This year's Seattle International Film Festival has three theaters (SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Pacific Place, and Ark Lodge) that are easily accessible from Link stations (Capitol Hill, Westlake, and Columbia City, respectively). This kind of match has never happened before in the history of our city.
If you can get to a light-rail station, you can access movies with almost no hassle, no fear of traffic and road ragers, and the pleasure of a short walk between the station and the theater. Here is a list of recommended SIFF films you can watch at the Egyptian and Pacific Place this week.
The Violin Teacher
Wed May 25, Egyptian, 7 pm
Lázaro Ramos captured the film-world's attention by way of 2002's Madame Satã, in which he played famed Brazilian convict-turned-drag-performer João Francisco dos Santos. He's barely recognizable as the same actor in this reunion with Lower City director Sérgio Machado's The Violin Teacher, but he justifies that early hype. It's a more conventional film about a classical violinist who screws up his big audition and ends up teaching poverty-stricken teens, like the virtuosic Samuel (Kaique de Jesus), in a São Paulo favela. The beats are familiar—man learns to love teaching, students learn to love man—but Ramos makes them count. (KATHY FENNESSY)
Women He's Undressed
Fri May 27, Pacific Place, 1:30 pm
At first you will think that this documentary—which is about the legendary gay Australian-born costume designer Orry-Kelly—has no chance of surviving its staged dramatic sequences. They are not that good, that funny, and too numerous. But the story of the man (and his masterpiece, Marilyn Monroe's form-perfect, nude-fantastic dress in Some Like It Hot) sustains and rewards your interest. You will also leave the doc with a really bad taste in your mouth about Cary Grant, Orry-Kelly's first big lover. That human was a real asshole. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
Sat May 28, Egyptian, 11:55 pm
What do you do when your weekend house is haunted? Hire a ghost hunter to come in and get rid of the pesky spirits. (One has to wonder if this is a jerky move. Can't you just try to get along with them?) But now what's worse, having an awkward weirdo in your house with you for a week or the original haunting problem? Dan (Steve Zissis) and Os (Mark Proksch) spend some forced time together, and things deteriorate from there. Another Evil is a different kind of horror film, with more total weirdness and less blood and guts. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
Sun May 29, 4:30 pm; Mon May 30, 6:30 pm; Egyptian
All I need to say about this softly sad comedy that is set in the capital of the Spanish-speaking world, Madrid, and concerns two middle-aged friends (one of whom, played by the great Argentinian actor, Ricardo Darin, is dying of cancer), and the dying man's dog, named Truman, is that it has a really funny and satisfying ending. It caught me by surprise. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
Mon May 30, Egyptian, 1:30 pm
Produced by David Byrne, Contemporary Color came into being after a team asked him for permission to use one of his songs for a routine in 2008, and the subculture fascinated him. The film features 10 composers—including Byrne, tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, Ad Rock, and Money Mark—writing original music for 10 color guards. The routines require phenomenal concentration and coordination. The goal? Create the biggest spectacle possible. It's an upbeat cinematic experience that will leave you either exhilarated or exhausted. (DAVE SEGAL)
Tues May 31, Pacific Place, 4 pm
Finally, a film about black African child soldiers that is not predictable or exploitive and doesn't reheat themes and images found in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness ("The horror, the horror"). And yet, Eye of the Storm has the musculature of a Hollywood film. It moves, feels, and is edited like a movie that has a big budget, big names, and big themes. Even some of the tension and twists in the plot are the kind that studio executives expect from a script. The hero, a lawyer, is expertly performed by Maimouna N'Diaye. And the villain, a former child soldier, is overdone just a little bit by Fargass Assandé, but he is still a pleasure to watch. Indeed, the scene when, while in his prison cell, the villain grabs a lit cigarette, inhales its smoke with a great desperation and intensity, and exhales with the satisfaction of a cool sun coming out of the clouds after a storm suddenly clears will be imprinted on your mind forever. (CHARLES MUDEDE)