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The Stranger's Guide to SIFF 2013

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The Stranger's Guide to SIFF 2013
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They don't call SIFF America's biggest film festival just for kicks. Besides corralling 273 films (plus multiple shorts packages) from all over the globe, the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival is three and a half weeks long, which means you have almost an entire month to dive into SIFF, get sick of it and ignore it for a while, then dive back in all over again.

As ever, there's a ton of stuff worth seeing, from glorious art films to splashy documentaries to craptastic cult fare. The opening-night gala brings Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, which has been sold out since it was announced and will likely involve a hilarious mingling of speech-giving civic dignitaries and screaming Whedonistas. The centerpiece gala brings the much-buzzed-about documentary on backup singers Twenty Feet from Stardom. And the closing-night gala brings The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola's ripped-from-the-headlines drama on Hollywood thieves. (The fact that it has a plot means it's already 10,000 times better than 2010's Somewhere.)

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. Among the non-gala film events that have The Stranger excited: Fateful Findings, a fledgling classic of brilliantly terrible cinema in the manner of The Room; The Punk Singer, Sini Anderson's revelatory documentary about Kathleen Hanna; Furever, a squirmy documentary about the pet-memorial business; and An Evening with Kyle MacLachlan, during which the Northwest native and beloved Hollywood star will submit himself to an onstage Q&A (complete with clip show!), then hang out and watch the classic pilot of Twin Peaks on the big screen.

Our guide has every single film in SIFF 2013, featuring eyewitness reviews of more than 130 films and a half-dozen jokes in poor taste. For a day-by-day breakdown of film screenings and our SIFF blog, check out thestranger.com/siff.

For tickets, go to siff.net.

And now here is every review for your perusal.




SIFF 2013: The Reviews

(A SIGNED CAPSULE means that a Stranger critic has seen the film. A recommended means it's good. DON'T MISS! means it's great.)


#


100 Bloody Acres

Australia (91 min)

Dir. Colin Cairnes, Cameron Cairnes

Two brothers build a thriving organic fertilizer business using a secret ingredient—the bodies of car-crash victims who routinely die on a particularly tricky stretch of road near their farm. But when their supply runs low, they improvise in this bloody Australian horror-comedy.

Egyptian Fri May 17, Midnight

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 9:30 pm


2+2

Argentina (105 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Diego Kaplan

Three-fourths of two couples want to go to the swingers club, but the one stick-in-the-mud has to be convinced... sexily, no doubt! This "bittersweet comedy" (per SIFF—it sounds suh-weet-sweet to us!) takes place in swinging Argentina, where it's been a box-office hit.

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 11:30 am

Egyptian Mon May 20, 9:30 pm


36

Thailand (68 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Imagine distilling your life, your love, to a set of photographs. Now imagine losing those photographs, as Saj, a location scout for film companies, does. When Saj's hard drive fails, potentially erasing two years of work and photographs of her now-troubled relationship, she must take stock of her life and consider what's worth saving. In his debut feature film, director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit captures Saj's narrative in 36 static shots, which allow characters to walk in and out of view and encourages his audience to see beyond the constraints of his lens.

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 1 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 6 pm


7 Boxes DON'T MISS!

Paraguay (105 min)

Dir. Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schémbori

7 Boxes almost provides enough evidence to convince you that Alfred Hitchcock is alive and well and living in Paraguay. A teenager who makes money by freelancing out his wheelbarrow in a popular street market gets an impossibly great offer from a seedy source. All he has to do is walk seven mysterious boxes around the market for a while, and he'll earn 100 American dollars. Soon, though, our protagonist is hunted by the cops, chased by rival couriers, and running for his life in an action movie for people who hate action movies. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 4 pm


9 Full Moons

USA (103 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Tomer Almagor

Frankie (a hard-partying train-wreck kind of gal) and Lev (a sullen, mumbly musician who sort of looks like Jim Morrison) move in together after a couple of would-be (should-be) one-night stands and a big fight. A has-been country singer needs a fresh approach for his next album, and Lev is almost the right man for the job. A cast of icky Los Angelenos isn't helping anything. Everyone is sad. Heavy stuff happens left and right, but really, nothing happens. Nothing works out. Alcohol and/or depression affect 100% of the characters. It's dark, as in brooding, but also dark like it's difficult to see what's going on sometimes. (EMILY NOKES)

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 8, 1:45 pm


A


Aayna Ka Bayna

India (94 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Samit Kakkad

If you've dedicated any amount of your life to watching So You Think You Can Dance, then you will want to watch Aayna Ka Bayna, the story of nine young men who are living in the Yashwant Juvenile Detention Center and releasing their frustrations through dance. The unlikely dance stars are so good, in fact, they are invited to compete in a national competition, but they'll have to fight against the odds and get out of the detention center in order to compete. (MEGAN SELING)

Renton Tue May 28, 8:30 pm

Egyptian Wed June 5, 9:30 pm

Kirkland Fri June 7, 6 pm


recommended About 111 Girls

Iraq (79 min)

Dir. Nahid Ghobadi, Bijan Zmanpira

A hapless government emissary roams the Iranian desert in search of the women of the title, a gaggle of desperate Kurds who have threatened to take drastic measures if their demands for husbands aren't met immediately. It's surprisingly goofy for much of the running time—a hilarious bit involving roadside assistance verges on Cannonball Run territory—which makes the somber bits sting all the more when they arrive. The debuting director, whose brother made the celebrated A Time for Drunken Horses, does her family proud. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, noon


The Act of Killing

Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom (115 min)

Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, Anonymous

Whoa. All you need is IMDb's description: "A documentary that challenges former Indonesian death squad leaders to reenact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers."

Harvard Exit Sat May 18, 4 pm

Harvard Exit Wed May 22, 9:30 pm


recommended The African Cypher

South Africa (89 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Bryan Little

From impoverished Soweto pantsula dancers who sport orange Chuck Taylors and communicate via elaborate whistles to Cape Town b-boys with uniformly gorgeous bodies, perfect teeth, and a fiercely articulated sense of purpose, this documentary depicts a fascinating array of South African dance styles and their associated subcultures. The film occasionally suffers from preachy voice-overs and a vertiginous cinematography style that doesn't do the crazy-talented dancers justice, but the subjects and their search for identity, community, and self-expression through dance are so compelling that these flaws hardly matter. (EMILY ABBY KLEIN)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 19, 1 pm


After Lucia

Mexico (130 min)

Dir. Michel Franco

Remember the young woman who was slut-shamed on Facebook until she killed herself? This is in that territory, set in Mexico City, where a daughter is tormented at her new school school and her father is distracted by the recent death of his wife.

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 3:30 pm

Harvard Exit Thu May 23, 9:30 pm


After the Battle

Egypt, France (122 min)

Dir. Yousry Nasrallah

Remember the Arab Spring? Remember that guy Mubarak that everybody was mad at? Even if you don't, the Egyptians probably do! This is a love story about that time in history, centering on a man hired by Mubarak to disrupt the Tahrir Square demonstrations on horseback.

Pacific Place Thu May 23, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 2 pm


After Tiller

USA (87 min)

Dir. Martha Shane, Lana Wilson

Dr. George Tiller was murdered in 2009. He was the fourth abortion provider in the United States to be assassinated in 11 years. This documentary examines the work and lives of the only four doctors left in the US who perform third-trimester abortions. We should all probably see this film.

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 25, 4 pm


After Winter, Spring DON'T MISS!

France, USA (74 min)

Dir. Judith Lit

Is there anything cuter than a farmer rubbing the fuzzy face of an hour-old calf, asking, "Is there anything cuter than this?" Yes: when the farmer and the calf and the question are all French, as is the case in this achingly lovely documentary about family farming in the Périgord. Shot over the course of a year, it's so pretty, it's ridiculous, and the people—from the idealistic couple starting a tiny organic operation to the 88-year-old vintner/philosopher—are marvelous. Facing tough times, they love their animals and their land with inspiring hope. Also featured: a famous foie gras farm, cast in a human and arguably humane light. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Harvard Exit Sun May 19, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 8:30 pm


Afternoon Delight

USA (108 min)

Dir. Jill Soloway

A middle-aged mom in the midst of a midlife crisis meets and gets to know a stripper. They meet at a strip club where the mother took her husband, hoping to add some heat to their sex life. Soon the stripper is the family nanny and things get wacky.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 6 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 2, 3 pm


Ain't Them Bodies Saints

USA (105 min)

Dir. David Lowery

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play lovers and outlaws in 1970s Texas, reuniting after he's spent four years in prison for a crime she committed.

Kirkland Fri May 31, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 9 pm


Ali

Spain (86 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Paco R. Baños

A Muslim Egyptian boy falls in love with a Christian Italian girl, his parents disapprove big time, and he rebels by running away to the streets of Rome, where he and his friend Stefano get involved in the violence that comes with immigrant street life. It's Romeo and Juliet, but with drugs!

Harvard Exit Thu June 6, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 11 am


Ali Blue Eyes

Italy (100 min)

Dir. Claudio Giovannesi

A brash Muslim teen attempts to garner a rep in Rome, commencing a saga that begins with a robbery before school and gains downhill momentum from there. The film draws heavy inspiration from the '60s Italian neorealism movement, which helps explain the more overemphatic moments. (So. Much. Gesturing.) It's all engaging enough, particularly when it delves into the hero's immigrant roots, but there's a nagging feeling that the backstory (the director fashioned the narrative around the subjects of an earlier documentary work) is likely more interesting than the fiction. The performances, many by untrained actors, are terrific. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 27, 1 pm


Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

USA (84 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Prathiba Parmar

Alice Walker is much more woman than simply (simply!) the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. She's a trailblazing feminist, a self-described renegade, a civil rights activist who married a Jewish man at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in some states. Simply, stupidly put: She is a force to be reckoned with. (Sample Walker quote: "People really had a problem with my disinterest in submission.") Beauty in Truth examines her words, her upbringing, her cultural influences, and everything else that makes Alice Walker so fucking iconic.

Egyptian Fri May 31, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat June 1, 10 am


Alive and Well

Canada, United Kingdom, USA (75 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Josh Taft

You can't draw a much suckier lot in life than to come down with Huntington's disease, a painful, incurable, and invariably fatal degenerative disease. This documentary chronicles the struggles of its victims and their children, who stand a 50/50 chance of inheriting their parent's fate.

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 4 pm


All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

USA (90 min)

Dir. Jonathan Levine

All the boys in her Texas town want 16-year-old sweetheart Mandy Lane, but none have had her. Invited to a weekend party at a secluded ranch, Mandy fights off her spurned suitors as the number of partygoers mysteriously drops. From director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50, Warm Bodies).

EGYPTIAN Fri May 31, midnight

KIRKLAND Sun June 2, 8 pm


recommended The Almost Man

Norway (80 min)

Dir. Martin Lund

Henrik is a ridiculously awkward Norwegian man who tries to start loud arguments about abortion in the grocery store with his wife for yuks. He and his friends are still drinking and carrying on like they're in their early twenties, but Henrik is on the downward slope to 40 and starting out at a high-responsibility office job. Can this man-child turn into a man before he ruins everything? The Almost Man is a wince-loaded comedy that in America would've starred Will Ferrell and gone for the cheap laughs. Instead, it's a more meditative piece about someone who doesn't know how relate to the world without a dirty joke getting in the way. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 31, 11 am


Anita

USA (84 min)

Dir. Freida Mock

An Academy Award–winning director brings us a documentary about Anita Hill, the woman who charged that prospective Supreme Court judge Clarence Thomas had subjected her to sexual harassment (remember the whole can of Coke thing?). He was confirmed to the Court nonetheless. This film sounds entirely worthwhile.

Harvard Exit Sat May 25, 7 pm

Renton Sun May 26, 3:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 27, 10 am


Another Woman's Face

Italy (83 min)

Dir. Pappi Corsicato

Director Pappi Corsicato got his start in the film industry by working as an assistant for Pedro Almodóvar and aspires to what SIFF calls a "poisoned bonbon" style. In this film, an Italian TV star gets in a minor accident involving a toilet bowl and recruits her husband, a plastic surgeon, to build her a new face. There is also an asteroid named Tony.

Pacific Place Fri May 17, 5 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 8 pm

Renton Wed May 29, 6:30 pm


The Artist and the Model

Spain (105 min)

Dir. Fernando Trueba

It's 1943. A beautiful Spanish refugee is taken in by a couple living in German-occupied France. As is the case with many a beautiful woman, she sparks the creative juices of her host's sculptor husband and inspires his final work. If awards are your thing, this film won best director at the 2012 San Sebastián Film Festival.

Egyptian Tue May 28, 4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Thu May 30, 7 pm


¡Atraco! DON'T MISS!

Argentina, Spain (116 min)

Dir. Eduard Cortes

Taking place in the well-dressed 1950s, ¡Atraco! is about of a group of half-daft Peronists in Madrid trying to steal Eva Peron's jewels from the clutches of General Franco's wife. Each member of the madcap crew has a memorable backstory, and inevitably they become pitted against each other by jealousy, bad luck, and cross-purposes. Inventive, funny, and beautifully shot, ¡Atraco! keeps one-upping the hell out of itself, using politics to illuminate the personal and managing to be that rarity: a breezy thriller. Also, if you're into hot Spaniards, this movie will have you at hello. (MICHAEL SHILLING)

Egyptian Thu May 23, 9:30 pm

Renton Fri May 24, 6 pm

Egyptian Sat May 25, 11 am


The Attack

Belgium, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Qatar (102 min)

Dir. Ziad Doueiri

Early word is that "it's hard to imagine any audience remaining unmoved," as the Hollywood Reporter wrote, by this adaptation of a novel about an Arab surgeon living comfortably in Israel when his wife is implicated as a suicide bomber.

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 6 pm

Harvard Exit Tue May 28, 4:30 pm


Augustine

France (102 min)

Dir. Alice Winocour

It's 19th-century France, and Augustine is a kitchen maid whose "fits" land her in a hospital, where a doctor becomes entranced by the eroticism of said fits. He displays her to audiences. Power positions get all mixed up. There is a "sensual" scene involving a monkey.

Harvard Exit Sat May 18, 11 am

Harvard Exit Wed May 22, 7 pm


B


A Band Called Death

USA (98 min)

Dir. Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino

A good case could be made for an unknown group of African American brothers from Detroit inventing punk in 1974, and A Band Called Death sets out to do just that. The documentary chronicles the unlikely circumstances that led to Death's scorching, politically aware music from the birthplace of Motown Records, and its welcome rediscovery 35 years after its creation.

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 3 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 9 pm


recommended Barzan

USA (80 min)

Dir. Alex Stonehill, Bradley Hutchinson

A brisk but depressing documentary about Sam "Barzan" Malkandi, who emigrated from Iraq to Seattle and watched his family prosper here for years. After 9/11, he found himself arrested, detained in jail for years, and finally deported for an ephemeral and very probably nonexistent connection to terrorism, aggressively prosecuted by a paranoid Homeland Security. It suffers a little from your standard documentary talking-heads syndrome but is enlivened by some lovely animated sequences and great location photography in Iraq. This is happening everywhere. (MATT LYNCH)

Harvard Exit Thu May 23, 7 pm

Kirkland Sun June 2, 12:30 pm


Before Snowfall

Germany, Norway (105 min)

Dir. Hisham Zaman

A Kurdish Iraqi named Siyar is the oldest man in his family. So, because the world is a horrible place, this means that when his sister flees from an arranged marriage, heading to Turkey, Siyar must attempt to track her down—so he can kill her. Fucking Christ.

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 12:30 pm

Harvard Exit Wed May 22, 4:30 pm

Renton Sun May 26, 8:30 pm


Belleville Baby

Sweden (76 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Mia Engberg

We all have wistful memories of The One That Got Away, but what if The One shows up on your doorstep suddenly, after eight years in prison, and wants you to take him in, save him, and show him how to be a non-asshole? Director Mia Engberg explores this mental and emotional mindfuck with her thuggish ex-boyfriend, using a collection of home movies, memories, and reconstructed phone conversations.

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 3:30 pm


recommended Between Valleys

Brazil (80 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Philippe Barcinski

How secure is your way of life? This is a story about a man who loses everything. Vicente has a professional job, a wife, a son, a house, a stable world. Through a series of events, his life completely unravels. The film alternates between scenes from the present, where he has nothing and works as a garbage picker, and the past, where he seemingly has it all. We follow his downward spiral as he sloughs off the layers of his life, until he is living on the outside of the society he once inhabited. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Harvard Exit Sun June 2, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon June 3, 4:30 pm


Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton DON'T MISS!

USA (83 min)

Dir. Eric Slade, Stephen Silha

Part of a group of bohemian poets, philosophers, and dancers who made radical art, James Broughton was a poet, a pioneer of queer filmmaking, a teacher, and a free-spirited man who had a dynamic and amazing life, and who knew some of the most interesting people in the San Francisco art scene from the 1950s onward. His avant-garde films included dance, nudity, poetry, love, and all modes of sexuality. Big Joy includes excerpts from his poetry and films, documentation of him throughout his life, and interviews with people who knew him. A friend said of Broughton: "He was forever liberating people." (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 6 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 1, 1:30 pm


Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

USA (100 min)

Dir. Drew DeNicola

One of music's greatest injustices is that '70s Memphis power-pop band Big Star didn't achieve Beatles-sized success. Consolation: Godhead songwriter Alex Chilton and company attained widespread critical adulation and went on to influence scores of important bands. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me portrays their heartbreaking story and timeless, gorgeous music with the reverence it deserves.

