Signed capsules mean that a Stranger reviewer has seen the ﬁlm. Unsigned capsules have been rewritten-and often injected with unnecessary dumb jokes-from SIFF's promotional text.
REVIEWERS: Shannon Gee, Nate Lippens, Jennifer Maerz, Charles Mudede, Sean Nelson, Megan Seling, Bradley Steinbacher, Annie Wagner, and Andrew Wright.
Iceland/Germany/UK/Denmark, 2004 (85 min.)
Dir. Fridrik Thór Fridriksson
After his mentally challenged fiancée grows so despondent over the death of a pet that the sun literally refuses to shine, a goodhearted lad (Sweet Sixteen's Martin Compston) embarks on a quest for the Meaning of Life. Haunted junkyards, cranky hermits, and some blatant shoplifting of patented Von Trier riffs ensue. Compston has sincerity and chops to spare, but he's ultimately swamped by director Fridriksson's (Cold Fever) tooth-dissolving level of quirky, floundering syrup. Yikes. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Tues June 7 9:15 pm
Uptown Thurs June 9 4:45 pm
The Night of the Living Dorks
Germany, 2004 (89 min.)
Dir. Matthias Dinter
Take Shaun of the Dead, add a dash of Porky's, and set it in Germany-then sit back and wonder why it's not nearly as entertaining as it should be. When three high-school nerds are turned into zombies, they quickly realize that being undead is a step up from their previous outcast status, and the audience quickly realizes that the script is only half as witty as it could have been. As midnight movies go, this one's merely passable. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
Neptune Fri June 3 midnight
The Night of Truth
Burkina Faso/France, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Fanta Régina Nacro
In an imaginary West African country, the opposing sides in a 10-year civil war are ready to sit down and talk things out. But the shenanigans of a village idiot always manage to disrupt the proceedings.
Harvard Exit Tues May 31 9:30 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Fri June 3 2:00 pm
U.S., 1956 (89 min.)
Dir. Maxwell Shane
A classic noir thriller set in New Orleans. Edward G. Robinson stars as a detective who dodges malevolent hypnotists on his way to uncovering the truth about an oneiric murder.
Harvard Exit Wed June 1 7:15 pm
The Ninth Day
Germany/Luxembourg, 2004 (98 min.)
Dir. Volker Schlöndorff
Based on a true story, The Ninth Day is a heartbreaking story that follows Kremer, a Catholic priest who is imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp. Suddenly released without explanation, he's taken to his family in Luxembourg, where he learns he has nine days to either turn his back on his faith and support the Nazis, flee (risking the lives of his family and brethren), or return to Dachau, where he will likely be killed. (MEGAN SELING)
Neptune Wed May 25 4:45 pm
Neptune Thurs May 26 9:30 pm
No More Tears, Sister: An Anatomy of Hope and Betrayal
Canada, 2004 (79 min.)
Dir. Helene Klowdawsky
A serviceable but uninspired documentary about Dr. Rajani Thiranagama, a Tamil human-rights activist who was shot and killed in her hometown after breaking with the Tamil Tigers. The film is sprinkled with reenactments of domestic chores and other aesthetically appealing activities that don't lend much substance to the film, and although we come to know Thiranagama's sisters and husband well, her own passions and personality are obscured by the impulse toward hagiography. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 22 11:15 AM
Broadway Performance Hall Wed June 1 4:30 pm
North Korea: Day in the Life
Netherlands, 2004 (50 min.)
Dir. Pieter Fleury
A featurette that follows an average family through a day in one of the most isolated countries in the world, plus a short film that seems to pun on the title of an American comedy but is actually about a doc about refugees who flee across the North Korean border.
Broadway Performance Hall Thurs May 26 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 29 1:45 pm
Northwest Film Forum: Film Funding
For those looking for a way to fund their film without the soul-crushing traps of the studios, this panel discussion is for you.
Broadway Performance Hall Sat May 28 11:15 AM
No Songs of Love
Germany, 2004 (98 min.)
Dir. Lars Kraume
In this strained German film, Tobias, a young aspiring filmmaker, decides to make a documentary about his brother Markus, who is in a rock band. In the course of filming the brother he idolizes, Tobias becomes suspicious that his girlfriend is sleeping with Markus. In a move certain to insure emotional torture and artistic gold, he invites her to join them on tour, and films the tempest. (NATE LIPPENS)
Broadway Performance Hall Sat June 11 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun June 12 6:15 pm
U.S., 2004 (88 min.)
Dir. Greg Harrison
A headache-plagued teacher's (Courteney Cox, successfully downshifting into dowdy mode) attempt to recuperate after witnessing a convenience-store slaying is derailed by phantom phone calls, mysterious photographs, and her shifting, increasingly surreal memories of the event in question. The ultimate resolution should be quickly obvious to even the thickest, but director/editor Harrison (Groove) proves to be no slouch in generating a consistent level of grimy, ooga-booga unease. Plus, hey, it's only 70-something minutes long. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Neptune Tues May 31 9:30 pm
Neptune Fri June 3 2:00 pm
Ireland/United Kingdom, 2004 (106 min.)
