Sunday, July 15, 2018

Seattle Art Fair at CenturyLink Center: Aug 3 - 5


In advance of the Seattle Art Fair's inaugural success, there was abundant speculation as to the nature of the exhibit local philanthropist Paul Allen and the organization he had assembled with Max Fishko of Art Market Productions, would be bringing to the city. At the time there was little that offered insight beyond the press release, which made it out to be half-commercial gallery, half-curated exhibition, featuring some 60 galleries representing local to international dealers and an emphasis on the West Coast and Pacific Rim. The majority of the dialog focused on the fair's relation to the art market, with Brian Boucher's "Why Are Gagosian, Pace, and Zwirner Signing On for the Seattle Art Fair?" and The Observer's "Paul Kasmin and Pace Gallery Join the Inaugural Seattle Art Fair" leading the discussion. With later pieces like Seattle Times "High Art Meets Deep Pockets at Seattle Art Fair", as well as the New York Times recap, "Seattle Art Fair Receives a Boost From Tech’s Big Spenders", and ArtNews "Why the Seattle Art Fair Is Important for the Art World", positioning the event in relationship to the moneyed local tech industry.

All of which were little more than discussions of the art market and the inclusion of some of the gallery world's international power players. For insight into the curatorial direction and work to be featured, one had to rely on regional media in which there was no small supply of skepticism expressed concerning the fair being another of Paul Allen's pet cultural projects, both for the good and the bad. The extent of the fair's scope became apparent opening weekend with favorable coverage in both the New York Times and Artforum. The exhibitions and galleries drawn from Asia were among the three day event's greater successes. In addition to the participating galleries Kaikai Kiki and Koki Arts from Tokyo, along with Gana Art of Seoul and Osage Gallery from Hong Kong, the "Thinking Currents" wing curated by Leeza Ahmady, director of Asia Contemporary Art Week produced a premier exhibition of video, film and sound work exploring themes related to the cultural, political, and geographical parameters of the Pacific Rim. With Kaikia KiKi head, Takashi Murakami returning for the fair's second installment, programming his own satellite exhibition "Juxtapoz x SuperFlat", for Pivot Art + Culture. As covered by Trinie Dalton in, "Pacific Objects", for Artforum, "Seattle Art Fair and Out of Sight made a Return" on the occasion of the fair's second year.

Art Fair's fourth installment the first weekend in August will feature an expanded body of galleries, more than 100 in total, along with it's program of talks, on-and-off site performances and collateral events around the city. These under the umbrella of the fair's Project series, presenting immersive and large-scale works spanning sculpture, performance, and installation. This year's Projects offering a platform for presentations beyond the art fair booth under the premise of "exploring identity, modes of play, and technology" in and around adjacent neighborhoods of the city. The series includes the presentation of a functioning satellite by Trevor Paglen, Anishinaabe artists Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfield in a megaphone broadcasting performance, and Mark Pauline the founder of Survival Research Laboratories, joining influential science fiction author Bruce Sterling in conversation. The author and the outsider artist, technologist and robotics specialist have intersected on previous occasions, notably 20 years prior in the pages of Wired, for "Is Phoenix Burning?". Decades later, much of the contemporary SRL press focusing on the changed cultural and political landscape, and the difficulty of staging Pauline's elaborate, destructive spectacles. Indicative of The Verge's "Terrorism as Art: Mark Pauline's Dangerous Machines". Gone is the era in which the Bay Area was a countercultural hub, and institutions like SRL and RE/Search could easily secure inner city public space for performance. As a product, there's a logic at work that Pauline would now align himself with gallery culture, and the contextualized space of it's presentation. As Wired said, "artistic respectability doesn’t so much beckon as envelop", in response to The New York Times' "Fire-Breathing Robots Bringing Anarchy to a Chelsea Art Gallery".