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 8:30 pm


Bitch Hug

Sweden (97 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Andreas Öhman

A young woman named Kristin wants to leave her humdrum little rural Swedish town behind for the glamour of New York City, so she gets a local newspaper to foot the bill. But Kristin misses her flight and starts filing forged reports from the big city while hiding out with a family of misfits in the woods in this quiet little comedy. Aside from its awful breaches of journalistic ethics (which, to my horror, were handled with remarkable blitheness) and too-quirky indie comedy trappings, Bitch Hug is a surprisingly effective portrait of a friendship in times of great duress. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 9, 3:30 pm


recommended Blackbird

Canada (106 min)

Dir. Jason Buxton

In a fit of rage, a teenage outcast makes a careless threat online. The next thing he knows, the police have circled his house and then he's stuck in juvie with a bunch of rampaging delinquents for planning a school shooting. Blackbird is a relatively slow-paced Canadian drama that defies your expectations on multiple levels—is it an anti-bullying statement? An indictment of the West's apersonal, industrial-grade education system? A portrait of a deranged mind? Blackbird is none of these things, and that makes it so much more meaningful. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 11 am


recommended Blackfish

Canada, Spain, USA, (83 min)

Dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Orca-lovers beware, this ain't Free Willy. Gabriela Cowperthwaite's searing indictment of Sea World's cruel exploitation of killer whales and the inhumane practice of confining these magnificent creatures is both enraging and heartbreaking. From Puget Sound's barbaric history of capturing calves in the 1970s to the abuses that most likely drove bull orca Tilikum to kill two trainers, this gripping documentary will stir up many of the same emotions the Oscar-winning The Cove did in 2009. While theme-park corporate flunkies blame accidents and deaths on "trainer error," Cowperthwaite's doc asks: Just how much suffering is our need for entertainment worth? (JEFF MEYERS)

Pacific Place Tue May 28, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 1, 11 am


The Bling Ring

USA (90 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Sofia Coppola

Lost in Translation's Sofia Coppola directs and Emma Watson stars in this much-anticipated ripped-from-the-headlines thriller about five well-to-do LA teens who steal from celebrities. Based on Coppola's other films, expect to see wealthy people suffering from ennui; hopefully the tabloid-happy subject matter, along with a something-to-prove performance from Watson, will keep things from getting too listless.

Cinerama Sun June 9, 6:30 pm


Breach in the Silence

Venezuela (90 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Andrés Rodríguez, Luis Rodríguez

This moving Venezuelan film is made of water and shadows and big, dark, soulful eyes—but please! Don't send cash, it's not a UNICEF commercial. A young deaf-mute who is abused in every way possible is the protagonista—we experience a journey of suffering and hard-won redemption (and oogy incesty-ness) through her unhearing eyes. The acting is superb, the plot difficult on the soul, and visually, it's spectacular. Enjoy some fresh green Washington State freedom, brace your heart, fall into its sepia splendor, and marvel. (Don't fret—she's smiling at the end. In Spanish!) (ADRIAN RYAN)

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 3:30 pm


Breathing Earth

Germany, Scotland (93 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer

After studying the work of Andy Goldsworthy in Rivers and Tides, Thomas Riedelsheimer devotes his latest documentary to Japanese artist Susumu Shingu, who believes the wind speaks to him. Shingu dreams of creating a wind-powered home where his wind- and water-inspired sculptures can "breathe the earth." That sounds nice and all, but knowing art's tendency to rebel, they'll likely take up smoking instead.

Pacific Place Sun May 19, 10:30 am

Harvard Exit Tue May 21, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 9, 6 pm


The Broken Circle Breakdown

Belgium, Netherlands (100 min)

Dir. Felix van Groeningen

A film based on a play about a small-town Belgian tattoo artist and her banjo-playing, bluegrass-loving man. They fall in love and have a daughter who becomes desperately ill, which rips the skin off their fantasies and the facade of their relationship. With a celebrated bluegrass soundtrack by Bjorn Eriksson.

Harvard Exit Sun May 19, 9 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 24, 4 pm


Bwakaw

Philippines (110 min)

Dir. Jun Robles Lana

Rene didn't come out of the closet until he was 60, and he is bountifully cranky about life and somewhat obsessed with death (including sleeping in his own coffin). He shows his tender side only to his dog, Bwakaw, and to a senile friend whom he visits and peels fruit for. SIFF describes this as a "life-affirming comic drama," but aside from some hysterics surrounding a coworker's death, there's little comedy and not much affirmation here, and it is all decidedly slow-paced. Still, the characters hold interest, and the cinematography showcases the Philippines setting. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Harvard Exit Tue May 21, 9:15 pm

Harvard Exit Thu May 23, 4 pm


Bypass

Spain (94 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Patxo Telleria, Aitor Mazo

An amorous Basque economist returns to his hometown to visit a friend he knew in college who has a terminal illness. When he learns that he's the object of her unrequited love, he decides—both charitably and egotistically—to ease her final days by pretending he's been in love with her as well. No good deed goes unpunished.

Pacific Place Tue May 21, 7 pm

Pacific Place Wed May 22, 4:30 pm


Byzantium

Ireland, United Kingdom (118 min)

Dir. Neil Jordan

Two strange and beautiful women who turn out to be vampires settle into a small town in England, where one loves to seduce and kill, and the other (Hanna's brilliant young Saoirse Ronan) only preys on the old or the ill. Directed by Neil Jordan, who did Interview with the Vampire.

Harvard Exit Fri May 17, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 18, 1 pm


C


recommended Camion

Canada (95 min)

Dir. Rafaël Ouellet

A roadside accident brings together a father and his two sons, along with a vapor trail of regrets and emotional baggage. Detailing a situation that wouldn't be out of place in a Springsteen song, writer/director/editor Rafaël Ouellet brings a knowing, lived-in quality to his material, without ever condescending or inflating the nobility of a rural blue-collar existence. (Few movies have better displayed the feeling of same old, same old.) It's touching, finely tuned, and at its best when it captures the hypnotic, lulling quality of watching others work. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 4:30 pm


Capturing Dad

Japan (74 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Ryota Nakano

A bitter divorcée in Japan sends her daughters on a mission to take a photograph of their long-estranged father. (He is dying, and the angry mother wants to laugh in his face.) The teenage girls take a journey into the heart of their paternal relatives who are, of course, not what the girls expected. This film about a death in the family is described as "surprisingly lighthearted."

Harvard Exit Wed June 5, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Thu June 6, 4:30 pm


Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari

Russia (106 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Aleksey Fedorchenko

Who needs a plot when you can have a zombie assassin, a catatonic nude dance party, and a rare bird living in a vagina? In this rustically erotic series of vignettes, a total of 24 young women are subjected to an encyclopedic list of baroque rituals and rural superstitions that tend to be exacted upon their bare skin and/or lady parts, because it's all part of becoming a woman, or something. Despite all the creepy barnyard sexiness and occasional humor, the film is mostly tedious and disappointingly misogynistic. (NATHANIEL DEINES)

Kirkland Thu June 6, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 8, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 9, 4 pm


Celluloid Man DON'T MISS!

India (150 min)

Dir. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur

What this superb and atmospheric Indian documentary makes clear is that every work of cinema, no matter how low or how bad, needs to be stored and preserved. Directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, the film is about P.K. Nair, an Indian archivist who is in his 80s and spends much of his time trying to protect India's film history from neglect, decay, and destruction. He is well aware of the fact that most films in India are not considered to be works of art; they are seen as nothing more than commodities for the masses, the poor, the illiterate. For this reason, Nair's preservation of nearly 12,000 films is remarkable. The future will surely see him as one the heroes of our nearsighted times. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Thu May 30, 9 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 1, 10 am


Cheap Thrills

USA (85 min)

Dir. E.L. Katz

Freshly unemployed and deeply in debt, a new dad and his drinking buddy are unable to resist accepting dares—win at darts, insult a drunk—posed to them by a rich couple out celebrating their anniversary. The dares and their payoffs quickly escalate, pitting the friends against each other in this black comedy that

Variety dubs "slick and seedy" and "brazenly shock[ing]." Which is shorthand for saying there's gonna be blood and, if you're lucky, a little scat play.

Egyptian Fri June 7, midnight

Kirkland Sat June 8, 9 pm


Children of Sarajevo

Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Germany, Turkey (90 min)

Dir. Aida Begic

In a war-torn landscape, two orphaned siblings are just trying to get by. Rihama is 23 and works as a cook while caring for her juvenile-delinquent younger brother, who's stuck in class with a bunch of richy-rich assholes.

Harvard Exit Wed May 29, 4:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 9 pm


Circles

Croatia, France, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia (112 min)

Dir. Srdan Golubovic

A suspenseful, tightly wound story about a crime committed against the horrible backdrop of wartime in Serbia. The crime is frozen midway as the movie fast-forwards more than a decade to look at its fallout before solving the mystery of what exactly happened that day.

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 9, 6:30 pm


The Cleaner

Peru (95 min)

Dir. Adrian Saba

As a mysterious plague lays waste to Lima (and the world, most likely), a solitary middle-aged man spends his days bagging and tagging the casualties. Once he finds an orphaned boy in a closet, however, his tunnel vision becomes forcibly expanded. First-time writer/director Adrian Saba finds some lovely grace notes within his low-budget apocalypse, but there's not really enough story here to sustain a feature. Any director who can get major emotional mileage out of a simple cardboard box is definitely one to keep an eye on, however. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Pacific Place Wed June 5, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Fri June 7, 4:30 pm


Closed Curtain

Iran (106 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Jafar Panahi, Kamboziya Partovi

In 2010, the Iranian government banned director Jafar Panahi from making any more movies until 2030. Panahi's reaction, of course, was to make a movie about that. Set in his own house on the Caspian Sea, it tells the story of a screenwriter trying to make art in the confines of extreme censorship.

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 3:30 pm

Egyptian Tue June 4, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 8:30 pm


Clutter

USA (80 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Diane Crespo

Carol Kane (Taxi, Annie Hall) stars in this comedy about a hoarder whose house is threatened by the county health department. Her children, including a filmmaker, come in to help. Sorting through the crap becomes a grand metaphor.

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 11:30 am


Cockneys vs. Zombies DON'T MISS!

United Kingdom (88 min)

Dir. Matthias Hoene

Just when you think the zombie movie is finally spent as a genre, along comes a shiny little low-budget comedy like Cockneys vs. Zombies to prove you wrong. A pair of East London kids rob a bank to help save their beloved grandpa's nursing home from evil gentrifying real estate developers, but then the zombie apocalypse gets in the way. Cockneys isn't as funny as Shaun of the Dead or as awesome as Attack the Block, but it's got more than enough gory shocks and funny twists on zombie tropes to make for a primo midnight movie experience. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Sat June 8, midnight

Kirkland Sun June 9, 8:30 pm


recommended C.O.G.

USA (87 min)

Dir. Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Inspired by reading The Grapes of Wrath and wanting to get his hands dirty, an overeducated white East Coast Yale grad heads out to Oregon to work in the apple orchards. Based on a David Sedaris essay from Naked, the story begins on the long-haul bus ride, where "Samuel" (his new identity) is accosted by a parade of weirdos. At the farm, he has trouble connecting with anyone and he is comically unprepared to exist in the real world. Will Samuel find happiness in the simple things instead of overanalyzing and sneering at everything? Or will he run back to his old life? Thanks to the film's wonderful performances and entertaining dialogue, you'll have a perfectly good (if not revelatory) time finding out. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Egyptian Fri May 24, 4 pm

Egyptian Sun May 26, 7 pm

Renton Mon May 27, 6 pm


Cold War

Hong Kong (102 min)

Dir. Longman Leung, Sunny Luk

This Hong Kong police thriller opens with a bomb blast in a movie theater and follows with a hijacked-police-van hostage situation. It looks to be complex and adrenalizing.

Renton Wed May 29, 8:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 31, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sat June 1, 3 pm


Coming Forth by Day

Egypt, United Arab Emirates, (96 min)

Dir. Hala Lotfy

A young woman lives with her parents outside Cairo—and she's stuck there. Her father is seriously ill, and her mother works at night in a hospital. Filmed shortly after the 2011 protest in Egypt, director Hala Lotfy remarked, "Any idiot can face a crisis. It's day-to-day living that wears you out."

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 6 pm

Egyptian Wed May 22, 4:30 pm


Computer Chess

USA (91 min)

Dir. Andrew Bujalski

Wikipedia says people call director Andrew Bujalski the "Godfather of Mumblecore." While that's a godawful nickname that no human being should ever utter, if you've ever seen Bujalski's other films—Funny Ha-Ha, Beeswax, some contributions to Hannah Takes the Stairs—you could see how it kind of fits. Computer Chess, then, is a hell of a change of pace for him—a drama set during a computer chess tournament in the 1980s, shot mostly in black-and-white on what press materials call "vintage video equipment." Despite some amateurish acting, Computer Chess proves to be a compelling story about the nerds (and one lonely nerd-woman) who were smart—or foolish—enough to see the future in those stubborn, boxy computers that could barely do anything at all. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Fri May 31, 4:30 pm


Comrade Kim Goes Flying

Belgium, North Korea, United Kingdom (83 min)

Dir. Anja Daelemans, Nicholas Bonner, Gwang Hun Kim

Shot in Pyongyang, with a North Korean cast and crew, this film tells the story of Comrade Kim Yong Mi, a coal miner with dreams of doing trapeze performing.

Pacific Place Sat June 1, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 2, 12:30 pm


Comrade President

Zimbabwe (89 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Mosco Kamwendo

Zimbabwean director Mosco Kamwendo's documentary about revolutionary socialist leader Samora Moises Machel, who fought for the independence of Mozambique and later became president. The film explores the Mozambican fight for independence and the challenges of leading in the postcolonial period.

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 3:30 pm


recommended Concussion

USA (93 min)

Dir. Stacie Passon

Abby is a fortysomething woman who takes care of the house and kids while her wife works as a busy attorney. They live in a wealthy suburb in a big house, and she and her friends exercise a lot. Unfulfilled by doing housework, Abby (Robin Weigert, Deadwood's Calamity Jane) takes on an apartment remodeling project in the city. Feeling directionless in her life, Abby soon starts experimenting sexually, and many lesbian sexytimes follow. Concussion is a movie about marriage, intimacy, moving out of your comfort zone, and the complexities of satisfaction. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, noon


recommended The Crash Reel

USA (109 min)

Dir. Lucy Walker

It starts with a press conference of Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce talking about snowboarding, and then training on half-pipes in Aspen and Park City, flying high through the air like it's nothing in the world. Then, in the middle of a magnificent flip, he lands on his face. That's five minutes into the movie, a beautiful and wrenching documentary about neurological damage, extreme sports, and the psychological trauma inflicted on a snowboarder's family. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

Harvard Exit Fri May 31, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 2, 1:15 pm


Crystal Fairy DON'T MISS!

Chile (98 min)

Dir. Sebastián Silva

Seems like it's been years—Superbad, maybe?—since we've seen Michael Cera in a movie with a truly dirty sense of humor. And we've never seen the Cera we meet in Crystal Fairy: In this Chilean comedy, Cera plays an asshole American tourist who's in it for the South American drugs and not much else (he can't even be bothered to learn Spanish). He picks up a dirty hippie American who calls herself Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman, brilliantly putting the manic pixie dream girl trope under harsh lights and letting the imperfections hang out), and the two head out on a quest to try some hallucinogenic cactus. This is uncomfortable Ugly American comedy at its sharpest. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Sat June 8, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 5 pm


Cutie and the Boxer

USA (81 min)

Dir. Zachary Heinzerling

If you enjoy butting into other people's relationships (especially the uncomfortable ones!), give Ushio and Noriko Shinohara a try. This documentary relies on archival footage, animated drawings, and interviews to salute two modestly successful/gently disappointing art careers in New York's avant-garde art scene and 40 years of sweetly bitter marriage.

Harvard Exit Sun May 26, 11 am

Harvard Exit Tue May 28, 7 pm


D


Dead Meat Walking - A Zombie Walk Documentary

USA (70 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Omar J. Pineda

What's the deal with all the zombie walks? That's the whole premise of Dead Meat Walking, and it's not quite involving enough to demand your interest for its full run time. Once you get through the novelty of seeing all the different types of zombies (Mr. Rogers zombie! Bacon zombie! Zombie Jesus!) and enjoying a moment of hometown pride (Seattle's own ZomBcon is heavily featured), it gets more than a little repetitive. Dead Meat Walking does occasionally resonate with something new for hardcore fans, though; one of the "experts" points out that after long love affairs with Dracula and the wolfman, zombies are "the first third-world monster" to explode to popularity in the age of globalization. A little more observation like that would have gone a long way. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Egyptian Fri May 24, midnight

Renton Sat May 25, 8:30 pm


Decoding Annie Parker

USA (91 min)

Dir. Steven Bernstein

A researcher discovers the tie between DNA and cancer in this biopic about one of the biggest breast-cancer breakthroughs in history. Annie Parker has an all-star cast (Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt star, and Aaron Paul, Rashida Jones, Bradley Whitford, and Maggie Grace support) and, based on the trailer, a feel-good message.

