Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Seattle Screens

Seattle Screens: Rendez-Vous with Festival Season

The Well-Digger's Daughter

Festival season is apparently underway in Seattle. This weekend finds three separate cinema celebrations competing for your attention: the 2012 Seattle Jewish Film Festival, the new edition of the Rural Route Film Festival at Grand Illusion, and a curated sampling from the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema series making its first appearance in Seattle.

Eight films from the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema will screen at the Uptown between Friday, March 16 and Sunday, March 18. “This smorgasbord of Gallic screen fare has been an annual event since its inception in 1996,” explains Richard T. Jameson. “SIFF is one of 50 exhibitors nationwide to be offered a touring version of the 2012 edition, a weekend’s worth of feature films representing about a third of the festival…”

Jameson surveys the films at Straight Shooting and offers recommendations on two in particular: The Well-Digger’s Daughter, which screens 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18 “[Director Daniel] Auteuil honors the maître’s decision to open his earthy storytelling to the sun, wind, and ripeness of Provence: one’s eyes virtually breathe this movie”) and the new 4K digital restoration of Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert’s 1945 Children of Paradise, screening 2:15 p.m. Sunday, March 18 (“one of the most splendiferous movies ever made”). Schedule and details here.

The 2012 Seattle Jewish Film Festival, which opens Thursday, March 15 with the film Mabul (The Flood) at Cinerama, begins in earnest over the weekend with screenings at Pacific Place on Saturday and Sunday and then moves to the Uptown. The program includes features, documentaries and short programs, including what is being called the first slasher films from Israel: Rabies. Schedule, showtimes and descriptions are here.

The Rural Route Film Festival is, in the words of the organizers, the only film fest devoted to rural people and places. Grand Illusion presents highlights from the 2011 incarnation throughout the week: a collection of narrative shorts, a program of short documentaries, and the documentary feature Truckfarm, from the makes of King Corn. The programs play through Thursday, March 22. Showtimes and schedule here.

Parallax View contributor Robert Cumbow is teaching an evening film class at NWFF beginning this week: “What is This Thing Called Lynch?” Six Mondays of lectures and discussions, starting Monday, March 19. Details and registration here.

Openings Beyond the Multiplex

Jeff, Who Lives At Home is not so much a slacker comedy as a comedy about a slacker with Jason Segel and Ed Helms as contentious brothers. Onetime indie darlings Jay and Mark Duplass, who bring their shaggy, improvisational filmmaking approach to this almost mainstream comedy. Brian Miller describes it as “a surprisingly mutable, ultimately poignant day-in-the-life drama about a slacker who genuinely wants to stand tall,” in Seattle Weekly. This one actually is landing in multiplexes as well as Guild 45.

Delicacy, a romantic drama from France, stars Audrey Tautou as widowed Parisian professional who finds love renewed in an unexpected place. Appropriately enough, considering the Uptown series, it was the closing night film at New York’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2012. Moira Macdonald, writing in the Seattle Times, chalks it up as “a rough draft of a movie, polished by quirky star power.” Harvard Exit.

The FP

The Forgiveness of Blood, the second feature from director Joshua Marton (of SIFF 2004 award winner Maria Full of Grace), is a family drama turned blood feud in Albania. At the Varsity. “the primary goal is social comment, but the filmmaker’s instinct for dramatic beats is pretty good,” muses Robert Horton at his blog The Crop Duster. His full review is at the Herald here.

The FP, which is kind of a Warriors gang-war parody played out in dance-video battles, plays through Wednesday at The Uptown. Tom Keogh calls it “A hyperreal mashup of dystopian near-future stories (“Mad Max” particularly comes to mind), gaudy 1980s MTV fashion and 1950s drama tropes…” in his review at The Seattle Times. Robert Horton adds his recommendation at the Herald here.

Adventures in Plymptoons, a documentary on the Portland based independent animator and director, plays for a week at NWFF. “Alexia Anastasio’s doc lauds Plympton’s underground cred (which Disney couldn’t purchase!) and hand-drawn responsibility forevery frame in his films, but never lifts his genial mask,” complains Brian Miller at Seattle Weekly.

People v. The State of Illusion is a docudrama that examines the intersections between perception, imagination and science. Jeff Shannon, writing for the Seattle Times, calls it “a “bad” movie with a good message.” Varsity.

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life profiles the now 90-year-old icon of stage and screen. At SIFF Film Center.


The Devil’s Cleavage, the 1973 underground camp-fest by George Kuchar, plays for one night only on Tuesday, March 20, accompanied by his 1966 short film Hold Me While I’m Naked. NWFF, 7pm only. More details here.

Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is back for a week run at Grand Illusion.

Casablanca turns 70 this year and celebrates with a one-night-only event of screenings in select theaters on Wednesday, March 21. This is a digital presentation, with an introduction by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne. Details at Fathom Events.

And this week’s “Back to the 80s” screening is Stand By Me, the shot-in-Oregon coming of age drama based on the Stephen King story and starring River Phoenix and (wait for it) me! That’s right, I make by big-screen debut as that guy in the front row, right next to the old guy in the fez, in the crowd watching the pie-eating contest. At SIFF Film Center.

Late nights: Labyrinth (with teen Jennifer Connelly, elven David Bowie and weird Muppets) is at the Egyptian, Battle Royale is back for another late night screening at NWFF on Friday, March 9, and Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie takes the late-night spot at Grand Illusion for the next couple of weekends.

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

Schedules and Showtimes

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

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

Multiplexes and Chains
Landmark Theatres (Egyptian, Guild 45, Harvard Exit, Metro, 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