Previous artistic director, Laura Fried, has been succeeded by Nato Thompson, supported by the core dealer committee of local gallerists, James Harris and Greg Kucera. For ArtNews, Thompson went on to explain the approach in his curatorial statement, that the fair “is a wild ecosystem of different approaches. We’ve got technology, we’ve got dystopia, there’s utopia, we have gender, we have indigenous culture, we have a certain kind of interest in historical conditions. There’s a lot of different through-lines of the project, and we’re very excited about it.” This year's national and international big gallery players are represented by New York's Lidia Andich of Gagosian Gallery, Robert Goff of David Zwirner, Galerie Lelong & Co and Adams and Ollman. Previously offering a regional mirror to the global expansiveness of Art Fair, Scott Lawrimore of Lawrimore Project, Bridge Productions, and Vital 5's highly qualitative Out of Sight exhibition will not be returning in 2018. Since 2015, this 22,000 square-foot survey of contemporary art read like a who's-who of the best work seen originating from the Pacific Northwest. Credited as the "The Real Seattle Art Fair is Out of Sight" in local press, this representation of work, "Out of Sight, Into Mind: Art on the Margins of the Seattle Art Fair", will sorely be missed.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Grand Illusion Cinema's "Summer of Celluloid": Jul 13 - Sept 6


Scarecrow Video's sister cinema, The Grand Illusion Cinema has seen a rise to prominence with the decimation of the independent Landmark chain and buyout or closing of other regional theaters. Writing for Seattle's dominant arts weekly, Charles Mudede continues to assert the theater experience as a essential component of urban life, regardless of the leveling of the city's cinema-going opportunities. Framing the disappearance of much of the competition as a opening of the programming field, he posits, "How Grand Illusion Became a Big Player in Seattle's Cinema Scene". In addition to the programing of an increasing array of genre film, American independent, and Asian and European arthouse directors, this small and long-running independent cinema has also preserved their ability to screen celluloid. Allowing for The Grand Illusion to team with their contemporary cinemahouse Northwest Film Forum for the annual presentation of the work of UCLA's Film & Television Archive, and their touring Festival of Preservation. As a repertory showcase, this festival of new prints on film has offered one of the country's most, "Fascinating Windows into Our Cinematic Past". Yet these opportunities, and the venues still able to screen film on celluloid are fast disappearing, accelerated by studio pressure and greater difficulty in maintaining hardware and acquisition of prints. All of which is detailed in LA Weekly's discussion of the expansive shift to digital distribution and projection nationwide, "Movie Studios are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital are Vast, and Troubling".

So rejoice at this uncommon opportunity and the savvy programming Dan Hudson has brought to the city's longest running independent theater, with The Grand Illusion Cinema's Summer of Celluloid series. Beginning the two month program with a Steve McQueen double bill, Norman Jewison's highly stylized class conflict thriller, "The Thomas Crown Affair" and Peter Yates action-filled San Francisco detective procedural "Bullitt", will deliver a double punch of late 60s cool. The following weekend sees the director who exploited the richness of celluloid like no other. A double bill of Stanley Kubrick with his classic 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining", and one of the most sumptuously shot films of it's decade, the 18th century exploration of decaying aristocracy, as political satire and class comedy, "Barry Lyndon". Meeting during the production of the latter, Tony Zierra continued to work for the director behind the scenes, taking on a array of roles in the following decades: casting director, acting coach, location scouter, sound engineer, color corrector, promoter, and eventually restorer of Kubrick’s films. His personal documentary of a life dedicated to the director's vision can be seen throughout "Filmworker", running concurrently the week of the two features.

Shifting gears, the following week showcases two espionage and action thrillers from the decades of the 1980s and celluloid's last era, that of the late 1990s. Featuring the cinematography of the late, great Robby Müller, William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A." frames a deadly game of cat and mouse between William Petersen and Willem Dafoe in a raw tale of corruption and revenge. Much in the way of Yate's "Bullit" exploiting it's San Franisco setting for all it's worth, Friedkin utilizes the harsh synthetic brutality of Los Angeles to choreograph one of greatest action and chase scenes dedicated to film in the 1980s. A decade later, John Frankenheimer would prove that he still had true grit late in his career with the sharp edge and high style of "Ronin"'s post-Cold War espionage thriller, starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. Also in the way of 1980s action movies, we have a less poe-faced set of genre pieces in Peter Hyams military industrial complex setting with Sean Connery as the film's space mining detective in "Outland", and Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes getting sci-fi macho ridiculous in "Demolition Man". But neither of these begin to touch the unbridled and limitless invention and absurdity of Lau Kar-leung. Much like his "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin", 1983's Shaw Brothers production of "The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter" promises elaborate setups and acrobatic, physics, (and reason), defying martial arts action.