Egyptian Thu June 6, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat June 8, 1:30 pm


The Deep

Iceland, Norway (95 min)

Dir. Baltasar Kormákur

This competently executed Icelandic film is about a man who is not just fat but has a very special type of fat. When the fishing boat he works on capsizes in the middle of the sea and throws him and five others into the coldest water you could ever imagine, the others die but he survives. Why? Because his body is protected by an almost magical layer of fat. The lucky Icelandic fisherman eventually reaches a beach, climbs a rocky hill, crosses a frozen piece of land, and returns to civilization. The rest of the film is about how a scientist becomes fascinated with this man's special fat—it's kind of like the fat of a seal, but not exactly. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Fri May 17, noon

Egyptian Sat May 18, 12:30 pm

Egyptian Sun May 19, 9 pm


recommended Die Welt

Netherlands, Qatar, Tunisia, (80 min)

Dir. Alex Pitstra

Abdallah is a 19-year-old kid lucky to have a crap job at a "video store" renting pirated DVDs of Hollywood blockbusters to people who don't give a damn when he explains that Transformers 2 misrepresents Arabs. Ultimately, he schemes with his buddies to illegally sneak into Europe to find work and fortune. Taking place just after the Jasmine Revolution in a "new" Tunisia where opportunity is a double-edged socioeconomic sword, this is an exceptionally smart and funny film about a place and a people inching toward some vague idea of democracy and having no idea what that means for them. (MATT LYNCH)

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 3 pm


recommended Dirty Wars

USA (90 min)

Dir. Richard Rowley

This massively unsettling documentary follows reporter Jeremy Scahill as he investigates secret American military operations all over the Middle East—part of our endless war on terror—and the unbelievable number of civilian lives they have claimed with zero accountability from our government. Some of Scahill's claims are dubiously sourced (lots of unidentified witnesses), and for a doc, this is far too reliant on scary staged scenes of Scahill being followed and photographed. Ultimately, though, the subject matter is vitally important and his conclusions seem credible. Yet one can't quite shake the feeling that this would make a much better installment of Frontline than a theatrical documentary. (MATT LYNCH)

Harvard Exit Fri May 24, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 11:30 am


recommended Doch (The Daughter)

Russia (110 min)

Dir. Alexander Kasatkin, Natalia Nazarova

Proof that no one investigates evil (or spiritual depravity) better than the Russians can be found in this film by Alexander Kasatkin and Natalia Nazarova. Set in a small town, the movie is about a serial killer who preys upon pretty teenage girls. He does not rape his victims, but tempts them with booze and kills them with a single blow to the head. Because the police don't have the means or the brains to solve the murders, all the community can do is wait for the next corpse to appear by the river or in some bushes. The film's pace is a little slow, the mood bleak, the actors great, and its ending meets the standards of a good crime story. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 5:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 11:30 am


Dog Flesh

Chile, France, Germany (81 min)

Dir. Fernando Guzzoni

This looks like a powerful movie about a stranded taxi driver who's a former torturer for Pinochet's regime. Variety says that the "title refers to Alejandro's somewhat confused relationship with his pet."

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 3:30 pm


Drinking Buddies

USA (95 min)

Dir. Joe Swanberg

A strong cast (Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, Anna Kendrick, and New Girl's Jake Johnson) headlines this beer-centric romantic comedy about two troubled couples heading to a cabin for a weekend. Behind the camera, Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs) directs and Ben Richardson (Beasts of the Southern Wild) cinematographizes.

Egyptian Sat June 8, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun June 9, 4 pm


Drug War

Hong Kong (107 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Johnnie To

More Hong Kong crime drama! A busted amphetamine cooker agrees to help a detective infiltrate a drug cartel in a film SIFF promises is "a cross between The French Connection and The Wire."

Egyptian Sat May 25, 7 pm

Egyptian Mon May 27, 12:30 pm


E


recommended The East

USA (116 min)

Dir. Zal Batmanglij

Indie darling Brit Marling and director Zal Batmanglij's sophomore effort takes the hypnotically paranoid vibe of

Sound of My Voice and improves on the rest. Ellen Page and hunky Alexander Skarsgård head up a homegrown terrorist group dedicated to avenging corporate wrongdoings. Marling is the company-woman sent undercover to expose their plans. Moral quandaries ensue. What makes the movie work (aside from a terrific cast) is the way Batmanglij immerses the audience in the group's culture without coloring with kid-size black-and-white crayons. It could have used a stronger third act, but this polished and persuasive thriller actually manages to encourage its audience to meditate on the price of unquestioning devotion to any cause. (JEFF MEYERS)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 9 pm

Renton Fri May 24, 8:30 pm


Éden

Brazil (75 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Bruno Safadi

This Brazilian movie involving a pregnant woman and a manipulative preacher is "a slight but beautifully crafted parable of sex, violence, and religious hypocrisy," the Hollywood Reporter says. The acting and visuals are getting high marks on the festival circuit. Not to be confused with the sex-trafficking movie Eden.

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 10 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 2 pm


Epic

USA (90 min)

Dir. Chris Wedge

The producers of this 3-D animated kids' movie about guardians of the forest probably don't want you to be thinking that they're behind what amounts to a very expensive FernGully remake, so they've cast fancy voice talent including Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Beyoncé, Steven Tyler, and Pitbull to distract you from making that comparison.

Pacific Place Sat May 18, 10:30 am

Pacific Place Sun May 19, 4 pm


Ernest & Celestine

France, Luxembourg (79 min)

Dir. Benjamin Renner, Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar

It's okay to be different! Anyone can be friends with anyone! Prejudice has to be taught, because it's obviously so silly! Childhood should be carefree and fun! These are the themes of the unoriginal but basically sweet Ernest & Celestine, a Disneyesque animated feature about parallel and mutually xenophobic societies of mice and bears. The most original part of the film is the societies' odd shared obsession with dentistry. Don't worry—they all learn a valuable lesson in the end! (KATIE ALLISON)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 10 am

Egyptian Fri May 24, 6:30 pm


recommended Evergreen: The Road to Legalization in Washington

USA (86 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Riley Morton

Marijuana! Washington State legalized it! But how? Follow the activists, politicians, law-enforcement officials, and travel writer Rick Steves as they battle the opposition to pass Initiative 502 in the 2012 campaign season.

Egyptian Thu June 6, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, noon


Every Blessed Day

Italy (102 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Paolo Virzi

A young unmarried couple in Rome decides to have a baby. Uptight Guido works as a night porter in a ritzy hotel, while free-spirited musician Antonia holds down a day job at a rental car service. At first, this is a cute comedy about two kids just trying to get their shit together, sneaking away to have sex whenever they can. But it slowly deteriorates into bland misogyny as Antonia becomes increasingly hormonal (the movie's words, not mine), demanding, and irrational, threatening to destroy their relationship while Guido soberly holds down the fort. (MATT LYNCH)

Harvard Exit Mon May 20, 9:15 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 3:30 pm


F


Fanie Fourie's Lobola

South Africa (90 min)

Dir. Henk Pretorius

Perfect for non-film-nerds who want to see a familiar story set in an unfamiliar place, Fanie Fourie's Lobola is the normalest of cutesy rom-coms, in this case about a South African interracial couple and the culture clashes they must endure. The bright visuals and wacky character actors are almost worth the predictable and threadbare plot, but by the end, the cheesiness of the love story and its awkward treatment of race may leave a bad taste in your mouth. (ANNA MINARD)

Pacific Place Fri June 7, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 11:30 am


Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story DON'T MISS!

USA (98 min)

Dir. Brad Bernstein

Before watching Far Out Isn't Far Enough, I thought I had never heard of Tomi Ungerer, despite the film's claim that he was once one of the most popular children's book authors. But I have! And so have you! He wrote, among others, Flat Stanley. Even if you aren't already familiar with Ungerer's work, this documentary is a moving story about a man who is more than just a children's book author—he is also an envelope-pushing bad-ass crazy artist who's brought immeasurable amounts of joy to kids and adults alike, in spite of his tumultuous, sometimes heartbreaking life. (MEGAN SELING)

Harvard Exit Thu May 30, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 9:30 pm


Fatal

South Korea (103 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Lee Don-ku

This is NOT the feel-good movie of the summer. It begins with an unspeakable act of evil, then drags you over the hot coals of the long-term emotional consequences. A group of 18-year-olds gang-rapes a classmate—10 years later, haunted and crushed with guilt, Sung-Gong accidentally meets his victim in a church group. He falls in love with her, and... disaster. This intense film deftly illustrates the banality of evil, the cowardly, casual starkness of cruelty, and the harsh poison it unleashes. The sob-racked prayer-circle breakdown of Jang-mi (the victim) totally wrecked me. (Brava, Yang Jo-a... brava!) I need to lie down. (ADRIAN RYAN)

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 4 pm

Pacific Place Thu June 6, 9:45 pm


Fateful Findings DON'T MISS!

USA (100 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Neil Breen

What is it that takes a bad film from being boring-bad to kablooey-brain-amazing bad? Whatever it is, Neil Breen's Fateful Findings has it in spades. Chronicling a man's campaign to expose secrets in the U.S. government and reconnect with his magic-spirituality soulmate, the film never stops exploding with awfulness, from wooden dialogue to spit-take-worthy action sequences and mind-bending plot points. It's a negative masterwork, easily the peer of The Room and Miami Connection, and all fans of awesomely terrible cinema are required to see it. (DAVID SCHMADER)

Egyptian Sat May 25, midnight


The Fifth Season

Belgium, France, Netherlands (93 min)

Dir. Peter Brosens, Jessica Hope Woodworth

An annual festival that involves burning away the sins of winter to make room for spring's new growth goes horribly wrong in one small French village when winter's giant pyre won't light. Shot in beautifully gloomy blues and grays, The Fifth Season explores what happens when nature turns her back on France—cows stop lactating, sprouts won't sprout, flies are eyed for protein, and neighbors are left to cannibalize their humanity. Following the format of all moody French films, it's sprinkled with bits of nonsense wisdom like "One should always try and avoid the inevitable," but it also features a magnificent chicken named Fred who steals every scene he's in. Ba-caw! (CIENNA MADRID)

Pacific Place Sun May 26, 8:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 27, 10:30 am


recommended Filmistaan

India (117 min)

Dir. Nitin Kakkar

If you've been itching to see an aspiring Bollywood actor direct his own hostage video for a group of hilariously grumpy Pakistani terrorists, this is the film for you. Sunny, our insanely cheerful protagonist, gets mistaken for an American journalist and kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists hoping to leverage him for a hefty ransom. When they find out he's just a plain old Indian, they are beyond pissed. They take over a local village, hoping to lock him away and eventually kill him, but Sunny wins everybody over with his impressions of famous Bollywood stars. This movie may be amateurish and sickly sweet, but it will make you feel really, really happy. (MOLLY MORROW)

Pacific Place Fri May 17, 2:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon June 3, 9 pm

Kirkland Tue June 4, 5 pm


The Final Member

Canada, Iceland (75 min)

Dir. Jonah Bekhor, Zach Math

An Icelandic penis collector, who has 280 specimens from 93 species, needs one more member to complete his menagerie—a human penis. Some of the contenders include an old Icelandic adventurer and a Californian with a seven-inch wang he's nicknamed "Elmo" that he is willing to donate before he dies. This is a documentary.

Harvard Exit Sun May 26, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 4:30 pm


Finding Hillywood

Rwanda, USA (57 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Leah Warshawski, Chris Towey

In an effort to heal seriously deep scars in a country ravaged by genocide, Finding Hillywood documents the scrappy beginnings of Rwanda's film industry.

Egyptian Wed May 29, 7 pm

Egyptian Wed June 5, 4 pm


Five Dances

USA (85 min)

Dir. Alan Brown

This mopey drama follows a cornfed Kansas kid struggling with his homosexuality as he moves to New York City and joins a dance troupe. Tensions flare among five performers (Five Dances, get it?) as they bounce off each other romantically. Will our boy be able to find love, perform the recital, and stave off the impending visit by his alcoholic mother? Only a few sad nighttime walks set to somber folk music will tell. (MATT LYNCH)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 18, 1:30 pm


Flicker

Sweden (96 min)

Dir. Patrik Eklund

Oscar-nominated director Patrick Eklund delivers a comedy about what happens when the power goes out in Sweden, starring an accountant with Ted Danson hair, a cleaning lady with arachnophobia, and an electrical engineer whose genitals have developed a rash, all of whom need a break from technology.

Kirkland Mon June 3, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 9, 9 pm


Flight of the Storks

France, Germany, South Africa (180 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Jan Kounen

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha... wait for it: This film follows a "grisly trail of murders down a migratory stork flight path." After an ornithologist is found dead in a stork nest, his nerdy colleague decides to keep working on stork migration, leading to discoveries of deadly stork-related secrets. Seriously. As silly as it sounds, it looks beautiful and is based on a thriller by an internationally best-selling author.

Pacific Place Sat May 25, 8:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 27, 10 am


recommended Forbidden Voices

Switzerland (96 min)

Dir. Barbara Miller

Blogger Yoani Sanchez has been branded the youngest enemy of Cuba for criticizing her country's government. Blogger Farnaz Seifi explains that in Iran, "Women are considered half of the man—injuring a man's genitals in a car accident costs more than killing a woman in a car accident." In this documentary, we experience the quiet, explosive power that the internet gives disenfranchised people—women, feminists—who dare to question the motives and actions of their governments, and are punished for it. The documentary's transitions are clunky and it's unclear just how large of a time frame it spans, but those are small criticisms compared to its success in showing a world few Americans ever experience—a world in which government persecution is horrifically mundane. (CIENNA MADRID)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 3:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 5:30 pm


The Forgotten Kingdom

USA (96 min)

Dir. Andrew Mudge

A Johannesburg man treks back to the rural village of his childhood to bury his father and finds himself in love with his childhood friend, now a schoolteacher. Old love, ghostly people, and the difficult land around him illuminate the connection between sacrifice and happiness for our young hero.

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 9 pm


Frances Ha DON'T MISS!

USA (86 min)

Dir. Noah Baumbach

Frances (a fantastic Greta Gerwig) is 27 and decidedly does not have her shit together. She bounces from job to job and apartment to apartment, barely scraping by while trying to make it as a dancer. Her friends are either better at life or just luckier, she's not sure which. Her feelings of alienation and failure don't stop her from making impulsive decisions, and she probably drinks too much. To some, this may feel like just another cringe-inducing comedy, but this new film by Noah Baumbach (

Greenberg, Kicking and Screaming) is closer to late-'70s Woody Allen classics like Annie Hall or Manhattan (to which it is obviously indebted). It's hilarious and touching, and you definitely know someone like Frances. (MATT LYNCH)

Pacific Place Fri May 17, 9:45 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 18, 4 pm


Free Fall

Germany (100 min)

Dir. Stephan Lacant

A police officer named Marc who always thought he was straight has a pregnant girlfriend he almost loves, and that's fine, until a man named Kay transfers into Marc's police unit and the two discover they are insanely attracted to each other. When Kay mysteriously disappears, Marc proceeds to lose his shit.

Egyptian Fri June 7, 4 pm

Egyptian Sat June 8, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 9, 1:30 pm


The Fruit Hunters

Canada (96 min)

Dir. Yung Chang

Opening with lush, porny close-ups of freaky-looking varieties, this slick documentary is obsessed with all things fruit: the people who're fixated on it (including, oddly, actor Bill Pullman), the sadness of the present-day grocery-store version of it, the places where it still grows in biodiverse abundance, the evils of the global monoculture industry... Parts are intriguing, such as a bit on an Italian woman who's a "fruit detective," but the film tries to do too much, giving everything short shrift in the end, and is further marred by cheesy reenactments and graphics. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Egyptian Sat May 18, 10 am

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 7 pm


recommended Fuck Up

Norway (100 min)

Dir. Oystein Karlsen

In this freezing cold Norwegian black comedy, three childhood friends have to locate the cocaine gone missing when their other childhood friend crashes his car into a moose while transporting said coke. The dealers are pissed, the police are on their tail, and the past is bearing down on them with the full force of very bad choices come back to happily haunt them. Fuck Up moves with madcap energy, a sharp script, and frenetic camerawork, wasting no time barreling the characters straight into darkness. Funny darkness. (MICHAEL SHILLING)

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Thu May 30, 9:30 pm


Full Circle

China (104 min)

Dir. Zhang Yang

This is like Cocoon, but with more Chinese people and no Wilford Brimley. A group of sickly nursing home residents in Northern China rediscovers youthful vitality when they decide to buy a bus, bust out of the joint, and compete in a television variety show.

Renton Tue May 28, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 2 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 7 pm


Furever DON'T MISS!

USA (80 min)

Dir. Amy Finkel

Humans love their pets SOOOO much. When the animals die, people want to memorialize them, anything from burying them in pet cemeteries to making jewelry from their cremains to freeze-drying them ("He's not the same as he was, but it's a hundred times better than not having him," notes one such memorialist). More than just an absurdist gawkfest, this documentary boasts a real and gentle understanding of how much a pet can mean to someone. It looks at the lengths people will go to keep a special animal around forever, and the memorialization industry that's willing to provide practically any service you can imagine. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 6 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 19, 11 am

Egyptian Sun June 9, 6:30 pm


G


Garibaldi's Lovers

France, Italy, Switzerland (108 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Silvio Soldini

Judging from the previews, this Italian farce about a single working-class dad involves a statue, a stork, and a nose injury. Also, a conversation about blowjobs.

Egyptian Sun May 26, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 4 pm


G.B.F.

USA (94 min)

Dir. Darren Stein

The initials in the title stand for "Gay Best Friend," and that's what all the popular girls in a high school are looking for in this coming-out comedy that SIFF press materials refer to as "part homage to, part parody of, the iconic Mean Girls."

