I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang, 2016)


A comedy of bureaucracy like many a film of the Romanian New Wave, but rather than the drab and bleak institutional ironies of the Eastern Bloc, Feng Xiaogang’s satire is bright and sprightly, bouncing along its tunnel visions for two and a half hours of contradiction made irresolvable by a society’s fundamental lack of belief in the primacy of actuality over appearance. Fan Bingbing plays a rural peasant woman who wants to undo and then redo her divorce. She and her husband, she claims, only pretended to get divorced in order to qualify for an apartment near the factory where he works, while keeping her house in another town (a year later they would remarry and get both properties). But then her husband took up in that apartment with another woman, and claiming the divorce was real, kicked Fan out.

Continue reading I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang, 2016)”

Friday November 18 – Thursday November 24

Featured Film:

Pockets of Resistance

I don’t know about you, but I’m not yet ready to shift back into the normal movie year, just as the awards season hype train is taking off (see this week’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the expansion of Moonlight and the slow rollout of Loving, to be followed by more big names once we pass Thanksgiving). Fortunately, there are a few films in small, brief runs that might help us cope with the coming age of devolution. The Northwest Film Forum has on Friday and Saturday Mauro Herce’s experimental documentary Dead Slow Ahead, about a container ship making its way from port to port and the men who work on it, dwarfed as they are by the size and sounds of machinery. The SIFF Uptown has two shows only of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Creepy, wherein the odd but seemingly nice enough guy next door turns out to be a totally unhinged nightmare of toxic patriarchy. The Sundance Cinemas continues its exclusive run of Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius, in which Sonia Braga obstinantly stands in the way of the destructive forces of real estate development. And in I Am Not Madame Bovary, at the Pacific Place, Fan Bingbing carries on a ten year war against the irrational laws and corrupt bureaucracy of the Chinese state, a system in which appearances are more important than truth.

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Monty Python & the Holy Grail (Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam, 1975) Fri-Mon Quote-along
Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro, 1991) Fri-Tues
Lion Ark (Tim Phillips, 2013) Tues Only

SIFF Egyptian:

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Tues Our Review 
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford) Starts Weds

Grand Cinema:

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook) Fri-Tues
The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse) Fri-Tues
A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm) Fri-Tues
The Secret of NIMH (Don Bluth, 1982) Sat Only Free, Free Donuts
Tower (Keith Maitland) Tues Only
Loving (Jeff Nichols) Starts Weds

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante) Fri-Weds Our Review
Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present (Tyler Hubby) Sat Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Loving (Jeff Nichols) Fri-Thurs
Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch) Fri-Thurs
The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Loving (Jeff Nichols) Fri-Thurs
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (Gautham Menon) Fri-Mon Tamil
Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada (Vi Anand) Fri-Mon Telugu

Regal Meridian:

Loving (Jeff Nichols) Fri-Thurs
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Northwest Film Forum:

Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce) Fri & Sat Only
Crumbs (Miguel Llansó) Fri Only
IRL: Craigslist Fri & Sat Only
Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter) Fri & Sat Only
Babe: Pig in the City (George Miller, 1998) Sun-Weds Only
Puget Soundtrack: Chris Brokaw Presents the Films of Peter Hutton Sun Only

AMC Oak Tree:

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Take (James Watkins) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

I am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Pacific Science Center:

Voyage of Time (IMAX) (Terrence Malick) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur  (Harry Baweja) Fri-Tues
Bakit Lahat Ng Gwapo May Boyfriend (Jun Robles Lana) Fri-Tues
Loving (Jeff Nichols) Starts Weds

Seven Gables:

A Man Called Ove (Hannes Holm) Fri-Thurs
The Eagle Huntress (Otto Bell) Starts Weds

SIFF Film Center:

2016 Seattle Turkish Film Festival Fri-Sun Full Program

AMC Southcenter:

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Sundance Cinemas:

Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho) Fri-Mon Our Review 
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Fri-Mon Our Review

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

The Romanian Film Festival in Seattle Fri-Sun Full Program
Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) Sat & Sun Only
The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook) Fri-Thurs
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Ridley Scott, 1982) Mon & Tues Only
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) Weds-Thurs Our Review

Varsity Theatre:

Harry & Snowman (Ron Davis) Fri-Thurs
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi) Fri-Thurs

Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante, 2015)


(This review was originally published in 2015 as a part of the Vancouver Film Festival coverage.)

Ixacanul opens on a young woman’s passive form and impassive face. Her name is Maria (María Mercedes Coroy), and her mother (María Telón) dresses her and then smooths, parts, and plaits her hair, securing a crown-like garland upon her head. The two Mayan women, alone together in their home, near a volcano, an ixcanul, in a remote region of Guatemala, both absorbed and silent in the exclusive intimacy of their shared activity, indicate that they inhabit a world with which they are familiar, and I am not. I guess, as I first look at them, that Maria is not quite happy to be so taken in hand by her mother – or perhaps she is not quite happy with the event, unknown as yet to me, for which she is being prepared. Continue reading Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante, 2015)”