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3

Germany, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Tom Tykwer

With this film, the German director Tom Tykwer (he is known for his '90s hit Run Lola Run—a film that also launched Franka Potente's career) has finally made a masterpiece. It's about three professionals who become entangled. One of the professionals makes art, the second critiques it, and the third is a molecular geneticist. The first two are married; the third, the scientist, is a sexy, wonderfully slutty, confident bisexual. He seduces the married couple. But he does not know the two are married. And the husband has no idea that his wife is having an affair with the same man he is having an affair with. The city of Berlin also stars in this lovely comedy. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Fri May 20, 7

Neptune Sat May 21, 1:30

12 Angry Lebanese

Lebanon, 2010 (78 min.)

Dir. Zeina Daccache

In the belly of a Lebanese prison, director and drama therapist Zeina Daccache put together an internationally famous production of 12 Angry Men, using inmates as her cast and crew. Through their rehearsals, we see sad men who have been dumped in a box to die transformed into a cast with wide-eyed purpose. It's a compelling study of inmate psychology, as well as the healing power of the arts. Zeina steals the show, though. She treats prisoners like people. Her love's as tough as hide, and you just want to marry her. You cannot watch this without admiring her work. (ERNIE PIPER IV)

Egyptian Sat June 4, 1

Harvard Exit Sun June 12, 7

recommended 12 Paces Without a Head

Germany, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Sven Taddicken

This rollicking German film documents the bromance between a pair of once notorious 14th-century pirates, whose downward spiral into irrelevance is halted by the accidental discovery of a newfangled weapon of mass destruction. The constant flow of high spirits, somersaulting camera tricks, and modern pop songs on the soundtrack does occasionally get to be a bit much, but the chemistry between the leads is hard to resist. Fun, agreeably vulgar stuff, which wins bonus points for sticking its surprisingly moving dismount. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Neptune Fri May 20, 4:30

Neptune Sat May 21, 7

Renton Mon May 23, 8:30

22nd of May

Belgium, 2010 (88 min.)

Dir. Koen Mortier

An atmospheric, heavy-on-the-slow-mo vision of a terrorist attack on a shopping mall, according to a preview. Screaming, explosions, dust-covered people, creepy soundtrack.

Pacific Place Sun May 22, 11 am

Pacific Place Tue May 24, 9:30

71-Into the Fire

South Korea, 2010 (120 min.)

Dir. John H. Lee

This toweringly accomplished new entry into the war-film canon chronicles a crucial early battle of the Korean War—1950's Pohang Middle School Battle—when a makeshift brigade of South Korean student soldiers were left as a first line of defense against North Korean forces. The youthful inexperience of the soldiers is made heartrendingly real, and battles are captured with a visceral precision made hyper-real in the editing room. But all visual trickery is in service of the message: War is hell—sometimes melodramatically so, sometimes in ways you never knew to fear—and those who partake of it will never be the same. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Pacific Place Fri June 3, 6:30

Kirkland Sun June 5, 8

Admiral Fri June 10, 9:30

A

Above Us Only Sky

Germany, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Jan Schomburg

The film begins with a happily married couple. It middles with the wife learning that her husband (recently killed by his own hands) is not all who she thought he was (a scientist, a faithful partner, a happy human). And it ends with her falling in love with another man, a professor of history (he quotes Hegel). The film is not bad and has several powerful scenes, but it altogether feels like a mystery thriller without a mystery or anything thrilling. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Sat May 28, 9:30

Pacific Place Sun May 29, 4

Absent

Argentina, 2011 (87 min.)

Dir. Marco Berger

A thriller about a swimming teacher and the 16-year-old boy who seduces him. Showering is involved. Screen Daily says director Marco Berger has a real feel for the "strangeness of a world transformed by suppressed desire."

Harvard Exit Fri June 10, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sat June 11, 1:30

An African Election

Ghana, 2010 (89 min.)

Dir. Jarreth Merz

Screen Daily calls this documentary about the 2008 presidential election in Ghana "a suspenseful, well-edited documentary by Swiss filmmaker Jarreth Merz filled with big personalities, colourful speech-making and high-stakes intrigue."

Harvard Exit Thu May 26, 7

Harvard Exit Fri May 27, 4:30

All Your Dead Ones

Colombia, 2010 (88 min.)

Dir. Carlos Moreno

Hollywood Reporter says this Colombian civil war drama "blends Beckettian torpor, mordant comedy and earthy absurdism in a way that's both distancing and bizarrely intriguing." It begins with a man discovering a pile of bodies in his cornfield.

Harvard Exit Fri June 10, 7

Neptune Sun June 12, 4:15

Almanya

Germany, 2011 (97 min.)

Dir. Yasemin Samdereli

A family odyssey about a bunch of characters including a 6-year-old kid who can't figure out if he's Turkish or German. Screen Daily calls it a "warm-hearted, nostalgia-tinged crowd-pleaser and also a manipulative, irresistible tear-jerker."

Egyptian Wed June 8, 7

SIFF Cinema Fri June 10, 4

Amador

Spain, 2011 (112 min.)

Dir. Fernando Leon De Aranoa

Coming on like mumblecore Almodovar, Amador is a tiny, quirky dramedy about a young woman living in the Latin immigrant community on the outskirts of Madrid, when she gets the chance to better her life by working as nursemaid to a house-bound elderly man. Friendship blooms, secrets are revealed, the grim reaper pays a visit, then things get weird. Both the film and its lead actress (Sonia Almarcha) suffer from a somewhat flat affect, and the film's daily comings-and-goings can seem exasperatingly slow, but Amador eventually gets somewhere new and disturbing. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Everett Tue May 31, 4

Pacific Place Thu June 2, 6:30

Pacific PLace Sat June 4, 1:30

recommended Angel of Evil

Italy, 2010 (128 min.)

Dir. Michele Placido

The life and times of Renato Vallanzasca, a habitual bank robber and prison escape artist who became a cult hero among the civilians of Italy, even when he was devising new ways to rob them blind. An engrossing, stylish crime drama, sparked by Kim Rossi Stuart's unpredictable Ground Bloom Flower of a performance. Drawing a heavy influence from the works of Michael Mann, director Michele Placido's film is an absolute rush, even if sometimes feels so committed to forward momentum that it skimps on character development. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Cinema Fri June 3, 9:30

Egyptian Sun June 5, 4

recommended Another Earth

USA, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Mike Cahill

The story involves a duplicate planet discovered in space, a car accident that kills a mother and son, and the woman who caused the wreck. Hollywood Reporter calls it "a gripping, intimate story to which science fiction adds a provocative, philosophical context."

Egyptian Sat May 21, 6:30

Neptune Mon May 23, 4:30

Apart Together

China, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Wang Quan'an

This film, which opened the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, is simply superb. All of its main components (acting, cinematography, direction, art direction, editing) are strong and its plot manages to compress China's great economic, social, and historical transformation into the intimate space of a working-class family. The movie is also about the city of Shanghai—its growth, its new and old buildings, its futuristic public transportation system, its unrestrained pride in its rise as an international financial center—and the daily rhythms of an urban Chinese family cooking, eating, shopping, sleeping. The scene in the new and towering condo complex will break your heart. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Fri May 20, 9:30

Renton Sun May 22, 1

SIFF Cinema Wed May 25, 9:30

Artificial Paradises

Mexico, 2011 (83 min.)

Dir. Yulene Olaizola

Screen Daily calls this feature a "poetic contemplation that balances a landscape's serene beauty with the small futile dramas of characters whose lives are ruled by intoxication." The title comes from Baudelaire's 1860 writing about wine, hashish, and opium.

Harvard Exit Wed June 8, 9:30

Harvard Exit Thu June 9, 4:30

As If I Am Not There

Ireland, 2010 (109 min.)

Dir. Juanita Wilson

It's an awful story, made more awful by the fact that it's cobbled together from the true stories of the women brutalized as sex slaves during the Bosnian war in the '90s (adapted from a book by Slavenka Drakulic). What makes it unmissable is the central performance, by Natasha Petrovic, and super-sensitive direction by Irishwoman Juanita Wilson. It's impossible to get rape scenes right, because something about watching rape on film is wrong, but these—and the war-fucked relationships surrounding them—are survivable and horrifying all at once. (JEN GRAVES)

everett Thu June 2, 6:30

SIFF Cinema Sat June 4, 4

Egyptian Mon June 6, 7

August

USA, 2011 (100 min.)

Dir. Eldar Rapaport

Tan gay men love triangle!!! SIFF says, "Lovingly shot and languidly told, August uses the perspectives of all three men and a muddled timeline to tell their stories, successfully mixing Rashomon with a dash of Memento."

Egyptian Thu June 9, 7

Egyptian Sat June 11, 3

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

USA, 1999 (95 min.)

Dir. Jay Roach

It's the one where Mini-Me shows up.

Juanita Sat May 28, dusk

B

recommended Backyard

Iceland, 2010 (70 min.)

Dir. Arni Sveinsson

Director Árni Sveinsson's first film won best documentary at the Icelandic Academy Awards. Backyard documents Reykjavik's music scene, with performances by the awesomely named bands Borko, FM Belfast, Mùm, and Hjaltalin, among others. Borko!

Neptune Thu May 26, 4

Admiral Sun May 29, 8:30

A Barefoot Dream

South Korea, 2010 (120 min.)

Dir. Kim Tae-kyun

How many sports-movie clichés can this South Korean film squeeze into two hours? We've got a con man and former sports pro who becomes a coach for a poor, disadvantaged East Timorese children's soccer team. We've got an inspirational journey in which the coach learns to feel again. We've got a kid who is going blind from malnutrition, and a scene in which the coach almost runs away just before the big game. And it's all based on a true story. A Barefoot Dream's mishmash of language—English and Korean and Timorese smashing together—is a delight, but the language of cliché is universal. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Renton Sat May 21, 1:15

Admiral Tue May 24, 9

Pacific Place Thu May 26, 7

Beginners

USA, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Mike Mills

Maybe it's cheating that this movie is so good, since it's hard to make a bad movie starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor. And the romance part of the film, between McGregor and luscious Frenchy Mélanie Laurent, is slightly irritating. But the father-son story is so charming, it's all you remember. The mom dies, and the dad comes out. Then he gets terminal cancer. His son is postmodern. This means he talks to the family dog, sometimes about the fact that the family dog does not talk. It is good, not irritating. (JEN GRAVES)

Egyptian Sun May 22, 4

Neptune Tue May 24, 4:30

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

USA, 2011 (85 min.)

Dir. Constance Marks

Spoiler alert: Elmo isn't really a furry red monster who enjoys being tickled. He's a puppet. Would you like to know whose hand is jammed up inside him? Then this is your documentary, friend.

Renton Fri June 3, 4:30

SIFF Cinema Sun June 5, 11 am

Belle Epine

France, 2010 (80 min.)

Dir. Rebecca Zlotowski

Youth! French youth! What do these types of humans like to do? Fuck and ride motorbikes; ride motorbikes and fuck. Between these points of ultimate pleasure, the French youth, represented in this not unpleasing film as two teenage women, have moments that are lyrical and almost thoughtful. There's lots of nudity in this movie, but the nudity is not charged by an excitable male eye. It is instead the natural and neutral nudity that calmly (if not coldly) falls on the retina of a disinterested female eye. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Sat June 4, 8:30

SIFF Cinema Thu June 9, 4:30

SIFF Cinema Sat June 11, 9:30

Bellflower

USA, 2011 (103 min.)

Dir. Evan Glodell

Kind of a buddy flick, but with an inebriated cricket-eating contest and subsequent violence, obsession, and fire. The Hollywood Reporter advises that Bellflower "will alienate some viewers but presents a bracing vision that is, despite its nihilistic leanings, almost charming."

Harvard Exit Wed June 1, 9:30

Harvard Exit Thu June 2, 4:30

The Bengali Detective

India, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Phil Cox

A private investigator "sleuths his way across the sprawling, chaotic metropolis that is Kolkata (formerly Calcutta)." Reuters calls the lead character four things: dazzling, funny, determined, and tragic.

SIFF Cinema Thu May 26, 7

Everett Sat May 28, 6

Kirkland Fri June 3, 7

Bibliotheque Pascal

Hungary, 2010 (111 min.)

Dir. Szabolcs Hajdu

Brought to you by our friends in Hungary, Bibliothèque Pascal has already won a couple awards, involves sex-trafficking, and is said by SIFF to be "Terry Gilliam–esque." But what you really want to know is that it "contains disturbing scenes of sex and violence." Yesssss!

Admiral Sat May 21, 6

Neptune Wed May 25, 9:15

Egyptian Tue May 31, 9:30

recommended Bicycle, Spoon, Apple

Spain, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Carles Bosch

A charming Spanish politician goes public with his Alzheimer's diagnosis and starts a foundation to support research for a cure, though he gets increasingly batty as the disease (and the documentary) progresses. It's a must-see for anyone curious about Alzheimer's as well as anyone who's ever wanted to see a research mouse swimming in a vat of water or a sliced-up brain on a tray. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

SIFF Cinema Thu May 26, 4:30

Harvard Exit Sat May 28, 10 am

Bi, Don't Be Afraid!

Vietnam, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Phan Dang Di

Ostensibly a family drama (set in old Hanoi) seen through the eyes of a 6-year-old boy named Bi, in fact this movie is an art-house film that only uses the boy when it wants him as a device. There are beautiful scenes inside an ice-cube factory, and there are repeated attempts at emotional intensity in scenes of disconnected sex, and spying, and intergenerational despair, but the center does not hold. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Sun May 22, 9:30

Pacific Place Wed May 25, 4:30

recommended Black Bread

Spain, 2010 (108 min.)

Dir. Agusti Villaronga

Extremely violent scene warning! And the extremely violent scene comes right at the beginning and involves, among other extreme violence, the blinding of a horse. Variety says, "Reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth, Black Bread is the grim but gripping tale of a rural lad's first exposure to evil in Spain's post–Civil War years." It won 11 Goya awards.

Neptune Fri May 27, 4

Neptune Mon May 30, 7

Admiral Fri June 3, 9:30

recommended Black Field

Greece, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Vardis Marinakis

Gorgeous! Freaktastic! Genderqueerness in a 17th-century convent surrounded by warring factions! A nun-in-training and a wounded soldier don't have the romance you expect. They have one that's hotter. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Sun June 5, 9:15

Pacific Place Mon June 6, 4:30

Black Narcissus

UK, 1947 (100 min.)

Dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Buffeted by horrendous weather, nuns in a convent nestled high in the Himalayas succumb to their long-repressed emotions, triggered by the arrival of an Englishman on a donkey. An acknowledged favorite of Martin Scorsese (and a clear influence on his Shutter Island), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1947 Technicolor fugue state of a film grows more astounding and twisted with every passing year, with magnificent performances by Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron. A sacrelicious masterpiece, and a movie that I could watch every night. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Cinema Sat May 21, 7:30

Black Venus

France, 2010 (159 min.)

Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche

This film is not easy to watch. But to avoid it altogether, or to turn your head away from the long scenes that involve the cruel exploitation and humiliation of the Hottentot Venus is another and possibly worse form of cruelty. The Hottentot Venus is Saartjie Baartman, an unfortunate woman who was brought to London in the early part of the 19th century and forced into the freak circuit by her white master. During the day, she drinks whiskey nonstop; during the night, she roars and shakes her ass like a beast for European eyes. The audience is frightened, fascinated, and disgusted by the shape of her body, the color of her skin, the sound of her voice. Later, she goes to Paris where she becomes the object of sexual desire and the scientific gaze. She dies alone in the capital of the 19th century. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Sun May 29, 8:30

SIFF Cinema Sat May 21, 11:30 am

Black, White, and Blues

USA, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Mario Van Peebles

What would Lifetime: Television for Men look like? Probably a lot like Black, White, and Blues, a man-packed weepie about life, loss, and the healing power of the blues. The story: Two men take a road trip to a small Southern town, having many meaningful discussions about fathers, sobriety, and what the blues mean, man. Eventually, mysterious connections are revealed, preposterous coincidences occur, and the film nearly ascends into an Airplane!-style genre parody. Condolences to screenwriters Morgan Simpson and George Richards, two men whose hands are made entirely of ham. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Renton Fri May 20, 7:30

Neptune Sun May 22, 4

Everett Sun May 29, 3:30

Blinding

Canada, 2011 (72 min.)