Dir. Pete Travis
Based on a true story, Omagh is the name of both a Northern Ireland town and a feature film about one of its most violent recent events. In August 1998, the Real IRA detonated a bomb in a crowded retail district of Omagh, killing more than 300 people in protest of a British/Irish peace agreement. Omagh focuses on a family brought into these harsh events-from dealing with the loss of a murdered family member, through bonding with a community angry at how little the government has done to bring the Real IRA members to justice. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
Neptune Sat May 21 11:00 AM
Neptune Tues May 24 9:30 pm
Denmark, 2002 (103 min.)
Dir. Susanne Bier
Cecelie really knows how to find a shoulder to cry on. When her boyfriend is paralyzed in a car accident, the first person she turns to for comfort turns out to be married to the reckless driver.
Harvard Exit Sat May 21 2:00 pm
Russia, 2004 (111 min.)
Dir. Dmitry Meskhiyev
This harrowing Russian WWII drama, in which three Red Army deserters hiding out in a village form and break alliances with each other, makes it clear that even Russian soldiers weren't super comfortable about Russian soldiers being the only thing preventing Nazis from running the world.
Egyptian Sun June 5 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Wed June 8 2:00 pm
United Kingdom, 1975 (85 min.)
Dir. Stuart Cooper
More WWII fun, this time from England, in a long-overlooked 1975 gem that combines newsreel and narrative footage to tell the story of a British everyman from induction to invasion.
Harvard Exit Sat May 28 7:15 pm
Harvard Exit Mon May 30 4:15 pm
Thailand, 2004 (104 min.)
Dir. Itthi-sunthon Wichailak
There are xylophones and then there are Thai xylophones, otherwise known as the ranard-ek. This film tells the story of a ranard-ek virtuoso whose fealty to his homeland's musical traditions runs up against the march of progress.
Harvard Exit Sat May 21 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Mon May 23 2:00 pm
Australia/United Kingdom, 2004 (91 min.)
Dir. Anna Reeves
It's the oldest story in the book: An oyster farmer pulls a heist to pay for his sister's medical bills, but one of his neighbors stole the booty, leaving the farmer holding the bag. Now he has to find the traitor before the fuzz finds him.
Uptown Fri June 3 9:30 pm
Egyptian Sun June 5 3:45 pm
China, 1931 (100 min.)
Dir. Bu Wancang
A rich landowner's son knocks up a peasant girl in this 1931 Chinese film. They're in love, and he wants to marry her, but the socioeconomic divide prevents the pair from being together. Ultimately, he's forbidden to see her-even though she bears his child-in this tragic tale of class, gender, and destiny.
Egyptian Sat May 28 3:45 pm
U.S., 2004 (83 min.)
Dir. Mark Christopher
This quirky comedy features an odd pairing: A teenage girl named Cara-Ethyl, who's an overweight social misfit, and thirtysomething Matt, a Chomsky- loving pizza delivery guy. To celebrate Cara-Ethyl's 18th birthday, Matt invites her to tag along on his evening pizza detail. This film, in the vein of John Hughes' teen comedies, has "cult classic" written all over it.
Broadway Performance Hall Fri May 27 6:45 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 29 4:00 pm
China, 2000 (155 min.)
Dir. Jia Zhang-ke
In late '80s China, radical social change is sweeping the country, fueled by rock, disco, and punk. This film follows a musical comedy troupe as they navigate their country's shift from communism and Mao to Westernism and pop culture.
Harvard Exit Sat May 28 1:00 pm
U.S., 2005 (80 min.)
Dir. Robinson Devor
Based on this paper's police blotter column of the same name, Police Beat follows a Senegalese Seattle bike cop named Z (Pape Sidy Niang) as he encounters curious crimes and mysterious misdemeanors over a period of seven days. Meanwhile, Z's American girlfriend (Anna Oxygen) is off camping in the woods with an ex. Devor and cowriter Charles Mudede's script weaves Z's inner turmoil with our town's outer corruption, while Sean Kirby's 35mm anamorphic cinema- tography completes this odd and dream-like universe. (SHANNON GEE)
Egyptian Thurs June 9 7:00 pm
Egyptian Sat June 11 1:30 pm
U.S., 2004 (105 min.)
Dir. Marcos Siega
Kimberly-played by Evan Rachel Wood of Thirteen-is a teenage girl at an elite Beverly Hills private high school. The pretty, manipulative girl leads her two best friends into a nasty sexual-harassment suit against their drama teacher. Their monstrous plot results in a media and legal firestorm.
Neptune Fri June 3 9:30 pm
Neptune Mon June 6 5:00 pm
Finland/Sweden, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Aleksi Salmenperä
Venla wants to have a baby. Her boyfriend doesn't (and even has a secret vasectomy to underscore his point). Luckily, Venla is a psychologist at a fertility clinic, where she's surrounded by sperm samples. She finds a sympathetic friend in a female doctor at the clinic, and their scheming to turn Venla into a mother brings the women closer together.
Uptown Tues June 7 9:15 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Thurs June 9 2:00 pm
U.S., 2005 (100 min.)
Dir. Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Go see this! Seriously! It's a documentary about whistling, and while I know it's hard to believe that I'm not being a sarcastic asshole when I say that it's rad, I promise you, I'm totally sincere. Pucker Up follows contestants entered in the international whistling competition, and it's so well done and quirky you'll feel like you're watching the latest Christopher Guest flick. But it's the real thing, which makes it all the more hilarious. (MEGAN SELING)
Broadway Performance Hall Mon May 30 4:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Tues May 31 4:30 pm
U.S., 2005 (90 min.)
