Michael Murphy's documentary Up From the Streets, streaming via SIFF starting Friday, looks at the history of New Orleans culture through its rich music scene.
If you stopped by the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone this past Tuesday, you may have already seen 13th, Ava DuVernay's Emmy-winning documentary about mass incarceration in the United States, projected on an outdoor screen. If you missed it, though, you can stream it anytime on Netflix, along with a slew of other great films that explore the history and consequences of racism in America. We've rounded up some of those options below, as well as other top picks for movies being streamed by local theaters this weekend, like Northwest Film Forum, which is donating all proceeds this month to organizations like the Black Lives Matter Seattle Freedom Fund.


Jump to: POC-Focused Films About Social Justice & Systematic Inequality | LGBTQ+ Picks for Pride Month | New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses | New and Noteworthy: Nationwide | Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

POC-Focused Films About Social Justice & Systematic Inequality

13th
Director Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us) explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States in this Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated documentary titled after the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. 
Available via Netflix

The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
Director/writer Göran Olsson admits his film isn’t comprehensive, but his outsider’s perspective lends a piquant slant unavailable to American filmmakers. He devotes almost as much time to ordinary black citizens dealing with injustice, drugs, and poverty as he does to leaders like Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, and Eldridge Cleaver, making us realize that Black people’s grievances resonate as urgently today as they did 40 years ago. DAVE SEGAL
Available via Kanopy

Cop Land
If you're looking for an example of the self-favoring extent to which police departments have policed themselves for decades, revisit this 1997 classic about NYPD cops who try to cover up the killings of two black men in small-town New Jersey—a case that the town's partially deaf sheriff (Sylvester Stallone) is tasked with investigating. Robert De Niro's in it, too.
Available via Hulu

Join the party at Speakeasy!— make cocktails and draw with Callan Berry!
Every other Thursday, make a cocktail, chat, and draw with Police Reports Illustrated’s Callan Berry!
Best place to enjoy drinks outside in Seattle
Every hour is happy hour on the Harbor Cruise. Enjoy local booze and expansive skyline views.

Copwatch
Nominated for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, this film spotlights We Copwatch, a group of civilians dedicated to filming the police—and who captured the original videos of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray. Filmmaker Camilla Hall follows the group's founder, Jacob Crawford, from his home in Oakland to the sites of those murders. 
Available via Amazon Prime and Kanopy

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Using archival footage and the investigative work of NYC Anti-Violence Project's Victoria Cruz, David France's film explores the unsolved 1992 death of the highly influential transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson. The film also features footage of Johnson's friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, who "reminds us that transgender people and gender-nonconformists blazed a trail for civil rights, leaving a legacy that must be defended rigorously in the spirit of these two pioneers of the movement."
Available via Netflix

Do Not Resist
Men in camouflage carrying assault rifles looking on as a group of teenagers march past them holding protest signs. A mine-resistant military vehicle passing through a quiet neighborhood. State agents smashing the windows as they raid a family's home. No, this isn't Syria or North Korea or Bahrain. This is America and its police forces, as shown in the chilling and superb new documentary Do Not Resist. ANSEL HERZ
Available via multiple platforms

Fruitvale Station
Oscar Grant was the unarmed 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by a transit cop in an Oakland train station—Fruitvale Station—on January 1, 2009. At trial, the officer convinced the jury that he mistook his gun for a Taser. Convicted of involuntary manslaughter, he served 11 months and was home before the year was out. In a way, Grant himself is on trial in Fruitvale Station, humanized compassionately yet unflinchingly on the big screen. But ultimately, you need only ask yourself: Why does this man have to prove he doesn't deserve to be killed? In our culture, who has to prove themselves and who doesn't? JEN GRAVES
Available via Tubi

Hell You Talmbout
This short film selection from the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival tells the story of a social justice-inspired dance troupe in Seattle, formed in the wake of the 2016 shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Available via Vimeo

I Am Not Your Negro
Sixteen years after Lumumba, Raoul Peck, who is Haitian, has directed I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary about one of the greatest writers of 20th-century America, James Baldwin. Now, it's easy to make a great film about Baldwin, because, like Muhammad Ali, there's tons of cool footage of his public and private moments, and, also like Ali, he had a fascinating face: the odd shape of his head, the triangle of hair that defined his forehead, and his froggy eyes. Just show him doing his thing and your film will do just fine. But Peck blended footage of Baldwin with dusky and dreamy images of contemporary America. These images say: Ain't a damn thing changed from the days of Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement. But they say this with a very deep insight about the nature of time. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via Grand Illusion and Ark Lodge