Egyptian Wed June 5, 7 pm

Egyptian Thu June 6, 4 pm


Geography Club

USA (90 min)

Dir. Gary Entin

While this is your surefire ticket to some Disney-hot (that's different from regular hot—it's more waxy) young dudes making out in the rain, it's also your ticket to the lamest of gay teen dramas. The High School Musical of coming-out parties but without the songs, this story about a high school's secret gay club is adapted from Brett Hartinger's beloved young-adult novel with all the sincerity and depth of a Pop Tarts commercial. (ANNA MINARD)

Egyptian Wed May 22, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 25, 11 am


The Girl with Nine Wigs

Belgium, Germany (117 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Marc Rothemund

When a 22-year-old German student from a wealthy family is diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer, she decides nothing's gonna stop her from living her young life, especially the getting laid part. This is a cute movie about a young woman surviving something very, very scary, but it's also a creepy movie about a privileged person who gets to do whatever she wants because of her parents' money, her cute boyfriend, and universal government-provided health care. It's too bad she has to shave her head, but at least she can afford to buy a different expensive wig for every personality she has when she goes clubbing. (MATT LYNCH)

Pacific Place Wed June 5, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 3:30 pm


Go Grandriders

Taiwan (75 min)

Dir. Tien-hau Hua

Retirees ride around Japan on motorcycles in this documentary that's clearly targeting your heartstrings. The group—average age: 81—scoot along as voice-overs inform you that "no one is too old to realize their dreams." (In case it wasn't obvious that the director is going for a clichéd, Hollywood-schlocky feel, one of the grandriders is even referred to as "simpleminded and lovable.") There are a few genuinely touching moments, but unless you're desperately in search of a manipulative feel-good movie about old people triumphing against all odds, there's not much to recommend here. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Kirkland Fri May 31, 3:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 1, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 1:30 pm


Goltzius and the Pelican Company DON'T MISS!

Croatia, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom (128 min)

Dir. Peter Greenaway

Part Rabelaisian soft porn, part art history lesson, Peter Greenway's high- concept movie concerns the 16th-century misadventures of a theater troupe and its ballsy leader when they're commissioned to perform dramatizations of the Old Testament in front of the shit-crazy and super-horny Margrave of Alsace. Though it takes time for the narrative and conceptual angles to cohere, Goltzius is a visually stunning, thought-provoking film that fuses the raunchy and the erudite, centered on the intellectual cat-and-mouse of Abraham as the Dionysian Margrave and Ramsey Nasr as the Apollonian Goltzius. (MICHAEL SHILLING)

Egyptian Fri May 17, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 4 pm


The Great Passage

Japan (133 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Yûya Ishii

A young man gets his dream job writing a new Japanese dictionary. But it's not just language that he loves. Soon enough, a pretty young thing is beguiling him with "her obsession with cooking knives and fine cuisine."

Pacific Place Tue June 4, 9 pm

Kirkland Sat June 8, 3 pm


The Guillotines

Hong Kong (112 min)

Dir. Andrew Lau

These Guillotines are human, not machine—a group of masterful decapitating assassins in Qing Dynasty China who work for the emperor. After one of the Guillotines is taken hostage by Han rebels, the rest must fight to get him back while also facing a new, unfriendly emperor hoping to replace them with Western guns.

Egyptian Sat June 1, midnight


A Gun in Each Hand

Spain (97 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Cesc Gay

A series of short comedic vignettes tells the stories of fortysomething men and their attempts to navigate modern relationships.

Harvard Exit Sun May 26, 6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 27, 4 pm


H


Halima's Path

Croatia (93 min)

Dir. Arsen Anton Ostojic

A Muslim woman tries to track down the remains of her husband and son, probably buried in a mass grave somewhere during the Bosnian War. She encounters difficulties.

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 3:30 pm


Harana

Philippines (104 min)

Dir. Benito Bautista

A guitarist travels to his native Philippines to track down the few remaining practitioners of harana music, a remnant of a simpler time where singers were hired to croon outside the windows of young women. (Yes, that actually happened outside of sitcoms.) It follows the Buena Vista Social Club playbook to a predictable T, but it's difficult not to be charmed when the music is doing its thing. Engaging throughout, with the pleasantly molar-tingling sweetness of the songs given an extra boost when performed by these dour-looking old duffers. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 3 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 11:30 am


Harmony Lessons

France, Germany, Kazakhstan (110 min)

Dir. Emir Baigazin

This "existential coming-of-age revenge movie" that takes place on the steppes in Kazakhstan involves a bullied teenager played, Screen Daily says, beautifully by an actor who was discovered by the director in an orphanage.

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 3 pm


Haute Cuisine

France (95 min)

Dir. Christian Vincent

Hortense Laborie is the owner of a provincial restaurant, and she couldn't be more surprised when the president picks her to be his personal chef. She must navigate the rigid conventions of the palace and the prejudices of the male chefs while also creating great food and pleasing the president's palate. Based on the real-life story of Danièle Delpeuch, chef to former French president François Mitterrand and the first female chef to cook in the Élysée Palace.

Egyptian Fri May 31, 9:30 pm

Kirkland Sat June 1, 8:30 pm


Her Aim Is True

USA (70 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Karen Whitehead

When the Pacific Northwest's rock scene first exploded, Jini Dellaccio was there to capture it in photographs that would become iconic in their own right. This documentary explores the now-96-year-old Dellaccio's work as an innovative rock photographer, snapping portraits and album covers for bands like the Sonics and the Wailers.

Harvard Exit Sun May 26, 4 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 27, 2 pm


Here Comes the Devil

Mexico, USA (97 min)

Dir. Adrián García Bogliano

Losing your children in a Mexican cave is pretty much every parent's worst nightmare. But what if the nightmare actually starts when your children return, seemingly unharmed? That's the premise of this supernatural thriller, which juggles several horror themes, including killer children and the occult.

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 9, 9 pm


recommended A Hijacking

Denmark, Kenya (99 min)

Dir. Tobias Lindholm

Tobias Lindholm makes a very savvy early choice in his high-seas thriller about a cargo ship attacked by Somali pirates. He skips the hook Hollywood would highlight in the trailer­—the violent takeover. Instead of delivering a gun-toting game of kidnappers, hostages, and rescuers, this Danish import opts for a slow-burn psychological approach that ratchets up the tension with real-world characters and repercussions. Intelligent, austere, and (truth be told) a little haphazardly edited, this poignant drama still packs a heckuva wallop. (JEFF MEYERS)

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 31, 1:30 pm


The Horde

Russia (128 min)

Dir. Andrei Proshkin

It's Mongols versus Christians in the 14th century, with the hamlet of Moscow as the playing field. Based on the story of Saint Alexius (a Russian bishop tasked to heal the mother of the warring Khan), this historical epic certainly doesn't skimp on spectacle, with makeup designs that lend a fantastical Kabuki air to the proceedings. The lack of any truly sympathetic characters, however, makes it a bit of a trudge. The future events referenced in the ending crawl sound more exciting than anything we actually get to see. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Fri May 17, 3:30 pm

Egyptian Wed May 22, 9:30 pm

Kirkland Fri May 31, 6 pm


recommended Horses of God

Belgium, France, Morocco, (115 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Nabil Ayouch

Like the Brazilian film City of God, the Moroccan film Horses of God opens with little kids playing soccer in a slum. The game reveals personality traits that will set the course of their lives, from drug dealing to fruit selling to Islamist suicide bombing. (No spoiler alert: That's given away in the beginning.) The film's picture of life in Morocco—and how events pinball against each other, leading to wretched, Sophie's Choice–type situations—is bracing and grim. But the filmmaking, including ironically gorgeous shots of children playing in trash pits, is great. (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 6 pm

Kirkland Sat June 8, 6 pm


House with a Turret

Ukraine (81 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Eva Neymann

What's black and white and set in Soviet Russia during WWII? The sure-to-be-depressing House with a Turret follows an 8-year-old boy on a journey with his mother, whose deteriorating health puts her in the hospital. Our youngster is left to navigate the snowy, poor, desperate landscape as he searches for the turreted house his relatives live in.

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 9 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 7, 11 am


recommended The Human Scale

Denmark (83 min)

Dir. Andreas M. Dalsgaard

Rather than going to watch The Human Scale, maybe we should all chip in and buy tickets for every Seattle-area public official instead. It's a documentary about how for decades, city planners have judged the success of cities by how many cars pass through them, rather than observing the way humans use them. The Human Scale hops around the globe (New York, Copenhagen, Christchurch, Chongqing) while explaining what very smart people are doing to make cities for humans, not cars—bike lanes, pedestrian malls—and then imagining what such a city would look like in a hundred years. I'll vote for any Seattle city councilperson who attends this documentary, and I'm more likely to vote for any mayoral candidate who watches it, too. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Mon May 27, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Wed May 29, 4:30 pm


The Hunt

Denmark (111 min)

Dir. Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen played the villain who shed bloody tears in the James Bond flick Casino Royale. This time, he's a wrongly accused pedophile, a divorced father in a small Danish town that's after him. The Guardian calls Thomas Vinterberg's drama "a reminder of his superb gift for unsettling collective drama."

Harvard Exit Tue June 4, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 4 pm


I


recommended I Declare War

USA (94 min)

Dir. Jason Lapeyre, Robert Wilson

A group of 12-year-olds plays war in the neighborhood woods. Though they brandish toy guns and sticks, we see things from their POV, where bullets and mortars rain havoc all around. Over the course of a hot summer afternoon, jealousy and betrayal lead to a

Lord of the Flies–style confrontation where friendships are tested and character is revealed. This Canadian indie, cast with unknown tweens, skips the satire (unlike, say, Bugsy Malone) and treats the emotions, conflicts, and motives of its kids as serious drama. Bullying, teen crushes, and misguided loyalty are all part of the mix as war and adolescence prove to be a unique kind of hell. (JEFF MEYERS)

Pacific Place Mon May 20, 7 pm

Pacific Place Tue May 21, 4:30 pm


I Kori (The Daughter)

Greece, Italy (87 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Thanos Anastopoulos

Fourteen-year-old Myrto's father has disappeared in the midst of Greece's economic collapse. While the country fills with riots of protests, Myrto directs her anger on one man, her father's business partner. She kidnaps the man's 8-year-old son and holds him hostage without knowing exactly how far she'll go in order to get answers.

Harvard Exit Wed June 5, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 5:30 pm


I Used to Be Darker

USA (90 min)

Dir. Matthew Porterfield

Two married musicians' already tense relationship gets strained further when a Northern Irish cousin bolts from home and moves in with them and their daughter. When the daughter returns home from college, the fraught domestic situation gets so poisonous that not even music can resolve it.

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 3:30 pm


Imagine

France, Poland, Portugal, (105 min)

Dir. Andrzej Jakimowski

A blind man walks into a clinic, where he meets a blind woman. Eventually they go outside together, into the streets of Lisbon.

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 7 pm

Renton Sun May 26, 6 pm


Improvement Club

USA (98 min)

Dir. Dayna Hanson

The debut feature by Seattle filmmaker/choreographer Dayna Hanson is a dance-film/mockumentary hybrid following an experimental dance/theater troupe as it navigates various obstacles to making and displaying its art. What makes the film special is its refusal to play up these performers' endeavours as mere comedy—instead of easy laughs about pretentious habits and the Actor's Craft, we're submerged in the reality of the situations (which still makes room for plenty of laughs). Small and lovely performances abound, including the ones given by Hanson and fellow choreographer Wade Madsen. But the whole thing feels less like a freestanding film than a "special feature" auxiliary to the real-life live performance it charts. (DAVID SCHMADER)

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Wed June 5, 4:30 pm


In a World...

USA (93 min)

Dir. Lake Bell

Lake Bell writes, directs, and stars in this comedy about Carol, a woman trying to break into the cutthroat Hollywood world of voice-over talent.

Pacific Place Fri May 24, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 26, 1:30 pm


recommended In the Fog

Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Russia (128 min)

Dir. Sergei Loznitsa

For a 128-minute movie that mostly takes place in the misty forests of Nazi-occupied Belarus, In the Fog is strangely compelling. A young partisan and his deputy emerge from the forest at the home of a peasant who is suspected of ratting out some saboteurs—all were arrested, he was freed, and the rest were hanged in the muddy town square. The partisan (whose clenched-jaw expression is both passionate and melancholy) has arrived to kill the peasant. But the execution is interrupted by a skirmish, the peasant winds up carrying the wounded partisan on his back, and we learn how they all came to be in this situation. With its mix of grim humor, conflicted characters, and artful study of a natural landscape during wartime, In the Fog is reminiscent of a Kurosawa film. (Director Sergei Loznitsa has worked as a translator of Japanese, so perhaps that's no coincidence.) (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 24, 1 pm


In the Name Of

Poland (101 min)

Dir. Malgorzata Szumowska

Mostly an understated movie, this story of a Polish priest struggling with his sexuality does include a scene in which he gets drunk and dances to hard rock with a picture of the pope.

Pacific Place Thu May 23, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Fri May 24, 4:30 pm


In the Shadow

Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia (106 min)

Dir. David Ondrícek

A crime-noir drama involving an honest cop, a suspicious gold robbery with dubious ties to Zionist terrorism, and lotsa 1950s Prague intrigue. Chock full of fedoras, windbreakers, and scheming communists!

Harvard Exit Fri June 7, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 8, 11 am


Inch'Allah

Canada (101 min)

Dir. Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

This drama set in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank concerns an obstetrician with conflicting allegiances.

Pacific Place Fri May 31, 4 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 1, 9 pm


recommended Inequality for All

USA (100 min)

Dir. Jacob Kornbluth

This documentary features Robert Reich, our favorite economist-philosopher, getting real about what's happened to the economic system of the United States. The top 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 MILLION put together. How much inequality can we tolerate and still have a functioning democracy? Reich lays out an understandable, detailed, levelheaded explanation of the forces that are shaping our economy. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

Egyptian Sun June 2, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Mon June 3, 4:30 pm


Interior. Leather Bar.

USA (60 min)

Dir. Travis Mathews, James Franco

Purportedly aiming to re-create the 20 minutes of sexually explicit material cut from William Friedkin's S&M thriller of 1980, Cruising, this experimental film is instead devoted to two things. The first thing is James Franco, who codirects and appears on film as himself, blathering about contemporary society's sexual hangups with all the insight of someone who looked up "queer theory" on Wikipedia. The second thing is actual homosexual sex, which is plentiful and perfectly entertaining, if you're into that sort of thing. Still, if you're into that sort of thing, why not stay home, watch porn, and look up "queer theory" on Wikipedia? (DAVID SCHMADER)

Egyptian Sat May 18, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sun May 19, 3:30 pm


Invader

Spain (98 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Daniel Calparsoro

An extremely hot Spanish solider returns from Iraq to find that he's part of a cover-up involving war crimes. The government wants to buy him off with hero status and euros, and his wife wants him to take the money and provide for his family. But he won't do it, and he's not backing down, and he's gonna find out the truth. Invader is a well-made version of an overwrought stock story, missing an opportunity to tell a story that's not been told: the Spanish involvement in the Iraq war. Instead, we get narrative-by-numbers that's easy to sit through but blander than flour. (MICHAEL SHILLING)

Pacific Place Fri June 7, 9 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 8, 4 pm


recommended Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Italy, 1970 (112 min)

Dir. Elio Petri

Filmed in 1970, this Italian crime drama follows a police inspector in Rome who murders his lady friend and purposefully leaves clues to see if anyone will charge him with the crime. Music by the legendary Ennio Morricone.

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 2:30 pm


It's All So Quiet DON'T MISS!

Germany, Netherlands (94 min)

Dir. Nanouk Leopold

I'd like there to be a heaven where all the tragic gay characters in movies go to fuck merrily forever. Its First Couple would have to be Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger's character in Brokeback) and Helmer, the farmer's son played by Jeroen Willems in It's All So Quiet, which also turns out to have been made shortly before the actor's horribly untimely death. Willems died at just barely 50 in December of congestive heart failure. In It's All So Quiet, it is, in fact, all so, so quiet, and so seething and pulsing against the stark silent fertile Dutch farmscape, with Willems meanwhile earning first place in heaven. (JEN GRAVES)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 1 pm


J


recommended Jin

Turkey (122 min)

Dir. Reha Erdem

Move over

Run, Lola, Run—this gorgeous film about a young Kurdish guerrilla breaking away from her regiment may be the best film in living memory about a woman running. Jin is 17 years old and isn't safe anywhere but the high mountains and deep forests of Turkey. Everywhere she goes, people try to cheat, attack, and rape her, but she's tough as flint and irrationally kind (the aid she gives to an enemy soldier is saintly). Director Reha Erdem gets some amazing shots of Jin next to a bear and other wildlife, and actor Deniz Hasgüler gives the almost wordless performance of a lifetime. The final two shots are regrettably mawkish, but the other 120 minutes are sad and marvelous. (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 3:30 pm


recommended Jump

Ireland, United Kingdom (88 min)

Dir. Kieron J. Walsh

As an American, what struck me most about the Irish film Jump was the significance of the gun. A stubby, run-of-the-mill revolver, purchased by a thug out for revenge, is treated—even by his fellow thugs—like some talisman of unspeakable evil power. Seeking it out crosses an invisible line. Watching Jump in a country too weary to be horrified by each new massacre is like looking through a window to an alternate reality. See it for laughs, thrills, and coincidences so many and perfect that they verge on magical realism—but keep an eye on the gun. (KATIE ALLISON)

Harvard Exit Sat June 1, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 2, 3:30 pm

Kirkland Wed June 5, 8:45 pm


Just Like a Woman

France, United Kingdom, USA (90 min)

Dir. Rachid Bouchareb

Marilyn is pissed after discovering her husband cheating, so, naturally, she decides to enter a belly-dancing competition. Heading out of Chicago, she encounters a woman named Mona, and they embark on a Thelma & Louise–style road trip that explores American-Arab relations. Also: Mona has a secret!

