The 43rd Seattle International Film Festival is here! With 400 films at the ready, the festival has cast a wide net, featuring first- and second-time filmmakers more than ever before, showcasing films from 80 different countries. Parties, galas, interviews, red carpet events, and big adventures await the more than 150,000 individuals who will attend the festival this year!
The festival runs from May 18 through June 11 and for all the details, visit the home of the Seattle International Film Festival, www.siff.net.
DAY ONE – MAY 19, 2017
Last night, the Festival began with a screening of Amazon Studios’ highly anticipated comedy/drama The Big Sick, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan. The red carpet event, attended by Nanjiani, director Michael Showalter, and Nanjiani’s wife and the film’s co-writer Emily Gordon, drew a capacity audience at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. The film, which has received overwhelming acclaim and critical buzz, tells the story of a man whose love affair with his new girlfriend angers his traditional Muslim parents. When she falls ill unexpectedly, he not only is forced to work with her family, but to also please his parents, with everyone worrying if she will get better and pull through. The Big Sick will see its official release on June 23 in select cities, expanding nationwide in July.
Now…on to the films playing today!
THE 25 FILMS PLAYING TODAY
7 MINUTES | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 8:45 pm
This working-woman’s social thriller takes place during a tense meeting of textile-factory worker representatives as they heatedly debate the pros and cons of management’s controversial new job-saving proposal.
AFTER THE STORM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 7:00 pm
Japanese auteur Hirozaku Kore-eda (OUR LITTLE SISTER) returns with a gentle, complex domestic drama about a ne’er-do-well father attempting to reconnect with his estranged family when a typhoon traps them together in an all-night emotional journey.
ANISHOARA | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 4:00 pm
In a tiny, picturesque Moldovan village where traditions remain unchanged by time, a spunky, self-possessed girl experiences first love and her first pangs to see the world, in a personal journey that is also a graceful homage to a vanishing way of life.
BACKPACK FULL OF CASH | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 3:30 pm
Matt Damon narrates this incredibly timely warning about America’s public schools, which have fallen into a growing, greedy, and woefully under-regulated system of privatization that is having a heartbreaking impact on our most vulnerable children.
CHAVELA | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:00 pm
An arresting portrait of Mexican music icon Chavela Vargas, the rabble-rousing, cigar-smoking lesbian iconoclast famous for bringing audiences to tears, who staged an amazing comeback at age 72 thanks in part to the efforts of filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME | SIFF FILM CENTER | 6:30 pm
Pioneering filmmaker Bill Morrison pieces together a haunting chronicle of the transformations in a Yukon Territory Gold Rush town as told through a collection of rare nitrate stock films discovered buried under a hockey rink and untouched for over 50 years.
DEATH IN SARAJEVO | PACIFIC PLACE | 11:00 am
Academy Award®-winning director Danis Tanović (NO MAN’S LAND) tells a sprawling, multi-character narrative that travels from the basement to the penthouse of Sarajevo’s luxurious Hotel Europe as the staff prepare for a huge national celebration.
ENTANGLEMENT | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 9:15 pm
“Silicon Valley” star Thomas Middleditch gives a brilliant, deadpan comedic performance as a man in a downward spiral who uncovers his parents’ secret: They adopted and then gave up a baby girl before he was born. Now he’s on a mission to find his missing sister.
ETHEL & ERNEST | PACIFIC PLACE | 1:30 pm
Based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs (“The Snowman”), this humane and funny animated tribute to his parents Ethel (Brenda Blethyn) and Ernest (Jim Broadbent) charts their tender love story from the 1920s to the 1970s.
THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 7:00 pm
Enter the fabulous world of flamboyant Hollywood producer Allan Carr, a legend for his lavish, star-studded private parties, whose fraught career went from the ultimate highs (GREASE!, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) to the lowest lows (1989’s infamous Oscars® ceremony).
THE FARTHEST | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 4:00 pm
This celebration of NASA’s Voyager space missions, which have travelled farther than anyone could ever have hoped, explores the magnificent machines’ designs, the men and women who built them, and the vision that propelled them into the future.
FOOD EVOLUTION | PACIFIC PLACE | 7:00 pm
Documentarian Scott Kennedy (THE GARDEN) and narrator Neil DeGrasse Tyson unfold the polarizing debate surrounding the use of GMOs, separating hype from science for a fresh and provocative perspective on one of the most critical issues facing global society today.
GIVE ME FUTURE | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 8:30 pm
Not your average concert documentary, GIVE ME FUTURE electrifyingly follows EDM musical trio Major Lazer as they navigate the behind-the- scenes challenges of staging a historic free concert in Havana, while also examining the recent changes in Cuban culture.