Just Mercy
Destin Daniel Cretton directs this legal drama starring Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson as he travels to Alabama to defend Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) against a wrongful conviction. Warner Bros. Pictures is making the film available to rent for free through the end of June. 
Available via Warner Bros. Pictures

Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers
Following its Oakland progenitors, Seattle was one of the first cities to form a branch of the Black Panther Party. Scored by SassyBlack, this series of five short documentaries, produced by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee, serves as an introduction to the courageous actions of women Black Panther activists, from Frances Dixon to Phyllis Noble Mobley.
Available via Seattle Channel

Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992
The beating of Rodney King by five white police officers in Los Angeles in 1991 was one of the first viral videos of racist police violence, and it highlighted the long history of friction between the LAPD and the city's black and Latinx communities. This documentary traces that history, as well as the riots that followed the incident. 
Available via Netflix

Losing Ground
Losing Ground was one of the first feature-length dramas since the 1920s to be directed by a Black woman. After being screened at various film festivals, Losing Ground never got a wide-theatrical release during Collins' lifetime, which was tragically cut short by breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1988. In the time since, the film has been rediscovered and cherished widely by critics and Black filmmakers alike. Dreamy, meaty, and deeply intellectual, Losing Ground is remarkable because of its focus on the interior lives, class and gender dynamics, emotions, and dreams of the Black characters it depicts, specifically regarding the woman at the center of the film, Sara Rogers (played perfectly by Seret Scott). Despite the film's extremely small budget, the cinematography by Ronald K. Gray gives the visual palette a lushness that feels decadent; the deep greens of the trees upstate, Sara's colorful wardrobe, the wind-whipped roof on top of a building makes the film reflect the deep sensuality explored by its characters. Losing Ground is, as Charles Mudede says, "one of the most important and original American films of the second half of the 20th century." JASMYNE KEIMIG
Available via Criterion Channel
See here for more films highlighting black lives streaming for free on the Criterion Channel.

Queen & Slim
Queen & Slim may be the best—and is almost certainly the Blackest—film of 2019, and is perhaps most poignant for its gorgeous, complex, and multifaceted portrayal of the Black experience, where sparks of joy and love exist alongside pain, struggle, and oppression; a new American romance/drama written in the Black American language, told via a fully Black lens, and including a diverse array of characters who show that Black people are not a monolith. JENNI MOORE
Available via multiple platforms

Selma
Director Ava DuVernay's willingness to engage with this particularly American history of violence sets Selma apart—portraying a movement on film is an impossible task, but if DuVernay has succeeded, it's in the way Selma forces a kind of reckoning for its viewer. MEGAN BURBANK
Available via multiple platforms

Virtual Moving History XII – Color Me Somebody
This week's installment of the Moving Image Preservation of Puget Sound's archival video series will hark back to the Peabody Award-winning KING-TV documentary Color Me Somebody, about the racial divide in Seattle in the 1960s. It's narrated by Jason Bernard and soundtracked by the Dave Lewis Trio. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

Whose Streets?
Most of us remember scrolling through news about the Ferguson protests on Twitter in 2014, but Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ directorial debut Whose Streets? fills in the blanks of the story, offering a humanizing, much-needed portrait of those involved. Dedicated to Michael Brown, the film captures the aftermath of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old—by a white police officer, while the Black young man had his hands in the air—using unflinching interviews with the still-grieving Ferguson residents who’ve seen their community unify against police brutality. JENNI MOORE
Available via Northwest Film Forum and Ark Lodge

You can also find several films about social and systemic injustice (including 2013's Let the Fire Burn, about the 1985 state-sanctioned eviction and subsequent burning of a Philadelphia row house) on Kanopy, a free streaming service for library cardholders. Check out our resistance & solidarity guide for more anti-racism resources.