Pacific Place Mon May 20, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Fri May 24, 11 am


Just the Wind

France, Germany, Hungary, (87 min)

Dir. Bence Fliegauf

In the 24 hours after five families are fatally shot in their homes, a Hungarian Romany family grapples with ongoing racially motivated violence in Bosnia. But life has to plod on with work, school, and building a fortress in the woods.

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 4 pm


K


Kalpana

India, 1948 (160 min)

Dir. Uday Shankar

This black-and-white Indian ballet, which was first released 65 years ago and has only recently been restored, is like antiquing with your eyeballs. Pack your pockets with hard candy and go nuts.

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 2:30 pm


The Kampala Story

Uganda (62 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Donald Mugisha, Kasper Bisgaard

Directed by Donald Mugisha and Kasper Bisgaard, the film opens with this statement: "In 1998, there were fewer than 4 million people with cell phones [in Africa]. Now there are 500 million." We are then shown a young woman who seems to be very tired of being very poor. She lives in a village in the middle of nowhere. She is hungry. She walks with her head down. She speaks slowly. She never smiles. She desperately needs a cell phone and an education to end her rural idiocy. Also her mother is sick, her father is in jail, and a city boy wants to fuck some disease into her. To use the words of Bob Marley: So much trouble in the world. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Tue June 4, 5 pm


Key of Life

Japan (128 min)

Dir. Kenji Uchida

Sakurai is a struggling actor who heads to a Japanese bath to distract himself from his failures. When Kondo, a wealthy businessman, hits his head and gets amnesia, Sakurai decides to take his identity. Little does he know that the businessman is actually a professional killer.

Egyptian Sat May 18, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 19, 6 pm


The Kings of Summer

USA (93 min)

Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Teenagers Joe and Patrick are sick of their respective parents (Nick Offerman plays a gruff dad; Megan Mullally plays an irritating mom!) ruining their summer/lives and decide to escape into the woods to build their own house and find true independence. An oddball peer tags along, a cute girl might show up, the soundtrack is of the indie persuasion.

Pacific Place Wed May 29, 7 pm

Pacific Place Thu May 30, 4 pm


Kink

USA (79 min)

Dir. Christina Voros

Kink.com is the most popular fetish website in the world, and Kink is the James Franco-produced documentary about how the Kink.com sausage gets made. Talking-head interviews with key players alternate with scenes of BDSM scenes, from light cock-and-ball torture to upside-down women riddled with clothespins and strapped to vibrating fuck machines. As nearly every scene in the film confirms, kinky sex is the opposite of reckless—it's one of the most intricately regulated pastimes around, and seeing the behind-the-scenes planning is fascinating. And the film can't help but present a complicated view of its subject—for every well-balanced feminist exploring fantasy in a safe space for a good paycheck, there's some other person doing something creepy (like the director who gives his star a pep talk in how to override her "victim-minded" fear while being tortured). (DAVID SCHMADER)

Egyptian Sat June 1, 9 pm

Egyptian Sun June 2, 9:30 pm


L


recommended La Playa D.C.

Brazil, Colombia, France (90 min)

Dir. Juan Andrés Arango

Teenage Tomas (Luis Carlos Guevara) lives off and on the streets of Bogotá in this gritty but beautifully shot drama. His two brothers variously trouble him and help him, disappear and reappear; his world is not a pretty one, but amid the chaos, there is caring, and his frankly gorgeous face shows his thoughtfulness. The pacing is just right; there's no bombardment of horror here, just things happening as they do, with Tomas's washing of a T-shirt given as much weight as his looking through the bodies in the morgue. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Harvard Exit Sun June 2, 10:30 am

Pacific Place Mon June 3, 9:15 pm


recommended A Lady in Paris

Belgium, Estonia, France (94 min)

Dir. Ilmar Raag

Jeanne Moreau! You would like to feast your eyes on the grand lopsided-lipped gal as she tears it up even at 85? You would, you would.

A Lady in Paris, called An Estonian in Paris in non-English-speaking release, is about two generations of Estonian women, one Moreau's age and the other the generation below that, who comes to work for Moreau's character as her home assistant after the old lady tries suicide. This is the kind of movie that wouldn't get three steps out the door if Hollywood were its only option. Soak it in. (JEN GRAVES)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 12:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 27, 6:30 pm


recommended The Land of Eb

Marshall Islands, USA (88 min)

Dir. Andrew Williamson

As someone who has rarely seen the world of working-class native Hawaiians, this film truly opened my eyes. Directed by Andrew Williamson, the film is about a middle-aged man who is ill and, day by day, struggles to build some kind of economic security for his family. The images in this movie are rich and beautifully capture the almost otherworldly geography of the volcanic island. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Tue May 28, 9 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 2, 8:30 pm


The Land of Hope

Japan (133 min)

Dir. Sion Sono

Based on the events following an earthquake and nuclear fallout similar to the horrible Tohoku/Fukushima disasters Japan faced in 2011, this drama follows the multi-generational Ono family after their farm is found to lie within the town's evacuation zone. Fearing for their unborn baby, Yoichi Ono and his pregnant wife Izumi are forced to leave Yoichi's parents behind, who have decided to stay on the farm for reasons of their own.

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 3 pm

Egyptian Tue May 21, 9:30 pm


recommended Last Flight to Abuja

Nigeria, United Kingdom (78 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Obi Emelonye

This film is exactly the meeting point between Hollywood and Nigeria called Nollywood. Directed by Obi Emelonye, it has a big Hollywood sound, look, and even action sequence (true, the plane crash near the end of this movie has got nothing on the one at the beginning of Denzel Washington's Flight, but it's not half bad). The film is about a CEO who gives his board members a vacation after his accountant reveals that the company is meeting its profit targets. Though everyone gets a plane ticket to Abuja, not everyone catches the fight. Those who do not catch the flight are lucky, and those who do are unlucky. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 5:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, noon


Last I Heard

USA (100 min)

World Premiere

Dir. David Rodriguez

Paul Sorvino plays an aging mob boss, released from prison due to ailing health, who tries to reconnect with his family and his Queens community after 20 years on the inside.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 2:30 pm


The Last Ocean

New Zealand (88 min)

Dir. Peter Young

As if there weren't enough environmental disasters to despair over, The Last Ocean documents the plight of the Ross Sea, whose fragile Antarctic ecosystem has come under assault from industrial fishing vessels cashing in on the world's insatiable appetite for Antarctic toothfish, sold as "Chilean sea bass." A compelling case is made for closing the fishery, and the sweeping shots of stark Antarctic landscapes are beautiful in that way that Antarctic nature documentaries always are. But however worthy the cause, the clumsily one-sided advocacy of the film makes it feel more like a 90-minute infomercial than an independent documentary. (GOLDY)

Kirkland Fri June 7, 3:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 3 pm


The Last Sentence

Sweden (125 min)

Dir. Jan Troell

Here's a movie that makes the Holocaust even more heartbreaking. It's about a crotchety, horny old man named Torgney who also happens to run a courageous anti-Nazi newspaper out of Berlin. He talks a smooth game but is a terrible person on the inside, and can't stop sleeping around on his suicidally depressed wife. World War II happens in the background. Also, the whole thing is in black and white, which adds a crystalline layer of fucking depressing frosting to this already intensely depressing cake. (MOLLY MORROW)

Egyptian Thu May 23, 4 pm

Egyptian Tue May 28, 9:30 pm


The Last Shepherd

Italy (76 min)

Dir. Marco Bonfanti

A documentary portrait of Renato Zucchelli, the last man to tend sheep in the fast urbanizing Lombardi region of Italy, as he herds his flock into downtown Milan in a quixotic mission to introduce urban children to the joys of his profession.

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 4 pm


Lasting

Poland, Spain (93 min)

Dir. Jacek Borcuch

Two inexperienced Polish teens begin a storybook summer romance in Valencia. Things turn sour, however, after a scuba-diving expedition goes awry. Writer/director Jakub Gierszal does a terrific job at getting inside the heads of his stoic protagonists, particularly at those moments when they find themselves most fumblingly adrift. The plot is admittedly rather thin, but the fantastic sense of textural reality more than compensates. No matter how romantic the concept of getting intimate outdoors may seem, you're going to have to deal with bugs. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 3 pm


Laurence Anyways

Canada, France (168 min)

Dir. Xavier Dolan

"It gets better, my ass," says one of the many transgender characters in this transgender rom-dram saturated with style. The comment stands out because the rest of the movie is such bright, surrealistic candy. It's a love story, following a decade of the coming together and falling apart of a Frederique and Laurence. He comes out as a woman while they're madly in love. Fred comes to symbolize the straight world, and their attraction-repulsion turns into social metaphor. The details are sometimes interesting. But really, it's a light movie, making the almost-three-hour running time absurd. Drink breaks? (JEN GRAVES)

Egyptian Fri May 24, 8:30 pm

Egyptian Sun May 26, 1 pm


Little Lion

France (102 min)

Dir. Samuel Collardey

A 16-year-old Senegalese soccer player goes to France to pursue his sports dreams. But France is totally fucking with him, it turns out.

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 4 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 27, 6 pm


The Little Tin Man

USA (85 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Matthew Perkins

A dwarf thespian with little success to his name is frustrated at being passed over for more substantial roles, so he tries to earn a spot on the cast of Martin Scorsese's version of The Wizard of Oz as the Tin Man. Comedy presumably ensues.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 12:30 pm


Love Is in the Air

France (96 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Alexandre Castagnetti

A French woman gleefully planning her upcoming nuptuals is seated on a transatlantic flight next to the man who broke her heart and shit out the pieces three years prior. She's a planner, he's a brooder, seatbelts are buckled, no smoking signs are lit, they reminisce. (Not to be confused with Red Eye, last year's lame romantic comedy also set entirely on an airplane.)

Egyptian Fri June 7, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat June 8, 11 am


Low Profile

France (96 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Cécilia Rouaud

A depressed but HAWT Parisian schoolteacher (Denis Ménochet) gets saddled with the kid his ex had with another dude. Also starring also-HAWT Vanessa Paradis and (per SIFF) "an uplifting acoustic indie soundtrack."

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 11 am


Ludwig II

Austria, Germany (140 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Peter Sehr, Marie Noëlle

Gaze upon this lavish golden-music-box of a film that tells the tale of the fascinating Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm, the 19th-century Bavarian king who loved art, architecture, and was an appreciator and patron of composer Richard Wagner. Somewhat reclusive, King Ludwig failed to marry or produce an heir (gaylord!), and eventually retreated into his dazzling kingdom until he was declared unfit to rule.

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 9 pm

Kirkland Sat June 1, noon


M


recommended A Man Vanishes

Japan, 1967 (130 min)

Dir. Shôhei Imamura

Why are hundreds of people disappearing in Japan every year? How did this intolerable phenomenon become commonplace? And what happened, specifically, to Tadashi Oshima, a 32-year-old plastic salesman, who was among them? This award-winning 1967 documentary investigates.

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 5:30 pm


Marie Krøyer

Denmark (98 min)

Dir. Bille August

P.S. Krøyer was a famous 20th-century Danish painter who was also mentally ill, as famous painters are wont to be. Marie Krøyer was his wife and also trying to be a goddamn artist herself.

Marie Krøyer is their dramatized story, from Oscar-winning director Bille August.

Egyptian Fri May 31, 4 pm

Egyptian Tue June 4, 9:30 pm


Mercy

Germany, Norway (132 min)

Dir. Matthias Glasner

You will not find one film in Matthias Glasner's Mercy, but three. The first movie is about a marriage that's on the rocks, the second is about a crime, the third is about the spectacular geography of a section of Norway that's within the magic area of the arctic circle. The first film is not interesting, the second is almost interesting, and the third is amazing. The first film ends with the husband revealing to his wife that he is having an affair with a beautiful woman he works with at an oil plant, the second with a confession, and the third with a helicopter flying above stunning mountains, over brilliant seas, and through the clearest sky. The third part saves the film from the other two far less interesting parts. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Harvard Exit Sat May 18, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 20, 4 pm


Middleton

USA (99 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Adam Rodgers

Two (presumably single, or at least nonmonogamous) parents meet (presumably cute) while taking their respective offspring to visit the campus of (fictional) Middleton College in this romantic comedy. SIFF says they "rediscover their inner children, embracing the sunshine and a moment in time where they are freed from their normal lives."

Harvard Exit Fri May 17, 7 pm

Egyptian Sun May 19, 1 pm


Mistaken for Strangers

USA (92 min)

Dir. Tom Berninger

In which the metal-headed slacker brother of the National's lead singer goes on tour with the band and proceeds to make a movie almost entirely about himself. The concept of a music documentary where the band itself is incidental is cool in theory, but there's an annoying staginess here, with the camera perfectly placed to capture every backstage screw-up. It's very funny at times, especially when the sibling rivalry gets cranked to 11, but the filmmaker's self-deprecating neediness drowns out everything else. Which is probably the point, but still. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Egyptian Mon May 20, 7 pm

Egyptian Tue May 21, 4 pm


The Moment

USA (90 min)

Dir. Jane Weinstock

This "twisty, sexy psychological thriller" stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as a recovering mental patient. (Again?!?)

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 9, 1 pm


Monsters University

USA (90 min)

Dir. Dan Scanlon

In this prequel to Pixar's Monsters, Inc., the later-to-be-incorporated monsters go to monster college, where they presumably play monster beer-pong and take monster bong hits.

Pacific Place Sat June 8, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 9, 10 am


recommended Moon Man

France, Germany, United Kingdom (95 min)

Dir. Stephan Schesch

A beautifully animated movie based on a children's book that miraculously doesn't suck, about the man in the moon grabbing hold of a comet's tail and crashing down to earth. The man in the moon looks more like a glowing, giant-headed, bald baby than a man, and says creepy E.T. knock-off lines like 'go home,' and makes a lot of weird grunting noises in a French accent. Worth it, though, for the scene about halfway through when he goes floating down a river of psychedelic lily pads while Louis Armstrong's version of "Moon River" plays in the background. (MOLLY MORROW)

Renton Sat May 25, 1 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 2, 10 am


More Than Honey DON'T MISS!

Austria, Germany, Switzerland (90 min)

Dir. Markus Imhoof

Filmed in Switzerland, the United States, and China, this lively documentary covers the gamut of the bee world: part beekeeping family reminiscence, part incredible close-up of bee culture and physiology, part modern-day beekeeping in all its variety, part scientific bee study, part philosophical musing on industrial culture. The filmmaker muses, "The plants are rooted to the ground, they can't run across the field and hug each other. They can't have children on their own. What they need is a messenger of love: a bee." This film made me want to drop everything and devote my life to beekeeping. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 8:30 pm

Egyptian Tue June 4, 4:30 pm


Mother of George

USA (106 min)

Dir. Andrew Dosunmu

When Ayodele emigrates from Nigeria to marry a Brooklyn restaurateur, she doesn't entirely leave her culture behind, so when months pass without her getting pregnant, the pressures of traditional family life begin to conflict with the attitudes of her newly adopted country.

Pacific Place Fri June 7, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 6:30 pm


recommended Much Ado About Nothing

USA (109 min)

Dir. Joss Whedon

Set in an opulent modern-day estate (the director's own house), Whedon's Much Ado is a cozy affair, and the actors are all practically flirting with Shakespeare's language (standouts include the affable Clark Gregg; Nathan Fillion, who feasts on his small comic-relief role; and Amy Acker as an excellent Beatrice). There's some silly physical comedy, willful deception on a large scale, and, because Much Ado is arguably the world's first rom-com, every major player makes one asshole move that seems totally out of character. (Blame the writer for that last one.) Everybody sure does look like they're having fun up there, to the point where you want to forgive the film's flaws—the amateurish soundtrack, some hammy acting—because you feel like you're an invited guest at an intimate dinner party. (PAUL CONSTANT)

McCaw Hall Thu May 16, 7 pm


Muscle Shoals

USA (102 min)

Dir. Greg Camalier

Few recording studios have the legendary mystique of Alabama's Muscle Shoals. Director Greg Camalier realizes it's impossible to be comprehensive about the soul/funk incubator, but he captures the importance of founder Rick Hall, interviews stars like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Keith Richards, and offers archival footage of some of the best session musicians ever to plug in.