Dir. Steve Sanguedolce

An embarrassing excuse for a movie. A blind writer, a lesbian cop, and an air force pilot narrate their real-life stories. While the perspectives are all virtuous enough, particularly the cop's, the "footage" is mostly non sequitur and has been so thoroughly mangled with "effects" that the title Blinding is fitting. The narration is slow. There is no discernable arc because there is no plot. Just people—again, fine people who deserve to live—trailing in and out about life. This is barely a movie at all. It's an impenetrably dull vanity project passed off as art. (DOMINIC HOLDEN)

SIFF Cinema Wed June 1, 9

SIFF Cinema Fri June 3, 4:30

recommended Bobby Fischer Against the World

USA, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Liz Garbus

Chess master Bobby Fischer was a total fucking freak, and this documentary tells you all about it. He started out just a weird prodigy, but eventually became a crazed anti-Semite who was super into 9/11. Starred for total fucking freak factor!

Harvard Exit Tue June 7, 7

Harvard Exit Wed June 8, 4:30

recommended Bon Appetit

Spain, 2010 (91 min.)

Dir. David Pinillos

It's a love triangle in the kitchen of a fancy Zurich restaurant, with the three points being (1) the restaurateur, (2) the lady sommelier/restaurateur's mistress, and (3) a newly arrived/handsome Spanish chef. Hottt!

Kirkland Thu June 2, 8

Admiral Thu June 9, 8:30

Neptune Sat June 11, 9:30

recommended Boy

New Zealand, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Taika Waititi

A gregarious, impulsive 11-year-old Maori boy, unceremoniously named Boy, has a Michael Jackson fixation, a lovesick crush, and a glamorously (in his mind) absent father. When Boy's dad shows up one day—a goofy, machismo-dripping wise guy—the pair begins the semi-cute, mostly-predictable push-and-pull of getting to know each other, set against the gorgeous New Zealand coastline. Boy, from the director of Eagle vs. Shark, is an almost forcibly quirky trifle with melancholic undertones. Unfortunately, nothing much actually happens. (LINDY WEST)

Renton Thu May 26, 6:30

Neptune Sat June 4, 6:30

Neptune Mon June 6, 4:30

Bruce Lee, My Brother

Hong Kong, 2010 (130 min.)

Dir. Raymond Yip, Manfred Wong

If you're thinking this might be a biopic based on Bruce Lee's brother's memoir, you are correct, sir. The Hollywood Reporter says that "period atmospherics and a pageant of who's who in '60s Cantonese cinema are hollow stand-ins for true insight."

Neptune Fri May 27, 7

Neptune Sat May 28, 1:30

Everett Tue May 31, 9

recommended Buck

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Cindy Meehl

Popularly known as the "horse whisperer," Buck Brannaman is the American cowboy whose highly developed sense of empathy enables him to help unruly and damaged animals. In Cindy Meehl's loving documentary portrait, scenes of Brannaman working his quiet miracles are interspersed with background info on the hardship that made his gifts possible: a childhood of violent abuse at the hands of his father, from whom Brannaman was rescued as a teen. Throughout, Meehl keeps the tone and emphasis just right: This isn't a movie about a magical guru, but an amazing human. (DAVID SCHMADER)

SIFF Cinema Wed June 8, 7

Kirkland Thu June 9, 6:30

Burke & Hare

UK, 2010 (91 min.)

Dir. John Landis

A pair of real-life corpse-snatchers from 19th- century Scotland get the biopic treatment in this very funny, very dark little film. Simon Pegg and Isla Fisher head up a star-studded cast in a light-hearted, charming, but macabre romp about science, the birth of photography, and the world's first all-woman production of Macbeth. Pegg is doing his finest work as an actor since maybe Shaun of the Dead as the well-meaning but doomed man who inadvertently inspired a revolution in the business of death. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat June 4, 9:15

Neptune Mon June 6, 9:30

Admiral Sat June 11, 8:30

C

recommended Cairo 678

Egypt, 2010 (100 min.)

Dir. Mohamed Diab

Cario 678 has perfect timing: Remember how CBS reporter Lara Logan was sexually assaulted while covering the protests in Egypt? Mohamed Diab's film is about Egyptian women who have been assaulted and harassed by bad men—one of them files the country's first sexual harassment lawsuit and another starts stabbing attackers in the groin.

Admiral Fri May 20, 7

Pacific Place Sat May 21, 5

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

UK, 2010 (83 min.)

Dir. Craig McCall

Cinematographer Jack Cardiff worked with Alfred Hitchcock (Under Capricorn), Orson Welles (The Black Rose), and John Huston (The African Queen). He also worked on Conan the Destroyer and Rambo: First Blood Part II. As a director, he filmed a 1960 adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. This documentary—shot in 16 mm—has interviews with Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Martin Scorsese, and other chronic filmies.

Harvard Exit Sat May 21, 11 am

recommended The Catechism Cataclysm

USA, 2011 (81 min.)

Dir. Todd Rohal

Father Billy is a total goofball. He irritates his parishioners by telling long, random stories. He pisses off his monsignor by blasting dumb YouTube videos. He's naive, enthusiastic, and doesn't have a shred of self-awareness. Father Billy calls up his childhood hero, his sister's ex-boyfriend (now an embittered spotlight operator for the Ice Capades), and proposes a canoe trip. The dude says yes. They have road-movie times: Billy drops his favorite Bible in a pile of poop, they drink Rainier beer, they get lost. Then strange stuff happens involving chirpy, creepy Japanese girls and an ex-con. Steve Little gives a fantastic performance as the charming dolt-in-a-collar. The closing-credits song is a country-gospel tune called "God Will Fuck You Up." (BRENDAN KILEY)

Neptune Wed June 8, 7

Neptune Thu June 9, 4:30

recommended A Cat in Paris

France, 2010 (70 min.)

Dir. Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli

Okay. By day he's a cat. In Paris. But by night he's a cat burglar!!! Not to say that he steals cats, or that he burgles the homes of cats. Cats can't own property anyway, dummy (not even in France). The animation is pleasantly weird—almost cubist—and the story is predictable but cute. Also, ARE YOU LISTENING?? KITTY BURGLAR. (LINDY WEST)

Everett Mon May 30, 1

Kirkland Sun June 5, 1

Egyptian Sat June 11, 11 am

The Child Prodigy

Canada, 2010 (113 min.)

Dir. Luc Dionne

It's not hard to guess that a biopic about a musical prodigy you've never heard of isn't likely to end on a high note, and The Child Prodigy offers few surprises as it follows the short, unhappy life of forgotten Quebecois pianist and composer André Mathieu from child superstar to alcoholic has-been. Fewer montages of hands gliding over keyboards and a little more character development might have helped this otherwise well-made and gorgeously scored film overcome a predictable plot. (GOLDY)

Pacific Place Fri May 20, 7

Pacific Place Sun May 22, 3:30

Everett Thu June 2, 4

recommended Circumstance

Iran, 2011 (107 min.)

Dir. Maryam Keshavarz

Young lesbian romance in Iran is dangerous (as is drinking, clubbing, and exploring Tehran's underground art scene), especially when your brother, fresh back from rehab, turns fundamentalist and may or may not be spying on his own family. Circumstance won an audience-favorite award at this year's Sundance festival.

HArvard Exit Sat June 4, 6:30

Egyptian Mon June 6, 4:15

Circus Dreams

USA, 2011 (82 min.)

Dir. Signe Taylor

Documenting a year in the life of Circus Smirkus, the nation's only traveling youth circus, the energetically charming Circus Dreams follows a troupe of quirky, funny, and extremely bendy 12- to 18-year-olds from auditions to rehearsals and all the way through a grueling 70-performance tour. The talent and determination of these kids is only slightly more astonishing than director Signe Taylor's ability to instantly suck you into their lives: their triumphs, their failures, their aspirations, their injuries, and their achingly awkward explorations of young love. Never thought a film could have me rooting for clowns, let alone feeling nostalgic for my own awkward teenage years. Great for all ages. (GOLDY)

SIFF Cinema Sun May 22, 11 am

SIFF Cinema Sat June 4, 11 am

Clink of Ice

France, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Bertrand Blier

When a famous French writer on the drunken downside of his career meets the incarnation of his own cancer, he is ambivalent about him. Exit nubile Russian girlfriend, enter the maid, a woman of his own age, who also sleeps with his son. It's French, y'all. And pretty goofy. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Thu June 2, 9:30

Pacific Place Sat June 4, 4:30

Kirkland Wed June 8, 6:30

recommended Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same

USA, 2011 (76 min.)

Dir. Madeleine Olnek

The title says it all: This is a romantic comedy about lesbian space aliens who are looking for love on Earth. The reason why the bald, nasal-voiced aliens come here is tissue-thin (scientists on their home world believe that "big feelings" like love have caused the hole in their planet's ozone layer, so they're sent to Earth to have their hearts broken) but it's really just an excuse to get to the cute, funny alien-human interactions that make up the bulk of the film. (The aliens have no social skills, and neither do a few of the earthling lesbians.) While it probably won't ever pack 'em in at Nebraska multiplexes, CLSASS is an earnest, no-budget romantic riff that will leave you smiling. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat May 28, 9:45

Egyptian Sun May 29, 4

Copacabana

France, 2010 (107 min.)

Dir. Marc Fitoussi

Babou (Isabelle Huppert) is a vagabond mother with a straitlaced, disapproving adult daughter (real-life daughter Lolita Chammah). Babou dresses in a flashy way, wears too much makeup, and behaves irresponsibly. She says about her daughter, "She knows her mind, and she doesn't like me." Babou is a vibrant person but also an impossible pain in the ass. In an attempt to rebond with her daughter and show she can be responsible, Babou takes a job selling time-share apartments. The story drags a bit, but it does us the good turn of showing a woman choosing the happiness of an unconventional path. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Egyptian Fri May 20, 4:15

Admiral Sun May 22, 5:30

Renton Tue May 24, 6

recommended Crying Out

Canada, 2010 (115 min.)

Dir. Robin Aubert

A man and his grandfather go on a surreal road trip to find their father/son, who is on an even more surreal road trip than they are. (Saying any more than that would be unfortunate.) The director (Robin Aubert) can be brutal, and is unafraid. It all goes on too long, but there are scenes you will never be able to unsee, they are so searing. There are also scenes of unbelievable tenderness. The Quebecois landscape, meanwhile, consists entirely of cheap, themed motels—the source of most of the comedy. The trip is worth taking. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Sun May 22, 6:30

Pacific Place Mon May 23, 4

D

recommended Damien Jurado and the Russian Avant-Garde

(77 min.)

Dir. Dimitri Kirsanoff

Short films by French impressionist director Dimitri Kirsanoff (1899–1957) paired with a live score played by Damien Jurado. There will be an ax murder.

Triple Door Wed June 8, 7, 9:30

recommended Dance Town

South Korea, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Jeon Kyu-hwan

North Korea is bleak for our protagonist. To splash a little color about, her husband obtains some festive contraband. But, alas, the North Korean government is on to his shenanigans and captures him. The offense? Possession of pornography! Our protagonist must now escape to the veritable piñata of color that is South Korea—a land of opportunity, choices, and porn. But it contains exactly zero affectionate husbands. So which is worse: to sit and watch the most beautiful sunset, alone eternally, or to sit in an oppressive concrete cell with, at least, the company of people who bring you cheer? I keep thinking about this movie, this question. (DOMINIC HOLDEN)

Renton Mon May 23, 6

Harvard Exit Mon May 30, 9

Admiral Wed June 1, 9

The Darkest Matter

USA, 2011 (72 min.)

Dir. James Fox

From the film's site: "The Darkest Matter is an original feature-length film spotlighting 6-12th grade acting and film production talent. Taught and produced by trained film professionals." The plot involves a misguided escape pod full of children and a derelict space station, much like the story of The Stranger.

SIFF Cinema Sat May 21, 3:30

SIFF Cinema Mon May 23, 7

The Destiny of Lesser Animals

Ghana, 2011 (89 min.)

Dir. Deron Albright

A Ghanaian police detective was once briefly happy, in New York City where he loved a woman and escaped his conflicted feelings about his country's past—until 9/11 happened and he was swiftly deported. He wants to get back to that time, to that place, and out of Ghana forever, but what he's willing to do to get there may ruin him entirely. For all that drama, this is just as much an action movie, as our man finds himself connected, symbolically and literally, with the criminals he's chasing. Yao B. Nunoo's performance as Inspector Boniface Koomsin makes the film. (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Sat June 11, 7

Admiral Sun June 12, 3:30

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

China, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Tsui Hark

I love detective movies. I also love kung fu films. Bringing the two together, in the way Blade Runner married detective fiction with science fiction, sounds like a perfect idea. Sadly, Detective Dee, a film that has a detective investigating a crime and lots of kick-ass fighting, is far from this idea of perfection. Why? Because not long after it starts, a deer walks down some steps and starts talking to people. Now the minute something as supernatural as that happens, there's no need for a detective. What's needed is a sorcerer. The talking deer, however, doesn't nix the kung fu. The flying, kicking, chopping, and all of that is still very entertaining. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Wed June 1, 7

Egyptian Mon June 6, 9:30

Detention

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Joseph Kahn

Antidepressants, hamburgers, and muuuuuurder in a middle-class high school. Imagine The Breakfast Club plus Scream plus Heathers. Director Joseph Kahn is best known for his music videos for Eminem, Britney Spears, and U2.

Neptune Fri June 3, 9:30

Egyptian Sun June 5, 9:15

recommended Donor

Philippines, 2010 (84 min.)

Dir. Mark Afable Meily

"What's your blood type?" is the question asked surreptitiously on the streets of the Philippines, where a law banning organ transplants between Filipinos and foreigners has created an underground international organ trade. Lizzy, a young woman struggling to make a living selling pirated DVDs of gay porn on the street, must decide whether she's willing to marry a wealthy, unknown Arab man in order to legally sell him her kidney and escape poverty. "You can function with one kidney," a friend counsels. " I read it in a magazine." Fair warning: This is not a love story; it is a story of survival. (CIENNA MADRID)

Renton Wed May 25, 6

Admiral Sat June 4, 6:30

Harvard Exit Tue June 7, 4:30

Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes?

USA, 2011 (82 min.)

Dir. Caleb Young

Boy meets boy, they fall in love, boy dies, still-alive boy meets dead-boy's twin and everybody has feelings. Shot in Washington State in seven days. The only reviewer for Entertainment News NW wrote: "I have not reviewed film before in this blog, but a recent invitation to a private screening of Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes? has made me wish that I had paid more attention to that medium." Sounds...promising?

Admiral Tue May 31, 7

Harvard Exit Sat June 4, 11 am

E

recommended The Empire of Mid-South

France, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Jacques Perrin, Eric Deroo

The editing is the best thing about this documentary, which is primarily concerned with the 20th-century history of Vietnam. Footage from the moment of French colonial life, occupation, and the industrial transformation of the country's natural resources, the moment of the Japanese war machine, and the moment of the American war machine are smoothly (even beautifully) blended, distorted, faded in, and faded out. The Empire of Mid-South is the documentary in the condition of a remix. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Sun May 29, 6

Neptune Tue May 31, 4:30

SIFF Cinema Sat June 4, 9:15

Eternity

Thailand, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Sivaroj Kongsakul

A Thai ghost story that begins with the ghost riding his motorcycle through a landscape to "walk the footsteps" of his former life, visiting the time he fell in love with his wife.

Pacific Place Mon June 6, 9:30

Pacific Place Wed June 8, 4:30

Every Song is About Me

Spain, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Jonas Trueba

A dreamy, romantic man in Madrid gets dumped. His friend marries an Argentinean to help her with immigration, but the dreamy man loves her. Ay de mi! What's Spanish for "rom-com?"

Pacific Place Sun May 29, 7

Pacific Place Mon May 30, noon

Admiral Mon June 6, 6:30

Everything Will Be Fine

Denmark, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Christoffer Boe

A screenwriter uncovers a torture plot (or maybe he doesn't) as his marriage falls apart in this occasionally moribund thriller from Denmark. Everything Will Be Fine is structured in a more complex, and therefore interesting, manner than your standard mind-bending movie, but it ends in a pat, unsatisfying thud. Other entries in this year's SIFF (see: Rene Goes to Hollywood) do a better job of putting us on shaky ground within the brain of an unreliable narrator. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Fri May 20, 10

Renton Sun May 22, 9

Pacific Place Fri May 27, 1:30

Ex

Hong Kong, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Heiward Mak

A young lady and her boyfriend break up in an airport cafe, leaving her stranded. She meets up with her ex-boyfriend and sparks fly. Associated Press critic Elizabeth Kerr describes Ex as: "lots of smashing tableware and banging of furniture, and women losing all sense of dignity when confronted with the prospect of losing a so-called good man."

