Friday September 22 – Thursday September 28

Featured Film:

The Big Sleep at the Seattle Art Museum

SAM’s autumn series devoted to film noir kicks off this Thursday with Howard Hawks’s seminal The Big Sleep, a film which has played here on Seattle Screens many times before (hard to believe it’s now been a decade since we played it at the Metro), but one which only grows stranger every time you see it. We talked about it on The Frances Farmer Show last spring. Coming up in the Here Comes the Night series are established classics like Chinatown, Kiss of Death, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Pickup on South Street, alongside more obscure gems like The File on Thelma Jordan, Pretty Poison, The Naked Alibi, and Douglas Sirk’s Lured, starring Lucille Ball and George Sanders.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Mulan (Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook, 1998) Fri-Thurs
Brad’s Status (Mike White) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Teach Us All (Sonia Lowman) Mon Only

Central Cinema:

Snakes on a Plane (David R. Ellis 2006) Fri-Weds
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Steve Barron, 1990) Fri-Mon, Weds

SIFF Egyptian:

Hype! (Doug Pray, 1996) Mon Only Live Music, Q&A after

Century Federal Way:

Jai Lava Kusa (K. S. Ravindra) Fri-Thurs
Nikka Zaildar 2 (Simerjit Singh) Fri-Thurs
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Sun & Mon Only Our Podcast Dubbed Sunday, Subtitled Monday
Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Columbus (Kogonada) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
The Midwife (Martin Provost) Fri-Thurs
Menashe (Joshua Z. Weinstein) Fri-Thurs
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 (Tobe Hooper, 1986) Sat Only
Revolting Rhymes (Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer) Sun Only
Lucky (John Carroll Lynch) Sun Only
The Last Dalai Lama? (Mickey Lemle) Tues Only
Fix It: Health Care at the Tipping Point Thurs Only Free Screening

Grand Illusion Cinema:

L7: Pretend We’re Dead (Sarah Price) Fri & Sat Only
Boris Without Beatrice (Denis Côté) Fri-Thurs
The Road Movie (Denis Côté) Sun Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Stronger (David Gordon Green) Fri-Thurs
Thupparivalan (Mysskin) Fri-Thurs
Jai Lava Kusa (K. S. Ravindra) Fri-Thurs
Simran (Hansal Mehta) Fri-Thurs
Bhoomi (Omung Kumar) Fri-Thurs
Magalir Mattum (Bramma G) Fri-Thurs
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Sun & Mon Only Our Podcast Dubbed Sunday, Subtitled Monday
Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987) Sun & Weds Only
Spyder (A.R. Murugadoss) Tues-Thurs Only

Regal Meridian:

The Tiger Hunter (Lena Khan) Fri-Thurs
Rebel in the Rye (Danny Strong) Fri-Thurs
Brad’s Status (Mike White) Fri-Thurs
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Sun, Mon & Weds Only Our Podcast Dubbed or Subtitled, Check Listings
Spyder (A.R. Murugadoss) Tues & Weds Only

Northwest Film Forum:

Local Hallucinations: Short Films (Dave Hanagan) Sat Only
Sandy Osawa Retrospective Sun Only
Local Sightings Film Festival Fri-Thurs Full Program
Rocketmen (Webster Crowell) Thurs Only

AMC Pacific Place:

Mulan (Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook, 1998) Fri-Thurs
Stronger (David Gordon Green) Fri-Thurs
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Spyder (A.R. Murugadoss) Tues-Thurs Only
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (Rs Prasanna) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

Ingrid Goes West (Matt Spicer) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Stronger (David Gordon Green) Fri-Thurs
Trophy (Shaul Schwarz &Christina Clusiau) Fri-Thurs
Brad’s Status (Mike White) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946) Thurs Only Our Podcast

SIFF Film Center:

Lane 1974 (S.J. Chiro) Fri-Thurs

AMC Southcenter:

Because of Gracia (Tom Simes) Fri-Thurs
Stronger (David Gordon Green) Fri-Thurs
Mulan (Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook, 1998) Fri-Thurs
The Houses October Built 2 (Bobby Roe) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Brad’s Status (Mike White) Fri-Thurs
Stronger (David Gordon Green) Fri-Thurs
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) Sun, Mon & Weds Only Our Podcast Dubbed or Subtitled, Check Listings
Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987) Sun & Weds Only

SIFF Uptown:

The Trip to Spain (Michael Winterbottom) Fri-Thurs
Menashe (Joshua Z. Weinstein) Fri-Thurs
The Midwife (Martin Provost) Fri-Thurs
Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino, 1987) Sun Only Movie Party
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) Weds Only In 3D, Sponsored by Headlight Cannabis
Black Sabbath: The End of the End (Dick Carruthers) Thurs Only
Django (Etienne Comar) Thurs Only

Varsity Theatre:

Columbus (Kogonada) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Year by the Sea (Alexander Janko) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

Wind River (Taylor Sheridan) Our Review
Leap! (Eric Summer & Éric Warin) Our Review
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2017 Local Sightings Film Festival: Natural Experiments

silk

During the summer, I was given the rather wonderful opportunity to assist in programming the experimental shorts program at the 20th Local Sightings Film Festival, which runs from tomorrow through the end of the month at the Northwest Film Forum. Though I wasn’t given a specific prompt, the shorts I helped select fell into two programs: Natural Experiments and Hurtling Through Space. Of the two, the one containing almost all of the shorts that genuinely excited me is the former. While I must say I am no expert in writing about the avant-garde, all of these shorts offer no small amount of visceral and visual pleasure.

