Friday April 6 – Thursday April 12

Featured Film:

Sofia Bohdanowicz at the Northwest Film Forum

The centerpiece of the Film Forum’s series of highlights from the Vancouver Film Festival’s Future//Present program of new Canadian cinema is a pair of features and a trio of shorts by Sofia Bohdanowicz, all of which are playing on Saturday only (with the director in attendance). The shorts, collected together as The Last Poems Trilogy are a Chantal Akerman-esque tribute to her grandmother and her grandmother’s house. The first feature, Never Eat Alone, is a fictionalization of events in the life of her other grandmother, while the second, Maison du bonheur, is a kind of diary of a month Bohdanowicz spent living in Paris with a friend’s mother. Working with very little in the way of budget but a great deal of ingenuity, Bohdanowicz creates warm, fascinating films  that in their openness and depth mark her as one of the most interesting filmmakers to emerge in recent years.

Playing This Week:

Admiral Theater:

Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) Weds Only

AMC Alderwood:

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984) Fri-Thurs
Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli, 1984) Fri-Thurs No Shows Sat Our Podcast
Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012) Tues Only

Central Cinema:

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Leonard Nimoy, 1986) Fri-Mon
12 Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995) Fri-Tues
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984) Weds Only Shriek – A Women of Horror Film Class

SIFF Egyptian:

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Century Federal Way:

Subedar Joginder Singh (Simerjit Singh) Fri-Thurs
Sajjan Singh Rangroot (Pankaj Batra) Fri-Thurs
Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Fri-Thurs Our Review
The Leisure Seeker (Paolo Virzì) Fri-Thurs
The Cured (David Freyne) Sat Only
The Insult (Ziad Doueiri) Tues Only
Wolf Warrior 2 (Wu Jing) Thurs Only Our Review

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Workshop (Laurent Cantet) Fri-Thurs
Pyewacket (Adam MacDonald) Fri-Sun
ACORN and the Firestorm (Reuben Atlas, Sam Pollard) Sat, Sun, Mon & Weds

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Blackmail (Abhinay Deo) Fri-Thurs
Baaghi 2 (Ahmed Khan) Fri-Thurs
Rangasthalam (Sukumar) Fri-Thurs
Hichki (Siddharth Malhotra) Fri-Thurs
Chal Mohan Ranga (Krishna Chaitanya) Fri-Thurs
Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Itzhak (Alison Chernick) Fri-Thurs
Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

The China Hustle (Jed Rothstein) Fri-Thurs
LA 92 (Dan Lindsay & TJ Martin) Sat Only Director in Attendance, Free Event
Never Eat Alone with The Last Poems Trilogy (Sofia Bohdanowicz) Sat Only Our Review Director in Attendance
Maison du bonheur (Sofia Bohdanowicz) Sat Only Our Review Director in Attendance
Mass for Shut-Ins with There Lived the Colliers (Winston DeGiobbi/Nelson MacDonald) Sun Only
In the Waves with La pesca (Jacquelyn Mills/Pablo Álvarez-Mesa) Sun Only
Werewolf (Ashley McKenzie) Sun Only Our Review
Best of the 44th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival Weds Only
Hacer Mucho con Poco (Do More with Less) (Katerina Kliwadenko & Mario Novas) Thurs Only

Paramount Theatre:

A Woman of the World (Malcolm St. Clair, 1925) Mon Only Live Score

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Never Not Love You (Antoinette Jadaone) Fri-Thurs
Subedar Joginder Singh (Simerjit Singh) Fri-Thurs
The Leisure Seeker (Paolo Virzì) Fri-Thurs
My Perfect You (Cathy Garcia-Molina) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Gemini (Aaron Katz) Fri-Thurs

Seattle Art Museum:

Young and Innocent (Alfred Hitchcock, 1937) Thurs Only

SIFF Film Center:

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey (Dave O’Leske) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) Sun & Weds Only

SIFF Uptown:

Outside In (Lynn Shelton) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Ramen Heads (Koki Shigeno) Fri-Thurs
The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci) Thurs Only Our Review
Distant Sky – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen (David Barnard) Thurs Only

Varsity Theatre:

Spinning Man (Simon Kaijser da Silva) Fri-Thurs
Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) Weds Only

In Wide Release:

Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson) Our Review
Annihilation (Alex Garland) Our Review
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) Our Review
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro) Our Review
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh) Our Review

Fail to Appear (2017, Antoine Bourges)

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One of the highlights of last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival (my first) was the Future//Present film series, curated by Adam Cook. While the films varied in subject matter and stylistic expression, they were united by a general sense of experimentation, delving into the complexities and possibilities offered by a particular, independent mode of filmmaking. Now, the Northwest Film Forum has brought together films from the series’s first two years, to be shown over the next half-week. It does not contain my favorite of the handful I’ve seen thus far, Blake William’s ambitious 3D experiment PROTOTYPE (which is likely beyond the projection capabilities of NWFF), but each movie in the Future//Present series promises to be distinctive and enlightening in its own way.

So it is with Antoine Bourges’s Fail to Appear, which showed at last year’s VIFF and will play at NWFF alongside Kazik Radwanski’s excellent short “Scaffold” (which I reviewed here). The short feature’s narrative is simple, verging on the ascetic: Isolde (Deragh Campbell), an entry-level social worker at a care center in Toronto, is assigned to Eric (Nathan Roder) a man with an unspecified condition who has been charged with petty theft. Divided rather neatly into thirds, the film first charts Isolde’s day-to-day work and interactions with both her clients and her colleagues (one of whom, in a delightful touch mirrored by Eric’s own private ambitions, is an aspiring musical artist). After an extended court hearing, Isolde and Eric have a few tentative conversations, before the film shifts in its final third towards a documentation of Eric’s own home life.

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All of this is carried out in a (perhaps necessarily) constricted style, one verging on the Bressonian, as Bourges carefully arranges his frames in a mostly straight-on, somewhat sterile fashion, with the occasional pan or single tracking shot registering with a singular forcefulness. Correspondingly, the performances are subdued; Campbell is especially adept at lingering on the pauses between words, as the imprecise nature of communicating with other people continually manifests itself in “flubbed” words or a momentary lapse in the flow of conversation. Even if Fail to Appear in some ways registers as primarily a success in commitment to an engaging aesthetic style, this is no demerit: much of the strength of the film lies in this interplay, as emotional beats are downplayed in favor of the awkwardness of the moment-to-moment interaction. Its purposeful lack of resolution is only the final gesture towards the ambiguity and unreadability of any particular person, and in that sense Fail to Appear registers with its own odd, unique force.