Dir. Don Letts
A documentary laden with archival performance footage and interviews exploring the '70s punk subculture, from its historical roots to its impacts on today's culture.
EMP's JBL Theater Thurs May 26 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Fri May 27 9:00 pm
Italy/France, 1969 (132 min.)
Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo
Marlon Brando is a British adventurer in the mid-19th century Caribbean in this 1969 film out of Italy and France. Brando's travels end up causing a ruckus against the Portuguese sugar monopoly.
Egyptian Tues May 24 9:15 pm
South Korea, 2004 (107 min.)
Dir. Gong Su-chang
A horrifying flick about Korean soldiers in 1972 Vietnam searching for a missing platoon. Instead, they come upon forces they didn't learn how to handle in basic training.
Neptune Fri June 10 midnight
Uptown Sun June 12 3:45 pm
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
U.S., 2005 (83 min.)
Dir. Taggart Siegel
Cross-dressing and organic vegetables intersect in a non-commune environment in this documentary. The film is a kind of agit-prop about the disintegration of viable farmland and food, and the loss of a way of life that not only sustained the food supply but also literally grounded American life. It centers on the charismatic maverick Farmer John who is treated as a pariah in his community as he struggles to transform his farm amidst a flagging economy, arson, and marginalization. (NATE LIPPENS)
Broadway Performance Hall Sat May 28 4:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 29 11:15 AM
Red ColoredGrey Truck
Serbia/Montenegro/Slovenia/Germany, 2004 (104 min.)
Dir. Srdjan Kolijevic
After stealing the titular 18-wheeler, a color-blind Croatian thief and a pregnant rocker chick meet cute, pack up, and haul ass through the badlands of former Yugoslavia, toward the Italian border. Along the way they encounter civil wars, gun-toting priests, and royally inappropriate snake tattoos. Quirky as all get out, Koljevic's debut is a dark-tinged hoot and a half. Note: The opening moments sport perhaps the definitive example of why Mexican standoffs are generally considered a bad idea. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Harvard Exit Sat June 4 9:30 pm
Uptown Mon June 6 4:45 pm
South Africa/United Kingdom, 2004 (110 min.)
Dir. Tom Hooper
This drama, featuring Hilary Swank, is set against the backdrop of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Trial following the fall of apartheid. Swank plays a lawyer representing a former anti-apartheid activist and current politician, whose testimony in the trial spotlights apartheid-era torture.
Neptune Sat May 28 6:30 pm
Neptune Sun May 29 4:15 pm
Brazil, 2005 (110 min.)
Dir. Claudio Torres
Fifteen years ago, a couple was taken by a swindler, leaving them financially ruined. Now the couple's son, Celio, and the swindler's son meet; Celio encourages the other to give away his ill-begotten inherited fortune.
Uptown Wed June 8 9:30 pm
Uptown Fri June 10 2:00 pm
Revolution of Pigs
Estonia, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Jaak Kilmi, René Reinumägi
Communist Estonia, circa-1986, is the backdrop for this politically driven comedy. Teens at summer camp rebel against administrators-there's music, dancing, and wild behavior, pulled together by a raucous soundtrack-when they should be focused on competing for the title of Best Communist Youth of Estonia.
Harvard Exit Wed June 8 7:15 pm
Harvard Exit Thurs June 9 2:00 pm
Hong Kong/Singapore, 2004 (108 min.)
Dir. Kenneth Biroli
Paranoid that her youngest son might follow in the proudly out footsteps of his two older brothers, a controlling restaurant owner enlists the aid of a hot French exchange student to turn the tide. An overly cutesy comedy of romantic snafus, given some semblance of new life by the gorgeous Singapore backdrop and Hong Kong veteran Sylvia Chang's frenzied lead performance. Note to couch potatoes: Beloved TV wok master Martin Yan plays a rival chef in the mood for love. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Tues May 31 9:30 pm
Uptown Fri June 3 4:45 pm
U.S., 2004 (93 min.)
Dir. Don Argott
A manic, overweight music teacher instructs his young Philadelphian students to hail Satan and feel the noize. Jack Black fans can be forgiven for feeling like they've heard this one before. Climaxing with a triumphant performance at a German Zappa festival, Argott's awesome documentary (which, intriguingly, doesn't shy away from depicting head instructor Paul Green as a total bastard) may well be the biggest crowd-pleaser of the entire festival. And, dude, 12-year-old guitarist C. J. Tywoniak can SHRED. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Wed May 25 7:00 pm
EMP's JBL Theater Thurs May 26 7:00 pm
Rock School Jam
The kids from the crowd-pleasing film Rock School get their riffs on for your enjoyment.
EMP's JBL Theater Wed May 25 9:00 pm
The Role of a Lifetime
France, 2004 (102 min.)
Dir. Francois Favrat
Claire Rocher, a proofreader at a fashion magazine, meets glamorous actor Elisabeth Becker. The women are complete opposites-in fame, life, wealth, and relationship-but they become closer when the proofreader becomes the actor's personal assistant. Then Claire's life is turned upside down.