LGBTQ+ Picks for Pride Month

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
Available via Northwest Film Forum

For They Know Not What They Do
Director Daniel Karslake (For the Bible Tells Me So) brings attention to the ever-present fight for LGBTQ+ equality in parts of the country where anti-gay conversion therapy programs are par for the course. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Opening Friday

Pr0n 4 Freakz 2020
Saira Barbaric and Alistair Fyrn, founders of the porn production company ScumTrust, will continue their series of genderqueer/trans erotic films with a virtual screening, to the delight of LGBTQ+ smut enthusiasts. The aim of ScumTrust—apart from making their audiences feel hot and bothered through depictions of the "gritty parts of sex, life and pleasure"—is to celebrate all bodies and destigmatize sex work and sensual performance.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Sunday only

Tangerine
After hearing that her boyfriend/pimp cheated on her while she was in jail, a trans hooker and her best friend set out to find him and teach him and his new lover a lesson. Sean Baker's award-winning 2015 film was shot on three iPhones. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses

15th Annual HUMP! Film Festival 2020
Our colleagues, the creators of HUMP!, were crushed to cancel their originally planned spring re-screening. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, they knew that the show must go on! Even if we can’t watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 all new, sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes. Dan will introduce the show, and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks and fetishes! BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via The Stranger
Friday only

CoFF - Confinement (online) Film Festival
With everyone cooped up in their respective abodes, The Stranger challenged artsy laypeople everywhere to submit short films that express our current reality of social distancing and self-quarantine. From poignant vignettes to dystopian nightmares to sexy stuff to mini-dramas, the results are just as varied as you might expect. Watch it live online and vote online for your favorites. (The categories are "Most Creative," "Funniest," "They Lost Their Goddamn Mind," and Most Poignant.")
Available via The Stranger
Saturday only

Festival of (In)Appropriation #10
Found footage, collage films, and other types of cinematic works that incorporate appropriated materials will be screened at the 10th iteration of this festival. See mashups, mixes, and digital experiments from Spain, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the USA that reference the myth of Persephone, the male gaze, the perception of mental illness by law enforcement among women and queers of color, and more.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Friday-Sunday

Her Effortless Brilliance: A Celebration of Lynn Shelton Through Film and Music
Acclaimed Seattle director Lynn Shelton died too soon, and the grief felt by her fans, collaborators, and loved ones comes through in this documentary by Shelton's longtime friend Megan Griffiths. It's free to watch on YouTube and features a star-studded lineup of appearances, including Emily Blunt, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark and Jay Duplass, Jeff Garlin, Joshua Leonard, Sean Nelson, Michaela Watkins, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as live music from her partner Marc Maron, Andrew Bird, Ben Gibbard, Laura Veirs, and Tomo Nakayama.
Available via YouTube

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
For a wholesome mental recharge, turn to Anca Damian's expressionistic French animated film told through the eyes of a stray dog who just wants a loving human to hang out with. 
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Mysteries of Lisbon
In a 2010 SIFF preview, Charles Mudede wrote, "The great film critic J. Hoberman had this to say about the late Raul Ruiz’s final film: 'Adapted from a six-part miniseries (or soap opera) produced for Portuguese TV, Mysteries of Lisbon is a fitting companion to Ruiz's triumphant 1999 adaptation of Time Regained.' There is no film that better translates Proust into cinema than Ruiz’s Time Regained, an adaptation of the final book in Remembrance of Things Past. If Mysteries of Lisbon is a companion of Time Regained, then it will easily be the film of the year."
Available via SIFF
Opening Sunday

Thee Debauchery Ball
Immerse yourself in Chicago's Afrocentric house music scene with this virtual screening of Thee Debauchery Ball, a documentary that won for best film at the Southside Chicago Film Festival. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Freedom Fund.
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Opening Friday

Travessias Festival Flashback – The City of the Future (A Cidade do Futuro)
A polyamorous family in Bahia, Brazil, prepares for the arrival of their baby, while the surrounding community grapples with the damaging aftermath of the construction of a nearby dam. Co-presented with the Center for Brazilian Studies at UW and curated by Emanuella Leite Rodrigues.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Up From the Streets
This documentary looks at the history of New Orleans culture through its rich music scene, touching on how music was used to express the injustices of Jim Crow and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Available via SIFF
Opening Sunday

You Don't Nomi
A filmic argument for the greatness of Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, Jeffrey McHale's documentary features interviews with Adam Nayman (Vice Guide to Film), April Kidwell (I, Nomi), and Peaches Christ (Milk), along with archival interview footage with the cast and crew of Showgirls.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

New and Noteworthy: Nationwide

3 Brothers
Spike Lee's new brief but powerful short film is only 95 seconds long, composed of clips from the harrowing police killings of Eric Garner and George Floyd, as well as the death of Radio Raheem from Lee's 1989 classic Do the Right Thing.
Available via Twitter

