Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan as civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson during the 1992 case of Walter McMillian, who served six years on Alabama's death row after being wrongfully convicted of murdering a white woman. Warner Bros. Pictures is making the film free to stream for the month of June. JAKE GILES NETTER

As protests demanding action against racist police misconduct continue across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death, there's no better time to watch films that educate us about civil rights leaders, social justice movements, and events throughout history that echo our current moment. Below, we've listed some documentaries you can stream online, from I Am Not Your Negro to The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, as well as other 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.

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

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Enjoy local beer, wine, and specialty cocktails outside. Available Wed-Sun, 3:30 pm - Close

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 multiple platforms

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

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

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.

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
Saturday 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
Friday only

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

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

My Sight is Lined with Visions: 1990s Asian American Film & Video
To round out Asian American Heritage Month, see an eclectic program of short films from the 1990s to the early aughts by filmmakers across the Asian diaspora. Highlights include Richard Fung's "Dirty Laundry," which explores expressions of sexuality among Chinese Canadians in the 1800s (through the lens of a modern-day fictional magazine writer as he travels through Canada by train); Shu Lea Cheang's campy experimental film "Fresh Kill," about two young lesbian parents who fight against environmental racism in the form of radioactive fish lips; and Jon Moritsugu's stereotype-bucking satire "Terminal USA."
Available via Northwest Film Forum

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

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

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
Opening Friday

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

New and Noteworthy: Nationwide

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
It’s unusual to witness real cinematic magic these days, but the Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood absolutely has it. Director Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wisely avoids the visual slickness one might expect from a Tom Hanks-centric melodrama, instead employing a lived-in style and scene transitions that consist of miniature cities harkening back to the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hanks is totally committed to Rogers’ appearance and manner, but A Beautiful Day is more about Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) a fictional journalist profiling Rogers. (Vogel’s work is based on a 1998 Esquire profile by Tom Junod; as is the case with the film, Junrod’s piece sketches a beautiful yet enigmatic image of Rogers.) Where Heller’s film becomes transcendent is in its cinematic pressure points: The striking slowness of the narrative (it’s meant to emulate the pace of Rogers’ show, and you get used to it), the mirroring of Rogers and Vogel in their interview styles and drawn-out reaction shots, and a profound moment of silence that grips your heart like, “Did that really just happen? Why was that so intense?”SUZETTE SMITH
Available via Starz and other platforms

Cabaret
Christopher Isherwood, who wrote the novel that became a play that became the Kander and Ebb musical that became Bob Fosse's award-winning 1972 movie, lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1934. He got out when he detected "terror in the Berlin air." He started having "mild hallucinations." He heard wagons pull up to the building that weren't there and started seeing swastikas in the wallpaper of his room. So what did he do? He moved. He got out of there. He relocated to Los Angeles, to the United States, where nothing like creeping autocracy would ever happen. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Available via HBO Max

Dear…
This heartwarming-looking docuseries profiles American cultural figures like Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinman, Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and others through letters written by their biggest fans. New episodes stream on Apple TV every Friday. 
Available via Apple TV

Dreamland
The director and star of the cult horror classic Pontypool, about a zombie virus that plagues a Canadian town, team up again in this thriller about a gang boss who recruits a killer to retrieve the finger of a jazz legend. "If you’ve never seen a movie luxuriate in eccentricity as thoroughly as a cat basking in a sun puddle, then you need to watch Dreamland," reads a New York Times review. 
Available via VOD

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
There were a bunch of people who considered HBO Max having Friends at launch to be a very, very big deal—not least of which being the millionaire CEOs at Warner Bros. But funny enough, in the short amount of time that HBO Max has been around, the beloved '90s-era sitcom warming hearts and prompting nostalgia-fueled binge-watches isn't the one with Ross & Rachel. It's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the TV show that made Will Smith into WILL SMITH, and more importantly, gave millions of people the gift of James Avery as Uncle Phil. Oh, and the Carlton-dance, too! And the theme song! Which is now stuck in your head. You know what the only way to get that out of there is, right... BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via HBO Max