GOLDSTONE | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 4:30 pm
Rugged Indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen, MYSTERY ROAD) returns for a new round of Outback noir, this time investigating the disappearance of a Chinese migrant worker from a frontier mining town.
IN SYRIA | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 4:00 pm
In a Syrian city under siege, a mother of three (Hiam Abbass) is barricaded inside her apartment and fights to protect her family and her neighbors from the raging war outside, in this tense drama where every decision is a matter of life or death.
LAKE BODOM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 9:45 pm
Bringing exhilarating new twists to the DON’T GO IN THE WOODS genre, LAKE BODOM is named after the campsite where four teenagers were murdered in 1960. Now, a group of modern teens return to the site to morbidly reconstruct the murder scenes, and find that history is gruesomely repeating itself.
LEMON | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 9:30 pm
Janicza Bravo’s utterly absurdist dark comedy of failure, awkwardness, and pathos stars Brett Gelman (”Eagleheart”) as a middle-aged misanthropic acting teacher waiting for his big break who enters a downward spiral after his blind girlfriend leaves him.
THE MIDWIFE | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 4:15 pm
Catherine Deneuve, in a performance that critics are hailing as among her best, is a free-spirited, life-loving woman at a crossroads who seeks out her ex-lover’s daughter, a gifted yet painfully reserved midwife, in an effort to reconnect after 30 years away.
MOKA | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 6:30 pm
Emmanuelle Devos stars in a suspenseful psychological thriller about a mother determined to track down the driver of the mocha-colored Mercedes that struck her son and ruined her life. Once she has a suspect in her sights, she waits for her moment of revenge.
THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT | PACIFIC PLACE | 4:00 pm
A rising young police detective in Cairo is assigned the case of a murdered singer that leads to the President’s inner circle in a riveting neo-noir of political power, corruption, and decadence in the weeks before the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.
NOWHERE TO HIDE | SIFF FILM CENTER | 9:00 pm
Filming over a five-year period, an Iraqi medic keeps an intimate record of the turbulent daily life for residents in the dangerous “triangle of death,” turning the camera on his own family when they are forced to flee their home city due to approaching ISIS forces.
STRUGGLE FOR LIFE | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:30 pm
In the tradition of classic French slapstick comes this laugh-a-minute satire about a hapless middle-aged suit sent to oversee the building of a ski resort in French Guiana, who meets a beautiful woman named Tarzan on an absurdist trip through the Amazon.
TIME TRAP | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 9:00 pm
A group of students become trapped inside a mysterious underground cave that is the gateway to a rift in the space-time continuum, causing thousands of years to pass on the Earth’s surface in this inventive and enthralling science-fiction adventure.
THE UNKNOWN GIRL | PACIFIC PLACE | 9:30 pm
The award-winning Dardenne brothers’ (TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT, THE KID WITH A BIKE) latest sensitive realist drama focuses on a young doctor who inadvertently contributes to the death of an unidentified prostitute, sending her on a quest to discover the woman’s true identity.
THE WINTER | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 7:00 pm
An aging, resentful ranch foreman discovers that he is being replaced by a younger man, leading to a violent confrontation amid an unforgiving winter, in this visceral thriller whose award-winning cinematography strikingly captures the windswept wilds of Patagonia.
NEWEST FEATURES, ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS, MUSINGS…
- Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times. How to navigate SIFF 2017: tickets, parking and the Oath of Silence
- Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See. 13 SIFF 2017 Films You Need To See
- Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot. The 8 SIFF ’17 Films We Are Dying To See
- Erik Samdahl, FilmJabber. Erik reviews Time Trap.
- Seattle Screen Scene. SIFF 2017 Coverage
- The Seattle Times Staff. SIFF 2017: Highlights of film festival’s first week
- Tom Tangney, MyNorthwest.com. Tom Tangney’s Top 10 Picks at SIFF
- CinemaSquabble. Episode #57 (with co-hosts Adam Gehrke, Sara Michelle Fetters)
- Feelin’ Film +. Episode #2 (with host Aaron White and guest Mike Ward)
- SIFFcast. Programmer’s Roundtable
See all article links and spotlight features from the duration of the festival by visiting the Should I See It SIFF 2017 portal!
NEED MORE INFO?
To see the alphabetical listing of all 400 films playing this year’s festival, click here!
For ticket information, click here!
For a calendar of all events happening at SIFF 2017, click here!
To learn more about SIFF and the Seattle International Film Festival, click here!
AND NOW…DISCLAIMER STUFF
All content in Should I See It’s SIFF 2017 coverage, in terms of images, synopses, dates, details, and festival information is provided courtesy of the Seattle International Film Festival. All rights reserved.
© Michael Ward, Should I See It, 2009-2017.
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