Festivals & Series

April 5–May 24

Shadow Street: The Best of British Film Noir

(Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org)

Seattle Art Museum's film series "Shadow Street" explores the dark underbelly of British reserve. Beyond double crosses and low-life crime, SAM's British noir series morphs into war propaganda, science fiction, and sex-drenched psychodrama.

Some highlights of the series: Odd Man Out (April 12): Directed by Carol Reed—creator of the impeccable The Third Man—this 1947 film charts the daily life of a Northern Irish city embroiled in ever-more-confrontational (and illegal) political unrest. These Are the Damned (May 10): The 1963 science-fiction noir about an American divorcé who stumbles upon mysterious island of naked—and radioactive!—children. Deep End (May 24): A 1970 drama concerning a 15-year-old boy who takes a job at a London bathhouse and soon finds himself providing odd erotic services for the female patrons. Bonus: Prominently features the song "Mother Sky" by krautrock masters Can!

April 14–22

Langston Hughes African American Film Festival

(Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave S, www.langstonblackfilm fest.org)

In January 2010, the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center shut its doors for an extensive upgrade/makeover/renovation. This spring, after two years of multiple temporary locales, the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival comes home to a restored grand hall lobby area and an auditorium with freshly upholstered seats (plus 13 renovated bathrooms).

Some highlights of the festival: An Uncommon Woman: This French-language comedy is set in West Africa's Burkina Faso, where a wife, exhausted by her husband's infidelity, decides to take a second husband. Drawing from conversations with polygamist wives, director Abdoulaye Dao crafts a conjugal-switcheroo spin on Freaky Friday (minus the waterskiing). Keeper of the Flame: This family drama is set in hurricane and flood-ravaged New Orleans, where Mardi Gras Indian culture serves as a pillar of the African American community, and where conflict arises when the Big Chief dies and passes leadership of the tribe to his young grandson. Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness: This documentary pays tribute to a hero in the fight for marriage equality, Massachusetts representative Byron Rushing, a veteran of the civil rights movement who took his state's campaign for same-sex-marriage rights into African American communities, directly challenging religious leaders and advocating for same-sex marriage as a civil-rights issue on par with the fight for racial equality.

April 19–May 2

Cinerama's First Annual Science Fiction Festival

Seattle's most gorgeous cinema spends two weeks geeking out with a festival of science fiction and nothing but. Go for the classic/beloved/lost/underrated sci-fi, stay for the freakishly delicious chocolate popcorn. (Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave, 448-6680, www.cinerama.com)

May 1–10

Notes on the Cinematographer: The Films of Robert Bresson

(Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863, www.nwfilmforum.org)

NWFF pays tribute to the master with a 10-day festival featuring a wealth of Bresson delights.

Some highlights of the series: The Trial of Joan of Arc (May 3): Keeping with the style of Bresson's mature films, 1962's The Trial of Joan of Arc uses nonprofessional actors—aka regular people—this time to dramatize the trial and rehabilitation of the woman who would be Saint Joan. Having crafted an extremely spare and restrained film, Bresson bristled at comparisons with The Passion of Joan of Arc, mocking the "grotesque buffooneries" in Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 film. Lancelot of the Lake (May 8): Demanding a purposeful lack of emotion from his actors, Bresson's 1974 film presents Arthurian legend devoid of fantasy, offering instead an unglamorously bloody portrait of the Middle Ages. Four Nights of a Dreamer (May 9): Bresson's 1971 drama is loosely based on the Dostoevsky story "White Nights" and concerns the fleeting but life-altering affair between a young painter and a woman in love with another man. "It is shockingly beautiful," sayeth the New York Times. Unavailable on DVD, so if you want to see it, don't miss this screening.

May 5–27

UCLA Festival of Preservation

(Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863, www.nwfilmforum.org)

While the rest of us focus our attention on ever-stupider entertainments on ever-smaller screens, the good folks at the UCLA Film and Television Archive devote themselves to preserving and restoring culturally significant films and television programs of yesteryear. This biennial festival showcases some of the archive's pristine restorations and preservation achievements in glorious 35 mm.

Some highlights of the festival: Wanda (May 6): This independent drama of 1970 was written and directed by Barbara Loden, who also stars in the title role, about a woman living in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania who flees a string of abusive relationships by taking up with a petty criminal. Improvisational, meditative, and notably Bressonian (see above) in style, Wanda is the only film Loden made before her early death from cancer. (Also, she was married to Elia Kazan.) Native Land (May 19): Directed by Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand, this 1942 documentary is based on the La Follette Committee's 1938 report on the repression of labor organizing, presenting staged reenactments of the struggle between trade unions and union-busting corporations, with narration by Paul Robeso. This Is Your Life (May 27): Broadcast on NBC from 1952 to 1961, This Is Your Life is the American television documentary series in which a guest is surprised with a multimedia tour of his or her entire life in front of a live studio audience. Tonight, NWFF screens 35 mm restorations of three classic episodes.