Artemis Fowl
Based off of Eoin Colfer's beloved YA fantasy novels, this film adaptation of Artemis Fowl follows the genius boy as he enters a fairy world to save his criminal mastermind father. 
Available via Disney+

Da 5 Bloods
In Spike Lee's new Netflix Original film, four black American war veterans return to Vietnam after 40 years to recover the body of their fallen squad leader and the treasure that was buried with him. 
Available via Netflix

I May Destroy You
If all you know of Michaela Coel is her work in Chewing Gum, the brilliant sitcom she created for BBC Two—and was subsequently streamed on Netflix—you will be ill-prepared for this British talent’s stunning second act, I May Destroy You.  In her new series, [Coel] turns muted and enraged, introspective and terrified, but still no less confused about the world at large. And the London that Coel and director Sam Miller put on camera in Destroy is far more true to its current densely-populated state. The streets and interiors feel claustrophobic at times, lending an added sense of discomfort to its more harrowing moments. One ugly scene in particular is the catalyst for the entire 12-episode series. Coel’s character Arabella, a young writer with a major online presence, is back from a trip to Italy where she was supposed to produce a manuscript for a new book. Returning with nothing, she plans an all-nighter to finish up her draft. But an invitation from her buddy Simon (Aml Ameen) proves too tempting and she’s soon out for a night of karaoke, coke bumps, and dancing. It’s at Arabella’s last stop that her drink is spiked and she is sexually assaulted by a stranger. From that point, everything in Arabella’s life begins to unravel. She struggles to remember the details of her assault even as she’s reporting it to the police. (CW: The scenes of this incident are hazy at first but, as Arabella starts to piece the story together, they become more graphic in later episodes of the series.) She attempts to maintain a long distance connection with Biagio (Marouane Zotti), a handsome drug dealer she made a deep connection with in Italy. And her book project keeps slipping further and further into the distance. ROBERT HAM
Available via HBO

King of Staten Island
If you stan Pete Davidson (secretly or openly), you probably don't need much convincing to watch Judd Apatow’s new dramedy loosely based off of the self-effacing SNL comic's life. 
Available via multiple platforms

Lenox Hill
You should already revere healthcare workers, but to deepen your appreciation further—especially in the age of COVID-19, from which the city has seen over 24,000 deaths—this docuseries spotlighting New York's busy Lenox Hill hospital focuses on the work done onsite before the virus hit.
Available via Netflix

The Wiz Live
Though we’re all familiar with the Judy Garland version, there have been approximately three billion other adaptations of The Wizard of Oz, and NBC’s 2015 broadcast of The Wiz Live might actually be the best??? Judge for yourself this weekend when it’s available to stream for 48 hours. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s company has been posting a new stage-to-screen show (nearly) every Friday as part of an ongoing fundraiser for various worthy causes (this week it's the NAACP), and while nobody was in the mood for Peter Pan Live last weekend (which they canceled), now seems like a great time for an all-Black musical about the power of community and found family. Even if you’re not an Oz fan, there’s so much to love in this live version: The cast is fantastic, the Cirque du Soleil dancers bring pizzazz, and Harvey Fierstein’s teleplay fixes a lot of the problems from the original text. (Dorothy’s choice to leave Oz actually makes sense in this one!) MATT BAUME
Available via YouTube
Friday-Sunday

Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

Americana Kamikaze
NYC's interdisciplinary performance group Temporary Distortion blends theater, film, and installation to freakily contort Japanese ghost stories and horror (aka J-Horror) through an American musical tradition. In a 2009 New York Times review of the play, Jon Weiss wrote, "Hard-core horror fans should take notice, because with Hollywood’s rarely risking something truly upsetting anymore, preferring funny zombies and by-the-numbers remakes, you might have to go to the theater to see death performed live to really test your limits."
Available via On the Boards

Bacurau
In this Cannes Jury Prize-winning sci-fi tale of predation and resistance, a small Brazilian town bands together to repel murderous mercenaries and mysterious forces that want to drive them from their homes and erase the memory of their existence.
Available via Ark Lodge

César and Rosalie
In Claude Sautet's classic romantic drama César et Rosalie, two men (the wealthy César and David, an old flame) battle for the affections of a beautiful, recently divorced lady (played by Isabelle Huppert in her first film role). 
Available via Ark Lodge

