Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seattle International Film Festival: May 16 - Jun 9


It's that time of the year again! SIFF once again arrives a week earlier than usual bringing a spectrum of cinema from across the world. This year, like the string of years since 2009, sees a qualitative diversity-dip in the percentage of foreign cinema, arthouse, auteur and all things challenging or adventurous. These were content genres that once dominated the festival, making it of a caliber to challenge Toronto and New York. Those times, I fear, look to be officially over.

As a consequence we again get the thematically titled Pathways with the conceptual hand-holding of themes like "Love..." for the disproportionately large romance selection, "Thrill Me" obviously for adventure and action,  "Make Me Laugh" signifying comedic content, the infantile "Open My Eyes" for documentaries and the once-predominant New Global Cinema section is now categorized as "Show me the World". You decide how you feel about all this. Last I saw, it was adults a good bit mature (and senior) to myself that were attending International Film Festivals across the country. I wasn't quite aware the self styled clever-and-quirky' "Glee" tv demographic were going out of their way to seek out unknown cinema experiences in North America's urban centers. Makes one curious as to where SIFF are getting their demographic statistics, doesn't it?

Nonetheless, this year's fest isn't as painfully omissive as 2011 or 2010 for that matter. As a a hopeful hint of things to come, the lackluster programming described above waned a bit in 2012, thankfully. Nonetheless we're again seeing a glut of middle-ground contemporary romances, clever quirky dramas for the sub-Sundance sect and a lot of filler seemingly there to entice some imagined suburban demographic out of their Bellevue hobbles and into the city. But there's a good bit of legitimate, original, challenging, crafted cinema to be found in here too. SIFF in the past has existed as a focal-point of visionary cinema curatorialship, with the resources, funds and legacy to be hugely influential. This year I found some 16-20 films of interest, curiosity or gravitas that I plan to attend, by both directors of note and new developing artists. Overall not a bad year, but like I've been beating into the ground, not on par with the stellar run we'd seen spanning the decade of 1998 - 2008.

They've got a long way to go to gain back that lost ground, but I continue to be enthused about their new home at the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown and expanded screens between that venue and their Film Center. As always though, venue resources, influence, and legacy in the arts are all about what you do with them. That said, glad to have a international film festival of it's stature in my city. Anticipating the likely highlights of the festival in Ulrich Seidle's new trilogy of austere, unflinchingly brutal takes on the subjects of faith, hope and love, Sion Sono's second melodrama set in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake/Fukushima disaster and the eradication of the 'safety' of moral distancing on the part of the viewer, in response to Joshua Oppenheimer's surreal reenactment by the murderers of over a million alleged Communists under Indonesia's Suharto regime.


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Friday, May 17
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6:30 PM - Peter Greenaway  "Goltzius and the Pelican Company"
Egyptian Theatre
GOLT1713

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16917

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Saturday, May 18
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11:00 AM - Alex Gibney  "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
WEST1813

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16800

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Saturday, May 18
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4:00 PM - Joshua Oppenheimer  "The Act of Killing"
Harvard Exit
ACTO1813

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16987

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Sunday, May 19
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10:30 AM - Thomas Riedelsheimer  "Breathing Earth"
AMC Pacific Place 11
EART1913

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16758

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Sunday, May 19
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9:00 PM - Kim Ki-Duk  "Pieta"
AMC Pacific Place 11
PIET1913

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17062

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Tuesday, May 21
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6:30 PM - Ulrich Seidl  "Paradise: Love"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
LOVE2113

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17181

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Tuesday, May 21
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9:30 PM - Sion Sono  "The Land of Hope"
Egyptian Theatre
HOPE2113

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16932

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Wednesday, May 22
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6:30 PM - Ulrich Seidl  "Paradise: Faith"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
FAIT2213

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17183

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Thursday, May 23
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6:30 PM - Ulrich Seidl  "Paradise: Hope"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
HOPE2313

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17185

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Thursday, May 23
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9:30 PM - Sergei Loznitsa  "In the Fog"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
FOGX2313

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/detail.aspx?FID=306&ID=46148

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Saturday, May 25
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11:30 AM - Richard Rowley  "Dirty Wars"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
DIRT2513

