Holy shit, people! Are you ready? It's the first full day of SIFF, and you've got a buttload of great options already. Let's just dig right into it. (And if you're looking for tailor-made recommendations, check out Questionland! Charles and Paul and I are there to answer your questions with careful expertise and wild guesses.)

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Castaway on the Moon
  • Castaway on the Moon

Castaway on the Moon (Pacific Place, 4 pm) is about a man stranded on an uninhabited urban island, and the shut-in who watches him through binoculars from her high-rise apartment. Charles Mudede writes:

A man—an urban man, a man in a handsome suit, a man holding a cell phone, a man in his 30s, a man facing a huge, South Korean city that’s split by a great river—jumps from a bridge. He wants the river to kill him, he wants to be done with the world of debt and indifferent ex-girlfriends, he wants the serenity of nothingness. The man, however, does not die; the river tosses him onto an island beneath the bridge that links the great city. From this point on, we get a movie that is closely related to J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island.

Also at 4 pm (Neptune), Paul Constant highly recommends Air Doll:

Within the first five minutes of Air Doll, you can forget about the hopes that you’ll be watching some sort of spiritual heir to Mannequin or Lars and the Real Girl. Instead, it’s a gritty fairy tale about an inflatable sex doll who comes to life. Doona Bae stars as Nozomi, the doll who ventures out from her owner’s apartment while he’s away at work. Soon enough, she’s found work in a video store and fallen in love with a fellow clerk. Air Doll has a lot to say about adoration and the way we sometimes dispose of the ones we love as soon as we’re done with them.

At 7 pm at the Uptown it's Soul Kitchen (a comedy about a struggling Hamburg diner from the director of previous SIFF favorites Head-On and The Edge of Heaven), which Mudede describes thuswise:

What kind of culture is the global culture that’s emerging all around us at this moment? This film, which is directed by a German Turk and is set in Hamburg, answers that question with this answer: Global culture is one that is always on the verge of collapse, of falling apart and becoming a meaningless jumble of sounds, feelings, and faces. But somehow it holds together, and what we see is not a total mess but speeding trains, large lofts, bars, clubs, packed restaurants, and people—beautiful people from all of the races of the world—enjoying black American music. The tune at the end of Soul Kitchen is, appropriately (or ironically), Louis Armstrong with Leon Thomas performing “The Creator Has a Master Plan.”

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Bass Ackwards
  • Bass Ackwards
Also tonight: Linas Phillips's new self-discovery-road-trip-movie Bass Ackwards ("Phillips has a way of making plain, sad-sack tangents compelling, and stacking them all together to make stories out of them"); totally silly Argentine mistaken-identity-rom-com Music on Hold ("people fall down a lot, and falling down is hilarious"); cray-cray Japanese totalitarian sci-fi thingy K-20: The Fiend with 20 Faces ("a mysterious thief with superpowers wants to change this broken world"); and the Ian Dury biopic Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, which we haven't seen yet but which stars the reliably captivating Andy Serkis. Oh, and it's the opening night of ShortsFest weekend, if you're into that sort of thing.


Happy SIFFing, y'all!

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Washington Ensemble Theatre presents amber, a sensory installation set in the disco era
In this 30-minute multimedia experience, lights & sounds guide groups as they explore a series of immersive spaces.