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 Max
Premiering Sunday

Inside Man
In advance of their debuting the latest Spike Lee joint (Da 5 Bloods, a Vietnam War movie starring Chadwick Boseman, coming June 12) Netflix has just added what is probably Lee's most (for lack of a better word) "Pop" movie. That's not to say Inside Man isn't thoughtful, carefully considered, and most of all very well-acted (thank you, Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jodie Foster). It's very much all those things! But it's all those things in service of a potboiler bank heist plot. So when you stack it up against Do the Right Thing or BlackKklansman or Malcolm X or 25th Hour, it may seem sort of slight by comparison. But when you're watching it? It's a remarkably tight thriller that grabs you from frame one and tries to stop you from taking a breath until the end credits start rolling. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix

Lady Bird
Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan, never better) is a teenage girl striving to find a self she can live in while stranded in moribund, lower-middle-class Sacramento, "the Midwest of California." Her efforts begin with that name, which she bestowed upon herself—Christine was too normal—and loudly demands that everyone call her at all times. The crusade also manifests in the form of hair dye, petty crime, habitual lying, sexual experimentation with unworthy boys, and musical theater. SEAN NELSON
Available via Netflix

Queer Eye: Season 5
Watch Antoni, Bobby, Jonathan, Karamo, and Tan publically zhuzh up the lives of 10 Philadelphians in the fifth season of the hit reality show Queer Eye.
Available via Netflix
Premiering Friday

Spelling the Dream
While some of you were looking to slake your thirst for sports by mainlining episodes of that 10-part Air Jordan commercial on ESPN, others—aficionados of real competition and compelling true-to-life-drama—were waiting for this documentary to hit Netflix. Spelling the Dream shuffles to the mic and confidently fills the void left by the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee cancellation, and tells the story of four children seeking to win that very championship; and through those stories, investigates how the Bee not only became must-watch television every year, but how the Indian-American community has made the Bee the national tradition it's now become. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix

V for Vendetta
Last week, HBO Max launched, and there's a ton of inarguably great stuff to be found there already—many of Akira Kurosawa's finest films, a huge archive of classic Looney Tunes cartoons, the epoch-defining wonder of the Critters franchise—but a lot of people are subbing solely for that sweet DC comics content. But one of the best comic book movies ever, one that came from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, isn't there! It's on NETFLIX now, and V for Vendetta has almost never gotten its proper due. Upon release, it was just an entertaining-yet-pretentious follow-up to the disappointing Matrix sequels. Less than a decade later, V was so thoroughly hijacked by "anarchist" internet brats indulging in proto-Gamergate harassment tactics, that the mask became the second-biggest marker of young male dipshittery next to the fedora. But now you can stream it on Netflix and see it for the rare flower it really is: A good adaptation of an Alan Moore comic. Even more extraordinary? It improves on the source! As a book, V is a naive and clumsy work by an angry beardo just starting to wrap his head around anarchist theory. The Wachowskis, director James McTeigue, and an amazing cast (Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, John Hurt) do away with all of Moore's silliest, most immature ideas and replace his misguided rage with a more weathered, measured cynicism. Well, that and some legit stunts 'n' splosions, too. BOBBY ROBERTS
Available via Netflix

West Side Story
The racial and cultural attitudes (and Nathalie Wood as a Latina woman) may not have aged well, but Jerome Robbins's choreography and Leonard Bernstein's music make this urban Romeo and Juliet adaptation a perennial favorite.
Available via Netflix

Ongoing: Supporting Seattle Businesses

Aberdeen
Filmed on location in the Pacific Northwest, Colton Van Til's debut feature (that he directed at just 19!) follows a woman who tries to find a place in the male-dominated field of sports journalism by exposing the sexual assault taking place within her hometown's high school sports scene. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

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

Best of CatVideoFest: Creature Comforts Edition
Local feline enthusiast and Henri the Cat creator Will Braden, bless his heart, has plucked 40 minutes of quality content from SIFF's CatVideoFest—an annual celebration of the divine conjunction of cats and internet—for your viewing pleasure.
Available via SIFF

Blackfish
Orca-lovers beware: This ain't Free Willy. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s searing indictment of Sea World's cruel exploitation of “killer whales” and the inhumane practice of confining these magnificent creatures is heartbreaking and enraging. From Puget Sound's barbaric history of capturing calves in the 1970s to the abuses that most likely drove bull orca Tilikum to kill two different trainers, this gripping documentary stirs up many of the same emotions the Oscar-winning The Cove did in 2009. While theme-park corporate flunkies blame accidents and deaths on “trainer error,” Cowperthwaite’s doc asks: Just how much suffering is our need for entertainment worth? JEFF MEYERS
Available via SIFF
Friday-Sunday