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 7 pm

Egyptian Thu May 30, 4:30 pm


Mussels in Love

Netherlands (73 min)

Dir. W.J.A. Kluijfhout

Everything you ever wanted to know about the life cycle of shellfish, probably, ranging from birth to breeding to The Plate. Unfortunately frustrating, this documentary has the bad habit of raising then quickly ditching potentially interesting side avenues. (Want more about how mussel secretions are used to aid difficult human pregnancies? Tough shit!) On a pure science-geek level, however, the close-up time-lapse footage is just totally awesome. Warning for the squeamish: The bit with a hungry starfish verges on anime tentacle unpleasantness. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Harvard Exit Mon June 3, 7 pm

Kirkland Sat June 8, 1 pm


Mutual Friends

USA (85 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Matthew Watts

Against the backdrop of Liv planning a surprise party for her straight-laced fiancé Christoph, Matthew Watts's romantic comedy weaves together a handful of coming-of-age plotlines in which the man-boys in Liv and Christoph's friend group learn the error of their ways from a stoner couple, a one-afternoon stand, and Liv's dopey law-school-dropout brother. The film moves quickly to squeeze in all the characters, and the resulting cross-section of quirky thirtysomethings is a deliciously guilty pleasure. (JEN KAGAN)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 3 pm


recommended My Dog Killer

Czech Republic, Slovakia (90 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Mira Fornay

Nothing quite says "this movie is not going to end well" than an opening shot of a young Czech skinhead teaching a pit bull named Killer how to attack an inanimate object. The more we learn about young Marek (played with quietly jagged intensity by Adam Mihal), the worse things look. His dad is a drunk and on the brink of losing the family farm. He loathes his mom. The other skinheads pick on him. And he has a small, sweet Roma half-brother—the sin of sins in his crowd. Director Mira Fornay approaches her story of small-town degradation in such a gentle, hands-off way, we almost feel bad for the young skinhead. But not for long. (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 12:30 pm


N


Naked Harbour

Austria, Finland, Germany, (123 min)

Dir. Aku Louhimies

The star of this film is Helsinki. The city, with its modern architecture, its snow, its cold but clean streets, its warm rooms, its dim bars, its bright supermarkets, gives the best performance. The other performances in the film—which concerns the lives of several people (an American business guru, a black European petty criminal, a terminally ill Finnish woman, a Finnish man whose wife has lost interest in fucking, a Finnish woman who wants to become famous, and so on)—are uneven. All in all, Aku Louhimies, the director, has made a generally entertaining urban movie that's way above Crash and just below Tales of the City. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Pacific Place Wed May 22, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 8 pm


recommended Nightfall

Hong Kong (107 min)

Dir. Roy Chow

Nightfall opens with one of the most brutal beatings you've probably ever seen in a movie, a prison shower beatdown full of head trauma, broken limbs, and full-on shivving. Then it cools down for a while as we meet a troubled Hong Kong cop who's barely holding his life together. Eventually, the cop uncovers a murder that involves a musical genius, a cold case featuring a girl who looks just like a suspect in his current investigation, and a brutal mute. Only Nightfall's awkward, on-the-nose dialogue holds it back from greatness; the twisty plot and intriguing characters are more than enough to hold your attention. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 9 pm


Nishan (Medal of Honor)

Ethiopia (105 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Yidnekachew Shumete Desalegn

All Nishan wants to do is get out of Ethopia, but a series of unexpected events gets in her way, involving an antique gun, a doctor, and some thieves.

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 3:30 pm


recommended Northwest

Denmark (100 min)

Dir. Michael Noer

A pair of young, drugged-up petty thieves try to move into the big time in this somber movie about Copenhagen's criminal underworld starring real-life teenage brothers Gustav and Oscar Dyekjaer. Northwest is more of a slow-paced character study than, say, Trainspotting, but it's got a great creeping sense of menace that builds to a terrifying sense of helplessness. The film's makers know that there's something compelling about watching people make nothing but bad decisions until their whole lives fall apart. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Renton Mon May 27, 8:30 pm

Egyptian Mon June 3, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 9, 11 am


O


Orange Honey

Portugal, Spain (100 min)

Dir. Imanol Uribe

It's easy to make a Spanish Civil War film romantic. First, because it's Spain, where both the revolutionaries and the fascists drink wine, quote literature, and dress to impress. Second, because it's the early 20th century, and the technology—telephones, typewriters, etc.—is recognizable, but still crude enough that the people using it don't look like androids. Orange Honey takes us into the office of a fascist judge whose underlings have divided loyalties (politically and romantically). With a dramatic jailbreak and a more realistic version of the famous Indiana Jones sequence where he clings to the bottom of a speeding truck, Orange Honey is an entertaining thriller with communist inflections. (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 11:30 am

Kirkland Thu June 6, 6 pm


The Otherside

USA (47 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Daniel Torok

Seattle's underground hiphop scene is unique and busting out of the Northwest to spread its delights nationwide, filmmaker Daniel Torok posits in The Otherside. To bolster his claim, he interviews several key artists—including Shabazz Palaces, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Jake One, and Don't Talk to the Cops!—and depicts their daily grinds as they hone their craft.

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 8:30 pm


recommended Our Children

Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland (111 min)

Dir. Joachim Lafosse

The stars of A Prophet (Niels Arestrup and Tahar Rahim) reunite for this unsettling fact-based drama about a Belgian mother of four (Emilie Dequenne) whose claustrophobic home life attains a terrible terminal velocity. Director Joachim Lafosse makes some cogent points about colonialism and cross-cultural relationships, doling out the narrative with unpredictable forward leaps that make it difficult to figure out where one's sympathies should properly lie at any given moment. It's a downer, certainly, but a bracing and thoughtful one. The final shot feels just about perfect, tragically. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Pacific Place Tue May 28, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 1:30 pm


recommended Our Nixon

USA (85 min)

Dir. Penny Lane

It's the rise and fall of Tricky Dick and H.R. Haldeman, told through interviews, archival footage, and no small amount of snark. (Bonus points for an absolutely perfect theme song.) Penny Lane's documentary suffers a bit from compression—would it have killed her to throw in the Checkers speech?—but the inclusion of the actual White House audio tapes make this essential viewing. Hearing Nixon compare All in the Family's Meathead to Socrates and other ancient Greek homosexuals somehow encapsulates everything that's great and terrible about America simultaneously. Do not leave before the credits end. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

Harvard Exit Sat May 18, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 19, 1:30 pm


Out in the Dark

Israel, USA (96 min)

Dir. Michael Mayer

A Palestinian and an Israeli walk into a gay bar... and fall in love, and complications ensue. Out in the Dark is the first feature-length film from Israeli-born, USC-film-schooled director Michael Mayer; it won an Israeli Film Competition Award at the Haifa International Film Festival.

Harvard Exit Sat May 25, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 2 pm


Out of Print

USA (55 min)

Dir. Vivienne Roumani

What's the future of the book? Are e-books going to supersede print books as the preferred reading medium? Are bookstores going away? In the future, will people even read at all? This rote documentary, narrated listlessly by Meryl Streep, will appeal to folks who like to gather in public spaces and cluck their tongues about all those people who don't read as much as they do, but Out of Print offers nothing new to the e-book debate, aside from some terrifying new footage of Jeff Bezos's truly awful laugh. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Harvard Exit Mon May 20, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Tue May 21, 5 pm


P


Papadopoulos & Sons

United Kingdom (105 min)

Dir. Marcus Markou

Touching! Redemptive! British! The only element missing from this fun, predictable, family-centric feel-gooder is Julia Roberts dragging her tear-stained lips. A super-rich family of eccentric capitalists goes bust, is forced to come together/rediscover the magic of family/eventually do Greek folk dances in the streets (opa!) while everyone laughs through tears. (Fish 'n' chips are also prominently featured.) It's a lovely and forgettable little film (starring the kid who played young Voldemort!). (ADRIAN RYAN)

Kirkland Thu May 30, 8 pm

Harvard Exit Fri May 31, 7 pm


recommended Paradise: Faith

Austria, France, Germany (120 min)

Dir. Ulrich Seidl

Missionary Anna Maria spends her days unaccompanied, quietly flourishing under the burden of many precise religious duties. She reasons calmly with nonbelievers, sings hymnals in stark rooms, and briskly flagellates her naked body any time she deserves it. Suddenly her estranged Muslim husband returns. It's unclear how it happened, but he's a paraplegic now, and he flings insults, jostles crucifixes, explodes into violence, and generally ruins Anna's orderly world. Their exchanges bring stirring and intelligent aftermaths, loaded with yearning, and there's a jaw-dropping masturbation scene. (MARTI JONJAK)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 25, 12:30 pm


recommended Paradise: Hope

Austria, France, Germany (90 min)

Dir. Ulrich Seidl

Thirteen-year-old Melanie is enrolled in a summer weight-loss camp and attracts the attention of a much older man, the camp's doctor, in Paradise: Hope. Sure, their romantic encounters are creepy, but they're thrilling, too, and they're cut with pleasant images of exercise sessions, friends chatting, orderly white rooms, and clean green forests. Though the doctor keeps slipping away, Melanie clamps her heart on to him. She has her giddy moments, but just as easily gives way to an exhausted sadness. It's a profound story, with scenes that are sweet and soul-crushing at the same time. (MARTI JONJAK)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 25, 3 pm


Paradise: Love DON'T MISS!

Austria, France, Germany (120 min)

Dir. Ulrich Seidl

Because Teresa is unable to find men willing to look past her "saggy breasts, wrinkles, and fat ass," the middle-aged and outwardly prim Austrian gives sex tourism a try. Paradise: Love follows her very difficult journey in Kenya, as she drifts from one hot young beach boy to the next, all the while grappling with deep vulnerabilities and the sense of going through the motions. Each exchange tells two stories at once. A final scene is profoundly humiliating; once it gets into your head, it won't get out. (MARTI JONJAK)

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat May 25, 10 am


The Pardon

Rwanda (73 min)

Dir. Joel Karekezi

The friendship between a respected Hutu man and a big-hearted Tutsi is destroyed by the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and 73 minutes of truly godawful cinema result. Expository dialogue and stock characters ruin everything: a distant, hard-drinking dad; an innocent little brother caught in the turmoil; a brave sister who questions everything and is always right. Long silences intended to be meaningful are empty and embarrassing. Conversations make little sense. The film's incredibly violent climax feels exploitative instead of moving, and for some weird reason the lead actor spends half the movie with his eyes closed. Noble subject, terrible execution. (MOLLY MORROW)

Pacific Place Sun May 26, 6 pm

Renton Mon May 27, 3:30 pm


Peaches Does Herself

Germany (80 min)

Dir. Peaches

When Peaches burst onto the music scene in 2000, she was a refreshing gust of foul-mouthed air. The Canadian provocateuse's gender-scrambling electro rock established a new, raunchier-than-thou paradigm for female musicians. Peaches Does Herself mythologizes her life in what she describes as "a jukebox musical with a sex change."

Egyptian Sat May 25, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Mon May 27, 9 pm


The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Ireland, United Kingdom (134 min)

Dir. Sophie Fiennes

Piping-hot Slovenian philosopher Slavoj iek and director Sophie Fiennes team up to analyze isms through the prisms of movies, music, history, and current events. iek gets into character on "sets" that resemble the films he's discussing. This doc looks like it could be more fun than your everyday university philosophy course.

Pacific Place Thu June 6, 4 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 8, 10 pm


Phase IV

United Kingdom, USA, 1974 (92 min)

Dir. Saul Bass

Local ants rapidly evolve into a sophisticated hive mind following a mysterious cosmic event in this 1970s science-fiction classic, the only feature-length film directed by the Oscar-winning graphic designer Saul Bass. Newly restored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Paramount Pictures.

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 2 pm


Pieta

South Korea (104 min)

Dir. Kim Ki-duk

This South Korean film is summarized in three phrases: "gruesome," "transcendent," and "loan shark." If that doesn't turn you off/on, consider director Kim Ki-duk's own summary of the film, which centers around a son's relationship with his estranged mother: "Although [it] starts with violence and cruelty, it purifies the sins with forgiveness and salvation that lie inside humans."

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 10 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 19, 9 pm


Pit Stop

USA (80 min)

Dir. Yen Tan

The Texas town of Pit Stop is full of sad-sack, middle-aged people looking for love. There's Gabe, a mostly closeted cowboy type who is getting over an affair with a married man. There's Gabe's ex-wife, who has to tell would-be suitors things like: "Do you even know how to kiss? You don't just sit there with your mouth open. You gotta move your lips..." And there's Ernesto, who's breaking up with his feckless young boyfriend. Pit Stop is a quiet and slow (sometimes glacially slow) story about how there's someone out there for everyone. (BRENDAN KILEY)

Harvard Exit Sun May 19, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 20, 4:30 pm


The Plague

Spain (85 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Neus Ballús

This is, in many ways, a keenly observed exercise in Eurocinema social realism. We follow four characters, all non-actors playing roles based on their own lives: an aspiring professional wrestler, an elderly woman who recently entered a hospice, her nurse (who walks miles to work every day in blistering heat), and a farmer whose crops are being decimated by an insect infestation. By that description alone, though, you can guess that this is the sort of schematic, classy festival bait that's less interested in revealing something deeper about these people's existences than confirming our own biases about third-world conditions. Not a bad film, but you've seen it before. (MATT LYNCH)

Harvard Exit Thu June 6, 9:15 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 8, 2:30 pm


Populaire

France (111 min)

Dir. Régis Roinsard

In case The Artist wasn't enough quirky French cinematic throwback for you, here comes a rom-com set in 1958 in which a boss convinces his bumbling secretary to enter a typing contest. Expect lots of jokes about the workplace in a pre-feminist world, plenty of chauvinist pigs getting their comeuppances, and at least one dick-punch joke.

Pacific Place Sat May 18, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Tue May 21, 6:30 pm


Port of Shadows

France, 1938 (91 min)

Dir. Marcel Carné

It's a port... of shadows! The titular shadowy port is located in France, and it is the setting for big-deal old-timey filmmaker Marcel Carné's 1938 classic crime drama involving an army deserter, louche romance, and X-treme blackmail. Recommended by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Harvard Exit Sat June 8, 4:30 pm


recommended Prince Avalanche

USA (94 min)

Dir. David Gordon Green

Normally the presence of Paul Rudd signals a few hearty guffaws. Here, not so much. David Gordon Green's latest is a minor-key character study that trades in low-key desperation and knowing chuckles. It's a welcome return to his sleepy-indie roots. Rudd's Alvin is as listless as he is contemplative. Emile Hirsch is the dim-witted brother of his long-term girlfriend. The two clash and, inevitably, bond while repainting yellow lines along fire-ravaged backwoods roads in West Texas. It's a haunted, lonely landscape that yields quiet, reluctant epiphanies. It won't change your life, but it will take you someplace special. (JEFF MEYERS)

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 4:30 pm


The Punk Singer DON'T MISS!

USA (80 min)

Dir. Sini Anderson

So many music documentaries feel like laurel-buffing victory laps, but Sini Anderson's The Punk Singer feels like a revelation. Its subject: Kathleen Hanna, co-founder of Riot Grrl, creator of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, coiner of the phrase "smells like teen spirit," and spouse of Ad-Rock, who's captured in all her explosively multifaceted glory. I've been a Kathleen Hanna fan for decades; this film introduced her to me as someone new. To quote talking head Carrie Brownstein, it's "an empowering and surreal experience." (DAVID SCHMADER)

Harvard Exit Fri May 24, 9:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun May 26, 1:30 pm


Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer

Russia, United Kingdom (90 min)

Dir. Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin

Nadia, Masha, and Katia—three members of Russian punk-rock collective Pussy Riot—famously stormed a Moscow cathedral altar in 2012 to perform "Punk Prayer." After just 40 seconds, they were pulled off stage, soon arrested, and subsequently turned into international feminist icons. But still, imprisoned icons. This documentary, among other things, features courtroom footage from their absurd trial.

Egyptian Wed May 29, 9:30 pm

Kirkland Sun June 2, 3 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 7:30 pm


Putzel

USA (88 min)

Dir. Jason Chaet

I love smoked fish and I love shiksas, so I figured a quirky romantic comedy about an Upper West Side smoked fish emporium scion whose (very small) world is turned upside down by the arrival of an alluring shiksa would be just the film for me. Eh. Putzel is charming at times, and occasionally funny, and Melanie Lynskey gives an endearingly vulnerable performance as the "shiksa goddess" Sally. But too serious to be a farce and too filled with caricatures to be taken seriously, the film never quite manages to rise above second-rate Woody Allen wannabe status. (GOLDY)

Kirkland Sun June 2, 5:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon June 3, 7 pm

Pacific Place Fri June 7, 1 pm


R


Red Obsession

Australia, China, United Kingdom (75 min)

Dir. Warwick Ross, David Roach

Did you know fancy Chinese consumers can't get enough of France's coveted Bordeaux wine? Did you know that they buy so much of it that it causes the price to skyrocket? Do you care?

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 6 pm

Kirkland Sun June 9, 3:30 pm


recommended Redemption Street

Serbia (97 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Miroslav Terzi

What better setting for a gloomy political thriller than Serbia, where wartime guilt still haunts an entire generation? An earnest young investigator stumbles into a murky case, which turns into a hornet's nest as he figures out that members of a paramilitary death squad are being protected by powerful government connections. Producer Gordan Kicic plays the investigator with a mutely dignified air—brave but bewildered as he slowly realizes the seriousness of the shit he's just stepped in. With slick direction and a studiously drab visual style, director Miroslav Terzic's full-length debut is a chilling tour through a postwar society trying to untangle its knots of secrets. (BRENDAN KILEY)

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 4:30 pm


Remote Area Medical

USA (83 min)

Dir. Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman

Holy shit, be prepared for some brutal dental surgery. Originally set up to deliver health care in third-world countries, the titular nonprofit that is the focus of this rather uneven documentary now does much of its work in the American South. The film spends three days at a free-health-care fair at an enormous race track near RAM's Tennessee headquarters, where the first patients line up 18 hours early, with entire families sleeping in their cars to get tickets they can exchange for the most basic medical treatments. Odd choices about what to focus on make the overall film unsatisfying, but if you're looking for a doc to convert anti-Obamacare assholes, this is a pretty sure bet. (ANNA MINARD)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 3 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 5:30 pm


The Repentant

Algeria, France (87 min)

Dir. Merzak Allouache

A young Algerian Jihadi fighter wants to rejoin society (they call that being a repentant), giving up his weapon to the government and taking a job at a café. A local pharmacist is going through a divorce and dealing with the pain of a missing daughter. The two men's lives intertwine, and demons are faced.