May 17–June 10

Seattle International Film Festival

The humongous film festival kicks off on May 17 with an opening-night premiere of Your Sister's Sister starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass. The director is Stranger Genius Award–winner Lynn Shelton. Find out more at www.siff.net/festival. The Stranger's guide to every single film at SIFF this year hits the streets May 16.


March 30 and April 1

Bringing Up Baby

Five words: Katharine. Hepburn. Cary. Grant. Leopard. What else do you need to know? In a new 35 mm print. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935, www.grandillusioncinema.org, 7 and 9 pm)

April 2

The Royal Ballet: Romeo & Juliet

SIFF's Ballet in Cinema series presents a performance from London, projected on a humongous screen, which is ridiculously gratifying. Romeo & Juliet features choreography by Kenneth MacMillan, music by Sergei Prokofiev, and mind-effing heartbreak by William Shakespeare. (SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N, www.siff.net, 6:30 pm)

April 5

The Sound of the Silents with a Side of Schtick

Cinema and vaudeville commingle at this night copresented by the Moisture Festival, the Seattle Composers Alliance, the Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble, and SIFF, which will feature classic silent film with freshly composed soundtracks performed by a live chamber orchestra, along with live vaudeville performance. (SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N, www.siff.net, 7:30 pm)

April 13–14


Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 masterwork is the richest, darkest film he ever made. If you miss this on the big screen, you will be sad Carlotta. (Egyptian Theatre, 805 E Pine St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com, midnight)

April 14

John Zorn: Treatment for a Film in 15 Scenes

Those who love experimental jazz and experimental cinema finally have a film made just for them. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935, www.grandillusion cinema.org, 9 pm)

April 16 and 22

National Theatre Live: She Stoops to Conquer

The theatrical counterpart to SIFF's Ballet in Cinema series features big-screen broadcasts of acclaimed productions from the National Theatre in London. She Stoops to Conquer is Oliver Goldsmith's 1773 comedy of errors, here directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring Coronation Street's Katherine Kelly. (BBC nerds unite!) (SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N, www.siff.net, April 16 at 7:30 pm/April 22 at 1 pm)

April 24–May 3

Michael Glawogger's Globalization Trilogy

Michael Glawogger is the Austrian film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer best known for his documentaries about contemporary labor. Megacities is an artful look at the underclass in Mexico City, Bombay, Moscow, and New York. Workingman's Death depicts the lives of 21st-century coal miners in the Ukraine, ship dismantlers in Pakistan, slaughterers in a Nigerian stockyard, and sulfur harvesters on an Indonesian mountain. And Whores' Glory is a cinematic triptych on prostitution involving three countries, three languages, and three religions. Director in attendance April 24–25. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863, www.nwfilmforum.org)

April 26–29

NFFTY 2012

Short for the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, NFFTY is the largest youth film festival in the world, lighting up Seattle each spring with the work of the best young directors aged 22 and younger from around the world. For the full lineup, see www .nffty.org. (SIFF Cinema at the Uptown and other locations, www.nffty.org)

April 27–May 3

The Films of Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas

This husband-and-wife team made a splash on the international festival circuit with both their debut feature, Cochochi, and their latest, Jean Gentil. Both films will be screened in this mini-festival, as well as Ocaso, an Argentinean feature that the couple produced. Directors in attendance April 27–29. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863, www.nwfilmforum.org)

April 30

San Francisco Opera: La Rondine

The internationally renowned San Francisco Opera tackles the rarely performed Puccini gem about interclass love. (SIFF Cinema at the Film Center, Seattle Center Northwest Rooms, www.siff.net, 6:30 pm)

May 7

Bolshoi Ballet: Bright Stream

The Ballet in Cinema series returns with the Bolshoi Ballet's Bright Stream, a zany, allegedly laugh-out-loud ballet (!) about a Russian farm collective, featuring choreography by Alexei Ratmansky and music by Shostakovich. (SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Ave N, www.siff.net, 6:30 pm)

May 11–16

Children of Paradise

Marcel Carné's French cinema classic of 1945 concerning a variety of artsy love triangles in 19th-century Paris, presented in a glorious new digital restoration. (Warning: involves mime.) (SIFF Cinema at the Film Center, Seattle Center Northwest Rooms, www.siff.net)


Opens April 6

The Salt of Life

This is Gianni Di Gregorio's follow-up to Mid-August Lunch, which was a lyrical and simple film about wine, food, Rome, and old women. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.land marktheatres.com)


This 2011 Israeli drama—written and directed by Joseph Cedar—concerns the heart-wrenching power struggle between a father and his son, both Talmudic scholars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Seven Gables Theatre, 911 NE 50th St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens April 13

