The Seattle International Film Festival finishes this week, so seize the day and see some movies! We've already compiled a list of all of the picks for the full festival that you absolutely shouldn't miss, but below, we've rounded up 25 movies that our critics think are worth watching during the last week. Highlights include the cult Japanese New-Wave rock comedy The Legend of the Stardust Brothers, Jim Jarmusch's incredibly cast, amiable zombie flick The Dead Don't Die and the closing film by Lulu Wang, The Farewell. Follow the links below for showtimes, trailers, and ticket links, and check out our SIFF Guide for the full schedule.


Ghost Fleet
Faced with a labor shortage and driven to distant waters by overfishing, Thai fishing fleets have been kidnapping and enslaving young men, some of whom never return home. Those who survive accidents, beatings, and torture in “company prisons” are sometimes stranded in Indonesia for years. Enter Patima Tungpuchayakul, who heads a labor rights organization in Bangkok. Her small team, including former slave Tun Lin, sets out on a mission to bring these men back and fights for them to be compensated. Anyone who eats store-bought seafood should watch this documentary, which reveals how an ecological crisis is worsening a widespread human-rights travesty. (JOULE ZELMAN)
AMC Pacific Place

Ever wonder what it’s like to work as a rhino caretaker? This film follows the rangers who care for the only three northern white rhinos left in the world: Sudan, his daughter Najin, and his granddaughter Fatu. They all live together in a protected reserve in Kenya. People outside the reserve are very poor, and a rhino horn is worth a lot of money. Because of poachers, the rhinos can’t live free, they must be behind fences and guarded 24/7. Kifaru is an uplifting story about people caring for animals and working for their well-being, but it’s also a sad story about how humans are driving other species into extinction. One of the caretakers asks: “How did we get to this point? Why do we fight and plunder the world until there is nothing left?” (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

After a fateful encounter at the doctor’s office, a long-suffering Mediterranean housewife finds herself bombarded by visions of a life without her boorish husband. Said daydreams rarely end peacefully. Tonia Mishiali’s absorbingly odd directorial debut keeps the viewer hopping throughout, combining grim routine and violent flights of fancy to fascinatingly wobbly effect. (A running gag involving a chatty neighbor with a fondness for cosmetic surgery just kills, every time.) The film jumps between humdrum reality and surreal gallows humor with ease, anchored (barely) by Stella Fyrogeni’s tremendously adaptable lead performance. Whenever her eyes get that faraway look, watch out. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Swinging Safari
Few countries have a knack for tales of the tacky quite like Australia, and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert director Stephan Elliott’s semiautobiographical outing is an explosion of polyester and lacquered hair. In Wonder Years–style voice-over, an adult Jeff Marsh remembers a 1970s summer dominated by the Jones family—including love interest Melly—on one side, and the Halls on the other. A screening of Jaws spurs him to become a filmmaker, and his Super 8 films punctuate the action. If it starts from a place of fun, the vibe in the cul-de-sac turns as rotten as a beached whale after the adults indulge in a key party. There’s a lesson here about the limits of permissive parenting, but it’s mostly a Martin Parr–like evocation of a cartoonishly narcissistic time. (KATHY FENNESSY)
SIFF Cinema Uptown


Carmen & Lola
Arantxa Echevarría’s assured debut revolves around two Roma teens in Madrid. The brassy Carmen, a high-school dropout, can’t wait to get married and become a hairdresser. The solitary Lola, a graffiti artist and closeted lesbian, longs to be a teacher. The women meet while working at their family’s market stalls, lust blooming with the touch of a hand. Soon they’re sneaking out for smoke breaks and passionate kisses. The potential for tragedy comes from their patriarchal community’s inability to accept same-sex romance, but the possibility for triumph lies with their stubbornness and strength. Bonus: The riot of sequins with which their culture celebrates even the most mundane occasions. (KATHY FENNESSY)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

