starman (1984), and Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (1985). You’ll want to get your tickets in advance; it’s all reserved seating and the first two shows of 2001, the Saturday show of Lawrence, and both screenings of Aliens (1986) are already sold out. Embrace the old school standard for high-definition cinema and remind yourself what it looks like to see film projected on the big screen. Showtimes and tickets here.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and Montgomery Clift plays on 35mm at NWFF on Saturday, September 10.
Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys (1968) plays one show at NWFF on Sunday, September 11. It screens from a 16mm print, just like it did in its original release.
The American indie comedy Chatty Catties plays three shows over the next few weeks at NWFF. The first is screening is on Friday, September 9, and it plays again on Saturday, September 17 and Saturday, October 8.
WRETCHED WOMAN // Pig or Poet? showcases the video works by Chicago-based artist Emily Esperanza in a two-part program at NWFF on Sunday, September 11. All screened from VHS tapes with the artist in attendance.
Take Three 2016 is a showcase of experimental film and animation curated by Barbara Robertson, Joseph Pentheroudakis, and Janet Galore. It screens on Thursday, September 15 at NWFF. Some of the artists represented in the showcase will be at a pre-screening reception at 7pm.
Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, a documentary on the legendary photographer and filmmaker by Laura Israel, opens on Thursday, September 15 and plays through the weekend at NWFF.
Passes are now available for the 39th edition of the longest-running film noir series in the world. This year’s edition begins on Thursday, September 29 with Nightmare Alley (1947) and ends on December 8 with the modern noir Nightcrawler (2014), and seven of the nine feature will be screened on 35mm prints. Screenings are on Thursday evenings at Plestcheeff Auditorium at the Seattle Art Museum downtown. More information here.
A Rialto Pictures revival of Louis Malle’s 1958 Elevator to the Gallows, a thriller starring Jeanne Moreau and featuring a score by Miles Davis, opens for a week-long run at Sundance Cinemas.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer, a German drama about the district attorney who fought the state to bring criminal charged again Adolph Eichmann in the late 1950s, topped the German film awards with nine nominations. It opens at Seven Gables.
Elio Petri’s A Quiet Place in the Country (1968), starring Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave, plays on 35mm at NWFF for two shows only on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
Two films that played at SIFF open this weekend: Southside with You, a Before Sunrise with actors playing young Barack and Michelle on a first date in Chicago, opens at The Egyptian and The Intervention, the directorial debut of actress Clea DuVall, opens at Sundance Cinemas.
Breaking a Monster, a documentary about rock trio of 13-year-old boys whose mix of heavy metal and speed punk makes the jump for Times Square to major recording contract with the help of a 70-year-old manager, plays through Sunday at NWFF.
From South Korea comes Tunnel, a survival drama about a man trapped in a collapsed tunnel and the shifting public support as the rescue drags on and the media get distracted. Directed by Kim Seong-hun (A Hard Day). Opens at the AMC Alderwood and the Cinemark Century at Federal Way.
This week’s free outdoor movie at Cal Anderson Park is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005). The screening begins at sunset on Friday, August 26, around 8:30pm, but viewers are encouraged to arrive early for a good seat, concessions, and entertainment by a DJ playing from 7pm.
The Rogers & Hammerstein musical The King and I (1956), starring Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno, and the singing voice of Marni Nixon, plays on big screen in select theaters across the country for two nights this week through Fathom Events: Sunday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 31. You can find participating theaters in your area here.