Belatedly championed, and with numerous opportunities in the spotlight this year, Left Bank director Agnes Varda has had a wonderful year. Her Academy Award nominated "Visages Villages" received attention from all the right places, she was seen on the red carpet at Cannes for the Kate Blanchett-organized events of this year's festival, and she donned the cover of this summer's Sight & Sound in their feature on, "The Irrepressible Agnès Varda". Contributing even a little more to the year of esteem, her restored "One Sings, The Other Doesn't", is having a domestic theatrical run, landing at The Grand Illusion for a week. Swinging back into 1990s genre film, and a universe away from the New Wave's Left Bank, the Summer of Celluloid concludes with James Cameron's second installment in the then-groundbreaking Terminator franchise, "T2: Judgement Day". Closing out the series, and a little more measured than the 1991 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, Renny Harlin's Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis-led urban thriller, "The Long Kiss Goodnight", watches as a satisfyingly slice of 1996 late-period-celluloid action noir.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

My Bloody Valentine at The Paramount & US Tour: Jul 17 - Aug 1


Contestably, it can be argued that shoegaze and the concurrent sounds of dreampop began with two bands; Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser's Cocteau Twins in the early 80s, and A.R. Kane, the late-80s British duo, whom The Guardian credits as having "Invented Shoegaze without Really Trying". Representative of their influence, decades later both can be seen to rank highly on Pitchfork's "The 30 Best Dream Pop Albums of All Time". Not limited to the post-punk era of it's genesis, both shoegaze, and it's dreampop offshoot are going though a second renaissance of sorts, with new bands stepping into the forum. The telltale distortion-soaked melodies, and submerged vocals can be heard in the music of 21st century bands originating from destinations as far flung as Russia and New Zealand. On the other side of the globe from it's UK origins, a new generation of shoegaze is currently exploding across the south pacific, detailed in The Guardian's "'A Language We Use to Say Sentimental Things': How Shoegaze Took Over Asia". At the head of this renaissance, many of the genre's most influential and formative acts have returned from extended hiatus, not only touring, but with new, and relevant material. The most improbable of them all, Slowdive not only reformed to tour, but produced one of the greatest albums of their career. Other unlikely returns have been seen in Robert Hampson reforming LOOP, the one-time-only North american visit from Lush's brand of 4AD dreampop, and tours and the first new material of decades from The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Ride.


The Guardian's "Shoegaze: The Genre that Could Not be Killed", and New York Times' "Shoegaze, the Sound of Protest Shrouded in Guitar Fuzz, Returns", best encapsulating this resurgence. Second only to the decade of the sound's origin, it's a great time for listeners avid for more of shoegaze' blissed-out fuzz and melancholic melodicism. For those just entering into the neon torrent, you'd not go far wrong beginning with The Guardian's "Shoegaze: A Beginner's Guide", and the Cherry Red label's anthology of a perfect overview with their, "Still in a Dream: The Story of Shoegaze 1988-1995." This summer, we're not only witness to the fourth domestic tour since the 2007 reformation of the definitive shoegaze band, but Kevin Shields' promise of forthcoming material, following on the heels of the first new album in 22 years. All of this initiated with a series of interviews beginning with Shields' admission to The Quietus that, "Not Doing Things Is Soul Destroying", in which he shares the details of the protracted process and decades of delays involved in My Bloody Valentine's recent remasters. Speaking further with The Guardian on how the period after the 1991 album was a series of derailing setbacks involving, among other things according to Sheilds, the dangers of chinchilla ownership. And yet, those trials and tribulations only hint at the complexity behind the development of 2013's "m b v" album. Its creation though a relocation, rebuilding the studio, and a meticulously obsessive, perfectionist work ethic as detailed in Mike McGonigal's 33 1/3 book on "Loveless".
Photo credits: Adriana Andujar & Greg Dunlap