I Am Cuba
Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, and financed by the Soviet Union, I Am Cuba is an epic that contains neither hard individuals nor personal experiences, but only subjects of a world-historical movement, a mass advancement, a triumphant (and bloody) march from a state of raw economic exploitation by multinational corporations and the American tourist industry to a new state of socialized production, education, transportation, and health. The subjects in the movie are wired to the spirit of the times. The melancholy prostitute, the severe soul singer, the serious student, the mountain peasant, the sugarcane farmer, his beautiful children, even his horse—from within each the whole idea of freedom is emerging. And the greatness of the revolution is matched by the greatness of the film's form. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet, Non-Fiction tells the story of a Parisian writer who blurs the line between fact and fiction by drawing on his real-life love affairs in his incendiary new novel, setting off a chain reaction in his social circle. This flirty, chatty, smart comedy is French and bohemian as hell: Everyone is cheating on each other, having a midlife crisis, expounding on the nature of romantic relationships, and voicing loud opinions about technology. But Non-Fiction feels like breezy, seductive, European fun. So much so, you’ll need a cigarette afterward. (JASMYNE KEIMIG)
AMC Pacific Place

Take It or Leave It
This Estonian story follows a man who’s thrust into unexpected fatherhood and his struggle to be seen as a capable parent. Erik is a peripatetic construction worker and an immature hothead. His ex-girlfriend calls unexpectedly to tell him she had a baby, and it’s his. When she says she doesn’t want the baby, he must decide if he will take the baby or give her up for adoption. Affecting without being overly sentimental, the film looks at the role of fathers and society’s expectations of them, learning to care about someone else instead of just yourself, and finding strength you didn’t know you had. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Troop Zero
Any film that has Viola Davis and Allison Janney in one lineup (not to mention Jim Gaffigan and Mike Epps) is one you want to watch. Set in 1977, Troop Zero is about a misfit 9-year-old girl named Christmas (played by the adorable Mckenna Grace of Gifted fame) who desperately wants to get her voice on NASA’s Voyager Golden Record, and the lengths she goes to with help from her crew of oddball misfit pals. (LEILANI POLK)
SIFF Cinema Uptown


Go Back to China
Inspired by her own biography, Emily Ting pitches her second feature between a Netflix girls-night-out comedy and a CW teen drama, which probably sounds terrible. It isn’t, though it’s definitely geared toward younger viewers. Sasha, a Chinese American shopaholic (engaging YouTube star Anna Akana), gets a rude awakening when her estranged father pulls the plug on her trust fund. He’ll restore it only if she returns to Shenzhen to work in the family toy factory. So off she goes to live with her dad, his 22-year-old girlfriend, and three half-siblings, including a dutiful older sister. Naturally, she learns valuable lessons, but the film is almost more interesting for what it isn’t than for what it is, i.e., one devoid of white leads and a love interest. (KATHY FENNESSY)
SIFF Cinema Uptown


House of My Fathers
When an infertility plague sweeps the land, a man and a woman from two feuding Sri Lankan villages must venture into a haunted forest to seek a resolution. Tagging along for the trip is a “Strange Doctor” who wastes no time in living up to his nickname. Writer-director Suba Sivakumaran’s magically realistic, horror-tinged road trip certainly generates an impressive mood, especially given the bare-bones production values. Unfortunately, the second half bogs way down, stranding the characters in a series of frustratingly static poses. Still, this debut does cast a spell, even if only intermittently. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
AMC Pacific Place

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers
This is one of my favorite cult films of all time. Originally a big flop in Japan, this colorful musical biopic of a fictional new-wave duo in 1980s-era Tokyo has slowly made a comeback, now touring the international circuit as a cult gem. The son of manga genius Osamu Tezuka (Astroboy, Metropolis), director Macoto Tezuka’s visual style is masterful in his first feature, depicting a wild, unique subculture (the Japanese avant-garde new wave) at its apex. If you're curious, the ’80s-era clips from the Instagram account are good examples of what you’re getting yourself into. (CHASE BURNS)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

Official Secrets
After catching wind of a plot to lie Britain into war with Iraq, a reluctant whistleblower (Keira Knightley) finds her freedoms rapidly slipping away. Gavin Hood's firmly buttoned-up drama strictly follows the based-on-actual-events playbook, right down to the now standard (and dramatically deflating) glimpse of the actual people at the end credits. Still, while the narrative may lack oomph, there is some good stuff in Official Secrets, particularly when the ridiculously stacked cast moves past the exposition-heavy setup and starts to actually interact. (As Knightley’s lawyer, Ralph Fiennes’s decision to underplay an already quiet character gets you leaning in to catch every word.) Compellingly dry, and dryly compelling. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