Pacific Place Fri May 20, 1:30

Siff Cinema Sun May 22, 9:15

Siff Cinema Mon May 23, 9:30

F

Fathers & Sons

Canada, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Carl Bessai

As you may deduce from the title, this film is about relationships between fathers and sons. Jumping back and forth—often jarringly—between several subplots, Sons includes but is not limited to: an awkward sex scene involving a fat old Jewish man and a prostitute; four brothers dumping their father's ashes (the one you don't like gets them blown back in his face!), and a flamboyantly gay East Indian man. (GRANT BRISSEY)

Harvard Exit Thu May 26, 9:30

Admiral Sat May 28, 1

A Few Days of Respite

Algeria, 2011 (80 min.)

Dir. Amor Hakkar

A gay Iranian couple attempts to get the hell out of dodge. Variety thought it sucked, saying "the pic feels almost threadbare" and "a more expressive cast would have done wonders."

Admiral Thu June 2, 8:30

Egyptian Sat June 4, 11 am

Kirkland Sat June 11, 6

recommended Finding Kind

USA, 2011 (77 min.)

Dir. Lauren Parsekian

This documentary begins with the slightly distasteful and eye-rolly premise that nobody does more damage to women than other women (because, um, perhaps you have forgotten about MEN [and also lions!]). Domestic violence and rape and sex trafficking (and maulings!) aside, though, girl-on-girl bullying can be a vicious, nail-breaking shit-show. In this endearing film, a pair of best friends (who happen to be queen-bee pretty girls, but no matter) travel the country speaking with middle and high school girls about their pain and the pain they've caused others. It's a sweet, earnest addition to the current anti-bullying movement. A few confessional scenes—little girls in braces pouring their broken hearts into the camera—will stick with you. (LINDY WEST)

Egyptian Mon May 23, 7

SIFF Cinema Tue May 24, 4:30

Finisterrae

Spain, 2010 (80 min.)

Dir. Sergio Caballero

This film about a couple of ghosts (white sheets, cutout eyes) traveling here and there is neither funny nor interesting. It drags on and on with no rewards, no meaning, no substance. I have no idea why it won some important award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Tue May 31, 9:15

Harvard Exit Sun June 5, 9

Fire In Babylon

UK, 2010 (83 min.)

Dir. Stevan Riley

Sometime cricket is more than cricket. This documentary is about cricket in the Caribbean, particularly the West Indies cricket team (the "Windies"!), who have a Bad News Bears-style ascendancy—except with extreme racial/colonial tensions. The emergence of Caribbean culture (reggae, The Harder the Come, "one people, one nation, one destiny") parallels the Windies' defeat of white teams.

Admiral Thu June 2, 6:30

Neptune Sat June 4, 11 am

Kirkland Mon June 6, 6:30

recommended Fire of Conscience

Hong Kong, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Dante Lam

The pleasures of Hong Kong cops-and-robber dramas are alive and well in Fire of Conscience. The movie's plot isn't exactly a revelation (a driven cop tries to untangle a web of corruption and deceit before he self-destructs), but director Dante Lam delivers some striking visuals, especially in a luxurious freeze-frame credits sequence that provides a puzzle for the viewer to decode over the course of the film. It's not the second coming of Hard Boiled or Infernal Affairs, but Fire of Conscience is a fine HK-cinema diversion that chugs along at a steady clip. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Neptune Sat May 21, 9:30

Egyptian Tue May 24, 9:30

recommended The First Grader

UK, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Justin Chadwick

When the Kenyan government announces that all citizens are entitled to an education, 84-year-old Kimani N'gan'ga Maruge is ready to learn and enrolls at his local primary school. What sounds like a festival-movie parody—it's Billy Madison meets Hotel Rwanda!—turns out to be a politically complex, emotionally charged history lesson. Maruge, it turns out, is a former Mau Mau freedom fighter who spent years in a prison camp after watching his family be executed. His longing for an education is more nuanced than it may seem. The British Empire does not come off well. (LINDY WEST)

McCaw HAll Thu May 19, 7

Flamenco, Flamenco

Spain, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Carlos Saura

Twenty-one Spanish performers do flamenco, set in Seville's 1992 Expo Pavilion Soundstage. Olé, olé!

SIFF Cinema Sun May 22, 7

Everett Fri May 27, 4:30

Egyptian Mon May 30, 11 am

Fly Filmmaking Challenge

USA, 2011 (60 min.)

Dir. SJ Chiro, Matthew J. Clark, Timothy Watkins, Reel Grrls

Filmmakers get a week to write a script, three days to shoot it, and five days to edit it into a 10-minute film. Stress! Pressure! Wheeee!

Egyptian Mon May 30, 4:30

SIFF Cinema Tue June 7, 5

Flying Fish

Sri Lanka, 2011 (125 min.)

Dir. Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

A village girl gets knocked up by a soldier, a mother of eight has an affair, and a girl at school is harassed by Tamil Tigers in this debut feature about the human effects of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Pacific Place Tue June 7, 6:30

Pacific Place Thu June 9, 4

Four More Years

Sweden, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Tova Magnusson-Norling

A comedy about Swedish politics that involves a political upset, intra-office fucking, and a supposedly straight politician falling in love with another guy in an elevator. Oh yeah and elevator man is a member of the other party. Oh shit!

Egyptian Sun May 22, 1:30

Egyptian Mon May 23, 9:30

Pacific Place Sat May 28, 1

recommended Fuck My Life

Chile, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Nicolas Lopez

A huge hit in its native Chile, this look at relationships in the age of instant status updates follows a haplessly Twitter-addicted slacker unable to move on from a previous relationship. It's funny and curiously mean-spirited in nearly equal measures, with a protagonist who veers uncomfortably close to stalker territory. Still, the film's depiction of late-night Facebook abuse and ill-advised text messaging hits a chord that The Social Network never quite managed to touch. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Harvard Exit Thu June 2, 7

Admiral Sat June 4, 1

Neptune Tue June 7, 9:30

Funkytown

Canada, 2011 (133 min.)

Dir. Daniel Roby

Eight lives intersect at a club in 1970s Montreal called the Starlight, known for "disco, cocaine, casual sex, and corruption," according to the SIFF people, who don't point out that the film is getting trashed by reviewers. A blogger in Toronto said it "gives new meaning to the term 'epic fail.'"

Pacific Place Fri June 10, 9:30

Pacific Place Sun June 12, 3:30

recommended The Future

USA, 2011 (91 min.)

Dir. Miranda July

A mysterious second film from Miranda July—this one involves a cat who speaks, a T-shirt that crawls along the ground, and a lethargic man and woman who look an awful lot alike. The dialogue has that July edge, the soundtrack has that aquatic July remoteness, and the themes include the morbid mindfuck of time itself and the power of a container to distort what's inside it. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Pacific Place Sat May 21, 7:30

SIFF Cinema Mon May 23, 4:30

G

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

France, 2010 (135 min.)

Dir. Joann Sfar

Serge Gainsbourg—famous French songwriter, drinker, poet, icon—is the subject of this hero-worship directed by best-selling comic artist Joann Sfar. Hollywood Reporter says the production values are high but that "non-Gallic audiences may be underwhelmed by this portrayal of an artist whose main claim to world fame is a pop song in which a woman simulates an orgasm."

Egyptian Wed June 1, 9:30

Admiral Fri June 3, 4

Kirkland Tue June 7, 8:30

recommended Gandu

India, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Q (Kaushik Mukherjee)

Gandu, which means "asshole" in Hindi, is about Gandu, a poor street beatboxer/asshole who makes friends with Ricksha, a Bruce Lee devotee/rickshaw driver. The story's not really the point, though. Bandu is an anti-Bollywood manifesto. No colors, no heroes, no adventure, just rap soliloquies and a story that intentionally goes nowhere. "My life is a fucking fart," Gandu comments. They smoke something—crack I think—out of a tinfoil dish and get so high that the narrative begins to unravel. Poetic, brilliant, and sort of boring, Gandu feels short enough that the endless parade of confusing shit remains novel rather than exhausting. (ERNIE PIPER IV)

Kirkland Tue June 7, 6:30

Neptune Fri June 10, 7

Egyptian Sat June 11, 1

Gorbaciòf - The Cashier Who Liked Gambling

Italy, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Stefano Incerti

A cashier, a birthmark, a standing poker game, an airport, and a zoo all figure into the plot. Hollywood Reporter calls it "lean and meticulously acted" and "a throwback to sober 1970s cinema about lone wolves and small lives on the fringes of the underworld."

Admiral Thu June 9, 6:30

Pacific Place Sun June 12, 1:30

Grandma, A Thousand Times

UAE, 2010 (48 min.)

Dir. Mahmoud Kaabour

A Lebanese filmmaker documents the idiosyncrasies and struggles of his 83-year-old grandmother, as she copes with a lifetime of losses and the knowledge of her own impending end.

SIFF Cinema Thu June 2, 4:30

Kirkland Fri June 10, 5

The Green Wave

Germany, 2010 (80 min.)

Dir. Ali Samadi Ahadi

An examination of modern-day Middle Eastern culture and politics (specifically young bloggers' reactions to the most recent Iranian elections) set to stark and pretty animated sequences, The Green Wave can't help but recall recent triumphs Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir. But though this film leans more heavily toward the realm of traditional documentary (talking heads, etc.), its politics are much muddier than its aforementioned counterparts'. The outrage expressed on-screen is palpable and moving—the film is worth a watch—but the narrative is distractingly scattered. One wants to blame Twitter, and one is probably a little correct. (LINDY WEST)

Harvard Exit Sun June 5, 4

Harvard Exit Mon June 6, 7

recommended Gromozeka

Russia, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Vladimir Kott

In this Russian film, three old friends who were in a rock band together are now dealing with middle age in very different ways. Gromozeka is a novelistic endeavor of a movie, with well-rounded characters, exceptional acting, and an involved plot. It's rich and occasionally surprisingly joyful. Despite a few clichés (yet another middle-aged man having an affair with a younger woman who's tired of messing around?), it's a neat trick of a movie. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Wed June 1, 9:30

Pacific Place Fri June 3, 4

Kirkland Sat June 4, 8:30

Gun Hill Road

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Rashaad Ernesto Green

Enrique (Esai Morales) gets released from prison and returns to his life in the Puerto Rican community of the Bronx. Each member of his family must adjust to his return. The wife (Judy Reyes, from Scrubs) has had autonomy and her own relationships while he was away. The son is beginning the transition to female, while attempting to navigate high school and dating as a transgender person. The dad is upset and mystified by what's happening with his son and keeps trying to pull the teen back into their previously shared male world. The acting is great, and the film is a captivating look at a modern American story. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Harvard Exit Fri May 27, 7

Admiral Sun May 29, 3:30

H

recommended Happy, Happy

Norway, 2010 (88 min.)

Dir. Anne Sewitsky

Two couples play board games, get to know each other, have affairs, and so on. In spite of a freaky-sounding subplot that involves a white boy forcing a black boy into "a disturbing series of master and slave role-playing games, including mock beatings and confinement," Hollywood Reporter calls this a "light sex comedy" that "captivates with amusing appeal."

Pacific Place Fri May 20, 11 am

Neptune Sun May 22, 6:45

Renton Tue May 24, 8:30

Hayfever

Italy, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Laura Luchetti

A self-described "Italian Empire Records," Hayfever follows a group of no doubt attractive young antique store clerks as they kill time and pine for one another.

Pacific Place Sat June 11, 7

Pacific Place Sun June 12, 11 am

recommended Heading West

Netherlands, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Nicole van Kilsdonk

Heading West follows the everyday life of a single mother living in Amsterdam. Intercut with beautifully shot scenes from the city, we follow this woman through a year of her life. She sits in her window and watches the lives of other people. She lets an old lady use her microwave. The woman cannot find a man who is not an asshole. The father of her child is an asshole. The man she meets on the street is an asshole. This film is a triumph because it begins bleak and ends bleak. There is no happy ending. (GRANT BRISSEY)

Pacific Place Wed June 8, 7

Egyptian Fri June 10, 4:30

Hermano

Venezuela, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Marcel Rasquin

Two brothers grew up playing soccer in the dirt. Sometimes they'd sit in their bedroom with their shirts off, looking at each other. Later they get to try out for the Caracas Football Club. At one point in this film, someone bakes a cake.

Harvard Exit Fri May 20, 7

Admiral Sun May 22, 3

recommended High Road

USA, 2011 (83 min.)

Dir. Matt Walsh

This largely improvised feature from the founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade "plays out like a stoner version of a French farce," according to the SIFF people, "complete with misunderstandings, sexual innuendo, and even a little cross-dressing."

Neptune Fri May 20, 9:30

Admiral Sat May 21, 8:30

Egyptian Tue June 7, 9:30

Hit So Hard

USA, 2011 (103 min.)

Dir. P. David Ebersole

This biopic of the drummer from Hole argues that she was the band's "true innovator," says SIFF, and features members of Hole, Veruca Salt, the Go-Gos, Faith No More, and the Bangles, as well as "never-before-seen home video capturing intimate family life with Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and an infant Francis Bean."

Egyptian Fri May 27, 9

Neptune Sun May 29, 4

Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians

USA, 2011 (93 min.)

Dir. Bryan Storkel

A Seattle-based group (pew?) of Christian card sharks whose success at card-counting makes them millions—and gets them kicked out of every casino in the Northwest. But does donating the bulk of their earnings cancel out the immorality of gambling in God's eyes?

Admiral Sat June 11, 6

SIFF Cinema Sun June 12, 3:30

Honey

Turkey, 2010 (108 min.)

Dir. Semih Kaplanoglu

The last movie in the Yusuf trilogy (following Egg and Milk). Yusuf—a young kid with a stutter—is living in the forests of Turkey when his beekeeping father dies in a freak accident. Filmcritic.com calls it "a loving ode to the inherent strangeness of being a kid with only the bare minimum of a plot."

Admiral Fri May 20, 4:30

Harvard Exit Mon May 23, 7

Hooked

Russia, 2010 (132 min.)

Dir. Pavel Sanayev

After receiving an advance copy of a new game, a group of Russian college students develops video game powers (driving, martial arts, marksmanship, etc.) and proceeds to discover the moral consequences of mowing down civilians in the real world. Stuff blows up, but good. While it's admittedly fascinating to watch another culture's take on Michael Bay's patented dunderheaded style, this action flick does eventually bog down a bit between the explosions and faux bullet-time. Still, the opening hour or so is a hoot. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Cinema Sun May 22, 4

Neptune Mon May 30, 1:45

Kirkland Fri June 3, 9:30

recommended Hot Coffee

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Susan Saladoff

Former trial attorney and director Susan Saladoff follows four so-called "jackpot lawsuits" filed by individuals against corporations—including the woman who famously sued McDonalds for millions after spilling scalding coffee in her lap—and how the legal system panders to business interests. Filmcritic.com calls it "an eye opener... a film that everyone should see."

Harvard Exit Thu June 9, 7

Harvard Exit Sat June 11, 11 am

How To Die in Oregon

USA, 2011 (108 min.)

Dir. Peter D. Richardson

This fascinating documentary focuses on the people who are using Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. The filmmakers follow a woman with terminal liver cancer as she faces her illness and decides whether to end her life before her suffering becomes excruciating—interviewing her, her doctor, her husband, and her children. It sounds depressing, but it actually demonstrates how people who have been sucked into the medical-industrial complex are relieved to finally have control over their bodies and their choices. The movie also looks at the woman who fought to get Initiative 1000 passed in Washington State. How to Die in Oregon shows people who make the decision to live a little less in order to go out on their own terms. Warning: Not for the squeamish. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Harvard Exit Fri May 20, 4:15

Pacific Place Sat May 21, 2

Renton Sun May 22, 3:30

The Hunter

Iran, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Rafi Pitts

The Guardian calls The Hunter "a spare, brooding drama from Iran that is perhaps not entirely successful but is certainly intriguing."

Admiral Wed June 1, 6:30

Egyptian Fri June 3, 4

Hurricane Kalatozov

France, 2010 (74 min.)

Dir. Patrick Cazals

This documentary is about the director (Mikhail Kalatozov) who gave the world the film (I Am Cuba) that contains the greatest sequence in all of cinema, the funeral of a martyred student—the camera rises, the camera enters a cigar factory, the camera flies out of the window, the camera floats above the funeral procession for an impossible length of time. In this scene, the will of the people liberates the camera; while flying through the air, the human desire for freedom becomes one with artistic freedom. The documentary is filled with great interviews with experts on the life and art of Kalatozov. Lastly, one of the experts explains that the Soviet director wrote a book on Hollywood. I really hope this book has been translated into English. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Cinema Sat June 4, 1:30

Kirkland Sun June 5, 3

I

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

USA, 2011 (85 min.)