Sunday, June 17, 2018

David Lynch Movie Night with "Blue Velvet" at Seattle Art Museum: Jun 21


As part of the contractual details of directing the 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune" for producer Dino De Laurentiis, David Lynch was under obligation to direct two more films, the first of which was to be a planned sequel. In the wake of the film's poor box office and mixed critical reception, the sequel was never developed beyond the stage of its initial script. The Herbert project then aborted, opportunity opened for the  second of the two films to be developed as a more personal work. Expanding on ideas that Lynch had been gestating as far back as 1973, and a screenplay that had been shopped around by the director since the late 1970s, De Laurentiis became both its producer and distributor. Where other studios declined the screenplay due to its tarnished depiction of smalltown American life, foreground presentation of violence, and strong sexual content, the Italian independent gave the director free reign within it's budgetary constrains. And most importantly, power of final cut. Not limited to his early shorts, boldly experimental feature length effort, and Academy Award nominated "Elephant Man", the premise of a subconscious underworld buried beneath the facade of everyday existence remains one of the reoccurring themes throughout the totality of the director's work. Nowhere in David Lynch's filmography is this dichotomy more explicit in it's depiction than in "Blue Velvet". In the decades following it's release, the film would go on to be considered one of the most notable, and influential, independent American works of the 1980s. Not only significant within the independent cinema landscape of the decade, "Blue Velvet" earned David Lynch his first Academy Award nomination, as well as consideration at Cannes. The film gaining further appreciation in the new century, indicative of its inclusion in the BBC's 2015 global critical assessment of the 100 Greatest American Films Ever Made.

While it relaunched Dennis Hopper's career, and made the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini a household name, "Blue Velvet" was powerfully divisive at the time of its release in 1986. Much in the way a decade later Lynch's underappreciated "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me", disturbed and alienated fans who had joined on for the television series' global phenomena. Star critic Gene Siskel included "Blue Velvet" on his list of the best films of 1986, asserting that; "Blue Velvet" crosses the line of good taste, but so does real life. It also contains some of the year`s best filmmaking". Like was often the case, his companion and cineaste sparring partner, Roget Ebert had quite other things to say on the subject. Writing for The New Yorker, Pauline Kael was engrossed with the film's contrarian tides of humor and horror, citing that; "this is possibly the only coming-of-age movie in which sex has the danger and the heightened excitement of a horror picture. The charged erotic atmosphere makes the film something of a hallucination". Searing first encounters with "Blue Velvet" aren't only limited to 1986, to this day the film remains spellbinding and dreamlike in it's hallucinatory representation of the underside of the American smalltown life. Three decades from it's release, David Lynch's American dream continues to garner pieces like Peter Bradshaw's "David Lynch's Blue Velvet: Why I Still Can't Take My Eyes Off It" for The Guardian. Seattle Art Museum's annual summer David Lynch Movie Night pairs the new restoration of the original with Peter Braatz' behind the scenes making-of documentary "Blue Velvet Revisited". Braatz' documentary drawing from an amassed array of period super-8 footage and photographic stills, set to a new soundtrack supplied by post-punk luminaries Tuxedomoon.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Nate Wooley & Ken Vandermark, Broken Shadows Quartet and Thomas Strønen's "Time is a Blind Guide" at Chapel Performance Space, The Royal Room & Cornish Poncho Hall: Jun 13 - 16 & 23


Again, as seen in a recent stretch of summer programming, Seattle's Earshot Jazz organization has insightfully culled from Vancouver International Jazz Festival's expansive global roster of all things orbiting the world of jazz. In a lineup featuring members of the The Bad Plus, the first of the month's offerings from Broken Shadows Quartet bring their reinterpretations of timeless sounds originating from the rural south and heartland to The Royal Room. Channeling American luminaries like Ornette Coleman, Julius Hemphill, Albert Ayler, Dewey Redman, and Charlie Haden, their invigorated and often blistering jazz reconfigurations of influences span the avant-garde, folk art, and the deep southern blues. Earlier the same week at Chapel Performance Space, the locus of the American free jazz and improv world, Ken Vandermark, will be performing in a new duo setting with trumpet stalwart Nate Wooley. Vandermark's last two decades have seen him in arrangements with some of the heaviest hitters in global free jazz, including the prolific Scandinavian centerpiece, Paal Nilsen-Lovelegendary drummer Hamid Drake, saxophone colossus Peter Brötzmann, and extended technique and electro-acoustic pioneer, Evan Parker. Vandermark's trajectory has also taken him deep into the influence of the burgeoning late 20th and 21st Century central European and Scandinavian free jazz scene. Including trio and quartet settings with the aforementioned Paal Nilsen-Love, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Per-Ake Holmlander, Axel Dörner, and Fredrik Ljungkvist.