This Is Not Berlin
Film critic Nate Jones (or his editor) wrote a good headline in his review of This Is Not Berlin for Vulture: “The Movie That Will Make You Want to Become a Pansexual New-Wave Performance Artist in 1980s Mexico.” I very much identified with this headline while watching director Hari Sama’s semiautobiographical film about being a teenager in mid-1980s Mexico City, although the looming AIDS epidemic part is certainly something to consider when pondering time travel. Anyhow, the film’s riotous new wave fun, paired with drugs and ennui and a bustling Mexico City backdrop, makes it a more interesting addition to the glut of ’80s nostalgic teen movies coming from today’s Gen X filmmakers. Also of note: Academy Award nominee Marina de Tavira, from Roma, stars as the lead character’s mother. (CHASE BURNS)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian


Burning Cane
Too many critics have associated this startling work by a 19-year-old NYU film student, Phillip Youmans, with the films of Terrence Malick. But we can do better than that. If we really think about these brutally beautiful images of rural black life in the South, we find a much closer association with the films of the Mexican director Carlos Reygadas. His masterpiece Silent Light exists in the same melancholy universe as Youmans’s Burning Cane, which, among others things, has a great performance by Hollywood star Wendell Pierce. He plays a rural pastor who, like the other main characters, has a soul burdened by those heavy, heavy blues. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

International Falls
International Falls has a similar feel to Fargo—the setting is a small, frozen Minnesota town whose residents are made up of friendly kooks—and its humor is dark, though the morbid plot device doesn’t happen until the film is almost over. Rachael Harris is radiant and perfectly cast as the subtly funny Dee, a middle-aged wife and mother stuck in a tedious job and a marriage that has obviously gone past its expiration date. Rob Huebel is Tim, a depressed comedian who comes to International Falls to perform his admittedly not-very-good stand-up at Dee’s hotel. It’s ostensibly about two people who use each other—and comedy—to deal with real-life shit. But it’s also about the momentary comfort we find in strangers, how deeply you can get to know someone in a brief period while never really knowing them at all, and how a person can completely change your life without ever really being a part of it. It will leave you feeling both sad and supremely satisfied. (LEILANI POLK)
SIFF Cinema Uptown


I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians
Odessa, October 1941: Invaders from Germany and their Romanian allies crush the Red Army’s defenses and murder the Jewish population of the city. According to the director of this dead-serious black comedy, Romania only officially acknowledged its complicity with Germany as a condition for joining the EU in the 2000s, and the average Romanian doesn’t want to talk or hear about it. This film follows the Romanian director of an increasingly fraught reenactment of the Odessa massacre. She confronts her own amateur actors and crew’s indignant nationalism, specious historical mansplaining, and even Holocaust denialism. Barbarians may be one of the more intellectually daunting movies at SIFF this year, with its single-take scenes, philosophical references, and meta approach. But it is, unfortunately, relevant and necessary viewing. (JOULE ZELMAN)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian & Uptown


House of Hummingbird
Fourteen-year-old Eunhee has little comfort in life, whether at middle school (actual teacher quote: “We die every day”), with her tense family, or among fickle friends and crushes. She finds unexpected solace when she gets a new Chinese tutor: Youngji, a gentle, independent woman who recognizes Eunhee’s acute loneliness and confusion. Bora Kim’s debut film, set in the outskirts of 1990s Seoul, explores the teenager’s relationships rather than following a single narrative. Though we focus on Eunhee, played by an incredibly natural Ji-hu Park, every character seems to be hiding an inner universe, and we’re soon invested in the friendships, loves, and heartbreaks of this parochial world. (JOULE ZELMAN)
SIFF Cinema Uptown


