Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Seattle Screens, Silent Cinema

Seattle Screens: ‘Black Girl’ at Grand Illusion, celebrating Thanhouser Studio at SIFF Cinema Uptown, STIFF 2016 returns

Mbissine Thérèse Diop in ‘Black Girl’

A new restoration of Ousmane Sembène’s debut feature Black Girl (1966) plays for a week at Grand Illusion. It was inspired by a news item he spotted in a French language paper, Sembène turns the brief mention into a painful portrait of a young woman who suddenly loses her freedom and her identity when transplanted from her native Dakar to France, where she toils as a maid. Sembène’s attack on neo-colonialism and “the new slave trade” (Sembène’s words) of African workers in Europe won a number of awards and was widely praised, and has since come to be regarded as the first important film of the black African cinema.

Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival (STIFF) returns with a new venue—Factory Lux in the Rainier Brewery Building on Airport Way—for an abbreviated 2016 run. Opens Thursday, July 28 with the documentary Screenagers and plays through Sunday, July 31. Full schedule and more information at the STIFF website here.

Portland-based film preservationist Ned Thanhouser presents “The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema,” a presentation of films produced by the short-lived but influential studio that thrived between 1909 and 1918 with a slate of professional and inventive short films and serials that gave the Hollywood studios a run for their money. The program plays at SIFF Film Center on Saturday, July 30 and is free to SIFF Members.

SIFF partners with KCTS 9 and Seattle Center for two free outdoor screenings on the Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre lawn this weekend. On Friday, July 29 is preview screening of the “American Experience” documentary Boys of ’36 and on Saturday, July 30 is an interactive “quote-along” screening of The Princess Bride (1987). Shows begin around dusk.

The Australian road movie Last Cab to Darwin plays for three days only at SIFF Film Center this weekend.

San Francisco-based filmmaker Paul Clipson presents a collection of his experimental films on Friday, July 29 at NWFF, with live musical accompaniment by Seattle musician Liz Harris of Grouper, and on Sunday, July 31, Sabine Gruffat & Bill Brown accompany their impressionistic documentary Speculation Nation (2014).

The Seattle Art Museum summer film series Cary Grant for President continues with Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House (1948), co-starring Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas. It screens on Thursday, August 4 at 7:30pm at Plestcheeff Auditorium and is shown on 35mm. Individual tickets are available on the day of show on a first come, first served basis. Details here.

Tommy Wisseau’s The Room, currently in the running as the worst American movie ever made, is back for another round of heckling at Central Cinema on Thursday, July 28.


Michel Gondry directs Microbe and Gasoline, a French road movie built on a lawn mower engine by two imaginative schoolboys. Plays for a week only at The Uptown.

Also from France is The Innocents from filmmaker Anne Fontaine, set in Poland at the end of World War II. At the Uptown.

The South Korean thriller Train to Busan, a zombie apocalypse drama set on a bullet train through the country, opened without fanfare in a couple of suburban multiplexes last week. Now it opens at The Uptown, which isn’t keeping the film such a secret. Andrew Wright reviews it for The Stranger.

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

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

The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries and Seattle Screens curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.