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 4 pm


A Respectable Family

France, Iran (90 min)

Dir. Massoud Bakhshi

In this political thriller about a not-actually-respectable family, a college professor visits his homeland of Iran for the first time in 22 years and is plunged into the mysteries, corruption, and shady dealings of his relatives, as well as the government, while his estranged father lies on his deathbed.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue June 4, 4 pm


Richard III

United Kingdom, 1955 (161 min)

Dir. Laurence Olivier

This 1955 British film adaptation of Shakespeare's historical play is directed by and stars the great Sir Laurence Olivier. The jealous hunchback Richard III conspires to steal the throne of England from his brother, King Edward IV. It's a tragedy filled with all the good stuff: scheming, betrayal, and bloodshed.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 2 pm


Ripples of Desire

Taiwan (112 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Zero Chou

Admittedly, the only reason I watched this film in the first place was because of the title. Ripples of Desire. Hubba hubba! Sounds like a bad romance novel you'd buy in the airport while praying to God no one you know is on the plane. This Taiwanese film is beautifully shot, but unfortunately it drags out longer than it should. But there are intriguing moments featuring pirates! Rebellious geishas! And death, secrets, leprosy, and more! It's two hours long—your butt will fall asleep, but you won't. (MEGAN SELING)

Pacific Place Thu June 6, 7 pm

Kirkland Sun June 9, 5:30 pm


A River Changes Course

Cambodia, USA (83 min)

Dir. Kalyanee Mam

Following three families living in rural Cambodia, the film shows their day-to-day life of subsistence farming, foraging, and fishing. People work hard, doing things they've done for millennia, trying to get by. It looks at how modern times are affecting these communities: young people leaving the villages to work in the city, industrialized farming, the forests being logged, and fish stocks disappearing. There isn't really a strong narrative, just an authentic look into the life of this population. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 5:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, noon


recommended The Rocket

Australia, Laos, Thailand (96 min)

Dir. Kim Mordaunt

Set in the war-ravaged/tropical wonderland country of Laos, 10-year-old Ahlo escaped the fate of most Laotian twins (death) when his stillborn brother gave his mother the opportunity to hide the twin-ness; the only one who knows the truth is his testy grandmother, who insists he will be cursed. When their village is displaced by dam-makers, tragedy and bad luck follow Ahlo's family. Was his grandmother right? Finding allies in a sweet young girl named Kia and her delightful drunken James-Brown-obsessed Uncle Purple, Ahlo decides his only chance to regain acceptance is to build a winning rocket for the annual rocket competition. Here, "rocket" refers to giant, firework-ish projectiles intended to remind the sky to rain. (EMILY NOKES)

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 4:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 6:30 pm


S


Sadourni's Butterflies

Argentina (94 min)

Dir. Dario Nardi

A circus dwarf is jailed for crimes of passion and then later released on good behavior. What's his next gig in this surreal melodrama? Overdubs for fetish films, of course.

Pacific Place Mon June 3, 4:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 6:30 pm


Safety Last!

USA, 1923 (67 min)

Dir. Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Hooray for silent film star Harold Lloyd, and hooray for this 1923 classic comedy in which he hangs terrifyingly from the hands of a gigantic clock over an adorably old-timey city.

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 11 am


Salma

India, United Kingdom, (89 min)

Dir. Kim Longinotto

Women face horrible, unconscionable social, political, and economic conditions around the world, but that's no reason a documentary about it should be so repetitive and formally generic. This story of Salma, a poet who persevered throughout decades of house arrest by her family (unmarried Muslim women are kept at home) and massive cultural and religious contraints on her gender to educate herself and even attain elected office, is bogged down by crummy handheld video, endless talking heads, and interminable shots of cities filmed from a moving car. That it still manages to inspire despite being so dull is a minor miracle. (MATT LYNCH)

Pacific Place Sun May 26, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 9 pm


Sand Fishers

France, Mali (72 min)

Dir. Samouté Andrey Diarra

The main substance of Samoute Andrey Diarra's documentary, which has a number of beautiful sequences (a sunset here, a dawn there), is educational. We learn about the new economy of sand fishing, which has replaced the old economy of proper fishing. The new economy begins with young men swimming to the bottom of rivers and returning to the surface with sand-filled buckets. The sand is then poured into the boats and transported to the land, where it's loaded onto trucks that then transport it to the growing city of Bamako. In the city, the sand is used to feed a construction boom that's been triggered by a major cultural shift—Malians are replacing their unstable mud houses with new and more stable concrete houses. There is no mention of the recent war in this movie. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Renton Sun May 26, 1 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 6 pm


recommended Scrapper

USA (87 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Brady Hall

Stoic fortysomething Hollis rises at 4 o'clock every morning to scavenge metal on Seattle's streets to help pay for the care of his ill mother. His friendless, routine existence gets ruptured when he encounters a brash teenage girl tied up in the S&M dungeon of a man who regularly gives him scrap. This wild child insinuates herself professionally, domestically, and personally into the morally upstanding scrapper's life, and gradually erodes his super-fortified defenses (dude seemingly hasn't had fun in decades). A funny and surprisingly poignant film about a little-known subculture, Scrapper has mettle. (DAVE SEGAL)

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 4 pm


Shadowed

USA (88 min)

Dir. Joey Johnson

A group of friends go camping and one of them dies in this murder mystery set in the Cascade Mountains.

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 29, 4 pm


A Shape of Error

USA (73 min)

Dir. Abigail Child

How do you make a movie about a writer's mind? Especially as radical a mind as Mary Shelley's? How do you depict the Frankenstein author's private life with Percy Shelley? This movie throws a lot of dreamy visuals at these questions, including mirrored split screens, slow-mo reenactments of trivial domestic moments, impressionistic shots of gardens and fountains, and more. Over it all: voice-over readings of Mary's diaries, set to an original score. It has the jumpy vibe of home video footage and the open-endedness of poetry. There is almost nothing in it about writing. (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Wed May 22, 8:30 pm


recommended Short Stories

Russia (105 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Mikhail Segal

After a Moscow publisher rejects an author's fiction collection, the manuscript mysteriously affects the employees who read it. This clever framing device allows Segal to satirize modern Russian society. The first act renders absurd the couples-consulting industry, while the second wryly tackles political corruption, and the third equates an old librarian's waning psychic powers with the country's energy crisis. In the final segment, a middle-aged poet's lusty infatuation with a hot nympho fades when her ignorance of Russian history surfaces. Short Stories' four chapters segue like an illuminating DJ set. (DAVE SEGAL)

Pacific Place Sat May 25, 5:30 pm

Pacific Place Mon May 27, 3:30 pm

Kirkland Wed June 5, 6 pm


Short Term 12

USA (96 min)

Dir. Destin Daniel Cretton

Get a closeup view of life and work in the bubbling, psychic-pain cauldron that is a foster care facility for "at-risk" teenagers. The bloody, tearful, and, on one occasion, poop-filled story unfolds pretty unflinchingly as it follows twentysomething Claire, the lead caretaker, over the course of several crisis-rife days. To be sure, there are schmaltzy and/or precious moments, but they are mostly forgivable in light of some super-honest, arresting portrayals of people in real trouble. (NATHANIEL DEINES)

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 4:30 pm


Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You - A Concert for Kate McGarrigle

USA (107 min)

Dir. Lian Lunson

You probably already know Rufus Wainwright, but you may not be as familiar with his sister, Martha Wainwright, who has recorded songs like "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole." This documentary follows the siblings as they prepare to throw a concert to celebrate the life (and mourn the recent passing) of their mother, Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle.

Egyptian Sat May 25, 4:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 6 pm


Smoke Signals DON'T MISS!

USA, 1998 (89 min)

Dir. Chris Eyre

The movie made from Stranger Genius Sherman Alexie's first feature-length screenplay about life on an Indian reservation gets a fancy 15th-anniversary screening at the Snoqualmie Casino, with stars Elaine Miles, Evan Adams, and Michelle St. John in attendance. (ANDY SPLETZER)

Snoqualmie Casino Fri May 17, 6 pm


SOMM

USA (100 min)

Dir. Jason Wise

Four sommeliers try to pass the Master Sommelier exam, which only 200 people have successfully passed since 2006, in this documentary. Since there are no other movies about this subject as far as we know, it's probably safe to assume that SOMM is the closest thing to Rocky that the sommelier world has got.

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 4 pm

Kirkland Tue June 11, 7:30 pm


A Song Still Inside

USA (85 min)

Dir. Gregory Collins

A young married couple (she's an actress, he's an aspiring screenwriter) descend into acrimony and resentment once her career starts to blossom and he struggles with his ego while being stuck at home taking care of the new baby. As he lets his feelings of inadequacy bottle up inside, he compounds them with bad decisions for which he blames his wife, who not incorrectly chalks up a lot of their problems to his incessant whining. The ostensibly sad ending is in fact welcome relief, if not for this miserable couple, then at least for the audience. (MATT LYNCH)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 4 pm


Spark: A Burning Man Story

USA (90 min)

Dir. Jessie Deeter, Steve Brown

Ever wanted to know about the inner workings and logistical daymares of Burning Man, that annual convergence of 60,000 arty, horny adrenaline junkies in Nevada's Black Rock Desert? Spark's got you covered. The documentary examines Burning Man's principles and how founder Larry Harvey and his staff work year round to make the happening happen without compromising its original tenets.

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 9 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 2 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 9, 9 pm


The Spectacular Now DON'T MISS!

USA (95 min)

Dir. James Ponsoldt

Director James Ponsoldt has the uncanny ability to travel along well-worn cinematic paths and make them feel fresh again. His last feature, Smashed, took an alert and understated look at alcoholism without ever preaching or crossing into sensationalism. He does the same miraculous thing with this young adult coming-of-age drama, gracefully confronting dependency in its many forms. Lead actor Miles Teller is a revelation, winning our sympathies even as we bristle at his choices. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber ((500) Days of Summer) compose a convincing whirlwind romance that's filled with dialogue that pops with personality and emotions that sock you in the stomach. (JEFF MEYERS)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 7:15 pm

Harvard Exit Sat May 25, 1:30 pm


Spud 2: The Madness Continues

South Africa (90 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Donovan Marsh

Spud, which was a beloved entry in the 2011 SIFF festival, left our protagonist at the end of his first year at a prestigious South African private school. In the sequel, Spud faces expulsion and romantic problems. Madness, presumably, ensues.

SIFF Uptown Thu June 6, 6 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 8, 10:30 am


Still Mine

Canada (102 min)

Dir. Michael McGowan

A stubborn old New Brunswick man is determined to build his ailing wife a new home instead of putting her in a home, as their damn kids seem to want. SIFF promises "magnificent" performances in this "exquisitely mounted and deeply affecting love story."

Pacific Place Fri May 24, 7 pm

Pacific Place Sun May 26, 11 am


Stories We Tell DON'T MISS!

Canada (108 min)

Dir. Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley elevates navel-gazing autobiography to something sublime. With two first-rate features under her belt (Away with Her, Take This Waltz), the actress-turned-director has quickly established herself as one of the most exciting filmmakers of the new decade. Now, with this family documentary, she further proves her keen eye, innovative style, and fearless intelligence. Using friends, family members, and colleagues to provide a collective memory of her parents' relationship, Polley ferrets out some family secrets without letting anyone's agenda or viewpoint dominate. It's an intimate, enthralling, and surprisingly egoless affair that invites you in rather than insist you care. (JEFF MEYERS)

Harvard Exit Fri May 17, 4 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 5 pm


Storm Surfers 3-D

Australia (95 min)

Dir. Justin McMillan, Chris Nelius

It's weird that a documentary called Storm Surfers 3-D would have so much dull footage of white guys sitting in chairs and talking in clichés about how much they like surfing, how good their friends are at surfing, and why they like to hunt for big waves. Where's all the sweet footage of waves, bro? What little footage there is is not especially mind-blowing (although, granted, The Stranger did not get to screen this in 3-D). I watched this with someone who's seen "at least 50" surfing documentaries and said this one was "especially bad." (CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, 2:30 pm


Stuck in Love

USA (97 min)

Dir. Josh Boone

Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly do their best impressions of actors in this slick family drama that's maybe, barely, worthy of the WB. Their son is a high-school introvert, while (gender-bender twist!) their daughter is going through college conquest by conquest. Horribly, the father and both the kids are writers, forcing a terribly written veneer of literary pretense on the whole anodyne enterprise. The film's closing features a misuse of the last lines of Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" that is so wrong, it's unbelievable. Nothing here feels anywhere near true. (BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT)

Pacific Place Fri May 17, 7 pm

Egyptian Mon May 20, 4 pm


The Summit

Ireland, United Kingdom (100 min)

Dir. Nick Ryan

This documentary tells the story of the 11 people who died in 2008 trying to climb K2, the deadliest mountain in the world.

SIFF Uptown Thu May 30, 6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sat June 1, 1 pm


T


Tai Chi Hero

China (100 min)

Dir. Stephen Fung

I have no idea what the hell happened during Tai Chi Hero. There were some kung fu battles, but nothing earth-shattering (including your typical fight on a very tall, very precarious structure far above the ground), and some vague attempts at fitting the narrative into Chinese history (it takes place in the 19th century, and it's a fictionalized account of the creation of tai chi). It's the second film in a blockbuster Chinese trilogy (Tai Chi Zero was the first film, Tai Chi Summit is the third). But it sure is pretty nonsense, crammed with lots of steampunk imagery (flying machines and giant twirling brass bells) and wire-fu to keep the eye intrigued. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 1:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 27, 9 pm


A Teacher

USA (75 min)

Dir. Hannah Fidell

An Austin-based English teacher has an affair with a high-school senior. Their school is hit with an unrelated sex-and-minors controversy, and the teacher both recoils from her affair (because it could blow up at any moment) and is attracted to its danger.

Pacific Place Sat May 18, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 4:30 pm


Teddy Bears

USA (90 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Thomas Beatty, Rebecca Fishman

Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman's film is named for the squeezable pseudonym of the Cylindropuntia bigelovii cactus, which looks fuzzy right until its spines prick you in the face. Such is the case with Andrew, the film's alternately sweet and repulsive lead, who invites his girlfriend and two other couples to spend a week with him in a crappy rental in the California desert and, over dinner the first night, explains why he needs to have sex with his friends' girlfriends in order to fully heal from his mother's recent death. The resulting film is a darkly funny meditation on the strange things humans do to cope with loss. (JEN KAGAN)

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 3:30 pm


Television

Bangladesh, Germany (106 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

This satirical Bangladeshi parable pits religious fundamentalism against contemporary society through, of all things, television. A Hindu schoolteacher purchases a TV against the wishes of the small town's religious fundamentalist leader, causing the town's residents to question for the first time his opposition to all things technological.

SIFF Uptown Tue May 21, 8:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed May 29, 9:15 pm


Terms and Conditions May Apply

Australia, United Kingdom, USA (79 min)

Dir. Cullen Hoback

Terms and Conditions May Apply is a documentary exposé about the terms of agreement that we all blithely click through when we join Facebook or Google or iTunes or a multitude of other sites. It's chock full of information that you should know but probably don't, including the fact that the US government tried to launch a privacy-destroying agency called the Information Awareness Office, whose Illuminatilicious logo was the eye of a pyramid scanning the globe. And the whole thing builds to a tense confrontation with one of the architects of our new privacy-less world, a scene that would be worth the price of admission all on its own. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Pacific Place Thu May 30, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 3:30 pm


Test

USA (90 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Chris Mason Johnson

In this character-driven drama, two male dancers cross paths in 1985 San Francisco, where they perform with a modern dance troupe, fall in love, and do their best to navigate the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. Bonus: Extended sequences of modern dance.

Harvard Exit Fri June 7, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 9, 1:30 pm


Thérèse Desqueyroux

France (110 min)

Dir. Claude Miller

Trapped within a loveless marriage, and suffering the soul-crushing ennui of 1920s provincial France in the way only a wealthy 1920s French provincial woman could, Thérèse (a not very Amélie-like Audrey Tautou) attempts to free herself by poisoning her brutish husband. Soul-crushing ennui follows. It's about as classically French a film as a French film can be, so if you're into that sort of thing, enjoy! But I ended up feeling as trapped in soul-crushing ennui as the title character. (GOLDY)

Egyptian Tue May 28, 7 pm

Harvard Exit Thu May 30, 4:30 pm


These Birds Walk

Pakistan, USA (75 min)

Dir. Omar Mullick, Bassam Tariq

An inspirational documentary about a Pakistani and the young runaway children he rescues and attempts to reunite with their families, as told through their first-person accounts.

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 2 pm

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 6 pm


This Is Martin Bonner

USA (83 min)

Dir. Chad Hartigan

Seattle actor Paul Eenhoorn earned great reviews at Sundance for his lead performance in this subtle feel-good drama about an unlikely friendship between two radically different men.

