In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)

green dress mirrors

“I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
 Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet”
              ~John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”

Time shifts and slips, and the past is a thing of soft veils and refracted reflections, three of you, two of me, then none, only the round white face of the clock and the sound of your voice, my voice. I can’t reach you there, at the edges of my mind; you slip from view.

But in the now, a sudden scent presses the bright deep color of your dress, the shape of your hip, a white clasp at the dip in your neck, into my vision, filling it. A green dress with bright yellow daffodils, impossibly vivid. Could you have been so beautiful?

The streets of the teeming city were empty then, only you and I were there, there in the rain, under the bulb, there in the passage on the stairs. Our shadows pass along those walls, where paper notices tatter, fade, and are smoothly absorbed into the place on which they were glued. The rain soaks us, pounds the pavement; water seeps down into the earth, the water stands in clear pools. It disappears, leaving blackness; it reflects, leaving shimmers of light.

I can feel the press in the hallway, packed with furniture, movers. Was it there I first felt the press of your arm? Or in the cab? Your fingers slip out of my grasp, leaving their warm fading print.

I wait for you. You wait for me. Memory, shrouded and alive, floats in red, graceful curtains in the long deserted passage.

I whisper this fleeting, lingering thing into the ancient ruins, where boldly soaring arches and disintegrating figures in stone relief, settle into the earth, growing into the grass and mud.

grass muc

Friday November 6 – Thursday November 12

Featured Film:

The Assassin at the SIFF Egyptian

The best film of the year so far, and one of the very best of the decade, opens this week at the Egyptian. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s long-awaited return, eight years after The Flight of the Red Balloon, follows on the heels of the career-long retrospective that played Seattle Screens earlier this year. His first foray into the martial arts genre, The Assassin is based on a Tang Dynasty story about a young woman assigned to kill the man she had been betrothed to a decade earlier. As she returns home to his provincial court, she observes all manner of intrigue and deception as she contemplates what her course of action should be. Meditative and gorgeous, it’s a film that defies expectations of both the wuxia genre and Hou’s career, while at the same time remaining consistent to the spirit of both. Sean’s review attempts to situate the film within generic and auteurist contexts, while Melissa’s tries to capture the emotional experience of the deeply immersive narrative. We also discussed the film on all three of our podcasts from the Vancouver International Film Festival.
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Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009) Fri-Tues
Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) Fri-Tues

SIFF Cinema Egyptian:

The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) Fri-Tues, Thurs Our ReviewOur Other Review 
Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike) Fri & Sat Midnight Our Review

Century Federal Way:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

A Brilliant Young Mind (Morgan Matthews) Fri-Thurs
Sundance Shorts (Various) Sat & Sun, Tues & Weds
Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932) Mon Only
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Kazuya Nomura) Tues & Weds Only
Of Men and War (Laurent Becue-Renard) Weds Only
The Last One (Laurent Becue-Renard) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Tab Hunter Confidential (Jeffrey Schwarz) Fri-Thurs
Polyester (John Waters, 1981) Fri, Sat & Thurs Only 35mm In Odorama

Landmark Guild 45th:

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (Kazuya Nomura) Tues Only
Oklahoma! (Fred Zinnemann, 1955) Weds Only Our Review

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Goodbye Mr. Loser (Yan Fei & Peng Damo) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Nasty Baby (Sebastián Silva) Fri-Thurs
Children of the Arctic (Nick Brandestini) Sat Only
Dreamcatcher (Kim Longinotto) Sun Only
Cinema Bomb Squad: Movies We Love to Hate Mon Only
Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life (Robert Levi, 2008) Weds Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Ex Files 2: The Backup Tsrikes Back (Tian Yusheng) Fri-Thurs
The Nightingale (Philippe Muyl) Fri-Thurs
The Witness (Ahn Sang-hoon) Fri-Thurs
Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Heneral Luna (Jerrold Tarog) Fri-Thurs
Felix Manalo (Joel Lamangan) Fri-Thurs
Everyday I Love You (Mae Czarina Cruz) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video Screening Room:

Heart of a Dog (Vladimir Bortko, 1988) Fri Only
The Golden Age of Seattle Public Access Sat Only Special Guests
The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino) Sun Only
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls, 1949) Mon Only
Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992) Tues Only
Head (Bob Rafelson, 1968) Weds Only
All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953) Thurs Only 35mm

Landmark Seven Gables:

The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Barista (Rock Baijnauth) Fri Only
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Tues Only

AMC Southcenter:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

Sundance Cinemas Seattle:

Love in 3D (Gaspar Noé) Fri-Thurs
All Things Must Pass (Colin Hanks) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Fantasia (Various, 1940) Sun Only
Clueless (Amy Heckling, 1995) Mon Only Makeover Party
Trumbo (Jay Roach) Tues Only
The Cockettes (Bill Weber and David Weissman, 2002) Weds Only
My Mother (Nanni Moretti) Thurs Only

Varsity Theatre:

I Smile Back (Adam Salky) Fri-Thurs
Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990) Sun & Weds Only

In Wide Release:

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
The Martian (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) Our Review
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve) Our Review

Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike, 2015)

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Playing this Friday and Saturday at midnight only comes the latest from prolific Japanese lunatic Takashi Miike. The limited late night time slot gives a hint of what to expect, even if you’re unfamiliar with Miike’s work, much of which amounts to highly imaginative reworkings of familiar genres, pushing them to their extreme (and often extremely violent) conclusions. But while the Miike review that doesn’t contain the word “gonzo” is a rarity, he is no scattershot shock auteur, rather his films, unpredictable as they may be, are always guided by a clever intelligence. He’s not a director of chaos, but of logical absurdity. Of the more than 40 films he’s directed this century, I’ve only seen a handful, but Yakuza Apocalypse is firmly in the tradition of earlier films like Sukiyaki Western Django, 13 Assassins and his remake of the Maskai Kobayashi classic Harakiri in their critique of the psychotic masculinity that underlies the ideology of Japanese action narratives. Of course, critiquing the samurai code has been an essential part of the samurai/yakuza genres in cinema since at least the end of World War II. But Kobayashi, Kihachi Okamoto and Akira Kurosawa, as far as I know at least, never made a film about gangster vampires fighting demons in plushy cosplay frog outfits.

Continue reading Yakuza Apocalypse (Takashi Miike, 2015)”