Cunningham
Alla Kovgan traces the career of Merce Cunningham, a Cornish alum who emerged from a struggling dancer in New York to a visionary modern choreographer. In addition to interviews with those who knew him and a peek into his gorgeous love-letter correspondence with his longtime lover and collaborator John Cage (e.g. "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it. And that is poetry as I need it."), this documentary has some great excerpts of Cunningham's work—including a piece performed in the middle of a forest.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Fantastic Fungi
At its worst, Fantastic Fungi gets too woo-woo wacky for its own good (when the film’s discussion turns to magic mushrooms, the visuals turn into what is, as far as I can tell, a psychedelic screensaver from Windows 95), but at its best, the doc pairs fantastic time-lapse imagery with a good dose of actual, mind-blowing science. Affable, passionate mushroom researcher Paul Stamets is joined by talking heads Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, and narrator Brie Larson to examine everything from massive fungal networks that carry signals between disparate, distant plants to the psychological benefits of psilocybin. It’s an uneven trip, but a good one. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Available via Ark Lodge

The Ghost of Peter Sellers
The behind-the-scenes footage of Peter Medak's unreleased 1973 film Ghost of the Noonday Sun, starring Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther, Dr. Strangelove), is definitively more entertaining than the film itself, which organizers describe as an "outrageous pirate comedy" set in the 17th century, and which Medak would describe as "the biggest disaster" of his life. The director brings it all back in this documentary. 
Available via SIFF

The Grey Fox
A stagecoach robber is released from prison in the early 1900s, only to get inspired for his second wind by the 1903 Western The Great Train Robbery. This 4K restoration of Phillip Borsos's 1982 film was partially filmed right here in Washington. When it came out, Roger Ebert called it "one of the loveliest adventures of the year."
Available via Grand Illusion
Friday only

Hail Satan?
"Sorry about the mess," Lucien Greaves, the co-founder of the Satanic Temple, says to the crew of Hail Satan? as he welcomes them into the organization’s headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts. Like the Satanic Temple, director Penny Lane’s Hail Satan? isn’t quite what it seems: Yes, Lane’s affectionate and funny documentary does feature some pig heads getting slammed onto spikes, and yes, there are some naked writhing people. But Hail Satan? is more interested in the organization’s vision of “contemporary satanism”—one that doesn’t include worshipping the devil but does include progressive activism and providing a “sociopolitical counter-myth” in a country that’s too often characterized as a “Christian nation.” [Greaves:] "We are a secular nation. We are supposed to be a democratic, pluralist nation.” That’s a fact that seems ominously and increasingly forgotten in Trump’s America, so forget about the question mark. Hail Satan. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

The Infiltrators
In this docu-thriller, two young immigrants purposely get themselves thrown into a shady for-profit detention center to dismantle the corrupt organization from the inside. Their detainers don't know that they're members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Military Wives
Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Gosford Park) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) lead a group of English women who start a choir to cope while their spouses are away serving in Afghanistan, and boy does it look wholesome and heartwarming. 
Available via SIFF

Now I'm Fine
Sean Nelson wrote, "Ahamefule J. Oluo, of Stranger Genius Award winning band Industrial Revelation, remounts his autobiographical odyssey, a harrowing, hilarious personal story punctuated by astoundingly strong songs, brilliantly arranged and performed by several of the most talented musicians in Seattle." Originally staged at On the Boards, Now I'm Fine received rave reviews during its recent New York run, and will now be screened online. 
Available via On the Boards

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
With Once Were Brothers, Roher presents a conventional contextualizing rock doc with marquee-name talking heads—Van Morrison, George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, et al.—and efficiently reveals Robertson's early family life (his mother was indigenous, his father Jewish) and musical evolution. Robertson is an articulate, passionate memoirist; the film is based on his 2016 autobiography, Testimony. With equanimity, he registers the Band's soaring highs and devastating lows, while his French ex-wife Dominique adds crucial observations about the inter-band dynamics and substance abuse that dogged the members. Tracing a story of relentless, upward mobility through the music industry, the doc emphasizes Robertson's inner strength and boundless ambition, which helped him to avoid the booze- and drug-related pitfalls that afflicted his mates. For fans of the Band, this film will inspire tears of sorrow and joy, if not rage. Now more than ever, their music stirs emotions with a profundity that feels religious, but without the stench of sanctimony. DAVE SEGAL
Available via Ark Lodge

