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 THREE – MAY 21, 2017
This searing and visceral documentary shines a spotlight on the Oakland Police Department, in a tumultuous time of healing within their ranks and in a distrusting and polarized community. DIrector Peter Nicks offers a look at the Oakland PD in a cinema verite style, allowing viewers to witness new recruits going through their academy training, engage in real-life situations, and discuss and debate what a trusted and successful police department means to not just the officers’ themselves, but also the people they are expected to serve and protect. Unbiased, brilliantly edited and conceived, The Force is a true gem and one of the year’s finest documentaries.
Another spotlight documentary at SIFF this year is already starting to generate awards season chatter. Step shares the story of three Baltimore-area high school students, who find their world turned upside down when social unrest and protest has a direct impact on their preparations for competing in a step-dancing competition. Praised universally by critics who have seen the film, director Amanda Lipitz will be in attendance for a Q&A after tonight’s screening.
THE TRIP TO SPAIN
Adapting television series has proved successful for best friends and collaborators Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Following the formula of The Trip and The Trip To Italy, the duo return with the SIFF Premiere of The Trip To Spain, which takes their recently concluded six-episode British television series and blends truth, fiction, and a beautiful look at the Spanish coastline into another deeply personal and thoughtful comedy adventure.
Now…on to Day Three!
THE 31 FILMS PLAYING TODAY
8 BORDERS, 8 DAYS | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 5:30 PM
Putting a human face on the Syrian refugee crisis, this perceptive documentary chronicles a determined single mother and her two young children who, after being denied resettlement in the U.S., stage a dangerous escape across the sea on an inflatable raft.
BAD DAY FOR THE CUT | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 9:00 PM
Revenge is coming for the criminals who have killed the mother of a seemingly mild-mannered Irish farmer in this tense, tough-as-nails thriller including flashes of bloody hilarity and featuring a career-making lead performance from Nigel O’Neill.
THE BAR | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 4:00 PM
Álex de la Iglesia’s latest gonzo masterpiece is a claustrophobic thriller set inside a corner café in Madrid, where a cross-section of perfidious patrons are trapped by a mysterious shooter outside the front door, forcing them to find another means of escape.
BEACH RATS | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 1:30 PM
Eliza Hittman’s intimately raw exploration of male sexual awakening centers on a teenaged delinquent on the ungentrified fringe of Brooklyn who swings between his macho drug-addled bros, a potential new girlfriend, and the anonymous older men he meets online.
BILL FRISELL, A PORTRAIT | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 2:30 PM
The normally reclusive Grammy-winning guitarist and Seattle native steps out of the shadows for a layered exploration of his life, work, and collaborative process, including how he developed a unique sonic voice that blends jazz with folk, rock, classical, and avant-garde.
BRIGSBY BEAR | PACIFIC PLACE | 4:00 PM
When a sheltered, immature 25-year- old (Kyle Mooney of “Saturday Night Live”) discovers the surprising truth about the end of his favorite children’s TV show, “Brigsby Bear’s Adventures,” he attempts to film his own adaptation in this bizarre and hilarious tale of arrested development.
BYE BYE GERMANY | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 6:00 PM
Moritz Bleibtreu stars as a smooth-talking salesman in postwar Frankfurt who barely survived the concentration camps and wants to leave for America―but not before a tenacious U.S. special agent (Antje Traue) demands to know the details behind some of his questionable wartime activities.
CLOSE RELATIONS | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 8:30 PM
Documentarian Vitaly Mansky (UNDER THE SUN) crisscrosses Ukraine on a personal journey to interview his own extended family members and discover how society, culture, and loyalties have become fractured during a time of dizzying political change.
COOK UP A STORM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:30 PM
When a Cantonese street cook and a French-trained, Michelin-starred chef meet on the battleground of an international culinary competition, they discover a common foe and combine their skills in this culinary comedy fusion of East and West.
CRAZYWISE | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 1:00 PM
Western culture treats mental disorders primarily through biomedical psychiatry, but filmmakers Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson reveal a growing movement of professionals and survivors who are forging alternative treatments that focus on recovery and turning mental “illness” into a positive transformative experience.
ETHEL & ERNEST | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 12:00 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 FORCE | PACIFIC PLACE | 1:30 PM
Director Peter Nicks won the Best Director prize at the Sundance Film Festival for this verité journey inside the struggling Oakland Police Department as they work toward reform, revealing the dilemmas and tensions in play even before the department is hit with an explosive scandal.
FOREVER PURE | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 3:30 PM
The addition of two Muslim players to a Jerusalem soccer team leads to a calamitous clash with the club’s extreme-right-wing fan base in investigative journalist Maya Zinshtein’s troubling cautionary tale of nationalism and mob mentality.
HEAL THE LIVING | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 8:00 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.
HELLO DESTROYER | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 3:00 PM
A painfully shy minor-league hockey player discovers a cutthroat, brutal world of institutionalized violence that turns his life upside down in this acclaimed drama of alienation and the often-toxic culture of male masculinity.
IN SYRIA | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 8:30 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.