The Hunter

Willem Dafoe stars in this psychological thriller about a mercenary deployed to the Tasmanian wilderness to hunt a rare tiger. (Egyptian Theatre, 805 E Pine St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

The Lady

In this biopic directed by Luc Besson, Michelle Yeoh stars as Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and human-rights warrior. (Harvard Exit Theatre, 807 E Roy St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)


This dark, Cassavetes-flavored Danish drama stars Dogme 95 luminary Paprika Steen as an alcoholic stage actress who leaves rehab to take the role of Martha in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (!!!!) (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

The Cabin in the Woods

Completed in 2009 and lost in the wreckage of the bankrupt MGM, The Cabin in the Woods—the Joss Whedon–scripted comedic horror film about five friends on a mind-bending nature retreat—finally hits cinemas. (Wide release)

Opens April 27

Monsieur Lazhar

Philippe Falardeau's Oscar-nominated dramedy concerns an Algerian immigrant who weaves himself into the fabric of a Montreal neighborhood as a substitute teacher, while dealing with a plethora of dark personal issues (including ever-impending deportation). (Egyptian Theatre, 805 E Pine St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Damsels in Distress

Whit Stillman—the writer/director of Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco—returns with a wry comedy about a group of beautiful girls who shake up a grungy East Coast college. (Harvard Exit Theatre, 807 E Roy St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

We Have a Pope

At the Vatican, an unassuming cardinal is suddenly elected the new pope—and freaks the eff out, requiring the aid of an agnostic psychiatrist to help prevent a world-shaking papal crisis. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens May 4

Sound of My Voice

A psychological thriller about an American journalist sucked into a charismatic cult he's sent to investigate. (Harvard Exit Theatre, 807 E Roy St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens May 11

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Starring the worship-worthy British biddies Dame Judi Dench and Queen Bitch Maggie Smith, this comedic drama follows a group of British retirees who move to India to live out their golden years in a dilapidated hotel. (Guild 45th Theatre, 2115 N 45th, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Nobody Else but You

Earning comparisons to David Lynch and the Coen brothers, this French thriller follows a writer of detective novels sucked into a series of mysteries in the snow-packed town of Mouthe. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.land marktheatres.com)

Opens May 18

First Position

Bess Kargman's documentary follows six young ballet students as they prepare to compete for elite dance scholarships at the Youth America Grand Prix. (Think Black Swan without the hallucinatory lesbianism, or Spellbound with bloody feet instead of sweaty nerds.) (Seven Gables Theatre, 911 NE 50th St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens May 20

Surviving Progress

Martin Scorsese is the executive producer of this documentary, which is directed by Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks and roughly based on Ronald Wright's book A Short History of Progress. What is progress? How did it come about? Where is it leading us? These and other questions are considered by public intellectuals such as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, David Suzuki, and Stephen Hawking. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens June 1

My Way

In Korean director Kang Je-gyu's war drama, a pair of rival marathon runners in colonial-era Seoul find themselves forced to fight in World War II, during which they flee Soviets and fight on the shores of Normandy. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Opens June 8


Ridley Scott returns to sci-fi with this thriller set in the year 2085, as the crew of the spaceship Prometheus explores an advanced alien civilization. (Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave, 448-6680, www.cinerama.com)

Opens June 15


Set in Victorian England, director Tanya Wexler's romantic comedy stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, and Rupert Everett, and concerns the genital-stimulation procedures that led to the invention of the vibrator. (Egyptian Theatre, 805 E Pine St, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

Your Sister's Sister

Following its Seattle premiere as the opening-night film for SIFF 2012, Stranger Genius Lynn Shelton's new romantic comedy—starring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and an exquisite Rosemarie DeWitt—arrives for a proper hometown run. (Harvard Exit Theatre, 807 E Roy St, 781-5755, www.land marktheatres.com)

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding

Jane Fonda plays a hippie. (Harvard Exit Theatre, 807 E Roy St, 781-5755, www.land marktheatres.com)

Opens June 22

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson returns with a stylishly whimsical period piece set in 1960s New England, where a pair of runaway teenage lovers prompts a local search party led by the girl's concerned parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and a sheriff (Bruce Willis). (Wide release)

Opens June 29

Magic Mike

Partially based on the real-life stripper experience of animate bologna column/movie star Channing Tatum, Steven Soderbergh's comedy tracks the competitive brotherhood among male dancers (played by Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Matt Bomer) at a Dallas strip club. (Metro Cinemas, 4500 Ninth Ave NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)


Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, this gritty French drama follows a photographer assigned to cover the Child Protection Unit in Paris. (Think Law & Order: SVU meets French vérité.) (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755, www.landmarktheatres.com)

This article has been updated since its original publication.