The Painter and the Thief
In this dark, time-jumping documentary by Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Lee, the Czech painter Barbora Kysilkova develops a friendship—or at least a mutual fascination—with a man who stole some of her paintings from a gallery (and proceeded to lose them). Anthony Lane wrote in The New Yorker, "The two of them arrive at a happy ending, of sorts, yet I find myself worrying more about Barbora, and the shape of her future, than I do about Bertil. Other viewers will disagree, and that’s why The Painter and the Thief is such a good lockdown movie, to be watched in the early evening and then argued about over spaghetti—or with spaghetti, if the discussion gets intense."
Available via SIFF

Police Beat
Police Beat, a fictional film I made with the director Robinson Devor (we also made Zoo), is also a documentary about a Seattle that's recovering from the dot-com crash of 2000 (a crash that sent Amazon's shares falling from nearly $100 apiece to $6—they're now around $2,400), and entering its first construction boom of the 21st century (between 2005 and 2008). The hero of my film, the police officer Z (played by the beautiful but sadly late Pape Sidy Niang), could actually afford a little Seattle house on his salary (around $45,000). The median price of houses in 2003 was a lot (about $300,000) but not out of reach for a middle-class immigrant with a stable job. Lastly, the film is a documentary about Seattle's beautiful and virid parks. How I love them all and wanted to film them all: Volunteer Park, Freeway Park, the Washington Park, Madison Park, the parks on either side of the Montlake Cut. So green, so urban, so natural. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via The Stranger

Shirley
Renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson (whose most famous works include The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle) is in the middle of writing her masterpiece when a young newlywed couple shows up and throws her—and her already-rocky relationship with her philandering husband—off track. It looks devious and kinda juicy.
Available via Northwest Film Forum and SIFF

Slay the Dragon
Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance's documentary investigates how gerrymandering has damaged our democracy, and how citizen-led activist groups have been crucial agents of change when bigger systems fail. 
Available via Ark Lodge

Spaceship Earth
Matt Wolf's oddly uplifting documentary tells the true story of Biosphere 2—a self-engineered replica of the Earth's ecosystem inspired by a project that began in the 1970s, and in which eight people (self-described "biospherians") attempted to quarantine themselves for two years in the early '90s. While the experiment was cut short, the fact that this film chronicles daily existence in the face of a life-threatening ecological disaster makes this a timely online release. 
Available via Ark Lodge

SPLIFF 2019 & 2020
A new vibe of stoner entertainment is emerging—witness the rise of Broad City, High Maintenance, and basically every TV show created on Viceland. And, most importantly, The Stranger presents SPLIFF, your new favorite film festival created by the stoned for the stoned. Because we can no longer congregate in person, we're rescreening the 2019 and 2020 festivals (the latter of which is hosted by Betty Wetter and Cookie Couture) online! Got some weed on hand? Check it out from the comfort of your home. All contributions received will be shared with the filmmakers.
Available via The Stranger

Tommaso
If you love Willem Dafoe to no end, you're in good company with Italian director Abel Ferrara, who, in addition to this latest film, cast the lighthouse keeper/Green Goblin/kindly motel proprietor as the lead in his 2014 biopic Pasolini. This time, he plays an American expat artist living in Rome with his young wife and daughter. 
Available via Grand Illusion

The Whistlers
Festival favorite Corneliu Porumboiu (The Treasure, Police, Adjective) delves into the noir genre, complete with a beautiful crook, a crooked inspector, and...a secret whistling language? 
Available via SIFF

A White, White Day
In Hlynur Pálmason's follow-up to Winter Brothers, an off-duty police chief in a remote Icelandic town begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. In thriller-meets-Nordic-art-house fashion, the man becomes obsessed with finding the truth, at the expense of his (living) loved ones. 
Available via SIFF

The Wild
Documentary filmmaker Mark Titus (The Breach) returns to the Alaskan wilderness, where the people of Bristol Bay and the world's largest wild salmon runs are in danger of environmental devastation from Pebble Mine, a massive copper mine slated for construction. 
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Yourself and Yours
Hong Sang-soo’s 18th feature—all of them absurdist but humanely perceptive variations on the intractable nature of romance between men and women—sees him dolefully refining his abiding conceit, as ever played out over long, fumbling conversations fueled by soju and beer. Youngsoo, an artist whose mom is dying, is faced with jealous doubts after his imbibing girlfriend Minjung is rumored to be fooling around with other men. Hong envisions desire as its own form of duplicity, which structurally plays out in the film’s elusive and illusory replication of Minjung, who singularly (or collectively?) busts the myth of a “truly impressive man.” JAY KUEHNER
Available via Northwest Film Forum