SIFF 2017: Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman, 2017)

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Note: as this film is under embargo until its release in the Seattle area, here are exactly 75 words.

Abstracted images of abs and biceps open Beach Rats, appearing to the flashbulb rhythm of iPhone selfies. The body is Frankie’s, a closeted teenager whose father dies outside his bedroom while his attraction to virile middle-aged men awakens. Director Eliza Hittman mingles thanatos and eros, ethnography and moralism unproductively, aiming for balance but arriving at regressive parallelism. Beach Rats instructs Frankie about the dangers of living in the middle. Hittman should take her own advice.

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Friday, May 26 – Thursday, June 1

Featured Film:

The Seattle International Film Festival, Part Two

SIFF continues rolling along this week. Last week we had reviews of Bad Black, Finding KukanChronicles of HariSami BloodKnife in the Clear Water, and Cook Up a Storm, and capsules on Dawson City: Frozen TimeMy Journey through French CinemaThe Unknown GirlBy the Time it Gets Dark, and Manifesto. Films we’re looking forward to in the next week include: God of War, Girl Without Hands, The Little Hours, Godspeed, Pendular, Person to Person, Napping Princess, and two films I saw and liked at Vancouver last fall: Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, and João Pedro Rodrigues’s The Ornithologist, 

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985) Fri-Sun, Tues
The Lost Boys (Joel Schumacher, 1987) Fri-Sun, Tues

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program Our Coverage

Century Federal Way:

Saab Bahadar (Amrit Raj Chadha) Fri-Thurs
Lahoriye (Amberdeep Singh) Fri-Thurs
Smokey and the Bandit (Hal Needham, 1977) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Citizen Jane (Matt Tyrnauer) Fri-Thurs
Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar) Fri-Thurs
Neither Wolf nor Dog (Steven Lewis Simpson) Fri-Thurs
The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs) Fri-Thurs
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) Sat Only
Le Chef (Daniel Cohen, 2012) Mon Only
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi) Tues Only
Deconstructing the Beatles: Rubber Soul (Scott Freiman) Weds Only
Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeing (David Bickerstaff) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg) Fri-Thurs
Harold & Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (Daniel Raim) Sat & Sun Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Your Name. (Makoto Shinkai) Fri-Thurs Our Review Subtitled
The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs) Fri-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Baahubali: The Conclusion (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Tamil & Telgu, Check Listings Our Review
The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs) Fri-Thurs
Sachin: A Billion Dreams (James Erskine) Fri-Thurs
Rarandoi Veduka Chudham (Kalyan Krishna) Fri-Thurs
Keshava (Sudheer Varma) Fri-Thurs
Hindi Medium (Saket Chaudhary) Fri-Thurs
The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program Our Coverage

Regal Meridian:

Baahubali: The Conclusion (SS Rajamouli) Fri-Thurs Hindi Our Review
Sachin: A Billion Dreams (James Erskine) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Obit. (Vanessa Gould) Fri-Sun
Thollem’s Hot Pursuit of Happiness Fri Only Live Music & Video
Sarah Jacobson: Queen of the Underground (Sarah Jacobson, 1992-97) Sat Only
Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1971) Sun Only Our Podcast 
Disasters of Peace vol. 3 Sun Only Filmmakers in Attendance
The Earth is a Hollow Shell: Films + Videos by Georg Koszulinski Weds Only Filmmaker in Attendance
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979) Thurs-Sun

AMC Oak Tree:

Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar) Fri-Thurs
Chuck (Philippe Falardeau) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

29+1 (Kearen Pang) Fri-Thurs
The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs) Fri-Thurs
Battle of Memories (Leste Chen) Fri-Thurs
The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program Our Coverage

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Lowriders (Ricardo de Montreuil) Fri-Thurs
The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs) Fri-Thurs
Hindi Medium (Saket Chaudhary) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

Buena Vista Social Club: Adios (Lucy Walker) Fri-Thurs
Norman: The Moderate Rise And Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Joseph Cedar) Fri-Thurs

Landmark Seven Gables:

Angkor Awakens (Robert H. Lieberman) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program Our Coverage

SIFF Uptown:

The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program Our Coverage

Varsity Theatre:

A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Podcast

In Wide Release:

Alien Covenant (Ridley Scott) Our Review
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (James Gunn) Our Review
The Lost City of Z (James Gray) Our Review
The Fate of the Furious 
(F. Gary Gray) Our Review

SIFF 2017: Bad Black (Nabwana IGG, 2016)

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It is perhaps not incorrect to say that the goal of any film festival should be to highlight the most interesting and fascinating works of world cinema, especially those which are unfairly underseen. Such is the case with Bad Black, one of the newest films from the immensely prolific Nabwana IGG, the auteur of the Ugandan film unit lovingly referred to as Wakaliwood. Nabwana IGG first came to prominence in 2010, when the trailer for his film Who Killed Captain Alex? went viral on YouTube for its insane and seemingly amateurish action and special effects. Bad Black, as far I can tell, is the only Wakaliwood film that has actually shown in theaters in the United States, premiering at Fantastic Fest last year.

The aim of Wakaliwood films hews closely to the action comedy, as does the overall arc of the narrative, but the means of achieving this are entirely different. Nabwana IGG’s aesthetic is proudly low-grade, immersing the viewer the slums of Kampala, Uganda as seen through blurry digital video and overflowing with quick cuts and rapid-fire action scenes interspersed with the most archetypal, blatant narratives.

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