Neptune Sun May 22 9:30 pm
Neptune Tues May 24 4:15 pm
Argentina/Spain/France/Germany/Brazil, 2004 (103 min.)
Dir. Pablo Trapero
Four generations of an Argentine family pack into a mobile home for a cross-country trip to a wedding in Grandma's faraway hometown. Much family drama ensues.
Harvard Exit Thurs June 9 7:15 pm
Harvard Exit Sat June 11 2:00 pm
Argentina/Spain, 2004 (152 min.)
Dir. Adolfo Aristarain
A long, nearly unendurable epic about an aging writer who's struggling to write his autobiography. Stretches of his childhood are told in digressive flashback, wherein he worships his long-suffering mother (the titular Roma), chases lots of gorgeous girls, and never learns to apply himself as he really should. I won't divulge the dedication that appears at the end, but let's just say it really gives the sexist underbelly of the film away. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Neptune Fri June 3 6:30 pm
Uptown Sun June 5 11:00 AM
Argentina, 2004 (80 min.)
Dir. Edgardo Cozarinsky
The streets of Buenos Aires are rough at night, especially for a young gay street-kid-turned prostitute named Victor. This dark and nightmarish film follows him for one evening, as strangers prowl him, a friend tries to kill him, and his past haunts him.
Harvard Exit Wed May 25 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Fri May 27 5:00 pm
Canada, 2005 (90 min.)
Dir. Ruba Nadda
A Muslim woman falls in love with a non-Muslim man. They have an affair. It pisses off her family.
Uptown Sat June 4 1:30 pm
Uptown Mon June 6 9:15 pm
Canada, 2004 (98 min.)
Dir. Michael McGowan
Set in the early 1950s, a young and earnest long-distance runner is under the impression that if he wins the Boston Marathon he will be performing a miracle worthy of saving his critically ill mother.
Egyptian Sat May 21 1:30 pm
Egyptian Mon May 23 9:15 pm
Sweden, 2004 (107 min.)
Dir. Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman still makes movies? They still star Liv Ullmann? They're still incredibly depressing? Yes. Yes. And yes. This sequel to Scenes from a Marriage needs no further pimping.
Egyptian Wed June 1 7:15 pm
Neptune Sat June 4 4:15 pm
U.S., 2004 (91 min.)
Dir. Alice Wu
A harried, bookwormy doctor's tentative attempts at same-sex romance with a free-spirited ballerina are scuttled when she becomes roomies with her newly shamed mother (the great Joan Chen). Seattle native Wu's amiably low-key debut suffers a bit from the standard crowd-pleasing conventions, but stays afloat due to some effective wisecracks and the unforced, charming lead performance of the gorgeous Michelle Krusiec. Yes, pervs, there is a love scene. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Thurs May 26 4:45 pm
Egyptian Fri May 27 7:00 pm
Attention would-be scribblers: If you're having trouble finishing your script and/or getting someone in the business to read it, this sure-to-be informative sit-down with "notable" screenwriters is not to be missed.
Broadway Performance Hall Sat June 4 1:00 pm
U.S., 2004 (54 min.)
Dir. Aaron Lubarsky, Jim Butterworth, Lisa Sleeth
A documentary about activists who put their lives on the line to help North Korean refugees escape that crazy fascist country.
Broadway Performance Hall Thurs May 26 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 29 1:45 pm
Germany, 2004 (98 min.)
Dir. Sandra Nettelbeck
A boy who prefers running around in a tiger costume to acting like a normal kid forms a special bond with a talking dog. No, seriously. This has been described as a "good live-action Disney film." The question you should ask: Is there such a thing as a good live-action Disney film?
Neptune Sun May 29 11:30 AM
If there ever were a gay detective named Feltch, he'd certainly be the subject of a queer-themed short film. And lo and behold, here he is, in the gay-shorts package (no pun, etc.).
Broadway Performance Hall Thurs June 9 4:30 pm
Shadows of Time
India/Germany, 2004 (105 min.)
Dir. Florian Gallenberger
While slaving away deep in the bowels of an Indian carpet factory, a pair of child laborers swear a pact of eternal love to each other. The missed opportunities pile up over the following years, but their commitment remains intact, to the lasting misfortune of all around them. For his feature-length debut, Oscar-winning short-filmmaker Gallenberger proudly wallows in the patented Bollywood aesthetic, creating an occasionally hokey but undeniably epic melodrama. Resistance is probably futile. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Uptown Sat June 11 9:30 pm
Uptown Sun June 12 6:00 pm
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire
Canada, 2004 (91 min.)
Dir. Peter Raymont
It's tough to write about this documentary about Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, who was sent to Rwanda with too few U.N. peacekeepers during the 1994 civil war that left nearly a million dead within 100 days, let alone watch it, but it is necessary and resonant to see it if we are to ever understand what happened when the world turned its back on Rwanda and left Dallaire (who is racked with guilt for not saving more lives than he did) there to witness the horror and not be able to stop it. (SHANNON GEE)
Egyptian Mon May 23 7:00 pm
Harvard Exit Wed May 25 2:00 pm
Shape of the Moon
Netherlands, 2004 (92 min.)
Dir. Leonard Retel Helmrich
The tide of Muslim fundamentalism wreaks havoc on the life of a Christian woman living in Indonesia.
