The 39th Seattle International Film Festival saunters into its second week, bringing screenings of a bunch of stuff The Stranger loves, including Lynn Shelton's new Touchy Feely (see Stranger Suggests, page 19), the fledgling cult classic Fateful Findings (ditto), and more. Here are but four films Stranger staffers wholeheartedly recommend.
More Than Honey
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 thoughts 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)
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-head syndrome but is enlivened by some lovely animated sequences and great location photography in Iraq. This is happening everywhere. (MATT LYNCH)
The Punk Singer
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—cofounder of riot grrrl, 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 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)
The Land of Eb
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 struggles day-by-day 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)
The Seattle International Film Festival continues through June 9 all over town. See full info at thestranger.com/siff.
Got a film festival you want us to write about? E-mail email@example.com.