By way of introduction to this scene, there is probably no better document than Johannes Rød's recent, "Free Jazz and Improvisation on Vinyl 1965-1985", published by Norwegian vanguard imprint Rune Grammofon. Tracing independent free jazz and improv labels between 1965 and 1985, from the beginning of ESP-Disk through to the current era of vinyl revival and ascendant digital formats. With some 60 labels are covered in the volume, and forewords by Mats Gustafsson and label founder, Rune Kristoffersen, the edition perfectly encapsulates this particular brand of what The Guardian's Richard Williams calls, "Norwegian Blues". The significance of the ECM label to the extended Scandinavian scene and it's embracing of classical, jazz, improvisation and chamber music experimentation, can't be overstated. Dana Jennings "ECM: Albums Know that Ears Have Eyes" for the New York Times mines the ensuing four decades following those detailed in Rød's chronicle. Another significant marker of in "The Sound of Young Norway" came in the form of ECM sister label's 150th release, The Quietus hailing the far-seeing benchmark of graphic and sonic synergia that was, "Rune Grammofon: Sailing To Byzantium".

Returning to Cornish Poncho Hall, another central figure of the Scandinavian scene plays bandleader to a different arrangement of his soaring performance in last year's trio with Mats Eilertsen. Known for his dynamic and detailed moodscapes as Food's percussion and electronics wing, Thomas Strønen's chamber jazz five piece is fleshed out by the eloquence and sensitivity of bassist Mats Eilertsen, pianist Ayumi Tanaka, Håkon Aase and Leo Svensson Sander on violin and cello respectively. "Time Is A Blind Guide" is both the title of Strønen’s new ensemble album, and the name of his new Norwegian-British five piece. As depicted in a recent series of recordings for ECM, their all-acoustic chamber music sound is a more timorous, searching affair than many of their contemporaries in the American free jazz scene. Central to it's fabric are piano and bass studies in rhythm and texture that circumnavigate the orthodoxies of piano trio and quartet playing, melodically heightened by the finesse of a duo strings, with Strønen's drumming acting in expressive, detailed counterpoint. For Jazzwise, Stuart Nicholson spoke with Strønen for their "Time Bandits" feature. Mapping the drummer's varying settings of music making, from Food's electro-acoustic tapestries, to his own Time Is A Blind Guide ensemble, and the influence of former bandmate, the late great pianist John Taylor.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Northwest Terror Fest at Neumos, Barboza & The Highline: May 31 - Jun 2


After a successful inaugural year, Northwest Terror Fest returns to Seattle in it's second year at the end of May. Some of the most potent sounds from the heavier end of the 21st Century have issuedcfrom the mutating offshoots of black metal. The sound's ongoing and burgeoning development has encompassed melodicism and atmospheres lifted from shoegaze and spacerock, eruptions of heavy psych rock, industrial drumming, electronic atmospheres, and pure experimental noise. What may be the epitome of this cross-genre hybridization can be heard in the dynamic solar magma of guitar riffs and rhythm-play of Deafheaven. With other compatriots in the sound to be found in Oathbreaker, as well as the turbulent rock of Nothing and their fusion of metal drumming and spacerock guitar blur. Taking the sound down more melancholy and pop-referencing paths, there's the crushing shoegaze blues of True Widow. More true to it's black metal origins, bands like Krallice, Agalloch, and Pallbearer represent the darker, heavier school of hybridized metal pouring forth from sources like the Profound Lore label. The global expansiveness of this sound and scene is probably best detailed in Brad Sanders' overview for The Quietus, "Untrue And International: Living in a Post-Black Metal World". Further showcased in the past half-decade of excellent curation seen in The Quietus' Columnus Metallicus, dominantly originating from labels like, Hydrahead, Ipecac, Deathwish, Sargent House, Profound Lore, Season of Mist, Roadburn, Flenser, Neurot and Relapse. A all-things-metal festival with a previous Southwest iteration, Terror Fest's three days and nights host a lineup featuring no small quantity of metal issuing from this particular low-lit landscape of black and doom metal mutations. Initially launched under the opportunity to, "Bring Warning to America: An Interview with Terrorfest founder David Rodgers", Rodger's wider curatorial vision for the festival, was detailed in Decibel's, "It's Good to Have Goals and Dreams Can Come True". Hosted at Neumos, Barboza and The Highline over the course of the first weekend in June, the three night lineup encompasses everything from gloaming atmospheric ambiance and doom riffs, blistering thrash and hardcore, and heavy psych rock, dark pagan and neofolk explorations. A cross-genre spectrum of metal sounds and weighty atmospheres as heard in sets from Celeste, Thou, Full of Hell, Necrot, Gatecreeper, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Panopticon, Subrosa, The Atlas Moth, White Hills, Great Falls, and Emma Ruth Rundle.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Seattle International Film Festival: May 17 - Jun 10