IVAN TSAREVITCH AND THE CHANGING PRINCESS: FOUR ENCHANTING TALES |
MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 3:30 PM
Renowned animator Michel Ocelot (TALES OF THE NIGHT) uses his unique and vibrant silhouette style to share a quartet of bewitching fairy tales, as told by a wizened projectionist and his young apprentices who meet nightly in a dilapidated theatre.
LAKE BODOM | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 9:00 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.
THE MAN | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 8:30 PM
World-famous artist Simon is the king of the Danish art scene, but his confidence is shaken when long-lost son Caspar reappears and begins to eclipse his father in Charlotte Sieling’s stylish and heartfelt story of learning to look past the male ego and let love rule.
MENASHE | PACIFIC PLACE | 6:30 PM
This charming story of faith and parenthood is set in the heart of Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, where a kind, hapless grocery store clerk battling to keep custody of his son is given one week by the rabbi to prove his suitability as a father.
NEWTON | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 6:00 PM
This black comedy follows a rookie government clerk in the conflict-ridden jungle of Central India who, despite apathetic local authorities and bushes teeming with guerrillas, is naively unfazed in his task to conduct free and fair voting during the Indian election of 2014.
NO DRESS CODE REQUIRED | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 1:00 PM
A rallying cry for equality, this loving documentary follows Víctor and Fernando, two respected stylists from the Baja California border town of Mexicali who became the center of a social firestorm from their simple desire to get married.
PENDULAR | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 2:00 pm
Visual art and dance merge in Júlia Murat’s graceful and tender exploration of intimacy that follows a male sculptor and a female dancer who split their empty loft with a strip of orange tape, a divide which changes the nature of their relationship.
SECRET FILM FESTIVAL #1 | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 11:00 AM
The Secret Festival is exactly what it says-all screenings are secret. What we can tell you is that you need to purchase a special Secret Festival pass to attend the screenings that occur on the four Sundays of the festival at 11 a.m. sharp.
You are required to sign a legally binding non-disclosure document, also known as “the oath of silence.” We do not disclose the titles of the films we show before the film screening or after. In fact, we will not confirm, reveal, or discuss the showing of any films in the Secret Festival, and we require the same standard from Secret Festival members. If you ask, we will deny! deny! deny! Why?
Because we show films that we are not supposed to show, films that have legal issues and cannot be publicly screened, films that have been promised to premiere at festivals later in the year, films that people may have sent us by mistake! Our Secret Festival attendees also take it very seriously and will do whatever it takes to continue the tradition. You never know what you might see at the Secret Festival. It is well worth the risk and possible reward
SOLITAIRE | PACIFIC PLACE | 8:45 PM
Lebanese writer/director Sophie Boutros balances warm-hearted laughs with social insight in the story of a woman who discovers that her daughter’s suitor is Syrian, stirring her personal prejudices and leading to increasingly farcical attempts to thwart their union..
STEP | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:00 PM
An emotional journey through the sisterhood, the struggles, and the heart of three Baltimore high-school students who are planning for college and training for a step-dancing championship, all while social unrest rocks their troubled minority community.
SWEETHEART DEAL | SIFF FILM LOUNGE @ PAN PACIFIC HOTEL | 2:30 PM
Sweetheart Deal examines the lives of four women grappling with addiction on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue. The harrowingly intimate story presents unique challenges for Impact Producer Tracy Rector, as she works to craft a meaningful outreach program that engages audiences without whitewashing the daily horrors of lives ruled by heroin. Director Elisa Levine will be in attendance.
TEA PETS | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 11:30 AM
Popping off the screen with vivacious colors and beautifully composed action sequences, a group of tea pets―cute clay figurines that are good-luck charms for tea drinkers―embark on a magical animated adventure to find a fabled mystic.
THE TRIP TO SPAIN | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 11:00 AM
The team of Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, and director Michael Winterbottom embark on another hilarious culinary road trip, taking their appetites to the finest dining regions of picturesque Spain, trading impressions and banter over paella, gazpacho, and lots of wine.
THE UNKNOWN GIRL | PACIFIC PLACE | 11:00 AM
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.
YOURSELF AND YOURS | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 6:30 PM
Korean virtuoso Hong Sang-soo (RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN) delivers an absurdist spin on the romantic comedy when a young painter has a fight with his girlfriend for drinking with another man, then discovers her doppelganger appearing wherever he goes.
NEWEST FEATURES, ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS, MUSINGS…
- Chris Burlingame. The Sunbreak. Interviews with documentarians Emer Reynolds (The Farthest) and Jeffrey Schwarz (The Fabulous Allan Carr).
- Paul Carlson. Escape Into Film. 2017 Seattle International Film Festival capsule movie reviews.
- Glenn B., FilmWonk. ‘Silicon Valley’ Showdown: “The Big Sick”, “Entanglement”
- 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)
- SIFF Film Critics’ Roundtable. Courtesy of David Chen via his Periscope account…
Why Film Criticism? (watch it while you can!)
- SIFFcast. Programmer’s Roundtable
For all of Should I See It’s coverage of the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival, visit Should I See It’s SIFF 2017 portal! for reviews, daily journals, and more!
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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