Broadway Performance Hall Tues May 24 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Wed May 25 2:00 pm
Australia, 2004 (106 min.)
Dir. Cate Shortland
Heidi, a promiscuous teen, runs away from home to work at a ski resort. This is not a '70s porno, but it does feature a rugged townie name Joe.
Neptune Fri May 20 4:30 pm
Neptune Mon May 23 7:15 pm
State of Seattle Filmmaking
What's it like to be a filmmaker in Seattle? Are there even filmmakers in Seattle? This panel discussion aims to answer both questions.
Broadway Performance Hall Sat June 4 11:15 AM
U.S., 2005 (97 min.)
Dir. Melissa Painter
A frequently shirtless 15-year-old kleptomaniac with mother issues cons his way into a straight-laced Montana household, and soon proceeds to inexplicably charm the pants off of seemingly every female in town. Via some striking handheld camera work, writer/director Painter successfully conveys a fever-dreamy, hormone-addled adolescent point of view, but the amateurish actors and increasingly ludicrous plot developments quickly diminish her efforts. Larry Clark fans will most likely approve, however. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Broadway Performance Hall Fri June 10 6:45 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sat June 11 4:00 pm
The Story of My Life
France, 2004 (90 min.)
Dir. Laurent Tirard
Raphael (an aspiring novelist) is hung up on a girl who happens to be dating the soccer star whose autobiography Raphael is ghostwriting.
Neptune Fri May 27 9:30 pm
Neptune Sun May 29 2:00 pm
Denmark/Sweden/United Kingdom/Norway, 2004 (92 min.)
Dir. Anders Ronnow Klarlund
While watching this movie, all I wanted to do was leave; but the moment I left the theater, I couldn't stop thinking about it. The film's images and story dominated my mind for a whole week. Directed by a Dane, Anders Ronnow Klarland, Strings is visually powerful and narratologically overwhelming. It stars eerie-looking marion- ettes whose entire religion, or Weltanschauung, is determined by the strings that control their movements. In this movie, which is about war and death, the expression "hanging by a thread" is pushed to the limit. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
Neptune Thurs June 2 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Wed June 8 2:00 pm
Germany, 2004 (98 min.)
Dir. Marco Kreuzpaintner
Gay love blossoms on the crew of a rowing team. (Who woulda thought?) This is not a gay '70s porno, but it does feature a lot of hot German guys without their shirts on.
Egyptian Tues May 24 7:00 pm
Egyptian Wed May 25 4:45 pm
U.S., 2005 (90 min.)
Dir. Doug Sadler
Set in a Maryland fishing town, medical woes (and bills) bring a struggling family's submerged conflicts to the surface.
Broadway Performance Hall Sat June 4 6:15 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Mon June 6 2:00 pm
The Syrian Bride
Palestine/France/Germany, 2004 (96 min.)
Dir. Eran Riklis
Love in the Middle East can be difficult, especially when an Israeli wants to marry a Syrian.
Egyptian Sun May 29 9:00 pm
Egyptian Tues May 31 4:45 pm
Tell Them WhoYou Are
U.S., 2004 (95 min.)
Dir. Mark S. Wexler
This documentary would probably be fascinating even if it weren't about Haskell Wexler (Medium Cool). Made by his nearly estranged son, Tell Them Who You Are is a searing dual portrait of an aggressive, egotistical, promiscuous, indelibly charming, highly opinionated leftist (Haskell: "If you don't know where the fuck we are right now, just look around. We're making a goddamn documentary!") and the child who both aped his vocation and betrayed his politics. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Harvard Exit Sat May 28 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Tues May 31 5:00 pm
Tenja, the Last Will
Morocco/France, 2004 (80 min.)
Dir. Hassan Legzouli
En route to bury his father in the mountains of Morocco, a Frenchman meets a beguiling local woman, who serves as his guide to the land of his ancestry while helping him explore "what it means to be Moroccan."
Uptown Sun June 5 9:15 pm
Uptown Mon June 6 2:00 pm
That Man:Peter Berlin
U.S., 2005 (80 min.)
Dir. Jim Tushinski
Much like Washington's Sasquatch, San Francisco has its own mythical creature-Peter Berlin, a former Tom of Finland subject and '70s gay porn star who still randomly struts the streets wearing his trademark cowboy hat and leather codpiece. Tushinki's awestruck documentary is a tad clunky, but his subject is so uniquely strange that it doesn't really matter: When even the mere mention of Berlin's name can visibly stun featured interviewee John Waters, you know you're watching something special. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Sun June 5 6:00 pm
Egyptian Tues June 7 4:45 pm
The Thing About My Folks
U.S., 2005 (96 min.)
Dir. Raymond De Felitta
After getting dumped by his wife of five decades, an old man (Peter Falk) embarks on a road trip with his once-distant son (Paul Reiser). Wheels spin, resentments flair, secrets are revealed, and selves are discovered.
Egyptian Thurs June 2 7:00 pm
Neptune Sat June 4 2:00 pm
This Charming Girl
South Korea, 2004 (99 min.)