Dir. Marshall Curry

Follow the meteoric rise of the ELF in the late '80s and early '90s with never-seen archival footage of ELF activities, interviews with its tree-hugging, arson-loving members—including Daniel McGowan, who was famously arrested for domestic terrorism in 2005—and the detectives and prosecutors who pursued them.

Harvard Exit Wed May 25, 7

Everett Sun May 29, 6

If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

Romania, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Florin Serban

Eighteen-year-old Silviu (who's built like a handsome bull) is five days from being released from reform school. Watch as Silviu falls in love with a social worker, struggles to protect his brother from their deadbeat mom, and contemplates his limited choices on the outside.

Harvard Exit Tue June 7, 9:30

Pacific Place Fri June 10, 1:30

Illegal

Belgium, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Olivier Masset-Depasse

Tania, a Russian immigrant to Belgium, ends up in an immigrant detention center after she refuses to give her identity to police (her fingerprints have been seared off). Trapped there, she worries about her son, her future, and the mysterious bruises that routinely appear on a fellow detainee.

Pacific Place Sat June 11, 9:30

Pacific Place Sun June 12, 7

The Importance of Being Earnest

UK, 2011 (150 min.)

Dir. Brian Bedford

A live theater production of Oscar Wilde's work captured on film. New York Magazine says: "Absolutely perfect and funny as hell!"

SIFF Cinema Thu June 2, 7

SIFF Cinema Sun June 5, 1:30

SIFF Cinema Sun June 12, 6

The Interrupters

USA, 2011 (144 min.)

Dir. Steve James

The goal of the Interrupters—who work in Chicago's toughest neighborhoods—is modest; they don't want to stop violence, just to interrupt it. That moment of interruption might bring something more, of course, but nobody voices big goals. This documentary is about small actions that are unbelievably weighty, like talking a man out of his vengeance in part just by relentlessly hanging out with him. The Interrupters are former criminals themselves, turned volunteers seeking their own redemption. They do unbelievably good work, but this movie, at 144 minutes, is so long it dissipates its own effects. (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Sat May 28, 6

Harvard Exit Sun May 29, 12:30

The Intruder

Thailand, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Thanadol Nualsuth

It's Snakes on a Plane... in an apartment building! Only not as fun. The Intruder is a Thai horror/action film that's supposed to be a schlocky thrill-ride. And a few of the scenes involving swaying cobras suddenly snapping at innocent victims have the necessary voltage to supply a jolt or two to the audience. But you'll be surprised when The Intruder proves how boring and repetitive snake attacks can get. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat June 4, 11:59

Neptune Wed June 8, 9:30

J

Jess + Moss

USA, 2011 (82 min.)

Dir. Clay Jeter

Two friends in rural Kentucky (she is around 18, he is around 10) roam around, talk, hang out in an old falling-apart house, climb silos, shoot BB guns, light off fireworks, and collect things in swamps. There is little plot, but you glean bits of information about the characters as the film progresses. The scenery is beautiful and the young actors are endearing, but this already unhurried film is slowed down by interspersed meandering dreamlike sequences. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Harvard Exit Sat May 21, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sun May 22, 4:30

recommended Johan Primero

Netherlands, 2010 (78 min.)

Dir. Johan Kramer

A man named Johan Primero drives in circles, day after day, around Barcelona's soccer stadium, convinced that more than 80,000 repetitions of this route will mean victory for his team. It is a plot that literally goes nowhere—or nowhere outside of our Johan's crazed circuit, anyway—and yet this film is surprisingly entrancing. We meet the fixtures of Johan's small world: his silent mother, who will not backseat interpret her son's dreams while he's driving; his mysterious, seat-belted urn; an old man who spits koans from a park bench; a cafe manager who brings Johan's coffee to his window; and Johan's uninvited window washer, an eye-patched lady in red who might just be the one to keep him from his appointed rounds. (ELI SANDERS)

Pacific Place Sun May 29, 9:45

Everett Wed June 1, 9

Admiral Mon June 6, 9

John Carpenter's The Ward

United States, 2010 (88 min.)

Dir. John Carpenter

John Carpenter's first feature in over a decade finds the master coasting a bit, with this atmospheric, intermittently splattery tale of ghostly shenanigans at a women's looney bin. The story's no great shakes, really, but the director's knack at setting up wide-screen, deep-focus scares still impresses, with the mood bolstered by strong performances from Lyndsy Fonseca, Jared Harris, and (especially) Amber Heard, who could very well be the Jamie Lee Curtis of her generation. Viewers with a thing about eyeball-related trauma may just want to go ahead and upchuck now. Shot in Spokane. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Sat May 21, 11:59

Neptune Thu May 26, 10:30

Juan

Denmark, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Kasper Holten

A positively filthy modernization of Mozart's Don Giovanni, this cranked-to-11 opera follows an unrepentant seducer whose habit of videotaping his thousands of conquests leads to a manhunt by both the law and his past flings. Director Kasper Holton's film doesn't skimp on the delirious visual excess, which combines marvelously with Concerto Copenhagen's melding of the classic score and updated libretto (sung in English, but also subtitled). Works more as a tone poem than a coherent film, but when it connects, it cooks. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Neptune Tue May 31, 7

Neptune Fri June 3, 4:30

Admiral Sun June 5, 6

Jucy

Australia, 2010 (81 min.)

Dir. Louise Alston

A comedy about two lady video- store clerks/aspiring stage actresses who are best friends. Watch as they compete for parts, dive headfirst into love foibles, and go off their meds. Variety calls it a "frisky, low-budget laffer."

Egyptian Fri May 27, 6:30

Harvard Exit Sat May 28, 1

Kirkland Sun June 12, 8:30

K

Karate-Robo Zaborgar

Japan, 2011 (101 min.)

Dir. Noboru Iguchi

You know that moment when all of a sudden a toddler becomes aware of his own cuteness and promptly becomes a cloying little asshole? Karate-Robo Zaborgar is on the verge of tipping over into that realm of annoying self-awareness. All the elements for Japanese cinematic greatness are here—a motorcycle that transforms into a robot, a giant woman destroying a city with the help of a unique weapon—but the movie feels like it's trying too hard to baste in its own awesomeness while still raising an ironic eyebrow at hip viewers. But hell, maybe I'm just jaded; those who are fond of "shut-your-brain-off-and-like-what-they-give-you" movies will probably die of a thousand little orgasms. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Fri May 27, 11:59

Admiral Mon May 30, 8:30

Neptune Wed June 1, 9:30

Killing Bono

UK, 2011 (114 min.)

Dir. Nick Hamm

You know who's not as awesome as U2? The band that went to school with U2 in Dublin but followed a comical trajectory as abysmal as U2's rise was lofty.

Neptune Thu June 2, 6:30

Neptune Sun June 5, 1:30

Admiral Wed June 8, 9:15

King of Devil's Island

Norway, 2010 (120 min.)

Dir. Marius Holst

At Bastøy Boys Home in Norway, wardens brutally punish wayward teens with the goal of turning them into upstanding adults. Variety calls it a "watchable if not entirely engrossing" drama that "follows a predictable arc."

Pacific Place Mon June 6, 7

Pacific Place Thu June 9, 9:30

Admiral Sat June 11, 1

Kinshasa Symphony

Germany, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Claus Wischmann, Martin Baer

There is a very delightful gap-toothed fellow who must continuously get up on a ladder and do something electrical so that the lights will go back on because this is sort of one of those documentaries about how Africa Happens. That said, the German directors didn't do anything overtly obnoxious, and it is pretty great to see a whole orchestra and chorus working on Beethoven's Ninth, and Congolese teenagers and single mothers talking about the fact that, really, they feel like they were put on earth to play the flute and the violin. (JEN GRAVES)

Everett Sat May 28, 3:30

SIFF Cinema Wed June 1, 4:30

Neptune Tue June 7, 7

Kosmos

Turkey, 2009 (122 min.)

Dir. Reha Erdem

The movie begins with a man running across the snow. We do not know what he is running from or running to. Soon, we see a small town. The man enters it and saves the life of a boy. The boy has a beautiful sister and an ugly father who works at a slaughterhouse. The stranger is welcomed into the town and gradually begins to disrupt its simple order. The stranger performs miracles, speaks in riddles, and seduces the slaughterer's daughter. But the two do not have sex; they instead bark at each other and circle each other like wild animals in heat. This scene (the barking, the circling, play-kissing, play-biting) is actually amazing. The film has other amazing scenes, which, altogether, would have made a great movie if the nonamazing scenes were not so numerous and so long. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat May 21, 6:15

Harvard Exit Sun May 22, 1:30

Kirkland Sun June 12, 3:30

Kung Fu Panda 2

USA, 2011 (110 min.)

Dir. Jennifer Yuh

Of course, based on the title, you want this movie to be about an animated panda bear who does kung fu, but actually... wait, it really is about a panda who does kung fu?!?! Sweet!

Pacific Place Sat May 21, 11 am

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recommended La Dolce Vita

Italy, 1960 (174 min.)

Dir. Federico Fellini

If you have not watched this film, you should go and look in the mirror and hate what you see. Those who have not seen the film in a long time must do their best to see it again. If you do not know who Fellini is, please move to Spokane. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Mon May 30, 10 am

The Last Circus

Spain, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Alex de la Iglesia

A sad clown reflects on the legacy of his father, a machete-wielding clown who fought in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, in what a reviewer at Chud.com called "an amazing blend of dark comedy and horror" that ranks as a "big frontrunner for my favorite film of 2010."

Egyptian Sat May 28, 11:59

Neptune Tue May 31, 9:30

recommended The Last Mountain

USA, 2011 (95 min.)

Dir. Bill Haney

A genuinely ticked-off documentary exploring the practice of mountain removal, a procedure by coal companies that involves blasting the hell out of the Appalachian countryside on a daily basis, with alarming effects on the local population. Director Bill Haney (The Price of Sugar) crosscuts effectively between the national advocates fighting to change the current laws (including Robert Kennedy Jr.) and the people who must deal with refineries encroaching on school grounds and water filters that last for days instead of months. Remarkably one-sided, but can you really blame it? (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Pacific Place Wed June 1, 7

Pacific Place Thu June 2, 4

Late Autumn

South Korea, 2010 (113 min.)

Dir. Kim Tae-yong

A South Korean convict returns for her mother's funeral—in Seattle—where she meets a real charmer on the bus and goes for an adventure. Features a plethora of local tourist traps and a genuine King County Metro bus.

Harvard Exit Sun May 29, 6:45

Egyptian Tue May 31, 4

Lesson Plan

USA, 2010 (76 min.)

Dir. Philip Neel, David H. Jeffrey

One day in an American high school in 1967, in the middle of learning about Hitler, students walked into a rearranged classroom. After explaining they were doing a role-playing experiment and that they would be graded as a group, their teacher Mr. Jones started writing cryptic messages on the chalkboard, had them do physical tasks in unison, told them not to share what happened in the classroom with anyone outside, encouraged students to rat out their friends for invented infractions, and over the course of a week built a cult of personality that scared the shit out of people. The experiment has fascinated and perplexed the teaching community ever since. Many of the students, now grown, are interviewed in this documentary, as is Mr. Jones, who never taught again. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Harvard Exit Tue May 31, 7

Harvard Exit Wed June 1, 4:30

recommended Letters From the Big Man

USA, 2011 (115 min.)

Dir. Christopher Munch

Feeling burned-out on men, a fiercely independent artist (Lily Rabe, daughter of the late Jill Clayburgh) accepts a surveying job deep in the wilds of Oregon, only to strike up a telepathic relationship with the local superpowered bigfoot. You read that sentence correctly. The latest from one-time wunderkind Christopher Munch (The Hours and Times) may be the most granola Sasquatch movie ever, with a pro-nature message that would grate if it didn't feel so sincere. Hypnotic, in a hippie-dippie sort of way, except for those times when you want to kick it into gear. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Everett Thu June 2, 9

SIFF Cinema Fri June 10, 6:30

SIFF Cinema Sat June 11, 4:30

recommended Life in a Day

UK, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Kevin Macdonald

What did the world do—or rather, what did the world post to YouTube—on July 24, 2010? You'll find out by watching a montage of clips that answer these questions: What do you fear? What do you love? What makes you laugh? And what's in your pocket?

Cinerama Sun June 12, 6

The Life of Fish

Chile, 2010 (83 min.)

Dir. Matías Bize

In this tiny Chilean drama, a handsome young travel-guide writer (played by Heroes heartthrob Santiago Cabrera) reconnects with then bids adieu to a slew of old acquaintances over the course of an evening-length house party. It's an interesting containment of a familiar drama, but the film's potential is squandered as director Matías Bize presents scene after scene after scene of Spiritually Meaningful Reunions, all executed with the same misty-eyed sheen and emotionally portentous underscoring. It's like a movie consisting entirely of the final scenes of season-closing episodes of Dawson's Creek, in Spanish. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Pacific Place Sun June 5, 6:45

Pacific Place Tue June 7, 4

Admiral Sun June 12, 6

Littlerock

USA, 2010 (83 min.)

Dir. Mike Ott

The Japanese brother and sister who've broken down on their way to Manzana, California—landing temporarily in unattractive little Littlerock—can barely speak the English of the desultory native teenagers and the slightly menacing older guys they hang around. Almost all the dialogue is blocked: One person speaks and the other has no idea what's being said. The gaps that open up are where the subtle thrum of this drama sneaks up on you. On the surface, it's a road movie about Japanese teenagers witnessing the United States for the first time. But it's also a love triangle, a portrait of the forms bigotry takes in the past and the present in California, and an extended portrait of a beautiful teenage girl. (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Fri May 27, 9:30

Admiral Sat May 28, 3:30

Lope

Spain, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Andrucha Waddington

Lope de Vega is a writer in Spain. He has aspirations of greatness, but his dick sure gets in the way.

Neptune Sat May 21, 4

Neptune Tue May 24, 7

Admiral Thu May 26, 6:30

recommended A Lot Like You

Tanzania, 2011 (81 min.)

Dir. Eliaichi Kimaro

"I am a first-generation American," Eliaichi Kimaro explains in voice-over near the beginning of her rich, complex autobiographical documentary. "Mom and Dad are from opposite ends of the globe. An interracial, bicultural couple." Her mother is from Korea, her dad is from Tanzania, and they met in school in the United States (their love story and subsequent careers at the IMF and the World Bank constitute a fascinating chunk of the film). Growing up, Kimaro spent every summer in Tanzania with her Chagga relatives, but, she says, "that connection was hazy." She was welcome, but she was foreign, and that wasn't easy: "Every summer in Tanzania was a reminder that this kinship I bragged about to my American friends existed only in my imagination." That disconnect is where A Lot Like You begins, and then it goes much, much deeper. (LINDY WEST)

Harvard Exit Tue May 24, 7

Admiral Sun June 12, 1

LOVE

USA, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. William Eubank

Pre-SIFF buzz suggested that LOVE was going to be another thoughtful low-budget sci-fi movie in the vein of Moon. And for the first half, it sets up a compelling premise: In the not-so-distant future, an astronaut floats above Earth in a space station. Everyone on Earth may or may not be dead, which means he might be the last man alive. And LOVE is a gorgeous movie to look at (an early Civil War sequence is stunning), but the story descends into nonsensical jump-cuts and meaningless blather about solitude. You can make an art-house genre movie that still makes sense; Moon proved that. LOVE ultimately amounts to nothing but a few pretty, vapid scenes with nothing to glue them together except space suits and stultifying ponderousness. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Sat May 21, 10

SIFF Cinema Sun May 22, 1:30

Egyptian Sat June 11, 9:30

Love Crime

France, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Alain Corneau

Isabelle (who is smart and creative) works for Christine (who is a bitch). Christine steals Isabelle's ideas (because, again, she's a bitch). Does Isabelle really mind? And is Christine really a bitch?

SIFF Cinema Sun June 5, 9:30

Admiral Tue June 7, 8:30

Love Like Poison

France, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Katell Quillevere

Fourteen-year-old Anna comes home from boarding school to find her family, who lives in the coastal department of Brittany, is a wreck. Pray tell, why? RELIGION! SEX! ILLNESS! Life is hard for Anna.

Egyptian Tue May 24, 4

Everett Sat May 28, 8:30

Pacific Place Mon May 30, 9

Lys

Germany, 2010 (52 min.)

