Fall Arts: Act Your Age!
Local Short Films
Local films are on casual display this month in several venues around the city. The popular Independent Exposure series hosts an all-Northwest edition, featuring last year's Seattle Underground Film Fest award-winner by Joseph Guindi, while the Little Theatre presents the local stop on the grand tour of the Northwest Film Festival's "Best of the Northwest" package, handpicked and handsomely praised by juror Matt Groening (of Simpsons fame). Better still, try your own hand at it: The Little Theatre hosts a themed BYO8 night, so find or make a Super 8 about "Going Places" and bring it on down.
"Best of the Northwest" plays Weds Sept 13; BYO8 plays Weds Sept 20, both at Little Theater; Independent Exposure plays at the Speakeasy Thurs Sept 28.
EMP Fall Film Series
Music and film make pretty good lovers. This fall, the must-do-it-all Experience Music Project kicks off its ambitious Wednesday Evening films with a dazzling series programmed by the Northwest Film Forum, featuring an eclectic antipasti of music-related films, from a night of Tom Verlaine (from the punk band Television) playing along with surreal short films to an extremely rare screening of the Richard Pryor-hosted Wattstax concert film, to a showing of Chaplin's Gold Rush with a live, original score by the rockabilly band the Asuylum Street Spankers. All films play in the gorgeous JBL Theater at EMP. Best of all: Admission is separate from the EMP admission.
EMP, Wednesdays, Sept 13-Nov 29.
The Films of Alain Resnais
The Grand Illusion's prestigious Weekend Matinees series gets rolling again with a retrospective of French master Alain Resnais' work. Featuring hallowed masterpieces such as Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and Last Year at Marienbad, along with lesser-known works such as the Smoking/No Smoking pair, this series promises to re-revere the complex and delicate work of this master filmmaker.
Grand Illusion, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept 15-Nov 19.
Benjamin Smoke--Experimental filmmaker Jem Cohen directed this extraordinary rockumentary on the road with Benjamin Smoke.
Time Regained--The perennially underappreciated Raul Ruiz should finally be embraced for this never-less-than-brilliant adaptation of Proust.
Nurse Betty--The new film from Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men) stars the pig-eyed Renee Zellweger as a woman suffering from fugue.
Cherry Falls--A horror film about people who must lose their virginity, or suffer terribly. But it's directed by Jeffrey Wright, who brought us Russell Crowe in Romper Stomper.
Girlfight--This year's Sundance breakout film has good buzz, despite the awful premise of "Rocky with Women."
Almost Famous--Sort-of-local Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical film about the mundane pain of life as a music critic.
Crime and Punishment in Suburbia (Guilty Pleasure)--America again insults the Russian mind in this thinly veiled taunt of a film.
Silent Movie Mondays
The Paramount Theatre belongs to a city that actually no longer exists: It is a living dream, cached in the past for us to discover here in the future. The joy of the popular Silent Movie Mondays is that they further remind us of what is gone and done with, and how quiet and ornamented the past now appears. This year's series offers plenty of chances for bitter, futile nostalgia, with the Russian rarity Aelita--Queen of Mars, Frank Capra's stunning Submarine, and, just for Halloween, The Phantom of the Opera.
The Paramount, Mondays, Oct 2-Oct 30.
Shadowland: The Film Noir Cycle
Back for a 23rd season, the Seattle Art Museum's smoky, cold-hearted, whiskey-sodden, jazz-loving tribute to the most baroque movement in American cinema kicks off on October 5 with Joseph Lewis' My Name Is Julia Ross. Some standouts in this always stellar, perennially sold-out series include Raoul Walsh's valentine to Ida Lupino, The Man I Love; Abraham Polonsky's rare Force of Evil; the Barbara Stanwyck-starring Witness to Murder; and, for dessert, a brand new print of Chinatown.
Thursdays, Oct 5-Dec 14.
Seattle Underground Film Festival
Back for a second year, the scruffy, energetic SUFF promises a larger lineup, special guests, and a huge range of work, from narrative to experimental and beyond, all crammed into the charming Cinema 18 and the funky Little Theatre. Founders Jon Behrens and Steve Creson (see Q&A this page) claim they had such a good time doing it last year, they couldn't resist a remount. Highlights include Criminal Obsession, Dog Star, and the Shaft parody, Shafted.
Fri Oct 6-Sat Oct 14.
Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
It's the fifth anniversary of this homo-riffic kaleidoscope of a film festival, and they're celebrating by packing over 100 films into two venues (the Egyptian and the Little Theatre) in just six short days. While they're keeping their lineup under wraps, this festival has consistently scored with strong programming and great presentation.
Fri Oct 20-Thurs Oct 26.
Olympia Film Festival
The fall sun always shines at the Olympia Film Festival. It's a great time to take a drive, visit the Ionic splendor of the seat of our state government (and marvel at their successful but oddly evil war on defecating pigeons), and see great films in the sweetly crumbling old Capitol Theater. This year, the fest brings out the unavoidable Ray Carney, mounts the unclassifiable Silence!, and (rumor has it) may even host the unassailable Alex Cox (Sid and Nancy, Repo Man)!
Fri Oct 20-Sun Oct 29.
This is the second in Consolidated Works' "freakishly ambitious" series binding film, theater, visual art, music, and lectures to a single theme. Imagined Landscapes' film component promises eight weeks of obscure films, from the aggressively impervious Marat/Sade to rarities of rarities, such as James Benning's Deseret.
Fridays and Saturdays, Oct 20-Dec 16.
Rififi--Tom Cruise suckled at the teat of this flat-out great 1955 caper film, which features a heist scene that the Mission: Impossible films will never top.
Requiem for a Dream--The sophomore film from the director of Pi, focusing on everyone's favorite topic, heroin abuse!
Dancer in the Dark--Danish hothead Lars von Trier's Cannes-winning musical, starring Björk (pardon me!).
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2--Joe "I'll never sell out" Berlinger, of Paradise Lost fame, directs this mockumentary. Ka-ching!!
Two Lane Blacktop--Inexplicably shelved for years, Warren Oates' masterpiece finally gets a new 35mm print and a re-release.
Miranda July--Portland's infamous video artist graces the Little Theatre with her newest work and her mind-boggling video chain letter, Big Miss Moviola.
Numbers (Guilty Pleasure!!)--This Nora Ephron-directed, John Travolta-infested film has to date been re-scheduled FOUR times!! Can you smell it coming?
Women in Cinema
There are a shitload of women on this earth--so why not devote a whole film festival to them? Especially seeing as they make some of the best films around. In fact, though programmed by the same folks who bring us SIFF, the annual WIC festival displays a surprisingly adventurous bent, championing some of the planet's most inspired talent (Dorota Kedzierzawska, anyone?). This is their sixth season.
Thurs Nov 2-Sun Nov 9.
Polish Film Festival
My personal favorite among the (overpopulated) ethnic film festival masses is the Polish Film Festival. Maybe it's because it seems done solely for the benefit of its largely Polish audience; maybe it's because it has consistently great, utterly obscure programming; or maybe it's just because it is the only major festival that is run as a hobby by a very dedicated local dentist, Michal Friedrich. This year they bring Polish superstar Olaf Lubeszenko to town to bask in Seattle's love.
Broadway Perf. Hall, Thurs Nov 2-Sun Nov 12.
When God created Silver Nitrate, he must have known, in all his omniscience, that it would eventually lead to Super 8 film, and the knowledge could only have pleased him. Even today, in the bloated world of digital video and desktop editing, Super 8 remains the sole truly religious filmmaking format. Reed O'Beirne's elegant Super 8 screening series (see Q&A pg. 3) returns to Sit & Spin, where the devout devour endless reels of brilliant, banal, terrific, and terrifying Super 8 film, all smeared against a sonic backdrop mixed by some of Seattle's best DJs. FYI, submissions are still being considered, at www.emeraldreels.com.
Sit & Spin, Wed Nov 15.
Dekalog--When the Grand Illusion sold out this Krzysztof Kieslowski 10-part TV special in 1999, people were turned away crying. Thank God it's back--I mean it!
The Wind Will Carry Us--Kiarostami's latest film is widely said to be his best. That's like saying Hamlet is a better play than Macbeth.
Enemy at the Gates--The most expensive European film ever, starring Jude Law. France is hoping the profits will help pay for that Asterix movie they made with Gerard Depardieu.
In the Mood for Love--Wong Kar-Wai and Chris Doyle (Fallen Angels) return with a period piece, starring Maggie Cheung. I am soiling myself with excitement.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas--Jim Carrey has one last chance to redeem his soul in the collective reckoning of the American non-medicated public in this (could be great) film.
Charlie's Angels (Guilty Pleasure)--What to say? I like seeing women's décolletage.