Dir. Lee Yoon-ki
Not much happens in this South Korean drama, but for some reason it doesn't really matter. The story involves a young postal worker whose quiet and seemingly mundane life is rudely interrupted by painful memories from her past. As the film rolls on, you wait for something-anything-to happen, only to eventually realize that the film's power lies within its refusal to expose its cards. Not for everyone, to be sure, but for the brave, or the bravely patient, it can be a bit of a minor miracle. (BRADLEY STEINBACHER)
Harvard Exit Sun May 29 4:15 pm
Neptune Tues May 31 5:00 pm
Three Dancing Slaves
France, 2004 (90 min.)
Dir. Gaël Morel
Attention fans of foxy men: The buzz on Three Dancing Slaves-exploring a trio of brothers driven by tragedy to confront their pasts and question their identities-says it's the lushest display of male pulchritude since Brad Pitt got all Greeky in Troy.
Harvard Exit Wed June 1 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Fri June 3 2:00 pm
South Korea/Japan/Hong Kong, 2004 (125 min.)
Dir. Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike
The Asian horror genre gets the trifecta treatment in this collection of stories directed by three different directors: Japan's Takashi Miike, Hong Kong's Fruit Chan, and Korea's Park Chan-wook. Miike's spooky and elegant Box is about sibling rivalry and a dead twin, Chan's Dumplings is a grossly predictable but memorable tale about a nasty secret to youth and beauty (and it's shot by Christopher Doyle), and Park's Cut takes an idea straight out of Stephen King's Misery or Scorsese's King of Comedy to gory, operatic heights. (SHANNON GEE)
Egyptian Sat May 21 midnight
Neptune Thurs May 26 4:15 pm
Three of Hearts
U.S., 2004 (95 min.)
Dir. Susan Kaplan
What was once a gay partnership becomes a threesome for three New York idealists-and one documentary filmmaker was there to catch some of their biggest milestones on film. Why anyone would want to watch this train wreck of a romantic idea (one straight woman + two gay men in love = a healthy family) prosper and then fall flat on its face over the course of a half dozen years is anyone's guess. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
Broadway Performance Hall Thurs June 2 2:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun June 5 9:00 pm
Japan, 2004 (75 min.)
Dir. Jun Ichikawa
If one is to embrace cinema as a construction, then Tony Takitani is the perfect example of rigid film formalism making a satisfyingly whole emotional experience. Based on the story by Haruki Murakami, the title character is a lonely technical illustrator who marries the fashionable Eiko, but her obsession with designer clothes becomes their downfall. It may be strict in its pictorial structure and reserved in its action, but this film cuts to the bone with its quiet examination of inner loneliness. (SHANNON GEE)
Broadway Performance Hall Fri May 27 4:30 pm
Egyptian Wed June 1 9:30 pm
Touch the Sound
Germany/UK, 2004 (99 min.)
Dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer
For a follow-up to his beloved Andy Goldsworthy documentary, Rivers & Tides, director Thomas Riedelsheimer turns his lens to another intriguing artist: Evelyn Glennie, the acclaimed, nearly deaf percussionist who claims to be able to hear with her whole body. Through performance footage and still photography, Riedelsheimer charts the intricate connections between sound, rhythm, time, and the human body.
Uptown Sat June 4 11:00 AM
Harvard Exit Mon June 6 7:15 pm
Thailand/France, 2004 (118 min.)
Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Graced with a Jury Prize at Cannes 2004, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's highly stylized film views modern life in Thailand through the dreamy realism of Thai myth.
Harvard Exit Fri June 3 9:30 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Mon June 6 4:00 pm
U.S., 2005 (75 min.)
Dir. Heather Rae
This boring but well-intentioned hagiography concerns the poet and Native-American activist John Trudell, who has dedicated his life to being a forceful, eloquent spokesman for "the indigenous people of the western hemisphere." Testimonials from celebrities like Robert Redford and Jackson Browne do little to counteract the white-man's-burdensome vibe of piety in the film. Trudell is an interesting subject with lot of really important stuff to say. The film about him is cloying. (SEAN NELSON)
Broadway Performance Hall Fri May 20 6:45 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Mon May 23 2:00 pm
Brazil/Mexico, 2004 (75 min.)
Dir. Jesse Acevedo
This beautifully filmed documentary looks at Brazilian music across social, geographical, and economic lines. From the African rhythms uniting the poor in the favelas to the carnival celebrations in Rio, director Jesse Acevedo connects with articulate, interesting subjects whose stories of overcoming hardship through song and samba to tell the story of a country hosting constant struggles with racism and poverty yet producing an endless outpouring of world-class music. (JENNIFER MAERZ)
Egyptian Tues June 7 7:00 pm
EMP's JBL Theater Thurs June 9 9:00 pm
Twist of Faith
U.S., 2004 (87 min.)
Dir. Kirby Dick
Kirby Dick's Oscar-nominated documentary follows Tony Comes-a 34-year-old firefighter, father, and devout Catholic-as he risks nearly everything he holds dear to prosecute the clergyman who abused him as a child.
Broadway Performance Hall Fri May 20 9:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 22 1:45 pm
Two Great Sheep
China, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Liu Hao
After inadvertently catching the eye of local government officials, an elderly rural Chinese peasant couple is entrusted with the ridiculously high-maintenance care of a new breed of prized livestock. Envied by fellow villagers, the couple soon find themselves buckling under the strain. Some beautiful scenery, to be sure, but whatever impact this capitalist allegory may have had is quickly dissipated by endless shots of various characters trudging between assorted villages. There's weighty, and then there's ponderous. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Broadway Performance Hall Mon May 23 4:30 pm
Harvard Exit Tues May 24 9:30 pm
Spain/Germany, Portugal, Italy, 2004 (108 min.)