When we think of Studio 54, we think of Roy Halston Frowick. Known simply as Halston, he was the fashion designer and hat maker who brought the world ultra-suede minimalism. Think of Liza Minnelli with her sleek, long pants. Andy Warhol and his coked-out models. Jacqueline Kennedy and her caftans. This is the world of Halston, and it’s a world that is dramatic, tragic, and—up until now—without a proper documentary. This has the potential to be one of the best fashion docs of the year. (CHASE BURNS)
AMC Pacific Place & SIFF Cinema Uptown

Here Comes Hell
What do you get when a black-and-white parody of 1930s “old dark house” movies slams headlong into a cheapo gorefest demonic possession plotline? A damn mess, but a decent time for those who love homages. A gathering of the idle rich, plus one sensitive secretary, play some ill-advised supernatural games in a decrepit mansion, awakening an evil (and spectacularly cheesy) presence. It’s hard to tell exactly how much of the film’s ineptitude is intentional. The ridiculous special effects are clearly on purpose. The awkward pauses at the end of nearly every shot? If they’re intentional, I’m impressed with the filmmakers’ commitment. (JOULE ZELMAN)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian


The Dead Don't Die
The cast list alone says The Dead Don’t Die could be a winner: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, RZA, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, and Rosie Perez, among others. Also, it’s a Jim Jarmusch film, and whether or not you dig his recent work (that fine Stooges doc, Gimme Danger; Paterson, about a poet bus driver and his country-music-star-aspiring wife; vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive), you gotta admit, dude knows how to tell a story. While the zombie genre might seem exhausted, I bet his take on a zom-com will be a good one. It starts in a small Podunk town where a police “force” (led by Murray and backed up by Driver and Sevigny) is forced to combat a sudden zombie invasion. I’m in it for Swinton as a coroner with Samurai-sword-wielding chops. (LEILANI POLK)
SIFF Cinema Uptown

MEMORY - The Origins of Alien
Ridley Scott's 1979 sci/fi-horror classic gave us two indelible icons: the hypercompetent blue-collar badass Ellen Ripley and the ever-morphing phallic monster xenomorph. Alexandre O. Philippe's documentaries delve into the film's cultural background, from EC Comics to H.P. Lovecraft to screenwriter Dan O'Bannon's own medical problems, not to mention production designer H.R. Giger's phantasmagorical artwork. This film will reveal never-before-seen materials from O'Bannon and Giger's collections, which should tickle horror fans no end.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian


Greener Grass
Included in SIFF's appropriately titled "WTF" series, Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe's Greener Grass follows two suburban housewives living in a WASPy paradise where manners are taken to ridiculous extremes (and a serial killer may be stalking the citizenry). (Peter DeBruge of Variety calls it "the ultimate queering of Emily Post’s rules of etiquette.") DeBoer and Luebbe are alums of the Upright Citizens Brigade improv theater, and it reportedly shows in their goofy yet trenchant approach.
SIFF Cinema Egyptian & Uptown


The Farewell
If you had a fatal disease, would you want to know? This question lies at the heart of a 2016 This American Life segment called “What You Don’t Know” by Lulu Wang. Her 80-year-old grandmother, known as Nai Nai, had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and given three months to live. Her family decided not to tell her she was sick at all. Now Wang has written and directed a film, The Farewell, based on her family’s experience. It features Awkwafina, the wonderful rapper and actor, in her first starring role. In order to keep the diagnosis from the grandmother but still allow loved ones to say goodbye, the family in the film stages an elaborate ruse of a wedding. Everyone can come see Nai Nai one last time without having to tell her the truth about why, and they can hopefully create a positive situation to uplift her. But there is some concern that the relatives won’t be able to keep their emotions in check and spend time with Nai Nai without blowing the big secret. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

SIFF’s closing film is The Farewell, but the new outing from Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) is playing at the same time on the last night of SIFF, and it feels like it’s the other closing SIFF film. Yesterday is about a musician, Jack, who, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, wakes up to a world where the Beatles never existed… but Ed Sheeran (who plays himself) does? Jack remembers the Fab Four, however, and finds rocketing fame and fortune (and a sense of dwindling creative self-worth) performing their songs as if they were his own. (LEILANI POLK)
SIFF Cinema Uptown