Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Seattle Screens

Seattle Screens: ‘This Is Not a Film’

If you want to just say Moe to the week’s wide releases (including the Farrelly Bros. attempt to recreate The Three Stooges with new actors in the iconic roles), here are some of the options outside (and, in come cases, inside) the multiplexes.

Jafar Panahi expresses his frustration

This is Not a Film is a protest of great power, right down to the title. Made clandestinely by Jafar Panahi while he was under house arrest, awaiting the decision of his appeal after he was sentenced to jail and a twenty-year suspension from filmmaking, Panahi and his co-director, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, knew that their public defiance of the government could only hurt them. They made the film and smuggled it out as a protest. That this pointed commentary on the nature of this kind censorship is also a profound expression of art, creativity, and the drive to express oneself, makes it almost heartbreakingly profound. “Never mind the title,” advises Seattle Times film critic Tom Keogh. “The remarkable This Is Not a Film, an almost unclassifiable act of subtle defiance against an oppressive authority, is, in fact, very much a film.” More reviews here.

Plays at Northwest Film Forum, scheduled for only a week, so make a point to go soon.

Cabin in the Woods, a deviously self-aware horror film that spoofs, deconstructs, and reconfigures decades of horror movie tropes, arrives in theaters after two years of limbo, thanks to the bankruptcy of MGM. It’s clearly a work from the mind of Joss Whedon, he of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the upcoming Avengers movie, and his co-conspirator Drew Goddard, who directs and co-wrote the film, really nails the Whedon humor and modern take on cinematic mythmaking. They let their inner horror movie fans go wild, riffing in every “kids in the woods tormented by supernatural killers” but especially the “Evil Dead” movies. You have to love, or at least appreciate, the conventions of horror cinema over the last few decades to enjoy the film, but if you give yourself to it, it’s a blast. And it justifies every stupid decision made by every dumb teenager in every slasher movie every made. More reviews here.

In multiple area theaters.

The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival opens Saturday, April 14 with The Last Fall, directed by former NFL player turned filmmaker Matthew Cherry, who will be on hand to present the film and answer questions at the post-screening Q&A. The festival runs through April 22 at the newly-renovated 320-seat auditorium at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, at 104 17th Avenue South in the Central District. More from Moira Macdonald at The Seattle Times. Official website here, and you find the complete schedule and ticket information here.

John Zorn: Treatment for a Film in 15 Scenes is an anthology of four short avant-garde films written and scored by John Zorn and directed by four different filmmakers. It screens one time only, at 9pm on Saturday, April 14, at Grand Illusion.

Robert Horton will discuss film and its influences with Susie J. Lee, whose work is exhibited now at the Frye Art Museum, in the final event of the Magic Lantern series for the current season. Sunday, April 15 at 2pm. It’s free, but come early to get tickets, for these events often fill to capacity.

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