Dir. Joaquín Oristell
Set in Barcelona in 1913, Joaquín Oristell's stylish sex farce follows the wife of a mysteriously missing psychologist as she searches for her lost husband-a passionate Freudian-with the help of her stodgy brother-in-law. Lust blooms, identities are mistaken, and everything gets sexy.
Egyptian Fri June 3 7:00 pm
Egyptian Mon June 6 4:45 pm
Unknown White Male
United Kingdom, 2004 (80 min.)
Dir. Rupert Murray
Rupert Murray's documentary charts the mind-bending saga of a young man with a British accent who mysteriously appears one day in Coney Island, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. As the mystery man pieces together the clues to his life, the audience follows the construction of an identity for a man without a past.
Egyptian Mon June 6 9:15 pm
Neptune Thurs June 9 5:00 pm
Norway, 2004 (103 min.)
Dir. Aksel Hennie
In this gritty crime drama from Norway-birthplace of the tortured protagonist-a well-meaning gym worker is drawn by forces beyond his control into the violent world of drug trafficking. Draw four!
Harvard Exit Sat June 4 6:30 pm
Harvard Exit Tues June 7 2:00 pm
Vento di Terra
Italy, 2004 (90 min.)
Dir. Vincenzo Marra
Following his father's unexpected death, 18-year-old Enzo suddenly finds himself as head of his poverty-ravaged family. Vincenzo Marra's award-winning drama traces Enzo's trek through a series of soul-crushing jobs and a gritty tour of duty with the Italian army before offering up some good old-fashioned redemption.
Broadway Performance Hall Fri June 10 4:30 pm
Egyptian Sun June 12 9:00 pm
Japan, 2004 (86 min.)
Dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
After a car crash erases his memory and kills his girlfriend, a young medical student-played by Japanese indie fave Tadanobu Asano-becomes increasingly obsessed with his dissection class, where the corpses beneath his scalpel start to bear suspicious similarities to his lost love. (Screens with the short film The Big Thing.)
Egyptian Thurs June 9 4:45 pm
Uptown Sun June 12 9:00 pm
Waiting for the Clouds
Turkey/France/Germany/Greece, 2004 (88 min.)
Dir. Yesim Ustaoglu
Issues of family, identity, and ethnicity rise to the surface for Ayse after the death of her sister and a chance encounter with a stranger. Set just after the Turkish war for independence.
Uptown Thurs June 2 7:00 pm
Harvard Exit Sun June 5 11:30 AM
Israel/France, 2004 (96 min.)
Dir. Simone Bitton
As the Israeli/Palestinian battles for a geographic and spiritual homeland rage on, this documentary looks at the issue of the creating the Israeli "wall." The controversial structure, engineered to barricade the West Bank, is discussed by Israelis and Arabs at various standings in the political and economic spectrum.
Uptown Mon June 6 7:00 pm
Uptown Wed June 8 4:15 pm
The Wandering Shadows
Colombia, 2004 (91 min.)
Dir. Ciro Guerra
This black-and-white movie is about two social pariahs who ply their trades in the streets of Bogotá, one as a human taxi with a padded chair strapped to his back, the other as an origami artist. The interesting but perplexing story starts off as a strange little parable of friendship, but near the middle a hyperviolent realism creeps in. The parable is left without a moral, except perhaps that honesty and brutality don't mix. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Egyptian Fri May 20 4:45 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sat May 21 9:15 pm
UK/France, 2001 (85 min.)
Dir. Asif Kapadia
Following the needless slaughter of a small desert village, an Indian soldier renounces his past and heads to the Himalayas. His decision doesn't sit well with the local warlord, however, who quickly calls out a bounty for his head. Thanks to some typical Miramax shenanigans, director Kapadia's ambitious, consciously mythic debut has languished on the shelf since 2001. His visually rich combination of mysticism and slam-bang action, however, remains potent. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Neptune Sat June 4 9:30 pm
Neptune Sun June 5 4:15 pm
Poland, 2003 (110 min.)
Dir. Dariusz Gajewski
The women in this movie are gorgeous and dull (one looks like an elfin Julia Roberts); the men range from fun-loving troublemakers to sinister gangsters. The story has several disparate strands and wanders all over the place, but when the characters all congregate in the same cafe at the end, the effect is anticlimactic. You can't slap magical realism onto the end of a film about unemployment and solemn gray weather and expect it to stick. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Broadway Performance Hall Mon May 30 6:15 pm
Harvard Exit Thurs June 2 2:00 pm
Sweden, 2005 (105 min.)
Dir. Kristian Petri
Not to be confused with the structures unsupervised toddlers sometimes tumble into, The Well is actually a documentary about Orson Welles. A Swedish documentarian homes in on the famous filmmaker's relationship with Spain, choosing the country as a backdrop to spotlight various highlights in a career, most likely skipping Citizen Kane's work on Magnum P.I.
Egyptian Fri June 10 7:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Sun June 12 4:00 pm
Whisky Romeo Zulu
Argentina, 2004 (105 min.)
