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 FOUR – MAY 22, 2017
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, Step is not just a great documentary, but one of the best films, period, of 2017.
Cate Blanchett tackles 13 different roles in 13 different scenes in Manifesto, which was initially created for an art installation, but received a theatrical release this month by FilmRise. Reciting a number of monologues in the caricatures of a Russian choreographer, a news anchor, a homeless man, a teacher, a puppeteer, and more, Blanchett falls into unrecognizable territory with these captivating portrayals. Whether you buy what she’s selling or can find an appreciation in the sets and locations where she delivers these readings is dependent upon whether you can buy into the overall premise. Blanchett naturally has received rave reviews for this work and the film twice this week, including tonight.
The Day Four films follow!
THE 19 FILMS PLAYING TODAY
BAD BLACK | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 9:30 PM
Blasting out of Wakaliwood, the micro-budget studio founded by Ugandan action-movie lover Nabwana IGG, this inventive action comedy―winner of the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest―delivers ass-kicking commando vengeance unlike anything you have seen before.
THE BLOOM OF YESTERDAY | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 9:30 PM
Lars Eidinger (Personal Shopper) stars as a short-tempered Holocaust researcher struggling with his family’s past who finds his barriers breaking down after being saddled with a frank and unconventional female assistant (two-time Cesar-winner Adele Heanel).
CLOSE RELATIONS | PACIFIC PLACE | 9:30 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.
CRAZYWISE | PACIFIC PLACE | 7:00 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.
A DRAGON ARRIVES! | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 7:00 PM
Police Inspector Hafizi wakes up on a desert island and must piece together the puzzle of his abduction while working a murder case in this delightfully unconventional and entertaining Iranian mashup of gumshoe noir and phantasmagorical ghost story.
GHOST HUNTING | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 8:30 PM
Director Raed Andoni assembles an eclectic group of Palestinians who were detained in an Israeli detention center to dramatically reconstruct their experiences, confronting their past and starting the path toward healing. Winner of Best Documentary at the Berlin Film Festival.
GOLDSTONE | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 7:00 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.
HEARTSTONE | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 4:00 PM
In a remote fishing village along the majestic, jagged Icelandic coast, two teenage boys experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend.
THE LAST FAMILY | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 9:00 PM
Polish surrealist Zdzislaw Beksinski (Andrzej Seweryn) aims his camcorder at his loving wife and troubled son (SIFF 2014 Best Actor winner Dawid Ogrodnik), unfolding a subversive true-life family drama. Winner of four Polish Academy Awards.
MANIFESTO | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 9:00 PM
Cate Blanchett gives a tour-de-force performance as she transforms herself into 13 distinct characters for visual artist Julian Rosefeldt’s cheeky avant-garde exploration of modern art’s most timeless philosophical declarations.
MAURICE | SIFF EGYPTIAN | 6:30 PM
Returning to the screen in a 30th-anniversary 4K restoration, Merchant Ivory Productions’ second adaptation of the work of E.M. Forster stars Ben Kingsley and Hugh Grant in a story of coming to terms with one’s sexuality and identity in the stifling conformity of pre-WWI English society.
MENASHE | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 3:30 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.
NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK | LINCOLN SQUARE CINEMAS | 6:30 PM
Two innovative young chefs from Washington, D.C., work hard to confront their challenges and, above all, stay fresh as they chase their dreams to open a restaurant, with the camera capturing each step from the signing of the lease to opening night.
PYROMANIAC | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:00 PM
Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærg (INSOMNIA) returns with a slow-burn psychological thriller based on the true story of a fire chief’s son of who terrorizes his rural community with a series of increasingly dangerous fires over the course of a long, hot summer.
STEP | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 4:00 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.
STRUGGLE FOR LIFE | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 4:30 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..
THE WEDDING PLAN | SIFF CINEMA UPTOWN | 6:30 PM
When her fiancé bows out just before their elaborately planned wedding, an Orthodox Jewish woman gives herself, and fate, 30 days to find a suitable replacement in writer-director Rama Burshtein’s (Fill the Void) delightfully quirky romantic comedy.
WHITE SUN | PACIFIC PLACE | 4:30 PM
Deepak Rauniyar’s potent drama of overcoming divisions in post-civil war Nepal follows a Maoist rebel, returning to a remote mountain village to bury his Royalist father, who struggles to reconnect with his estranged family, forgotten friends, and nonconformist ex-wife.
YOURSELF AND YOURS | MAJESTIC BAY THEATRES | 9:30 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 FROM AROUND THE CITY…
- Paul Carlson, Escape Into Film. Paul reviews The Wedding Plan, playing today at SIFF.
- Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See. Brent McKnight reviews Wulu, in advance of its May 23 SIFF Premiere.
- Aidan Walker, The Seattle Globalist. What it takes to be featured in the Seattle International Film Festival.
- Sean Gilman, Seattle Screen Scene. Sean looks into early June and provides a look at the 190-minute cinephiles dream, My Journey Through French Cinema, which has its SIFF Premiere on June 3.
- Matt Oakes, Silver Screen Riot. Matt reviews Come, Together in advance of the May 30 SIFF Premiere.
- The Stranger. Check out the legendary alt-weekly’s exhaustive coverage of all things SIFF 2017.
- Three Imaginary Girls. The annual preview of SIFF’s music documentaries is up and ready for your schedule adjustments!
- 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
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© Michael Ward, Should I See It, 2009-2017.
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