Though I must reiterate that I approached this assignment with no set theme in mind, I gravitated towards shorts that showcased the ways in which development in the Pacific Northwest intermingles with other elements, whether they be natural surroundings or various cinematographic techniques. In this respect, “Erased Etchings” (Linda Fenstermaker) is the perfect introduction. Dreamy and hazy via the texture of 16mm, the depictions of both natural foliage and the houses in their midst don’t develop so much as unravel. Some context is introduced – a few pointed shots of housing development plans – but this is mostly purely experiential, with some lovely music choices to match.

My favorite of the shorts is “Lost Winds” (Caryn Cline), which reminded me much of what little Brakhage I’ve seen. Consisting entirely of damp plants, leaves, and flowers as seemingly seen through a microscope, the short manages to create a very appealing dynamism in the quick edits which invite the viewer in rather than disorient them. Coupled with the ambient sounds of water and fascinating inserts that create iris shots out of the leaves, it is calming in so many beautiful ways.

“Bell Tower of False Creek” (Randolph Jordan) is a curious case. It approaches documentary more than something purely experimental, and I must confess much of the context – which, per the summary, “uses the church bell as metaphor for the traffic on Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge” – went over my head. But the black and white 8mm images are lovely, and the way in which voiceover interviews and the natural (or not-so-natural) sounds are interwoven is fairly skillfully done.

Featuring two filmmakers already in this program, “Tri-Alogue #3” (Caryn Cline, Linda Fenstermaker & Reed O’Beirne) nevertheless feels like something different. The screen is divided into thirds, with each filmmaker taking a section and creating their own individual short, but all of the images take on a collective unity, all exploring the city and using a particularly active mode of shooting, all never-ceasing shots that bleed into each other. There is no particular effort to make the shots line up, from what I could tell, and that in itself gives the endeavor a certain interconnectivity.

digital

One of my other favorite shorts in the program, “Shared Space” (Champ Ensminger), stands out from the others. Its approach is blatantly digital and virtual and focuses on individuals rather than their surroundings. Yet they tackle the notion of the city as well, as each person interviewed talks about the culture that they take part in and said culture’s various pros and cons. All the while, they are fragmented and almost abstracted into lines, pixels, and other digital constructions. The human figure is still there, but it is made into something both alien and familiar.

Perhaps the only truly abrasive short in the selection, “HearNW” (Ben Popp) continually puts hindrances in front of its images of the natural world, whether they be the outlines of the objects being represented, overlapping prismatic images, or just the relentless thrum of the soundtrack. But the experience is never assaultive, the techniques never distracting, and the experiments with the frame are wonderful.

My third favorite of the program, “Game Plan” (Lynn O C Thompson), takes a rather novel look at the modern industries. Vintage game boards are overlaid onto relatively normal shots of power lines, trucks, factories, and other industrial mainstays, and the effect strikes as exceedingly playful. One could read a potential critique (the use of games similar to Monopoly commenting on the ubiquity of money), but it seems like the most productive path is to appreciate this short’s inherent buoyancy and energy.

“A City in Four Parts” (Jon Behrens), in the context of the other shorts, isn’t the most adventurous of experiments, but the effect of its images still allows for some appreciation. Taking four different shots of the waterfront and overlaying them over one another, with occasional inversions, the short creates the illusion of buildings building on top of each other, ships sailing upside down on a water-filled sky, and while the impact may be slightly less surreal than hoped, the deep blues of the 16mm film speak for themselves.

The most far-flung of the shorts, “Silk Scream” (Brenan Chambers) uses a seemingly endless amount of overlays of similar shots to create a legible yet intensely blurred portrait of Tokyo city life, set to a wordless and shimmering instrumental track. The effect is indeed that of a city in motion, and a rather astonishing balance is struck between clarity and abstraction.

“Vernae” (Ethan Folk and other collaborators) is by far the longest film in the program at 28 minutes, and is by turns the most conventional and the most daring short. Comprised mostly of rhythmic dances by various figures in some clearly elemental and highly sensual state of being. By turns gorgeous and somewhat disturbing, the short seems clearly cloaked in some inner meaning, but the spectacle of numerous bodies in motion suffices.

The final short, “Disjunct” (Brian C. Short), is a rather appropriate closer to this stunning program. Adopting a highly free-wheeling and almost everything but the kitchen sink approach, the short moves through modes with abandon, synthesizing nearly every technique in this program to create some portrait of the Pacific Northwest. But nothing feels necessarily inorganic to the short, such is the general deftness with which everything is unveiled.

Though all of these shorts may confound, delight, and move in certain measure, what connects all of them above all is the spirit of experimentation, a willingness to render familiar sights with new resonances and filters. In this regard, the program is utterly remarkable, and a very worthy experience.