Dir. Krystof Zlatnik

So one beekeeper threatens another beekeeper in the future, and there's like a power plant that runs on magic, and then a psychic deer tells 14-year-old girl to blow it up, then a balding scientist stalks her and her raver friends for a few days, and then Stuttgart becomes a giant gray beehive. THE END. That chase scene of a sentence will be your experience of the movie, too, because while this eco-apocalypse teaser has some cool ideas, nobody bothered to rewrite the fucking script past a first draft. Lys has some awesome sci-fi effects and some provocative ideas, but an effects budget does not a coherent movie make. (ERNIE PIPER IV)

Neptune Fri June 10, 9:30

Neptune Sat June 11, 11 am

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Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place

USA, 2011 (107 min.)

Dir. Alison Ellwood, Alex Gibney

The Merry Pranksters, a key catalyst of the 1960s cultural revolt, took all the cameras and crew they needed to make a movie on their groovy bus trip. But they couldn't pull it together until documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney—40 years later—made sense of the footage.

Egyptian Thu June 2, 9:30

Egyptian Sat June 4, 3:15

The Majority

Turkey, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Seren Yuce

Are you middle-class anymore if you need a gun to oversee your workers so you can feel safer while bullying them? This is the most interesting question to come out of this slow Turkish domestic drama, which features a stupendously affectless young man and a series of irreparably awful other characters, except for a gypsy girl who can do no better than to get away from these jerks. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Tue May 31, 7

Pacific Place Wed June 1, 4:30

Kirkland Sat June 11, 3:30

recommended Mama Africa

South Africa, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Mika Kaurismaki

The life story of Miriam Makeba, a singer and civil rights activist from South Africa, is more impressive than anything you'll ever do. Go be humbled.

Renton Fri May 20, 5

Neptune Sun May 22, 1:30

Neptune Mon May 23, 7

Mamas & Papas

Czech Republic, 2010 (110 min.)

Dir. Alice Nellis

Fertility is the issue here, so there are scenes in a doctor's office and sex scenes and pregnancy-tests-taken-in-work-bathroom scenes and so forth. What is remarkable about this film is the subtitles, or rather the lack thereof: The characters say entire sentences, and nothing. My Czech is not so good, but I am quite sure that the vast majority of Czech words mean something. There's a whole sequence with a couple on a train having a tense conversation—all these words in tense, low voices—and only a fraction of it is subtitled. Are they talking about abortion? SOMETHING TOO HORRIBLE TO TRANSLATE? It drove me insane, so I stopped watching. You're welcome. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Pacific Place Fri June 3, 11 am

Pacific Place Tue June 7, 9:30

Kirkland Sat June 11, 8:30

Mammuth

France, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Benoit Delepine, Gustave de Kervern

Gérard Depardieu plays a just-retired slaughterer of pigs who goes on a road trip on a motorcycle. Easy Rider meets Food Inc.? Well, at least the Hollywood Reporter says it's great—until "it suddenly self-destructs during the final third of its running time."

Egyptian Fri June 3, 7

Neptune Sun June 5, 4

Man at Bath

France, 2010 (72 min.)

Dir. Christophe Honore

Starts out with a steamy gay sex scene between two French lovers—so that's promising. But then, Variety says, it becomes "an oddly patched-together tale" that "only skirts issues it seems interested in addressing, such as the power of the gaze."

Egyptian Wed May 25, 9:30

Egyptian Thu May 26, 4:30

recommended Marathon Boy

India, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Gemma Atwal

Hey, want to feel like a lazy asshole? Then watch Marathon Boy, a documentary about Budhia, a "slum-boy" from India who curses like a sailor and runs marathons in his bare feet. Budhia is being raised by Biranchi, a man whose motives are being questioned by many people (is he using the child for fame?) but amidst the debate, Budhia, who ran his 48th full marathon by the age of four, continues to train for the Olympics. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER? (As Budhia would say, of course—I told you the kid loves to fucking swear.) (MEGAN SELING)

Admiral Mon May 30, 1

Egyptian Wed June 8, 4:30

SIFF Cinema Sun June 5, 7

Marrow

USA, 2011 (92 min.)

Dir. Matt Wilkins

Dad's dead, but his paranoia lingers, traumatizing and infusing the mind of his grown daughter with fears and hysterias of her own. Marrow frames traditional family drama as horror; the characters struggle with the possibility that there is something unstoppably wrong with them while the walls of the house shake and the lights go out. The tone is near-perfect, but the effect is muddled: eerie on one hand, boring on the other. Flashbacks to Dad's deluded ranting should be scary as hell, but end up dragging, inspiring an eye roll or two. Seriously, Dad, we're "dirty little rats"? Yawn. Not scared. (CANDRA KOLODZIEJ)

Admiral Sat June 4, 3:30

Harvard Exit Wed June 1, 7

A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

USA, 2011 (68 min.)

Dir. Sally Rowe

A documentary spanning nine years in the career of Paul Liebrandt, the youngest chef to ever earn three stars from the New York Times. In the portrait he comes off as "passionate and meticulous, combining incongruous ingredients with the visual panache of a culinary Kandinsky," Variety says.

Admiral Sun May 22, 1

SIFF Cinema Fri May 20, 7:30

Microphone

Egypt, 2010 (116 min.)

Dir. Ahmad Abdalla

"Your mind will add some things and subtract some things. The sequence doesn't matter." The same could be said for Microphone, whose subplots are numerous and fractured. The timeline jumps around inexplicably, and it's all rather tedious and confusing. Loosely, the film follows the protagonist as he tries to organize a music festival for an underground band in Alexandria, where he's just returned after years abroad. The real treat is watching the various bands' live performances and some beautiful tracking shots throughout the city. No subtitles needed for all that. (GRANT BRISSEY)

Harvard Exit Mon May 23, 9:30

Harvard Exit Tue May 24, 4

Mondays In the Sun

Spain, 2002 (113 min.)

Dir. Fernando Leon de Aranoa

Hot hot Javier Bardem is broke broke and unemployed, too. His shipyard is all closed up, so he's hanging out at a bar. As TotalFilm .com describes it: "Javier Bardem does balding angst as redundant steelworker."

Pacific Place Sat June 4, 11 am

The Most Important Thing in Life Is Not Being Dead

Switzerland, 2010 (82 min.)

Dir. Olivier Pictel, Pablo Martin Torrado, Mark Recuenco

There is wacky that is interesting, and there is wacky that does nothing. The former is low in number; the latter is high in number. This film, which concerns a piano tuner and his mental/real problems, is in the latter, more common group. There is nothing in Being Dead I can recommend. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Thu June 9, 9:30

Pacific Place Sat June 11, 1:30

recommended Moulin Rouge!

USA, 2001 (127 min.)

Dir. Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann's ode to Paris, Nicole Kidman's consumption, and Ewan McGregor's brow. You know you love it. Don't pretend.

Egyptian Sun May 22, 9

The Mountain

Norway, 2011 (73 min.)

Dir. Ole Glaever

A lesbian couple, half of which is pregnant, hikes up a mountain and presumably encounters some mountain-metaphors along the way.

Admiral Sat May 21, 1

Pacific PLace Mon May 23, 9:15

Music from the Film Winter's Bone

(90 min.)

Look, be honest: What's missing from your life right now is the sound of the Ozarks. No word on whether the performers will throw in a musical "re-imagining" of the sound a meth lab makes when it goes BOOM.

Triple Door Thu June 2, 7:30

My Afternoons With Margueritte

France, 2010 (86 min.)

Dir. Jean Becker

Gérard Depardieu stares at pigeons with a semiliterate old lady. "So uplifting," says MyFrenchLife.org.

SIFF Cinema Tue May 31, 4

SIFF Cinema Tue June 7, 7

My So-Called Enemy

USA, 2010 (89 min.)

Dir. Lisa Gossels

For possibly the greatest parody of a SIFF cliché ever, look to the press materials for this movie: "When six Palestinian and Israeli teenagers travel to the United States to participate in a women's leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace"—noooooooooooo!—"they find the experience complicates their lives." They always find that, don't they? Complicated lives, such complicated lives they live over there. And still this conflict grinds on, and still audiences in Seattle sit and tsk tsk about how unfortunate it is, and still filmmakers find new puddles of Israeli-Palestinian pain to explore in search of not-too-satisfying, just-unhopeful-enough uplift. In this case: A puddle of young women. Sadly, it just never ends. (ELI SANDERS)

Harvard Exit Sun June 5, 6:30

Harvard Exit Mon June 6, 4:30

recommended Mysteries of Lisbon

Portugal, 2010 (257 min.)

Dir. Raul Ruiz

A sprawling period drama featuring European aristocrats and their fancy ways. For four and a half hours! Slant Magazine calls it "sumptuous and fluid."

Egyptian Sat May 28, 1

N

The Names of Love

France, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Michel Leclerc

In this French romantic comedy, a young liberal woman serially seduces conservative Frenchmen in an effort to turn them into liberals. The New Zealand Herald calls it deliciously bittersweet, but says "international audiences may struggle with the very specific cultural references that litter the witty script."

Egyptian Tue May 31, 7

Pacific Place Fri June 3, 1:30

recommended Natural Selection

USA, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Robbie Pickering

This pleasant surprise won seven trophies, including the audience and jury prize at this year's SXSW. When Linda White (Rachel Harris, wholly convincing in her role as a religious nut) discovers her longtime husband has had a stroke while donating sperm (which he's been doing for 25 years instead of fucking her), she sets out to find the recipient of his gift because God wants her to. What she finds instead is Raymond (Matt O'Leary), who's just escaped from prison by hiding in the catch-bag of a riding lawnmower. The cast absolutely shines with a script that could have gone horribly wrong in the care of lesser counterparts. Laughs are abundant. (GRANT BRISSEY)

Renton Sat May 21, 4

Egyptian Wed May 25, 7

Egyptian Fri May 27, 4

The Night of Counting the Years

Egypt, 1969 (103 min.)

Dir. Shadi Abdel Salam

In 1881, an Egyptian tribe inspires controversy when it's discovered that they've been looting royal tombs for salable artifacts. The New York Times says "most of the movie is done with stupefying grandiloquence."

SIFF Cinema Tue May 31, 7

Nobody

Greece, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Christos Nikoleris

In this slick movie, a young handsome Russian falls in love with a young Albanian woman. But the friends of the Russians hate Albanians, and the family of the Albanian woman hates the Russians. In short: This is Romeo and Juliet set in modern Athens. The updating involves fast cars, Nigerian whores (one of whom is raw fucked on the street by a meaty ex-con), and cellphones. In the film's defining sequence, the new Romeo has sex with the new Juliet as a Russian and Albanian race souped-up Euro cars. The race ends with a deadly crash; the fucking ends with a brilliant orgasm. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Fri May 27, 7

Everett Sun May 29, 1

Pacific Place Tue May 31, 4:30

recommended Norman

USA, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Jonathan Segal

Norman is your standard wisecracking teen outsider: smart, bored, a little lonely, understands Shakespeare and shit. He's also got a dying father at home (the always remarkable Richard Jenkins)—a secret so overwhelming that he wants to embrace and run from and deny and be crushed by all at once. So, in a moment of unthinking grief, he tells everyone at school that he has cancer (Surely Funke-style). Whoops. As you know, schemes of this nature never work out. Norman falls victim to some predictable tropes, but the performances are heartfelt and catch you where it counts. (LINDY WEST)

SIFF Cinema Thu June 2, 10

Neptune Sat June 4, 1

recommended Norwegian Wood

Japan, 2010 (133 min.)

Dir. Tran Anh Hung

Based on Haruki Murakami's novel of the same name, this "emoish erotic tragedy," as the Guardian describes it, deals in love and loss and awakening sexuality. The Guardian's verdict: Possibly indulgent, but "gorgeously photographed" with "a plangent, keening orchestral score."

Egyptian Sat June 11, 6

Egyptian Sun June 12, 3:30

Nothing's All Bad

Denmark, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Mikkel Munch-Fals

It's usually an irritating setup when four characters' lives come together by chance. But in this dark Danish comedy, it's done brilliantly, brutally, and fearlessly. Over and over, they did go there. The four characters all want to feel wanted: an older retired woman whose husband has just died, a young man so hot he doesn't even have to solicit johns, a father who can't stop exposing himself, and a beautiful young woman with an ugly mastectomy scar. You love them despite the awful places they go together. (JEN GRAVES)

Admiral Sat May 21, 3:30

Pacific Place Wed May 25, 9

recommended Nuummioq

Greenland, 2010 (98 min.)

Dir. Otto Rosing, Torben Bech

The first feature ever to come out of sparsely populated Greenland, Nuummioq is about a man who seems too young to have cancer, but does. The Hollywood Reporter calls it "a startlingly accomplished piece of filmmaking."

Neptune Sat May 21, 11 am

Admiral Thu May 26, 9

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recommended The Off Hours

USA, 2011 (94 min.)

Dir. Megan Griffiths

More than anything else, this film, which is local and set mostly in a dismal diner visited by truckers, is about strong performances. The director, Megan Griffiths, has the gift of getting a lot of out her actors. In scene after scene, we see the characters slowly and convincingly evolve. And it is this measured evolution that moves and makes the story. The cinematography, by Ben Kasulke, is strong, and the music and art direction are fine. But if it were not for the peculiar warmth of the characters played by Amy Steimetz, Ross Partridge, and others, this film would not matter a dot. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Mon June 6, 7

Neptune Tue June 7, 4:30

Old Goats

USA, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Taylor Guterson

Filmed locally, Old Goats is the story of three old guys and their friendship. Britt lives on his tiny boat and is out of touch with modern life, Bob is full of energy and attitude and is a ladies' man, and Dave is recently retired and spends his time "managing his retirement funds" (looking at internet porn). It's refreshing to see older characters being active and having their own lives and opinions, and not just playing someone's grandparent or having dementia. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Egyptian Tue June 7, 7

Admiral Fri June 10, 4:30

recommended Oliver Sherman

Canada, 2010 (82 min.)

Dir. Ryan Redford

A young veteran (Garret Dillahunt) with an implied brain injury searches uneasily for his place in the world. Pajiba.com says it's "one of those quiet films that comes out of nowhere and gutpunches you." Presumably the good kind of gutpunch.

Pacific Place Sat June 4, 9:30

Pacific Place Sun June 5, 11 am

On the Ice

USA, 2011 (96 min.)

Dir. Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

An Alaskan seal hunt goes awry and recriminations ensue in a movie that Variety, sorely disappointed, called "stilted and unconvincing." Among many alleged problems: The film fails to capitalize on the "ideal thriller backdrop" provided by the northern tundra, and in doing so lets everyone down.

Harvard Exit Sat June 4, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sun June 5, 11 am

Kirkland Fri June 10, 9

recommended On Tour

France, 2010 (111 min.)

Dir. Mathieu Amalric

Writer/director Mathieu Amalric takes a story that could be a horrible mash-up of showbiz tropes and turns it into an interesting road movie. An American burlesque troupe tours France, and the various routines unfold with a charming let's-put-on-a-show inventiveness. The women, too, are not just clichés. One sequence involving cunnilingus in a cramped space is one of the most simultaneously empowering and disappointing sex scenes ever put to film. It's almost a shame that so much of the movie has to be about Amalric's troupe manager and his secret reason for the tour; by the end of the movie you're wishing that the women would come back out for an encore. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Admiral Sat May 28, 9

Neptune Thu June 9, 9:30

Neptune Sat June 11, 3:30

Our Home

Brazil, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Wagner de Assis

Based on a novel by popular Brazilian spiritual medium Chico Xavier, Our Home is a dreamy story about the soul after death. The film follows a doctor who dies and then finds himself in a spiritual city where he learns about the afterlife and reincarnation. The Latin American box-office hit has some big special effects and an original score by Philip Glass.

Everett Wed June 1, 4

Neptune Fri June 3, 7

Neptune Sat June 4, 3:30

Our Life

Italy, 2010 (93 min.)

Dir. Daniele Luchetti

This Italian drama about a troubled construction worker won the Best Actor award at Cannes, but Variety warns, "Luchetti and his collaborators don't bother with the inconveniences of psychology and plot follow-through."

Egyptian Sat May 21, 1:30

Admiral Tue May 24, 6:30

Everett Sun May 29, 8:30

recommended Outrage

Japan, 2010 (109 min.)

Dir. Takeshi Kitano

"Beat" Takeshi is like Clint Eastwood plus Charles Bronson plus Quentin Tarantino. He's a Japanese action icon who has written, directed, and starred in more movies than anyone in the history of ever. (He's zero degrees removed from Kevin Bacon—he is Kevin Bacon.) Outrage is about Tokyo yakuza stuff, obviously: pachinko, drugs, guns, revenge, etc.

Egyptian Fri May 20, 9:30

Neptune Sun May 22, 9

Everett Fri May 27, 9:30

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow

UK, 2010 (105 min.)