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16807

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Sunday, May 26
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8:30 PM - Jessica Woodworth/Peter Brosens  "The Fifth Season"
AMC Pacific Place 11
FIFT2613

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17082

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Tuesday, May 28
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9:30 PM - Joachim Lafosse  "Our Children"
AMC Pacific Place 11
CHIL2813

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17088

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Sunday, June 02
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5:30 PM - Shohei Imamura  "A Man Vanishes"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
MANV0213

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17156

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Tuesday, June 04
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3:30 PM - Fernando Guzzoni  "Dog Flesh"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
DOGF0413

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=16839

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Tuesday, June 04
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7:00 PM - Thomas Vinterberg  "The Hunt"
Harvard Exit
HUNT0413

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17035

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Saturday, June 08
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10:00 PM - Sophie Fiennes  "The Pervert's Guide to Ideology"
AMC Pacific Place 11
PERV0813

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17119

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Sunday, June 09
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2:00 PM - Saul Bass  "Phase IV"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
PHAS0913

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17169

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Sunday, June 09
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9:00 PM - Adrián García Bogliano  "Here Comes the Devil"
AMC Pacific Place 11
HERE0913

http://myaccount.siff.net/festival/film/reserve.aspx?FID=306&ID=17123


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Boris perform "Flood" and All-Time Classics US Tour: Apr 23 - May 24


Previous years for my birthday, Japan's power-Shoegaze-Pop-Metal-Psych wondertrio Boris generously gave me the triple album assault of 2011. This year I'm being given the double-night at the Crocodile wherein they play their magisterial opus "Flood" alongside a second night of All Time Classics on this North American tour of multiple-night showcases. Two nights of more of the seriously blasting of-the-sun brilliance and cynicism-crushing intensity that I've seen them deliver every time they're in town as they manifest their ever-mutating mix of Doom Metal, Heavy Psych, warped J-Pop, dysfunctional Bro-Rock and more recently, their own thrilling new take on Shoegaze. Yeah, the latter we first glimpsed on their "Japanese Heavy Rock Hits" 7" series and more recently refined on the near-perfect "Attention Please" and the more guttural Psych assault of "Heavy Rocks", with that year's deluge topped with their upbeat pop-assault for the Nintendooo generation, "New Album". With 2013 we've seen a return to earlier forms with the Metal riffs of their newest "Präparat", blasting Noisecore of "Vein" and the heady Doom and Psych soundscapes of the reissued, remastered, expanded 4xCD box set "The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked: Chronicle". Making for another manically productive year for Boris, who also contributed a track to the comically titled, (this is a Japanese release, so it's ok, yes?) "Yellow Loveless" My Bloody Valentine tribute compilation. For those initiated in their hyperfluorescent joys expect to have your life changed with these two-day showcases of the spectrum of their mellifluous manifestations. For those not initiated... well... you too can expect to have your life changed with these two-day showcases of the spectrum of their mellifluous manifestations!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nationwide James Turrell Retrospective at the Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, Museum of Fine Art Houston and Guggenheim New York: May 26 - April 6


Hard to believe it's been nearly a decade since the James Turrell retrospective "Knowing Light" graced the Henry Art Museum. Immediately establishing itself as one of, if not the, greatest modern art exhibit seen by me that decade. It's lasting impression even more deeply ingrained by having returned to the museum to further soak in the literally mind-altering luminosity of it's perceptual, hallucinogenic precision. So! 2013 sees a return of overviews of his work, in not one city, but three! The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston  and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, will all host retrospectives featuring distinctly different aspects of Turrell's work, all three combining to produce an encompassing overview of the artists singular creative vision. Hilarie M. Sheets bottles the significance and anticipation for the nationwide retrospective by "Paying Homage to James Turrell, Who Turns Light Into Art" and a major, 9 page feature in the Sunday magazine "How James Turrell Knocked the Art World Off Its Feet" of the New York Times, while Amy Abrams gets to the fundamentals of "How We See" for Art in America. Notably, the LACMA exhibit, featuring the largest selection, spanning six decades of Turrell's work and covering over 33,000 square feet of gallery space will have a running time of nearly a year. So we all have absolutely no excuse to not catch this coast-to-coast retrospective by America's premier modern alchemist of material, form, space, time and light. Photo credit: Emily Duff