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/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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7:00 PM - Paul Schrader "First Reformed"
SIFF Cinema Uptown
FIRS0318

https://myaccount.siff.net/tickets/buy.aspx?fid=350&id=44994

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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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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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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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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