Dir. Sophie Fiennes

Anselm Kiefer is one of the great postwar European artists, in large part for his ability to create embodiments—giant, roughed-up landscapes stretching into dark pasts—of the epic grief of post–World War II Germans. It is not uncommon for people to cry at the sight of his works. This mesmerizing movie sees him adapting the buildings of an abandoned silk factory in France (as well as cutting out tunnels below it, with giant pillars) into an enormous installation of his works, which themselves are fascinating to see being made. A painting the size of a billboard is lifted by a crane so the ash poured on top of the paint can come cascading down, like a pan floured. Cast concrete pieces as big as houses are stacked precariously on top of each other, leaning jaggedly up into the sky. It's Europe groaning in the 21st century. (JEN GRAVES)

SIFF Cinema Tue May 24, 7

SIFF Cinema Fri May 27, 4:30

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Page One: Inside the New York Times

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Andrew Rossi

Seriously. Do not miss this documentary about an old, old, so very old media property that, no matter how new media you think you are, still is more essential to American life than your Twitter feed or Facebook page or super important blog. And no, I am not being condescending toward your Twitter feed or Facebook page or super important blog. I am just saying that after you watch all the labor and money and guts and dedication and sick levels of professionalism that go into producing a year's worth of the New York Times, you will understand why it cannot be replaced by even 10,000,000 of your most informative status updates. You will also fall in love (perhaps all over again) with David Carr, the show-stealing Times media reporter who has beaten crack addiction and more in order to lurch into battle against those who see no consequence to the very possible, internet-instigated demise of the Paper of Record. (Not too long ago, one share of New York Times stock cost less than one copy of the Sunday edition.) At one point in the film, Carr declares he is going to "vaporize" these Times-demise-cheering idiots, and he does, delightfully. Also delightful: The lack of imperiousness inside what is supposedly the most imperious of all media lairs. What you see is a bunch of super smart people just fucking grateful to still have a job, and doing it balls out until someone tells them to go home. (ELI SANDERS)

Neptune Wed May 25, 7

Egyptian Sat May 28, 11 am

Everett Mon May 30, 3:30

recommended Paper Birds

Spain, 2010 (125 min.)

Dir. Emilio Aragon

Spain is in mourning. The bloody Spanish Civil War has ended, a new fascist Franco dictatorship is in place, 500,000 citizens are dead, and what near-starving Republican Spaniards haven't been exiled to France live in constant fear of Francoist agents. In this bleak setting, a patchwork troupe of vaudevillian artists travels the country, led by a bitter Republican sympathizer named Jorge. The troupe's performances in this movie are fucking superb. As they paint on a happy face night after night, the performers struggle to mourn the war, ignore the oppressive watchfulness of government officials, and distract their audiences from the daily drudgery of survival. (CIENNA MADRID)

Renton Thu May 26, 8:30

Pacific Place Sat May 28, 6:30

Pacific Place Sun May 29, 12:30

Perfect Sense

UK, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. David Mackenzie

Eros in the apocalypse! A lady doctor gets it on with Ewan McGregor, who is one of many suffering from an epidemic where people lose their senses of smell, taste, etc. Critic Rachel Gordon calls the writing "inexcusably irresponsible" and says the movie "defies all logical storytelling" and is "a draining, lifeless, painful loss of an hour and a half." Poop!

Egyptian Sat May 21, 9:15

Egyptian Wed May 25, 4:30

The Pillow Book

France, 1996 (126 min.)

Dir. Peter Greenaway

A dark love-triangle story starring Ewan McGregor and co-starring Ewan McGregor's penis. He plays the lover of a kinky Chinese/Japanese woman who developed a fetish for being written on. But he has another lover and things get nasty. And nas-tay!

Harvard Exit Fri May 20, 9:30

recommended Pinoy Sunday

Taiwan, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Wi Ding Ho

This exceedingly good-natured buddy comedy focuses on a pair of Filipino friends working at a closely supervised factory in Taipei. After finding a sweet leather couch left on the curb, the not-entirely-dynamic duo must figure out how to get it back to their barracks before lockdown. Writer/director Wi Ding Ho's first feature is a real delight, throwing slapstick, unexpected moments of poignancy, and even a WTF musical number into the mix. If you've ever helped a friend move into a new place, you'll dig this. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Renton Sun May 22, 6:30

Pacific Place Tue May 24, 7

Pacific Place Thu May 26, 4:30

The Pipe

Ireland, 2010 (83 min.)

Dir. Risteard O Domhnaill

Seemingly all of Ireland goes crazy in this timely documentary, when a large offshore deposit of gas causes a battle between environmental groups and big oil's drill-baby-drill sensibilities. Time Out London calls it "stylistically conventional," but says ultimately it's "a compelling story very clearly told."

Egyptian Sat May 21, 4

Harvard Exit Tue May 31, 4:30

recommended The Poll Diaries

Germany, 2010 (134 min.)

Dir. Chris Kraus

In rural Estonia on the brink of World War I, the teenage daughter of a mad scientist strikes up an unlikely friendship with a wounded anarchist. Really. The Hollywood Reporter says the film "is as full of stubborn ambition as its characters and has the fine production values to match."

SIFF Cinema Tue May 24, 9:30

Admiral Fri May 27, 9

Neptune Mon May 30, 9:30

Por El Camino

Brazil, 2010 (84 min.)

Dir. Charly Braun

A reputable source says that the Uruguay coast, where this film is set, is a lovely place to take psychedelics. Two young strangers meet on the way to the capital and decide to travel the country together. Because it is inevitable in a romantic road-trip film, their "playful friendship" threatens to become something more. And the scenery is stunning, no matter your state of mind.

Pacific Place Thu June 9, 7

Pacific Place Sat June 11, 11 am

Poupoupidou (Nobody Else but You)

France, 2011 (102 min.)

Dir. Gerald Hustache-Mathieu

This film is almost interesting, almost good, almost there. Just one more artistic push, and it would have crossed the line from being mediocre to being fairly special. This is the story: A Parisian writer of crime novels finds himself in a small French town, finds himself investigating the death of a beautiful and blond local celebrity who thought she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, finds himself falling in love with this dead woman. The end of the film does provide something of an answer to who killed the American film goddess. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Fri June 10, 9:30

Neptune Sun June 12, 1:30

PressPausePlay

Sweden, 2011 (80 min.)

Dir. David Dworsky, Victor Kohler

Moby says, "In the olden days, of 30, 40, 50 years ago, people didn't make things... There were [only] professional artists. And now everybody's a photographer, everybody's a filmmaker, everybody's a writer, everybody's a musician." This documentary explores the anxiety-inducing possibilities of art in the Digital Age™.

Kirkland Sat June 4, 3:30

SIFF Cinema Tue June 7, 9:15

Neptune Fri June 10, 4:30

recommended Princess

Finland, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Arto Halonen

The true story the movie is based on concerns a woman in a Finnish mental hospital who acted as a princess, and expected everyone else to treat her as such. The pleasantness and positive influence of her delusions challenged the very principles of the hospital, at a time (the 1940s and '50s) when mental illness treatment was particularly medieval, conflicted, and prone to fads (lobotomy!). If the slowish pace and subject matter feel torturous at times, the performances are beautiful and the story not easy to forget. (JEN GRAVES)

Pacific Place Wed June 8, 9:30

Pacific Place Fri June 10, 11 am

Kirkland Sun June 12, 1

recommended Project Nim

UK, 2011 (93 min.)

Dir. James Marsh

Director James Marsh's follow-up to Man on Wire tracks the notorious mid-'70s attempt to raise a chimp in human surroundings, with results both absurd and pitiable. Although occasionally stagey in its re-creations, Marsh's film successfully treads the fine line between sympathy and the brutal realities of its subject's animal nature. Project Nim is compelling and thought-provoking, particularly when dealing with the experiment's infuriatingly blasé lead scientist, who appears to embody a Perfect Storm of male chauvinist traits. As with most nature documentaries these days, it's tough not to wish Werner Herzog had taken a crack at it, though. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Cinema Fri June 3, 7

Egyptian Sun June 5, 1:30

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recommended Qarantina

Iraq, 2010 (88 min.)

Dir. Oday Rasheed

Let's go right to the core message of this slow-paced and profound Iraqi film: Violence cannot be contained. Violence may begin with direction but always ends with indirection. The line of violence soon turns into a circle of violence. In the film, a hit man lives with a family that has been devastated by the war and poverty. The family gives him cover, a clean room, and sex, which comes in the form of the husband's sad and lonely wife. In the past, the hit man might have had a purpose, some justification to kill people; at present, he is just a serial killer. The film also has a scene that will be burned into your memory: An American tank patrolling the dangerous streets of Baghdad. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Cinema Mon June 6, 9:30

SIFF Cinema Wed June 8, 9:30

recommended A Quiet Life

Italy, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. Claudio Cupellini

A mild-mannered Italian expatriate and family man (Il Divo's magnificently poker-faced Toni Servillo) contentedly lives out his days hunting boar and managing his restaurant in the German countryside, until the arrival of two loud-mouthed thugs from Milan shakes up a Narnia-sized closet full of skeletons. Director Claudio Cupellini's film strikes an uneasy balance between casual Tarantinoid violence and somber character study, anchored by Seville's implosive marvel of a performance. Whenever the story starts to drag, he gooses it back to life. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Sat May 21, 11 am

Neptune Mon May 23, 9:30

Renton Wed May 25, 8:30

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Red Eagle

Thailand, 2010 (130 min.)

Dir. Wisit Sasanatieng

Masked vigilante Red Eagle fights crime and corruption with the help of his special forces training and his morphine addiction. The last actor to play the Red Eagle, in the 1970 version, fell to his death from a helicopter while shooting the film's final scene. Reviewers hated this one—the Hollywood Reporter called the choreography "not particularly creative" and the art direction "a bland ambience."

Renton Sat May 21, 9:30

Neptune Fri May 27, 10

Neptune Sun May 29, 1

The Redemption of General Butt Naked

USA, 2011 (83 min.)

Dir. Daniele Anastasion, Eric Strauss

A rather astounding documentary about Liberia's Joshua Milton Blahyl, a warlord whose terrifying guerrilla tactics during his country's civil war led to the deaths of an estimated 20,000 people. Following the installation of a new regime, Blahyl reinvented himself as an evangelist, who now travels the country looking for (and in some queasy cases, demanding) forgiveness from the families of his former victims. But is his conversion legit, or just a way to escape answering for his crimes? Answer hazy, check back later. Shot over a period of five years, this fantastic film should inspire scads of post-screening discussions. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Wed June 8, 9:30

Egyptian Thu June 9, 4:30

Red Eyes

Chile, 2011 (84 min.)

Dir. Juan Pablo Sallato, Ismael Larrain, Juan Ignacio Sabatini

Unfortunately, the review copy I received for this documentary didn't have subtitles. So I can't tell you anything about what was said over the eight years that the makers of Red Eyes followed the Chilean National Soccer team—all the way up to and through their surprisingly strong showing at the 2010 World Cup. I can't even tell you why the film might be called Red Eyes. But I can tell you this: I would almost watch this entire documentary without subtitles, just for the images of devotion—to a cause, to a team, to a sport, to something hard and definitely worth doing. (ELI SANDERS)

Harvard Exit Sun May 22, 7

Harvard Exit Mon May 23, 4:30

recommended Rene Goes To Hollywood

Georgia, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. Aleko Tsabadze

A propane delivery man—or is he a teacher? Or both?—kills a client—or does he?—in this twisty ode to imagination gone wild from Georgia. There's a definite Dostoevsky vibe as Rene digs himself deeper and deeper into the filthy dregs of his own psyche. It's a marvelous, if slightly slow, portrait of a complex interior life. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Kirkland Thu June 9, 9

Pacific Place Sat June 11, 4

recommended The Rescuers

USA, 2011 (94 min.)

Dir. Michael King

No, it's not about anthropomorphic swamp mice (sorry). An old, rumpled British historian and a beautiful, poised refugee from the Rwandan Civil War team up to explore various instances of European diplomats intervening to save Jewish lives during World War II. Then the pair confront modern-day diplomats about what diplomacy could do for current and recently past bloodshed in Africa. The documentary feels a bit over-produced, but the sentiments and historical anecdotes are fascinating. (LINDY WEST)

Harvard Exit Sun May 29, 10 am

Harvard Exit Mon May 30, 4

Revenge: A Love Story

Hong Kong, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Wong Ching Po

This gruesome vengeance tragedy stars a Japanese porn star and involves eyelid torture, slo-mo explosions, and heaps of rapey violence.

Egyptian Fri June 10, 11:59

Neptune Sun June 12, 6:45

Revenge of the Electric Car

USA, 2011 (95 min.)

Dir. Chris Paine

This follow-up to Who Killed the Electric Car? is an entertaining character study of four global risk-takers in the electric car market: the chairman of General Motors, the cofounder of PayPal who runs Silicon Valley upstart Tesla Motors, the CEO of Nissan, and an "eccentric car enthusiast" who converts cars to electric. The Hollywood Reporter praises its "calculated pragmatism" and "refreshing and ultimately very effective change of pace."

Kirkland Wed June 8, 8:30

Egyptian Fri June 10, 7

Harvard Exit Sun June 12, 4:30

Roadie

USA, 2011 (96 min.)

Dir. Michael Cuesta

Jimmy gets fired from his longtime roadie job (with Blue Öyster Cult!) and returns to his mom's house in Queens, where his teenage self has been preserved in his old room ("It's like a rock-and-roll museum in there"). He's spent more than 25 years in the bubble of being on the road—arenas, hotels, restaurants—and has no idea how to navigate day-to-day life. He can't relate to his mother; he has no friends. He edgily reconnects with his high-school tormenter who has married his former crush, but he lies to them about his accomplishments. The film is engaging and has some familiar faces (Ron Eldard, Jill Hennessy, Bobby Cannavale, Lois Smith). Roadie is a coming-home movie about a guy coming to grips with having spent his life on someone else's ride, but not really being a part of it. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Harvard Exit Thu June 9, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sat June 11, 4

Romeos

Germany, 2011 (94 min.)

Dir. Sabine Bernardi

BUFU crushes (I don't know if I want to be you or fuck you) are tricky, and they're even trickier when you're trans. Lukas, a 20-year-old trans guy, falls for Fabio, a flirtatious gay lothario who's not trans—and who doesn't know that Lukas is. Sounds promising, but Variety says, "Romeos will be just another average feature on the LGBT circuit."

Harvard Exit Wed June 8, 7

Pacific Place Fri June 10, 4

Rosario

Philippines, 2010 (120 min.)

Dir. Alberto Martinez

A big-budget (by Philippine standards) period piece about a liberated 1920s heiress who defies her family to run away to Manila with an older man. They live happily ever after until tuberculosis and adultery lead to scandal.

Pacific Place Sat May 28, 10 am

Pacific Place Mon May 30, 6

Rothstein's First Assignment

USA, 2010 (72 min.)

Dir. Richard Knox Robinson

The topic of this documentary—a gifted photographer documents the ramshackle towns that were being given over to what would become Shenandoah National Park—is worthy, especially when the story twists down a dark path. But Rothstein's First Assignment is a poorly made film. Part of the problem is that film is visual, and the most compelling moving images the director can muster are long tracking shots filmed out the passenger window of a pickup truck. You've seen livelier PowerPoint presentations than this movie, and it's just a crying shame, because the story deserves a lot more. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Admiral Fri May 27, 6:30

Harvard Exit Sat May 28, 3:30

Route Irish

UK, 2010 (106 min.)

Dir. Ken Loach

This is not, I regret to say, Ken Loach's best film. The problem? Loach might be a great director, but he doesn't know how to direct (handle) a thriller. Like Green Zone, the film is about corruption-rife Iraq. At the center of the plot is a secret protected by a ruthless private security firm that hires former British soldiers. When one of the mercenaries returns to the UK dead, his best mate, who also worked for the security company, investigates and discovers the secret. The story is fine, but the mood, music, and cinematography have no suspense. A thriller without suspense is like porn without fucking. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Wed June 1, 4

Admiral Fri June 3, 7

Neptune Sun June 5, 11 am

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recommended Saigon Electric

Vietnam, 2011 (108 min.)

Dir. Stephane Gauger

In this hiphop film, which in my estimation is one of the best hiphop films ever made, we see the new spirit of Saigon. We see how this new spirit has adopted and modified a culture that developed in the streets of New York. The cultural technologies of breakdancing and rap music are employed by these energetic youth to assemble new identities and opportunities in an economically oppressive environment. As always, neoliberalism is the main villain. The youth practice and create in a public space. Financial capital wants to transform this public space into a moneymaking space. The youth do not give in just like that. They put up a fight. The movie's rap music is fresh and the breakdancing is fresher. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Neptune Sat May 28, 7:15

Pacific Place Mon May 30, 3

Everett Wed June 1, 6:30

Salvation Boulevard

USA, 2011 (95 min.)