Seattle International Film Festival once again arrives bringing a spectrum of cinema from across the world. In working through the program, this year continues the decade long diversity dip seen in the per-capita of all things cutting edge foreign cinema, deep genre gems, auteur, arthouse and experimental. These were content agendas that once had prominence within SIFF, on occasion approaching the programming on offer in Toronto and New York. Those times though, are now decades in the past. That said, it's worthy of note that this year's festival isn't as painfully omissive as 2011 or 2010 for that matter. We saw string of years that suggested relief from the lackluster programming described above which waned a bit in 2012 and a further positive trend in that direction in 2013. For the 2014 festival, their 40th Anniversary was celebrated with SIFF's strongest programming in almost a decade, suggesting a renewed vision for the festival. That year marked a trend away from the previously seen glut of middle ground contemporary romances and knowingly clever dramas for the sub-Sundance sect. Thankfully, 2017 also saw a slight return to some of the strengths of seasons past. One can speculate that this middle road approach to programming, which returned in 2015 and 2016 after it, has been taken to entice some imagined Northwest demographic out of their suburban hobbles and inner-city condos. With the inclusion of showcases in the outlying areas of Bellevue and Kirkland indicative of such. One can't help but consider these factors alongside the changing economic and cultural landscape of Seattle and what may be SIFF's bid at strengthening ties with it all.

This year sees that same disheartening trend continue, with many of the most notable, and award-winning films from Rotterdam, Locarno, and Berlin, overlooked. SIFF has chosen to bypass opportunities to program Hu Bo’s astounding debut, "An Elephant Sitting Still", Sergei Loznitsa's documentary and dramas, respectively, "Victory Day" and "A Gentle Creature", a recently unearthed Raúl Ruiz' film from 1990 "The Wandering Soap Opera", Barbet Schroeder's timely documentary, "The Venerable W", Ted Fendt’s "Classical Period", Adina Pintilie's Berlin award-winning "Touch Me Not", Lav Diaz' "Season of the Devil", the newest in a grand series of films by Aleksei German Jr, "Dovlatov", Narimane Mari’s Le Fort des Fous", Huang Hsin-Yao’s "The Great Buddha", Yui Kiyohara's "Our House", Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias' much talked about "Cocote", and Philippe Garrel's New Wave-inspired, "Lover for a Day". Also, no sign of "Insect", the purportedly final film by Jan Švankmajer, "Grass" the newest by highly prolific Hong Sang-soo, Locarno award-winner Wang Bing's "Mrs. Fang", Małgorzata Szumowska's "Mug", Ilian Metev's "3/4", Fabrizio Ferraro's "Les Unwanted de Europa", Donal Foreman’s "The Image You Missed", Romanian New Wave mainstay Corneliu Porumboiu’s "Infinite Football", Ere Gowda's "Balekempa", Luise Donschen’s "Casanova Gene", "Transit" from New German Cinema frontman Christian Petzold, ...and lastly, what ever became of Agnieszka Holland's much hailed "Spoor"? We can observe, year in and year out, that Seattle continues to go astray of the high standard of the international festival circuit, embodied by the programming seen in New York, Cannes, Toronto, Vienna, and Venice.