Dir. Enrique Piñeyro
A black-sheep pilot takes on the Argentine passenger-flight industry, a cutthroat, almost ludicrously rinky-dink business where fire warnings are routinely ignored and life jackets are viewed as a frivolous extravagance. Focusing on the events leading up to the 1999 Buenos Aires tragedy, this taut docu-drama overcomes occasional unnecessary moments of romantic sap to become an engrossing, genuinely pissed rage against the machine, aided immeasurably by the charmingly scruffy performance of writer/director/real-life whistleblower Piñeyro. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Harvard Exit Thurs May 26 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Sun May 29 11:00 AM
Women in Cinema: An Afternoon with Joan Allen
The three-time Oscar nominee sits down for a talk about her craft, her roles, and whatever else might come up.
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 22 4:00 pm
A Wonderful Night in Split
Croatia, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Arsen Anton Ostojic
First Ice Cube, then L.L. and Snoop Dog, and now Coolio-rapping and acting are becoming synonymous professions these days. Here the mastermind behind "Gangsta's Paradise" is featured in a movie set on New Year's Eve in the Croatian city of Split. Much noir lighting and drug addiction ensues.
Harvard Exit Wed June 8 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Fri June 10 5:00 pm
China/Japan/France, 2004 (140 min.)
Dir. Jia Zhang-ke
The themes of alienation, globalization, and wearing lots of makeup make their way into this film, set at a Beijing theme park called Window to the World. Romantic encounters promise trouble.
Harvard Exit Thurs May 26 6:30 pm
Harvard Exit Sat May 28 4:15 pm
A World Without Thieves
Hong Kong, 2004 (100 min.)
Dir. Xiaogang Feng
After their romance hits the skids, a husband-and-wife con-artist team find themselves reinvigorated by the appearance of a small-town yokel who insists on carrying his life savings under his arm. Boarding a train populated exclusively by thugs, their newly discovered morality soon takes a pounding. SIFF mainstay Andy Lau stars in this fairly humdrum, occasionally nifty action melodrama, livened by a few outlandish CGI stunts and some hilariously overdone product placement. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Neptune Wed June 8 7:15 pm
Neptune Sat June 11 4:15 pm
Writer of O
France/U.S., 2004 (80 min.)
Dir. Pola Rappaport
Sex. Lots of it. Twisted, kinky, deviant sex. Well, at least that's what fueled the classic erotic novel The Story of O. Whether or not this documentary about the book's author reveals a lot of skin, bondage, and/or blindfolds remains to be seen.
Broadway Performance Hall Sun June 5 1:00 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Tues June 7 6:45 pm
XYZYang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works
Netherlands, 2005 (90 min.)
Dir. Yan Ting Yuen
China's decade-long cultural revolution had a lasting impact on opera, when its traditional practices were suddenly banned. This documentary explores the revolutionary musical history of the Chinese artform.
Broadway Performance Hall Sun May 22 6:15 pm
Broadway Performance Hall Wed May 25 4:30 pm
United Kingdom/Germany, 2004 (87 min.)
Dir. Kenny Glennan
Post 9/11, a foulmouthed, chain-smoking British Muslim, already saddled with a space-case immigrant arranged husband and a terror of a traditionalist father, must deal with the newly altered perceptions of both her immediate neighbors and the world at large. Grounded by Archie Panjabi's sexy, harried performance, this moody character piece scores hits on a variety of hot-button targets, with a thankful minimum of preach. Occasionally predictable, but mighty powerful. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Sat May 21 9:30 pm
Neptune Mon May 23 5:00 pm
A Year Without Love
Argentina, 2005 (100 min.)
Dir. Anahi Berneri
Not to be confused with the subplots of the new Weezer album, this serious drama focuses on an HIV-positive man determined to stay active in the local S&M scene of Buenos Aires.
Harvard Exit Thurs June 9 9:30 pm
Harvard Exit Sat June 11 4:15 pm
United Kingdom, 2004 (95 min.)
Dir. Sally Potter
Feeling stymied by her philandering politician husband, an Irish-American scientist begins an affair with a Lebanese surgeon, exiled after 9/11 to London and forced to work as a line chef. Rendered almost totally in rhyming, hip-hoppy Seussian slang, director Potter's (Orlando) typically visually lavish take on the dysfunctional-marriage genre boasts close to career-best performances by Joan Allen and Sam Neill. Incredibly, it's awesomely pretentious, but in a rather good way. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
Egyptian Sun May 22 6:00 pm
Egyptian Mon May 23 4:45 pm
South Africa, 2004 (96 min.)
Dir. Darrell James Roodt
The extremely simple, sad story of a rural South African woman named Yesterday who contracts HIV from her Johannesburg-based husband, a miner with a bad case of machismo. Though the cinematography is very pretty and Yesterday's daughter Beauty is possibly the cutest child on the planet, the power of the film is diminished by its refusal to admit the slightest hesitation or resentment in Yesterday's saintly suffering-or in the luminous generosity of her schoolteacher friend. (ANNIE WAGNER)
Uptown Tues June 7 7:00 pm
Uptown Wed June 8 2:00 pm
Zana Briski presents: Born into Brothels
A special screening of Briski's heartbreaking Academy Award-winning documentary, with the director present to field questions after the show.
Guild 45th Tues May 24 6:00 pm