Dir. George Ratliff

A comedy/thriller about a Dead-head-cum-born-again-Christian who gets set up by a corrupt mega-church to take the fall in the shooting of a Christopher Hitchins-esque atheist. Variety says a strong cast (Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei) almost saves a "careless and bedraggled" story; Hollywood Reporter pretty much agrees.

Egyptian Fri June 3, 9:15

Admiral Sun June 5, 1

Sandcastle

Singapore, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Boo Junfeng

Forced to live with his dementia-ridden grandparents, 18-year-old En slowly unlocks the truth about his father's mysterious past. Described by critics, as "sensitive," "evocative," and "lush," Hollywood Reporter nonetheless blames "aesthetical posturing" for a film that is paced "like a plane forever encircling the airport without touching down."

Pacific Place Fri June 3, 9:30

Pacific Place Sun June 5, 1:30

recommended The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams

Germany, 2010 (81 min.)

Dir. Jesper Moller, Sinem Sakagolu

This Rankin-Bass-style throwback concerns a small boy, an incompetent sheep, and an evil genie-thingy who's determined to turn all sweet dreams into nightmares. Being German and therefore weird, the film drags a bit in moments when American films would likely crank the madcappery. But the result feels sweet, thoughtful, and something of a relief from modern CGI mayhem. (LINDY WEST)

Renton Sat May 21, 11 am

Admiral Fri May 27, 4:30

Neptune Sun May 29, 11 am

A Screaming Man

Chad, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Scene one: An old man swims in a pool with a young man. Scene two: As the old and young man walk around the swimming pool, we learn one is the father (a former swimming champion) and the other is the son, and also that both work at a four-star hotel. Scene three: As the father erotically eats slices of watermelon with his wife in a living room, we learn from the TV that the country is in a state of war—government forces against rebel forces. Scene four: As the father hangs out with a cook, we learn that the hotel was recently privatized and is now owned by a Chinese businesswoman, Ms. Wang. Scene five: In the hotel's business office, surplus workers are sequentially fired. All of this and more comes together to make the most important African film since Djibril Diop Mambéty's Hyènes. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Wed May 25, 6:30

Pacific Place Sun May 29, 10 am

Service Entrance

France, 2011 (104 min.)

Dir. Philippe Le Guay

A romantic farce about a stodgy Parisian banker who finds camaraderie and perhaps love with the Spanish housemaids living upstairs. French reviewers seem to laud the star-studded Franco/Spanish cast, but are mixed on the final product. A review in Abus de Ciné, which we plugged into Google Translate, suggests "to see, therefore, without great expectations but especially without reluctance."

Egyptian Sat June 4, 6

Kirkland Mon June 6, 8:30

Sevdah for Karim

Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2010 (95 min.)

Dir. Jasmin Durakovic

SIFF says: "A group of frustrated Bosnian youths sign up to be minesweepers in the treacherous hillsides of Sarajevo." Sounds uplifting as fuck!

SIFF Cinema Wed June 8, 4:30

Pacific Place Fri June 10, 7

recommended Shocking Blue

Netherlands, 2010 (79 min.)

Dir. Mark de Cloe

Between jaw-dropping scenes of lush Dutch tulip fields, Shocking Blue tells a story about a bunch of country bumpkins trying to learn to be adults. Trite as that may sound, the movie does a surprisingly good job of making them feel like real, actual adolescents—struggling to cope with the sudden death of a close friend (to which the story gives an incredibly nuanced treatment), acting on hormonal urges, and just making incredibly stupid, childish mistakes. Yeah, it's all the crappy parts of growing up, but it's really well done. (CHRIS COLLISON)

Pacific Place Mon May 23, 7

Pacific Place Tue May 24, 5

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure

Australia, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Matthew Bate

The surreptitiously recorded profane bickering of two San Francisco roommates serves as fodder for this documentary exploring the origins and implications of viral media. Variety dubs the film "alternately hilarious and discomfiting, and finally rather poignant," while Slant Magazine dismisses its "vacuously celebratory POV."

Neptune Sat May 28, 10

Egyptian Mon May 30, 9

Silent Sonata

Slovenia, 2011 (75 min.)

Dir. Janez Burger

A traumatized family in an unnamed, war-torn Balkan country is gradually healed by the oddball troupe members of the mysterious and magical Circus Fantasticus. Don't worry about subtitles, because apparently there are no spoken words.

SIFF Cinema Mon May 30, 9

SIFF Cinema Tue May 31, 9:30

Silent Souls

Russia, 2010 (75 min.)

Dir. Aleksei Fedorchenko

A surreal road trip through post–Soviet Russia, as a paper mill worker agrees to help his boss ritually dispose of his deceased wife's body in the Volga River. Apparently, lots of driving is involved, overlaid with long stretches of unbroken narration.

Harvard Exit Sat May 21, 1:30

Pacific Place Wed May 25, 7

Kirkland Sun June 12, 6:15

Simple Simon

Sweden, 2010 (86 min.)

Dir. Andreas Ohman

Eighteen-year-old Simon—Asperger's-having Swede and self-styled alien on earth—enjoys outer space (because there are no feelings there), circles (pizza, for instance), and his older brother. He does not enjoy things that are not those things. When Simon's brother splits up with his girlfriend, this natural bit of messy chaos throws Simon into a tailspin. Simon embarks on a scientific quest to find his brother the ideal new mate. Spoiler alert: Things get mega-whimsical. (LINDY WEST)

Pacific Place Fri May 27, 11 am

Everett Mon May 30, 6

SIFF Cinema Wed June 1, 7

Small Town Murder Songs

Canada, 2010 (75 min.)

Dir. Ed Gass-Donnelly

Sparse in all the right places, this stunning drama follows a born-again policeman in Ontario's Mennonite community (Peter Stormare) whose history of violence clouds his investigation of a murdered local girl. Writer/director Ed Gass-Donnelly shows a real knack for unpredictable pacing and quietly devastating revelations, aided by an amazing pounding soundtrack which cranks up the emotional impact to biblical levels. At a scant 75 minutes, this may be one of the few festival movies in history that feels like it should have been longer. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Harvard Exit Fri June 3, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sun June 5, 1:30

recommended Snow White

France, 2010 (90 min.)

Dir. Angelin Preljocaj

This film version of Ballet Preljocaj's staging of Snow White has enough naughty touches to satisfy new viewers who are newly curious about ballet thanks to Black Swan. Some costumes, most notably the Wicked Stepmother's cat-suited cronies, display touches of S&M, and the darkness of the Brothers Grimm seeps in everywhere. And a few of the dance sequences, such as a bit with the magic mirror and a number that's performed by seven agile miners while rappelling off a mountain wall, are inventive and bold, like lo-fi special effects. The direction of the film is slightly lackluster, and a few sequences feel unnecessarily padded, but you've never seen a Snow White quite like this one. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Neptune Thu June 2, 4

Neptune Sun June 5, 6:30

recommended Something Ventured

USA, 2011 (85 min.)

Dir. Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

This documentary turns the camera to the Schumpeterian heroes of late capitalism, the men who take big risks on new ideas and products. These men are the venture capitalists, and their mecca is Silicon Valley. This is where it began in the '60s and, in a sense, where it will end. Although the documentary concludes with a look at the future of venture capital (nanotech, green economy, alternate energy), it really is about the twilight of Silicon Valley's golden age. That moment when money, entrepreneurs, and scientists joined forces and created some of the largest corporations in the world: Intel, Apple, Cisco, Genentech. I speak as a Marxist when I say I really enjoyed this film. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Admiral Sun May 29, 1

Harvard Exit Mon May 30, 6:30

Kirkland Sun June 5, 5:30

The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical

UK, 2010 (64 min.)

Dir. Sarah McCarthy

This documentary, which Variety praises for finding a balance between "inspirational uplift" and "clear-eyed pragmatism," strives for some of that Slumdog Millionaire magic: A group of ragamuffins from the slums of Mumbai believe the soundtrack of The Sound of Music is their ticket out of destitution.

Renton Sun May 22, 11 am

Kirkland Sat June 4, 1

SIFF Cinema Sun June 12, 11 am

Sound of Noise

Sweden, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Ola Simonsson, Johannes Stjarne Nilsson

Get this: Six musical anarchists decide to combat the terrible, ubiquitous music that rots the ears of every person it reaches—stuffy symphonies, plaza music, basically any tune that leaves the listener yearning for either a Xanax or a gun—with a four-part symphony made of the most ambitious instruments imaginable: power lines, drugged hospital patients, banknotes. Only a tone-deaf detective named Amadeus has the power to stop them. As a bonus, it's really fucking funny (watch for the drum circle made of actual drum kits). (CIENNA MADRID)

Egyptian Sun June 5, 7

Neptune Thu June 9, 7

Neptune Sat June 11, 1:15

Spark of Being

USA, 2010 (68 min.)

Dir. Bill Morrison

Sixty-eight minutes of pure experimental pleasure! Director Bill Morrison collages together gorgeous, flickering segments of decaying nitrate film—old-time ships sailing in icy waters, of antique death and sex and chase scenes—into a Frankenstein's monster. The structure of the movie is based on the Mary Shelley novel, divided into chapters that loosely interpret the action of the book (footage of crowds of people looking aghast as if at a monster, an unseen force chasing a captain, et cetera), and its soundtrack is an original jazz score by the terrific trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas. Sometimes the film bubbles and burns, like these are its last moments of life. It's the world's saddest action movie. (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Thu June 2, 9:30

Harvard Exit Fri June 3, 5

recommended Spud

South Africa, 2010 (108 min.)

Dir. Donovan Marsh

A scrawny 14-year-old boy at a South African boarding school, apparently concerned about the size of his penis, is guided into manhood by an ornery, alcoholic and sympathetic teacher played by John Cleese. John Cleese!

SIFF Cinema Sat June 11, 7

Harvard Exit Sun June 12, 1:30

Steam of Life

Finland, 2010 (81 min.)

Dir. Joonas Berghall, Mika Hotakainen

Naked Finnish men bare hearts, souls, and bodies to each other while they steam in a sauna. According to this documentary, that's just what Finnish men do. Weird.

SIFF Cinema Wed May 25, 4:30

Egyptian Thu May 26, 7

Admiral Tue June 7, 6:30

The Stool Pigeon

Hong Kong, 2010 (112 min.)

Dir. Dante Lam

Dante Lam's latest Hong Kong flick about cops and robbers—including a kingpin of crime known only as "The Barbarian"—was dinged by Hollywood Reporter as "a conventional yarn, slightly dragged out" with a "grave, melancholic strain."

SIFF Cinema Wed May 25, 7

Neptune Sun May 29, 10

recommended Submarine

UK, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Richard Ayoade

IMDB's keywords for Submarine: Virginity, 15 Year Old, Loss Of Virginity, Dance Teacher, Family Relationships, Teenage Boy, One Word Title, Male Female Relationship, Coming Of Age, Boyfriend Girlfriend Relationship, School, School Uniform, Beach, Teenage Girl. Directed by Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, and other wonderful things.

Egyptian Fri May 20, 7

Neptune Sun May 22, 11 am

Summer Coda

Australia, 2010 (104 min.)

Dir. Richard Gray

After traveling to the Australian Outback for a family funeral, a rootless Reno violin player (Rachael Taylor) stumbles upon the possibility of romance with a scruffy orchard owner. The central love story contains no real surprises, but the charming locations and supporting performances compensate quite a bit. First-time filmmaker Richard Gray displays a promising eye for landscapes, as well as a feel for the early push-me-pull-you stages of a relationship. Keep your eyes peeled for a brief cameo by Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Everett Fri May 27, 6:30

Neptune Sun May 29, 7

Neptune Mon May 30, 11 am

recommended Surrogate Valentine

USA, 2011 (75 min.)

Dir. Dave Boyle

Though Surrogate Valentine is in SIFF's Northwest Connections program, Seattle plays only a minor supporting role. It's a California film from beginning to end. That's not a complaint: Singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura stars as singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura, an unassuming, mumbly musician paid to teach a moronic Hollywood actor how to pretend to be a musician in some cheesy Hollywood movie. Despite the mumblecore formula (on paper, Nakamura's role could just as easily be filled by Michael Cera at his most lazy), the actors manage to find something relatable in their parts. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Sun May 29, 9:30

Admiral Mon May 30, 3:30

recommended Sushi: The Global Catch

USA, 2011 (75 min.)

Dir. Mark Hall

A feature-length documentary about sushi! "Will the worldwide hunger for sushi continue to grow until wild fish vanish, or will new technology like aquaculture keep plates full? Can sustainable sushi restaurants satisfy consumers or will competition for declining resources drive prices so high that only a few can afford raw fish?" ONLY THIS MOVIE KNOWS!!!!

Admiral Wed June 8, 7

Harvard Exit Fri June 10, 4:30

T

Tabloid

USA, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Errol Morris

The maker of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War takes a look at Joyce McKinney, who kidnapped a young Mormon missionary and kept him locked in a cottage in Devon, UK, for several days, was jailed, then released, whereupon she fled to the States, where she was arrested for stalking the same Mormon.

SIFF Cinema Thu June 9, 9:30

Admiral Sat June 11, 3:45

recommended Terri

USA, 2011 (105 min.)

Dir. Azazel Jacobs

From the Sundance review: "American indie set in high school that stands apart from its predecessors by going somewhere new."

Pacific Place Sat June 4, 6:30

Pacific Place Sun June 5, 4

recommended These Amazing Shadows

USA, 2011 (88 min.)

Dir. Paul Mariano, Kurt Norton

Every year, the Library of Congress declares 25 films to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by listing them on the National Film Registry. The only rule is that the movies have to be at least a decade old; music videos and interstitial commercials for concessions have been admitted to the archive. As a documentary, Shadows is way too polite (surely, there had to have been some controversial choices?) and watching a movie fawning over the importance of movies is always a little precious. But there are tons of great clips from brilliant movies, and the little glimpses into the LoC's efforts to preserve old decaying film provide for plenty of interesting moments. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Mon May 30, 1:30

The Thief of Bagdad: Re-imagined by Shadoe Stevens with the Music of E.L.O.

USA, 1924 (155 min.)

Dir. Raoul Walsh

If you know Shadoe Stevens at all, it's because he's a schlocky DJ who found minor fame in the '90s on a rebooted Hollywood Squares. But for the last decade or so, he's been hard at work scoring Douglas Fairbanks's silent 1924 One Thousand and One Nights adaptation, The Thief of Bagdad, to the music of the Electric Light Orchestra. Why? Because shut up, that's why. SIFF programmers who've seen Bagdad are ecstatic about this one, and you should be, too.

Neptune Thu May 26, 7

Third Star

UK, 2010 (92 min.)

Dir. Hattie Dalton

Three guys take their terminal-cancer-having friend (Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock) on a male-bonding hiking and camping trek to a favorite beach in Wales. The good-looking late-twentysomething men tromp through the countryside, goof around, talk, play practical jokes on each other, philosophize, and look for thrills. Facing the approaching death of one of their group, the old friends all do some soul-searching to evaluate their happiness and success in life. Third Star is a thoughtful and well-acted film with emotional resonance. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Admiral Fri June 10, 7

SIFF Cinema Sun June 12, 1

A Thousand Fools

Spain, 2011 (93 min.)

Dir. Ventura Pons

The Spanish film has three main parts. One part concerns a young and emerging writer's efforts to befriend an old and established writer. Another part is about a passionate love affair—lots of steamy sex. And the last and probably most interesting part concerns an old woman who changes her life by dumping all of her possessions on a street. These and other parts come together to form a film that's neither forgettable nor memorable. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Fri May 27, 9:30

Pacific Place Sat May 28, 3:30

Everett Mon May 30, 8:30

recommended A Thousand Times Stronger

Sweden, 2010 (85 min.)

Dir. Peter Schildt

A Swedish high school finds its social structure upended by the arrival of a worldly new female student, panicking both the dominant male students and the complacent teaching staff. This adaptation of a best-selling novel shows a keen understanding of teenage flora and fauna, without ever resorting to sugar-coating the more unpleasant aspects of its caste system. Good for all ages, except for a few scary moments where it threatens to morph into a Nordic installment of High School Musical. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Everett Sat May 28, 1

Pacific Place Mon May 30, 10 am

Kirkland Sat June 11, 1

Tilt

Bulgaria, 2010 (94 min.)

Dir. Viktor Chouchkov Jr.