Harvard Exit Wed May 29, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 4:30 pm


Tito on Ice

Germany, Sweden (76 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Max Andersson, Helena Ahonen

Two Swedish comics artists construct a mummified corpse of dictator Josip Broz Tito and drive it around the former Yugoslavia talking about national pride (or lack thereof) in this good-natured but aimless documentary. Andersson leavens the talking heads with stop-motion scenes illustrating his travels (we're informed in the credits that the animated sequences are made with "100% garbage"). It's fun to watch, but unless you're REALLY fascinated by the impact of Tito's regime on the generation of cartoonists that were kids when he died, the blobby structure of the film grates a bit. (PAUL CONSTANT)

SIFF Uptown Sun May 26, 8 pm

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 3:30 pm


Together

Taiwan (114 min)

Dir. Hsu Chao-Jen

In what has been described as a Taiwanese riff on Amelie, a 17-year-old boy tries to mend other people's problems, romantic and otherwise. His plots involve benevolent manipulation, love letters, and other machinations to make his mother, father, sister, and self happier.

Kirkland Mon June 3, 8:30 pm

Pacific Place Tue June 4, 3:30 pm


recommended Touchy Feely

USA (88 min)

Dir. Lynn Shelton

Stranger Genius Lynn Shelton's newest film features her highest concentration of big stars yet—Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, and Ron Livingston—but it's not like she's gone Hollywood. Shelton keeps the scope small as a masseuse (DeWitt) develops an aversion to skin at the same time that her straitlaced dentist brother (Josh Pais) becomes a faith healer to the new agey crowd. The performances are all strong, but ultimately Pais steals the show with some electrifying tightly-wound physical comedy that makes a minimalist character sketch feel like a bravura performance. (PAUL CONSTANT)

Renton Thu May 23, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat May 25, 1:30 pm


Town Hall

USA (74 min)

Dir. Jamila Wignot, Sierra Pettengill

Documentary filmmakers followed two central-Pennsylvanian anti-Obama teabaggers for two years and tried to be "impartial" in their depiction. This is the result. Bring your boner for the American flag, and try not to barf.

Pacific Place Fri May 31, 7 pm

Kirkland Sat June 1, 2:30 pm


The Trials of Muhammad Ali

USA (92 min)

Dir. Bill Siegel

Another look at America's eternally badass butterfly-bee may seem unnecessary, but since the director, Bill Siegel, did the brilliant documentary The Weather Underground, expect this to be well put together, sharply political, smart as hell, and an entirely useful addition to the canon.

Renton Sat May 25, 3:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri June 7, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Sat June 8, 4 pm


A Tribute to the Music of Muscle Shoals with Patterson and David Hood DON'T MISS!

USA (102 min)

Patterson Hood is an acclaimed solo artist and a member of the even more acclaimed Drive-By Truckers. David Hood is his father and the co-founder of the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound recording studio, where the elder Hood also worked as a producer and session musician. Tonight, father and son share stories and songs onstage at the Triple Door, in connection with the SIFF documentary Muscle Shoals.

Triple Door Thu May 30, 7 pm


Twenty Feet from Stardom

USA (90 min)

Dir. Morgan Neville

A documentary about those mostly anonymous folks who sing backing vocals for filthy rich, famous musicians, Twenty Feet from Stardom spotlights the golden-piped Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill, who've augmented recordings by Springsteen, Midler, and others. The film also documents backup singing's decline from its 1960s peak to its current moribund state.

Egyptian Sat June 1, 5:30 pm

Egyptian Sun June 2, 4 pm


Twin Peaks/ An Evening with Kyle MacLachlan DON'T MISS!

USA (94 min)

Dir. David Lynch

Kyle MacLachlan (who younger readers might better recognize as the mayor of Portland from Portlandia) relives the height of his popularity in this special screening of the pilot episode of David Lynch's legendary TV series, Twin Peaks, along with clips from his storied career (hopefully they'll get the chicken walk from Blue Velvet and, well, anything from Dune in there) and an audience Q&A.

SIFF Uptown Mon June 3, 7:30 pm


Two Lives DON'T MISS!

Germany, Norway (97 min)

Dir. Georg Maas

Good lord, the final scene in this historical spy thriller is a work of art in itself. It's quiet and distant and icy-beautiful, showing only a landscape with water, fire, earth, air, a placid surface with murder and horror trapped underneath. The story takes place in Norway, and concerns the five-year Nazi occupation, when children were taken as Aryan assets or discarded as not-Aryan-enough trash. They were conscripted for various uses, used against each other, and after the war abused as traitors. When the Berlin Wall falls, one family's secret history breaks through a surface that would rather hold. (JEN GRAVES)

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 9:30 pm

Pacific Place Sat June 8, 1 pm

Kirkland Sun June 9, 1 pm


Two Mothers

Australia, France (100 min)

Dir. Anne Fontaine

Naomi Watts and Robin Wright star as lifelong friends who fall for each other's sons. Based on a novella by Doris Lessing.

Egyptian Fri May 17, 9:30 pm

Egyptian Sat May 18, 3 pm


Two Weddings and a Funeral

South Korea (108 min)

Dir. Kimjho Gwan-soo

I really wanted to like this South Korean film, which concerns a gay man who marries a lesbian to hide his sexuality from his parents, but it had too many cutesy moments that tended to reinforce the most numbing stereotypes about gay culture and tastes. The one good thing about the movie is the stream of comments made by a politically feisty gay man who believes that homosexuals should not make any compromises with their society and times. There is nothing wrong with being gay, and South Korea and the rest of the world should accept and live with that fact. Whenever this man speaks, the film suddenly opens and shows some depth. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

Renton Mon May 27, 1 pm

Pacific Place Tue May 28, 4:30 pm

Harvard Exit Wed May 29, 9:30 pm


U


Una Noche

Cuba, United Kingdom, USA (90 min)

Dir. Lucy Mulloy

A young Cuban girl gets caught up in the momentum of her twin brother, who is caught up in the momentum of his best friend/unrequited love interest's desire to escape to Miami. Desperation (and an indifference to thorough planning) result in plenty of tense, exciting situations. There are lovely performances, but the characters feel like they've been imbued with overly tragic traits in order to artificially inflate the movie's emotional stakes. The desperate need to show how damn desperate everyone is comes across as clumsy and paternalistic, spoiling an otherwise compelling story. (NATHANIEL DEINES)

Pacific Place Wed May 22, 7 pm

Pacific Place Thu May 23, 4 pm


Unfinished Song

United Kingdom (93 min)

Dir. Paul Andrew Williams

Vanessa Redgrave stars as a woman diagnosed with a terminal illness. Terence Stamp stars as her grumpy husband. In the midst of their troubles, their lives intersect with an old person's choir that sings Salt-N-Pepa tunes, among other ditties.

Egyptian Thu May 30, 7 pm

Egyptian Sat June 1, 12:30 pm


Unhung Hero

USA (84 min)

Dir. Brian Spitz

Patrick Moote gets the shaft when a Jumbotron marriage proposal falls flat and goes viral, and the reason is later revealed to be: His penis is simply not big enough. Unhung Hero is a documentary about Moote's real-life quest to learn if size really does matter, what methods are used to increase size, how the problem is viewed across cultures, or if it's even a problem at all.

Pacific Place Tue June 4, 6:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed June 5, 4 pm


V


Valentine Road

USA (88 min)

Dir. Marta Cunningham

Just reading this film's most basic description will make a grown man cry (or throw up). Here, try it: In 2008, openly gay, trans eighth-grader Lawrence King asked a fellow student to be his valentine. Two days later, the valentine-askee brought a handgun to school and shot King to death. This documentary dives into the lives of these two California boys, both of whom were abuse victims, and their community's response to the tragedy.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 2:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 2, 6 pm


V/H/S/2

Indonesia, USA (95 min)

Dir. Gareth Evans, Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard

More and better gore, equally atrocious writing. Following up on the heels of V/H/S, an anthology of frenzied found footage horror, four more genre directors come together to revel in jump scares, hysterical violence, and shaky lo-fi filmmaking. Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale's GoPro helmet-cam view of the zombie apocalypse is more about clever camera angles than decent storytelling. Gareth Evans (The Raid) delivers the biggest WTF bang for your buck with a hellish tour of a mysterious cult's compound. No one expects this to be Citizen Kane, but is it too much to ask the filmmakers to spend as much time on their scripts as they do making buckets of blood? (JEFF MEYERS)

Egyptian Sat May 18, midnight

Pacific Place Tue May 21, 9:30 pm


W


The Wall

Austria, Germany (108 min)

Dir. Julian Roman Pölsler

A woman hikes into the Austrian Alps only to discover, upon trying to return, that an invisible wall keeps her out of the city and out of touch with any other humans. Years pass as she lives with farm animals—and her cute dog!—struggling to survive.

Harvard Exit Sat June 1, 6:30 pm

Harvard Exit Sun June 2, 12:45 pm


Watchtower

France, Germany, Turkey (100 min)

Dir. Pelin Esmer

Retreating from a personal tragedy, Nihat seeks comfort in solitude by taking a job as a forest fire lookout in a watchtower in the remote mountains of Turkey. But when he crosses paths with a secretly pregnant woman, their lives become inextricably linked.

SIFF Uptown Tue May 28, 8:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 11:30 am


The Way, Way Back

USA (103 min)

Dir. Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Remember way, way back in 2009 when the movie Adventureland was released? This movie is kind of like that one. Only that one was better. Steve Carrell sheds his likable schmo persona to play a dick car salesman (is there another kind?). Liam James is your standard-issue awkward coming-of-age teen. Toni Collette is his doormat mom. Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph inject an otherwise predictable summer-at-the-beach nostalgia trip with much needed personality. Go. Don't go. No one will think less of you for either choice. (JEFF MEYERS)

SIFF Uptown Sat May 25, 6:30 pm

Egyptian Sun May 26, 4:30 pm


recommended We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

USA (130 min)

Dir. Alex Gibney

The rise and fall of Julian Assange, with no skimping on the weirder bits. Director Alex Dibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) has the form down pat by this point, laying out the facts and numerous ironies behind hacktivism with clarity—particularly when it comes to the complicated involvement of Private Bradley Manning—and no small amount of relish. It's terrifically entertaining and more than a little frightening, especially when detailing how its subject's stated desire to unearth the truth collides with his Blofeld-ish ego. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 6 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat May 18, 11 am


What Maisie Knew

USA (93 min)

Dir. Scott McGehee, David Siegel

Emotionally honest but not always dramatically successful, this brilliantly cast update of Henry James's 1897 novel illustrates just how much damage a pair of monstrously selfish parents can wreak on their doe-eyed poppet. Directing team Scott McGehee and David Siegel smartly skip the melodrama and cant everything to a child's-eye view of profound family dysfunction. Julianne Moore is a fantastically appalling basket case of neurotic egotism. Steve Coogan raises the bar on understated, smarmy self-regard. And yet both are convincingly human. But it's little Onata Aprile that'll suck you in. The 7-year-old is a revelation of naive desperation. (JEFF MEYERS)

Egyptian Sun May 19, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Mon May 20, 4:30 pm


When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep

Taiwan (110 min)

Dir. Hou Chi-Jan

A lovelorn Taiwanese boy works at a copy shop. He finds a drawing of a sheep and falls for the eccentric girl who drew it—and responds by drawing a wolf in return. The film has been described as a "cheerful, romantic crowd-pleaser."

Kirkland Sat June 1, 6 pm

Pacific Place Sun June 2, 6 pm


When I Saw You

Jordan, Palestine, United Arab Emirates (93 min)

Dir. Annemarie Jacir

Separated from his family in the chaos following the 1967 Six Day War, 11-year-old Tarek leaves a Jordanian refugee camp to search for his father, only to stumble into a secret military training camp where he finds a new sense of community and purpose. (Also, this is reportedly the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman.)

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, 3 pm

Harvard Exit Tue June 4, 9:30 pm


The Wind (With Live Music by the Maldives)

USA, 1928 (95 min)

Dir. Victor Sjöström

Just what it says on the tin: the silent film starring Lillian Gish, presented with a live musical score by the Maldives.

Triple Door Fri June 7, 7 pm and 9:30 pm


Wish You Were Here

Australia (89 min)

Dir. Kieran Darcy-Smith

Someone goes missing on a holiday trip to Cambodia in this thriller.

Egyptian Fri June 7, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 9, 3 pm


Wolf Children

Japan (117 min)

Dir. Mamoru Hosoda

Proof that no one captures the blurry area between human beings and wild animals better than the Japanese can be found in this animation by Mamoru Hosoda. You will love the images of the city, the streets, the apartments, and the rural areas, the farms, the woods, the hills, the trees on the hills, and the river running beside the mountain. The story is about a young student who falls in love with and fucks a half-wolf and half-human man (when he fucks her, he turns into a wolf). The woman eventually gives birth to a boy and girl who are just like their father (half-animal and half-human). All it takes for them to be a wolf is a rapid shake of the head. Because the father dies in the city sewer (he was hunting for food), the boy and girl are raised by a devoted single mother. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 11 am

Egyptian Mon June 3, 7 pm


recommended A World Not Ours

Denmark, Lebanon, United Kingdom (93 min)

Dir. Mahdi Fleifel

In 1948, during the Arab-Israeli War, more than half a million Palestinians fled their homes and became refugees, setting up camps in neighboring counties and hoping they'd soon be able to return home. The Ain El-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon is one square kilometer and currently holds more than 70,000 Palestinians. Filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel returns to visit his extended family over the years and documents life in the camp, which looks like a big urban neighborhood. It's a fascinating look at this contained world where the population is in limbo, with limited opportunities, few rights, and no country of their own. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Uptown Thu May 23, 3 pm

Harvard Exit Mon May 27, 8:30 pm


Worm

USA (93 min)

World Premiere

Dir. Andrew Bowser

A Southern neo-noir about a man named Worm accused of a double homicide, this is a joining of swamps, extreme sports, and Blair Witch. It's (supposedly) the first feature shot entirely on action camera GoPro Hero 2, told in a single continuous "Snorricam"-style take (with camera strapped to actor).

SIFF Uptown Fri May 31, 9:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, noon


Y


Yellow

USA (105 min)

Dir. Nick Cassavetes

Some movies deserve to be taken out back behind the shed and burned. This shrill and interminably self-indulgent exercise in vanity cinema is one of them. Noting that its star and cowriter, Heather Wahlquist, was unknown to me, I commented to a fellow reviewer at the Toronto Film Festival that "this is the kind of movie that gets made when you're fucking the director." Immediately after the festival, said colleague e-mailed me Wahlquist's Wikipedia page along with the message: "Not sure if she's fucking Nick Cassavetes, but they are married." The couple has since divorced. I blame the film. (JEFF MEYERS)

Egyptian Thu May 23, 7 pm

SIFF Uptown Fri May 24, 4:30 pm

Renton Sat May 25, 6 pm


Yesterday Never Ends

Spain (108 min)

U.S. Premiere

Dir. Isabel Coixet

It is 2017, and in Barcelona, the European economic crisis has only gotten worse. (Thanks, austerity!) An estranged couple meets at the grave of their dead son, the dissolution of their once-loving marriage a parallel to the ongoing collapse of capitalism that surrounds them.

SIFF Uptown Sat June 1, 5:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun June 2, noon


recommended You Will Be My Son

France (102 min)

Dir. Gilles Legrand

Faced with the unappetizing prospect of bringing his only child into the family business, a stubborn winemaker (Niels Aretrup) begins looking for other candidates. Director Gilles Legrand veers expertly between grand tragedy and poker-faced comedy, including a moment with a car that should have Vin Diesel hustling for the phone. Aretrup, whose expert ambivalence helps power the fellow SIFF entry Our Children, here relishes the chance to go full Snidely Whiplash, spitting out venom with a hilariously jaded air. He's a sonofabitch of the highest order, and perfectly okay with that. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

SIFF Uptown Wed June 5, 7 pm

Kirkland Fri June 7, 8:30 pm


Youth

France (75 min)

Dir. Justine Malle

What do you say when a famous French film director's daughter, in her late 30s, finally makes her first movie? Yay! Woot! But... when it's just okay? Uhh... Justine Malle is the daughter; dad was Louis Malle (1932–1995, Au Revoir les Enfants, My Dinner with Andre). Youth is the semiautobiographical story of a young woman coming into her own sexuality during the summer when her father is suddenly dying. I'd love to think Freud would have a field day with this material, or vice versa, but I'd have settled for surprising or striking directing, acting, or writing. Youth is slight. I am not happy to report it. (JEN GRAVES)

SIFF Uptown Fri May 17, 6:30 pm

SIFF Uptown Sun May 19, noon


Z


Zaytoun

France, Israel, United Kingdom (117 min)

Dir. Eran Riklis

In Beirut in 1982, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy shoots down an Israeli fighter pilot, who survives. On the ground, the two are stuck together—both outside their native countries—and must cooperate to escape.

Pacific Place Mon May 27, 8:30 pm

Pacific Place Wed May 29, 4:30 pm

 

Comments (3) RSS

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1
Frankly, after perusing through these reviews, I don't think I'm motivated see any of these films--especially "Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth" which I'm sure has neither beauty nor truth. Walker's entire life has been guided by one principle, and one principle only: Her hatred of black males. That's why she is estranged from her daughter, who has said she couldn't live her life based on her mother's views. Walker is one of a cadre of black women authors who have made a living off disseminating ugly racial stereotypes of black males.
Posted by constans on May 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
2
Went to see We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks to learn more about Assange and wikileaks - criminal? hero? and what's the real story behind the mainstream media reports. Fascinating movie, wish there had been more time for the Q&A session afterwards.
Posted by Possiamo on May 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM · Report this
3
I want my money back
Posted by James Early on May 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this

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