Friday May 25 – Thursday May 31

Featured Film:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival

It’s week two of SIFF, and highlights include Claire Denis’s Let the Sunshine In, Sylvia Chang’s Love Education and Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White. I’ve a brief run-down of the week to come here. This is a strong week for SIFF counter-programming as well, as the Northwest Film Forum is playing the third of Hong Sangsoo’s three 2017 films, The Day After, this weekend only. It’s not to be missed. And the Grand Illusion has a pair of Andrei Tarkovsky classics, with The Sacrifice and Stalker, both in restored versions. There’s even a nifty new Chinese romantic comedy playing exclusively at the Meridian in How Long Will I Love U. Oh, and there’s a new Star Wars movie too.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

The Big Lebowski (Joel & Ethan Coen, 1998) Fri-Sun, Tues-Weds
Best F(r)iends (Justin MacGregor) Fri-Sun, Tues-Weds

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Grand Cinema:

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) Sat Only Subtitled
Manos Returns (Tonjia Atomic) Sat Only
White Ravens: A Legacy of Resistance (Georg Koszulinski) Tues Only Director in Attendance

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Sacrifice (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986) Fri-Sun, Tues & Thurs
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979) Sat-Mon, Weds
The Guardians (Xavier Beauvois) Sat & Sun Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Parmanu (Abhishek Sharma) Fri-Thurs
Nela Ticket (Kalyan Krishna) Fri-Thurs
Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs
Raazi (Meghna Gulzar) Fri-Thurs
Mahanati (Ashwin Nag) Fri-Thurs
102 Not Out (Umesh Shukla) Fri-Thurs
Bucket List (Tejas Vijay Deoskar) Sat & Sun Only

Regal Meridian:

How Long Will I Love U (Su Lun) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Beast (Michael Pearce) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

The Day After (Hong Sangsoo) Fri-Sun Our Review Our Other Review Our Discussion
Scream for Me Sarajevo (Tarik Hodzic) Fri-Sun
Qui trop embrasse… (Jacques Davila, 1986) Weds Only 35mm

AMC Pacific Place:

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Kasal (Ruel S. Bayani) Fri-Thurs
Ammammagarillu (Sundar Surya) Fri-Thurs
Raazi (Meghna Gulzar) Fri-Thurs
102 Not Out (Umesh Shukla) Fri-Thurs

AMC Seattle:

Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs
Beast (Michael Pearce) Fri-Thurs
Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

AMC Southcenter:

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Wim Wenders) Fri-Thurs
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Uptown:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Varsity Theatre:

Survivors Guide to Prison (Matthew Cooke) Thurs Only

In Wide Release:

Solo (Ron Howard) Our Review
Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo) Our Review
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg) Our Review
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson) Our Review
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) Our Review
Advertisements

How Long Will I Love U (Su Lun, 2018)

Long

It’s been awhile since we had a Chinese release of interest here on Seattle Screens, but this time-travel rom-com certainly fits the bill, the kind of clever, unique popular cinema that the Mainland film industry will hopefully start churning out in greater numbers, as opposed to cartoonish action films packed with stars who have little to offer but a basic ability to look cute on camera. A weird temporal anomaly smushes together a single apartment, occupied by a man in 1999 and a woman in 2018. Lei Jiayin plays the man, a down on his luck young aspiring developer with big dreams for the outskirts of Shanghai and a boss engaged in shady business. Tong Liya is a former rich girl who has fallen on hard times and is desperately in search of a husband to lift her out of poverty.

The special effects and design of the squished apartment (mirror images colliding in a chaos of broken lamps and crushed furniture) united by a door that opens onto one time or another depending on who opens it, are especially striking, a unique twist on the premise of something like The Lake House, to which the film bears a superficial similarity. Like another recent Chinese time-travel film, Duckweed, it hearkens back more to early 90s Hong Kong comedies like Peter Chan’s He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Father, in exploring the ways Chinese culture has, and hasn’t changed during an era of more rapid than can reasonably be comprehended modernization. Tong’s grasping materialism is as much a sickness of the 21st Century as it is her own character flaw born of a privileged childhood, while Lei’s more proletarian attitudes and values prove less durable than he’d like to believe when the couple encounter his 21st Century self, a real estate magnate with a dark past.

The couple have a nice chemistry, though Lei, at 34 years old, seems miscast playing a callow 25 year old. In some shots he looks positively middle aged. Tong though is delightful, as she was as the landlady in Detective Chinatown. Director Su has a fine eye as well, she knows enough to just let the colors and actors pop and not drag down the conceit with too much science (the mad scientist who caused the problem (time travel in China as to be result of either a dream or science, no magic allowed). A fun, well put together movie with an interesting approach to an old formula, as with last year’s This Is Not What I Expected, China is rapidly becoming home to the best romantic comedies in the world.

SIFF 2018 Preview: Week Two

lead_960_540

We’re now into the second week of the Seattle International Film Festival. So far, here at Seattle Screen Scene we’ve reviewed: Freaks and Geeks: The DocumentaryFirst Reformed (twice), and People’s Republic of Desire, with much more to come in the next few weeks.

Here are some of the movies we’re looking forward to that are playing during the second week of the festival:

Angels Wear White – Director Vivian Qu was received acclaim for this, her second feature on the festival and award circuit for almost a year now. SIFF’s description: “A young woman witnesses a local official’s assault against two schoolgirls, leading to a complex aftermath of cover-ups and gaslighting.” I quite liked Qu’s first film, Trap Street, an effective noirish film about living in a surveillance state, so I have high hopes for this one.

The Third Murder – Fresh off his Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, here is the prolific Kore-eda Hirokazu’s film from last year, a courtroom drama that sounds very different from his more popular (in the US at least) movies about Japanese families.

Love Education – The latest from director and star Sylvia Chang (herself the subject of an on-going series at the Metrograph in New York, which I wrote about last week) is about a woman who hopes to exhume her father’s ashes so they can be buried with her recently deceased mother. Problem is the ashes currently reside under the watchful eye of her father’s first, and possibly only, wife. A nuanced and moving exploration of ideals of love and commitment across generations and genders, it’s surely one of the best new films at SIFF this year.

Let the Sunshine In – No less anticipted though is the arrival at last of Claire Denis’s latest film, a romantic comedy starring Juliette Binoche. Probably the one film from 2017 I most regret not having seen yet.

The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful – This Taiwanese film from director Yang Ya-chee was somewhat of a surprise Best Picture winner at last year’s Golden Horse Awards, especially considering its strong competition (which included Love Education and Angels Wear White). But with the always great Kara Hui starring as the head of a crime family, it certainly should be pretty great.

Belle de jour – Luis Buñuel’s classic starring Catherine Deneuve as a bored housewife who decides to dabble in prostitution gets the restoration treatment. We talked about it on The George Sanders Show way back in 2013.

The Widowed Witch – “A third-time widow who falls on especially hard times is declared cursed, but turns superstition to her advantage by travelling the wintry landscape of rural China and offering supernatural advice, in this modern tale of mysticism told with mordant humor and starkly beautiful cinematography.” Sold.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda – A documentary about the Japanese musician and composer (who starred with David Bowie in the very great World War II film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence). Another in an interesting selection of musician docs at SIFF this year.