This box-office hit from Bulgaria is a sharp, stylish portrait of a gang of teenage hustlers who make it through the Cold War hopped up on skateboards, punk rock, criminal mayhem, and young love.

Admiral Tue May 31, 9:30

Harvard Exit Mon June 6, 9

recommended Times and Winds

Turkey, 2006 (110 min.)

Dir. Reha Erdem

Set in a small, isolated village in Turkey, this mediation on childhood and religion effectively hides its bleakness in beautiful imagery. Much of the film is taken up with Steadicam shots of boys and girls wandering through their village, the camera trailing behind them as they weave their way between homes and through fields. The result is hypnotic, and perfectly suited for the deceptively simple tale director Reha Erdem has set out to tell. Centered on the lives of three preteens—one wishes his cold imam father dead, one lusts after his teacher, one finds her gender inhibiting what should be a childhood—the film refuses to hammer heavily on the points it seeks to make. It's a sad, quiet little film, one that finds both beauty and sorrow in the everydayness of isolation. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)

Harvard Exit Sun May 22, 11 am

Toast

UK, 2011 (96 min.)

Dir. SJ Clarkson

Based on the childhood memoir of British chef and food writer Nigel Slater, Toast tells of a young gay boy growing up kooky in the British Midlands in the '60s. Helena Bonham Carter stars as a wicked stepmother.

Neptune Sat June 11, 6:30

Neptune Sun June 12, 11 am

recommended To Be Heard

USA, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Amy Sultan, Roland Legiardi-Laura, Deborah Shaffer, Edwin Martinez

Accurately hyped as a Hoop Dreams for poets, this engrossing documentary tells the story of a trio of impoverished high school students from the Bronx who find a temporary escape from their surroundings through the Power Writers program, which helps kids find their voice through slam poetry. As the two females of the group struggle with finding their way through teen pregnancies and neglectful parents, the male finds himself drifting back toward the realities of streets. Inspirational without being cloying, the film fully earns its moments of triumph and heartbreak. Bring Kleenex. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Cinema Thu June 9, 7

SIFF Cinema Sat June 11, 11 am

Tomorrow Will Be Better

Poland, 2010 (118 min.)

Dir. Dorota Kedierzawska

Stand By Me goes to Eastern Europe in this Polish drama, in which a trio of prepubescent homeless boys flees the Ukraine for Poland, encountering carefree fun and mortal threats.

SIFF Cinema Sat June 4, 6:30

SIFF Cinema Mon June 6, 4:30

Tornado Alley

USA, 2010 (43 min.)

Dir. Sean Casey

This hour-long IMAX documentary aims to "take audiences on a thrilling quest to experience a tornado's destructive power at point blank range." (Dear Alabama: Too soon?) The film is narrated by Bill Paxton, because although he is not a professional storm chaser, he played one in Twister.

Pacific Science Center IMAX Sat June 4, 11:45 am

Pacific Science Center IMAX Mon June 6, 7:15

recommended Touch

USA, 2011 (109 min.)

Dir. Minh Duc Nguyen

Brendan the Mechanic is trying to save his loveless marriage to a cold-hearted, career-addicted jerk when he meets Tam, a beautiful and shy manicurist grieving the death of her mother and caring for her ailing, depressed father. As Tam cleans the grease off Brendan's dirty mechanic hands, a friendship blossoms between them and Tam starts to give him tips on how to reignite the spark with his wife. Tam's advice starts to work, but (SURPRISE), shit starts to get a little complicated between Brendan and Tam at the same time. By the way, Brendan (played by John Ruby) is totally hot and you get to see his naked butt. (MEGAN SELING)

Renton Sat May 21, 6:30

Admiral Mon May 23, 6:30

Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation + a Look at Cars 2

USA, 2011 (90 min.)

Dir. Gary Rydstrom

You know who doesn't enjoy Pixar films? Dead people and dicks. SIFF presents the US premiere of the 3-D Toy Story short Hawaiian Vacation, in which Woody and the toys conspire to give Ken and Barbie the Hawaiian vacation of their dreams. After that comes select preview clips from the upcoming Cars 2, and a "very special presentation" by an actual Pixar person.

Pacific Place Sun May 22, 1

recommended Treatment

USA, 2011 (84 min.)

Dir. Steven Schardt, Sean Nelson

An LA filmmaker goes undercover in an in-patient rehab center to gain access to a troubled young Hollywood star in this comedy featuring a trio of talents from the Lynn Shelton universe: Humpday star Joshua Leonard (who stars), Humpday coproducer Steven Schardt (who codirects), and My Effortless Brilliance star Sean Nelson (who codirects, costars, and wrote the screenplay).

Egyptian Thu May 26, 9:30

Neptune Sat May 28, 11 am

Trigger

Canada, 2010 (78 min.)

Dir. Bruce McDonald

A pair of musicians (Molly Parker and Tracy Wright) meet and reminisce about the good old days of the 1990s, when they were a drug-happy girl-rock sensation in this talkative Canadian drama. Parker and Wright do stellar work sketching out nuances in what could easily be clichés (one woman is a sellout, the other a starving artist), but save for a lively fantasy sequence early in the film, the dreary direction causes the narrative to drag. If you're in the mood for listening to two finely drafted characters talk for an hour and a half, you'll love Trigger. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Tue May 24, 9:30

Harvard Exit Wed May 25, 4:30

recommended The Trip

UK, 2010 (109 min.)

Dir. Michael Winterbottom

Surprisingly, The Trip is not a bad film. This, however, has nothing to do with the director, Michael Winterbottom, and everything to do with the two stars, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The substance of The Trip is their improvised interactions, some of which reach the region of genius. Indeed, all Winterbottom had to do was present a context (a dinner table in some country restaurant—the film is a kind of British Sideways), a position for the camera, and the command to begin acting. Coogan and Brydon did the rest. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat May 21, 3:30

Admiral Mon May 23, 9:15

recommended Trollhunter

Norway, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. André Øvredal

This Norwegian entry in the found footage horror genre follows a college documentary crew who stumble upon a covert government plot to rid the countryside of its mythological creatures. (Did you know that trolls are attracted to both charcoal and the blood of Christians? Now you do.) Unlike most movies in the Blair Witch vein, this isn't exactly stingy about showing off its monsters, which pays off hugely by the final, Godzilla-esque reel. A real corker of a midnight movie, featuring gigantic hairy beasties that resemble a cross between the works of Maurice Sendak and early Peter Jackson. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Fri May 20, 11:59

Neptune Tue May 24, 9:30

Tyrannosaur

UK, 2011 (89 min.)

Dir. Paddy Considine

English actor Paddy Considine's directorial debut focuses on a family-less drunkard's immersion into a fraught domestic situation following a skirmish in his pub. Finding himself living with a Christian woman who runs a charity thrift shop, the protagonist discovers a remnant of his humanity that he thought had drowned in liquor.

SIFF Cinema Sat May 21, 10

Neptune Wed May 25, 4:30

V

Vampire

Canada, 2011 (119 min.)

Dir. Iwai Shunji

An introverted biology teacher habitually meets women with death wishes through the internet under false pretenses: instead of consummating suicide pacts, the teacher consumes their blood. Rude.

Egyptian Wed June 1, 6:30

Egyptian Thu June 2, 4

Admiral Sun June 5, 8:30

Venice

Poland, 2010 (110 min.)

Dir. Jan Jakub Kolski

The SIFF people say, "When WWI strands an 11-year-old boy in a remote Polish village, he uses his imagination to transform a flooded basement into the dream city of Venice." One can assume that the boy does not get to live in dreamland forever.

Pacific Place Fri May 20, 4

Pacific Place Tue May 31, 9:30

Admiral Sun June 5, 3:30

The Village of Shadows

France, 2010 (103 min.)

Dir. Fouad Benhammou

A steadily dwindling group of friends attempt to escape the dark forces lurking in a remote town, which previously took out a platoon of Nazis. Wielding a heavy Guillermo del Toro vibe, this intermittently effective horror film smuggles a handful of shocks within layers and layers of slow-burning atmosphere. Debuting director Fouad Benhammou creates quite a mood, even if his film never quite manages to fully capitalize on it. Still, watching Nazis getting the willies scared out of them is something that never really grows old. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Sat June 11, 11:59

Neptune Sun June 12, 9:15

Viva Riva!

Democratic Republic of Congo, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Djo Tunda Wa Munga

A minor-league Congolese hustler, Riva, returns to Kinshasa after a decade stint in Angola, flush with success after a big score involving a ganked gas truck. His subsequent decadent lifestyle gets rudely interrupted when an Angolan crime boss seeks revenge, and the resulting complications from Riva's outlaw life pile up like regrets.

Pacific Place Thu May 26, 9:30

Pacific Place Fri May 27, 4

W

Wasted on the Young

Australia, 2010 (97 min.)

Dir. Ben C. Lucas

If you're going to make a thriller about a bunch of teenagers doing horrible things to each other, you might as well make sure the actors are hot and the film is beautifully shot. Wasted on the Young is an Australian drama about pretty, vacant teens who rape and mentally torment each other and record everything on camera as they do it. You're not going to find a lot that's new here plot-wise, but the lovely dark palette of the cinematography is enough to keep you intrigued all the way through. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Neptune Thu June 2, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sat June 4, 1:30

We Are the Night

Germany, 2010 (96 min.)

Dir. Dennis Gansel

Bloody hell, another vampire movie?! Yes, but German writer-director Dennis Gansel twists the formula, focusing on a female- centric cabal of blood-suckers led by a club owner and her 18-year-old prey, who tires of vampirism and risks losing her immortality in a dalliance with an undercover cop.

Egyptian Sun May 29, 6

Egyptian Mon May 30, 1:45

Weekend

UK, 2011 (96 min.)

Dir. Andrew Haigh

A British man unsure of his sexual orientation has a very inspirational, arty, druggy three-day fling with an American homosexual, who's soon returning to the US. The film explores the complicated nature of love and lust in an urban gay environment.

Harvard Exit Fri June 3, 7

SIFF Cinema Sun June 5, 4:30

The Whisperer in Darkness

USA, 2011 (103 min.)

Dir. Sean Branney

I hope the brains behind the atrocious Cthulhu movie watch The Whisperer in Darkness; it's the most compelling proof to date that there is a way to bring H. P. Lovecraft to cinematic life. Whisperer pretends to be an artifact of the 1950s sci-fi/horror boom—it's black and white, melodramatic, and the pacing is more of a long, slow burn than anything you've seen in the past year at the multiplex. But, man does it pay off; the needle on the creep-meter goes through the roof at certain climactic moments. It's great fun. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Fri June 3, 11:59

Neptune Sun June 5, 9

The Whistleblower

Canada, 2010 (118 min.)

Dir. Larysa Kondracki

A former Nebraska cop finds work as a peacekeeper for the U.N. in their gender affairs office, and she uncovers a nasty secret in Bosnia that involves rape, human trafficking, and sex slavery. Rope of Silicon praises the all-star cast—Rachel Weisz stars, and Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn grace the supporting cast—and says that it transcends its based-on-a-true-story roots, but the plot is dragged down with a late and "rather unnecessary wrinkle," and the film features scenes of graphic violence that can be "quite hard to take."

Egyptian Sat May 28, 6:45

Egyptian Sun May 29, 1

Everett Tue May 31, 6:30

White Irish Drinkers

USA, 2010 (109 min.)

Dir. John Gray

From the title of this movie, you know everything you need to know. Therefore it is not entirely necessary to attend, unless you enjoy a perfectly competent, finely produced rehearsal of familiar narratives (two brothers, alcoholic father, suffering mother, chance at escape but only for one brother) with a very cute protagonist, actor Nick Thurston, and the pleasant reappearance of actor Karen Allen, who once played Indiana Jones's girlfriend (Raiders of the Lost Ark). (JEN GRAVES)

Harvard Exit Sat May 28, 9:30

Harvard Exit Sun May 29, 4

The White Meadows

Iran, 2009 (93 min.)

Dir. Mohammad Rasoulof

Reality gets magical in this Iranian drama about a collector of tears, who travels to islands, collecting tears. Iranian blogger Hamsade Ghadimi calls it "powerful... Through allegory, it shows how the current regime uses superstition and religious rituals to oppress the populace."

Egyptian Thu June 2, 7

Kirkland Sat June 4, 6

Neptune Wed June 8, 4:30

Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour

USA, 2011 (69 min.)

Dir. Kerthy Fix

Director Kerthy Fix traces the rabble-rousing electro-pop feminists Le Tigre—led by riot-grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna—over ten countries on four continents in 2004, interspersing footage of concerts and backstage shenanigans with interviews discussing punk rock, feminism, queer politics, and mustache maintenance.

Neptune Sat June 4, 9:30

Egyptian Tue June 7, 4:30

Winds of Heaven

Canada, 2010 (87 min.)

Dir. Michael Ostroff

A documentary portrait of Canadian writer and artist Emily Carr, whom SIFF describes as "famously cantankerous."

Neptune Sat May 28, 4:30

Admiral Mon May 30, 6

Winnie the Pooh

USA, 2011 (69 min.)

Dir. Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall

The classic children's tale by A. A. Milne gets a fresh coat of hand-drawn 2-D cartoonage by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Zooey Deschanel (of She & Him) sings a special version of the adorable "Winnie the Pooh" theme song. Overall, it's quite bearable.

Majestic Bay Sat June 11, 9:30 am

Egyptian Sun June 12, 1:30

Win/Win

Netherlands, 2010 (84 min.)

Dir. Jaap van Heusden

He is young, slim, has a huge forehead, and a mind with a gift for making loads of money for a Dutch investment bank. Ivan, which is the young man's name, simply cannot make the wrong bet. When he deliberately attempts to lose money by making the craziest speculation possible, it turns out to be the best speculation possible and even more cash flows his way. Is this not the very heaven of neoliberalisms? Neoliberalism as it sees itself: money making more and more money no matter what? The young broker's success does not go to his head but, instead, eats his soul. Soon, sleep departs and he wanders the streets of the city looking for something that has any meaning. The young man also has some gay feelings for another stockbroker, a Korean. This part of the generally pleasant film is, however, poorly developed. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Egyptian Mon May 30, 6:30

Neptune Wed June 1, 4:30

Kirkland Fri June 10, 7

Without

USA, 2011 (87 min.)

Dir. Mark Jackson

Set on Whidbey Island, the film is about a young woman (Joslyn Jensen) who is hired to care for a catatonic old man (Ron Carrier) while a family is away on vacation. The young woman is from the city, has recently lost a lover, and is deeply lonely. The old man says nothing; he just sits there (in a wheelchair) and stares into space. Nature—trees, deer, bees, birds—surrounds the house; the young woman can't get a connection on her cell phone. She becomes more and more bored and horny. This film is a Northwest gem. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sun May 22, 9:30

Egyptian Mon May 23, 4:30

Womb

Germany, 2010 (107 min.)

Dir. Benedek Fliegauf

Set in a near future in which cloning is commonplace, Womb centers on a woman's decision to impregnate herself with her recently killed lover's clone. Science-fiction-y Oedipal drama ensues, and it's a motherfucker.

Admiral Sun May 22, 8:30

Egyptian Tue May 24, 7

Y

Yellow Sea

South Korea, 2010 (156 min.)

Dir. Na Hong-jin

A Korean taxi driver named Gu-nam in China who's plagued by gambling/financial problems gets himself into Kafkaesque messes when he tries to send his estranged wife money. After he's fired, Gu-nam takes on an assassination job to get out of debt, but things go horribly, nerve-rackingly awry.

SIFF Cinema Fri June 10, 9:30

SIFF Cinema Sat June 11, 1:15

recommended You Are Here

Canada, 2010 (78 min.)

Dir. Daniel Cockburn

Every film festival has to have at least one of these sorts of non-linear experimental films, and You Are Here shines as a playful example of the genre. We begin by focusing on a crowd of people. The narrator informs us, in a pleasant tone, that the crowd is named Alan. Every person in the crowd, taken singularly, is named Alan, too. We follow them as they live in the world, and the film takes various digressions into scenes that serve as thought experiments. Bits of You Are Here stick in your brain like catchy pop confections, even as a few scenes disappear the moment you watch them. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Wed May 25, 9:30

Harvard Exit Thu May 26, 4:30

Young Goethe in Love

Germany, 2010 (102 min.)

Dir. Philipp Stolzl

This historical drama depicts revered German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's life through the filter of his classic 1774 epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Geek out—hanky in hand—to the free-spirited poet's exquisite heartbreak resulting from his tragically truncated love of a betrothed woman... and scope out the theater later for hot lit majors.

Everett Thu May 26, 7

Admiral Sat May 28, 6

Neptune Mon May 30, 4:30