Seattle International Film Festival in the past has existed as a focal point of visionary cinema curatorialship, with the resources, funds and legacy to be a hugely influential institution. One can can adduce from their contents that even San Francisco, Portland, and our neighbors in the north in Vancouver, continue to program festivals of a caliber that SIFF has seemingly un-learned. Yet there remain a handful of legitimate, original, well crafted cinema to be found in here too. Largely culled from the Contemporary World Cinema, Asian Crossroads, Archival Presentations, Midnight Adrenaline, Alternate Cinema, Documentary Films, FutureWave, African Pictures, and China Stars sections. This year I was able to generate an approximate 25 films of interest, curiosity or critical gravitas. These run the spectrum from directors of note, archival restorations and new developing artists. As a consequence the majority of the titles listed below are simply films of interest, rather than essential viewing. Not the least compelling year in recent memory, but not approaching the par established with SIFF's own stellar run spanning the decades of 1987-2007. Nonetheless, I continue to be enthused about their home at the SIFF Cinema Uptown and expanded screens between the recently acquired SIFF Cinema Egyptian and Film Center. Their curation for these year-round venues has exhibited the scope of SIFF, with a visionary course forward for the institution once exemplified in the short-lived Recent Raves series. As the series has been discontinued in the past year, SIFF's venture down this path appears to have come to a conclusion. Note: The list below contains the totality of this year's festival viewing, as well as a set of this month's short-run films at regional arthouse cinemas.

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Thursday, May 3
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7:15 PM - Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub "The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach"
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/chronicle-of-anna-magdalena-bach-huillet-straub/

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Friday, May 4
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9:00 PM - Rotanak Oudom Oum & Raw Music International "Cambodian Rock n' Roll: Film, Talk & DJ Party"
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/events/cambodian-rock-n-roll-film-talk-dj-party-with-rotanak-oudom-oum-aka-oro/

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Sunday, May 6
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9:00 PM - William Friedkin "The Devil and Father Amorth"
The Grand Illusion Cinema

http://grandillusioncinema.org/

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Thursday, May10
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7:00 PM - Olexa & Francesca ScalisiHalf-life in Fukushima
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/half-life-in-fukushima-naoto-matsumura-documentary/

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Friday, May 11
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6:30 PM - Masaaki Yuasa “Lu Over the Wall
SIFF Film Center

https://www.siff.net/year-round-cinema/lu-over-the-wall

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Saturday, May 12
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4:30 PM - Chantal Akerman "News From Home"
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/home-movies-news-home/

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Tuesday, May 15
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7:00 PM - Masaaki YuasaMind Game
The Grand Illusion Cinema

http://grandillusioncinema.org/

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Thursday, May 17
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6:50 PM - Wim Wenders "Pope Francis: A Man of His Word"
AMC Pacific Place 11

https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/pope-francis-a-man-of-his-word-56297/showtimes/amc-pacific-place-11/

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Friday, May 18
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6:00 PM - Simon Chung "I Miss You When I See You"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
IMIS1818

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45053

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Saturday, May 19
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10:00 AM - Rainer Werner Fassbinder "Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day"
SIFF Film Center
EIGH1918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44968

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Saturday, May 19
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12:30 PM - Warwick Thornton "Sweet Country"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
SWEE1918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45381

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Saturday, May 19
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3:45 PM - Mohammad Rasoulof "A Man of Integrity"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
MANO1918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45121

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Saturday, May 19
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6:30 PM - Malene Choi "The Return"
AMC Pacific Place 11
THER1918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45398

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Saturday, May 19
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8:30 PM - Julia Nash  "Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records"
Majestic Bay Cinemas
INDU1918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45057

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Sunday, May 20
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2:00 PM - Kenji Mizoguchi "Sansho the Bailiff"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
SANS2018

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45320

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Sunday, May 20
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6:45 PM - Sebastian Lelio "Disobedience"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
DISO2018

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44956

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Monday, May 21
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7:15 PM - Sara DriverBoom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat"
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/boom-real-late-teenage-years-jean-michel-basquiat/

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Monday, May 21
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8:30 PM - Qaushiq Mukherjee "Garbage"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
GARB2118