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

Deerskin
Wacky director Quentin Dupieux (Rubber) is back with Jean Dujardin (The Artist) in a movie described as "a comic character study in which clothes make the man…mad."
Available via SIFF

Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy
Prolific cookbook author and James Beard Award winner Diana Kennedy (known by some as "the Julia Child of Mexico") is the star of this fun documentary for food lovers. It features interviews with famed chefs José Andrés, Rick Bayless, Gabriela Camara, and Alice Waters, too. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Saturday only

Driveways
Following up his 2016 queer indie gem Spa Night, Korean American director Andrew Ahn's Driveways follows a shy little boy as he adjusts to a new town, where his mom has relocated them to clean out the house of her estranged, recently deceased sister. Finding little luck among his peers, he befriends Del, his elderly Korean War vet neighbor.
Available via SIFF

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-Sunday

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

Lucky Grandma
In this crime caper set in New York's Chinatown, a recently widowed 80-year-old woman follows a fortune teller's advice and heads to the nearest casino to win some big bucks. But things don't go so great, as they often don't at casinos. When two gambling gangsters show up at her door and start demanding money, she and her newly acquired bodyguard do what must be done: kick ass for the duration of the film. 
Available via Grand Illusion
Thursday only

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

Our Mothers
Cesar Diaz's debut, the winner of the Cannes Film Festival Camera d'Or in 2019, is set in the aftermath of Guatemala's bloody 20-year civil war. It follows Ernesto, a young anthropologist who's determined to track down his father, a guerillero who disappeared during the war. "Díaz’s approach is plain and solid, like a well-built wooden chair before varnishing," wrote the New York Times' Glenn Kenny. 
Available via SIFF

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

RBG
All hail Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Better known as “RBG” to her fans (and “Bubby” to her grandkids), at 85 years old, the US Supreme Court justice still has a fierce intellect, a duty to the law, and an immense inner and physical strength. Over the long course of her career, RBG repeatedly defended the rights of everyone to live free from bias, but, as Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg says, Ginsburg “quite literally changed life for women.” And she’s still doing it. With intimate interviews with family and friends, as well as RBG herself, the film captures the life of a woman with a heart none of us wants to stop ticking. KATIE HERZOG
Available via SIFF

Sibel
In a secluded Turkish mountain village, a young woman is ostracized for being mute and communicating through an ancestral whistling language. When locals start talking about a wolf prowling the neighborhood, she hopes to gain their approval by going on a hunt to find it, which leads her instead to an injured, armed criminal. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

SIFF Retrospective
In place of this year's canceled Seattle International Film Festival, Telescope Film will highlight a retrospective of all of the films that have won awards at SIFF in its 45-year history by showing you where to watch a ton of them online. From last year's winners like Amber McGinnis's International Falls and Cagla Zencirci's Sibel to Gregg Araki's 2004 indie classic Mysterious Skin, there's plenty to choose from. They'll keep the catalog up for the duration of the would-be in-person event.

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 SIFF and 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 SIFF and 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

Thousand Pieces of Gold
Based on the novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn (with a screenplay by novelist and filmmaker Anne Makepeace), this 1990 film follows a young Chinese woman (Rosalind Chao) whose family ships her to an Idaho mining town to be sold as a bride. To make matters worse, she's bought by a gross barkeeper in an Idaho mining town who forces her into prostitution. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

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 Wolf House (La Casa Lobo)
This eerie, dreamlike claymation fairytale is inspired by Colonia Dignidad, an isolated colony established in post-World War II Chile by emigrant Germans, which became a site for the internment, torture, and murder of dissidents during the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s. Filmmakers Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León imagine the film as a means of indoctrination made by the leader of the sect. The New York Times called it "visually stunning and horrifying."
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Zana
Documentary filmmaker Antoneta Kastrati's debut feature follows a Kosovar bride whose family sends her to mystical healers, where she's subjected her to strange rituals meant to cure her of "black magic," the alleged culprit of her infertility. But when she finally becomes pregnant, her suppressed wartime past comes back to haunt her and her unborn baby.
Available via Northwest Film Forum