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45003

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Tuesday, May 22
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4:00 PM - Rungano Nyoni "I Am Not a Witch"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
IAMN2218

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45051

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Tuesday, May 22
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8:30 PM - Derek Jarman "Edward II"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
EDWA2218

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44963

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Wednesday, May 23
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4:00 PM - Filipe Matzembacher "Hard Paint"
AMC Pacific Place 11
HARD2318

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45041

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Wednesday, May 23
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9:30 PM  - Shireen Seno "Nervous Translation"
AMC Pacific Place 11
NERV2318

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45162

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Friday, May 25
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6:30 PM - Hirokazu Kore-eda "The Third Murder"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
THIR2518

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45400

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Saturday, May 26
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7.45 PM - Hong Sang-sooThe Day After
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/the-day-after-hong-sangsoo-kim-min-hee/

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Saturday, May 26
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9:00 PM - Yang Ya-che "The Bold, The Corrupt, and The Beautiful"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
BOLD2618

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44898

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Sunday, May 27
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1:30 PM - Andrei TarkovskyStalker"
The Grand Illusion Cinema

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Sunday, May 27
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6:30 PM - Claire Denis "Let The Sunshine In"
AMC Pacific Place 11
LETT2718

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45095

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Monday, May 28
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6:30 PM  - Luis Bunuel "Belle de Jour"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
BELL2818

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44877

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Monday, May 28
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9:00 PM - Cai Chengjie "The Widowed Witch"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
WIDO2818

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45444

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Tuesday, May 29
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7:00 PM - Stephen Nomura Schible "Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda"
AMC Pacific Place 11
RYUI2918

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45316

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Wednesday, May 30
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7:15 PM - Jacques Davila "Qui Trop Embrasse"
Northwest Film Forum

https://nwfilmforum.org/films/qui-trop-embrasse-who-kisses-too-much-jacques-davila-35mm/

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Wednesday, May 30
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9:15 PM - Vivian Qu "Angels Wear White"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
ANGE3018

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44856

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Thursday, May 31
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6:45 PM - Sylvia Chang "Love Education"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
LOVE3118

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45108

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Thursday, May 31
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9:30 PM - Shôjirô Nishimi & Guillaume Renard "Mutafukaz"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
MUTA0531

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45680

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Friday, June 01
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11:59 PM - Various / Peter Strickland "The Field Guide to Evil"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
FIEL0118

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44991

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Saturday, June 02
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9:00 PM - Lukas Feigelfeld "Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse"
SIFF Cinema Egyptian
HAGA0218

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45032

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Sunday, June 03
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2:00 PM - Jean Renoir "Le Crime de Monsieur Lange"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
THEC0318

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45392

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Sunday, June 03
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8:30 PM - Rustam Khamdamov "The Bottomless Bag"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
BOTT0318

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44901

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Tuesday, June 5
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7:15 PM - Paul Schrader  "First Reformed"
AMC 10

https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/first-reformed-56310/showtimes/amc-seattle-10/

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Thursday, June 07 
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4:00 PM - Marcelo Martinessi "The Heiresses"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
HEIR0718

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45045

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Thursday, June 07
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9:30 PM - Muayad Alaya "The Reports on Sarah and Saleem"
AMC Pacific Place 11
REPO0718

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45292

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Friday, June 08
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5:00 PM - Ari Aster "Hereditary"
AMC Pacific Place 11

https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/hereditary-56106/showtimes/amc-pacific-place-11/

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Friday, June 08
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9:30 PM - Yukun Xin "Wrath of Silence"
AMC Pacific Place 11
WRAT0818

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45455

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Saturday, June 9
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7:00 PM - Matthew Porterfield "Sollers Point"
The Grand Illusion Cinema

http://grandillusioncinema.org/

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Sunday, June 10
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11:15 AM - Bart Layton "American Animals"
AMC Pacific Place 11

https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/american-animals-56272/showtimes/amc-pacific-place-11/

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Sunday, June 10
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2:00 PM - Hu Jia "The Taste of Betel Nut"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
TAST1018

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=45384

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Sunday, June 10
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7:30 PM - Calin Peter Netzer "Ana, mon Amour"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
ANAM1018