Friday June 1 – Thursday June 7

Featured Film:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival

We’re more than halfway through this year’s SIFF, and headlining the coming week are an experimental film about stars in the movies (not movie stars) called , a new restoration of a classic by Jean Renoir (The Crime of Monsieur Lange) and the latest from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik, Leave No Trace. Those movies and more can be found in my Week Three and Beyond Preview. Also opening this week in regular runs are two of our favorite films from this year’s SIFF thus far: Paul Schrader’s First Reformed (at the Lincoln Square, the Meridian and the AMC Seattle (that’s the Metro)) and Claire Denis’s Let the Sunshine In, at the Grand in Tacoma.

Playing This Week:

AMC Alderwood:

Veere Di Wedding (Shashanka Ghosh) Fri-Thurs

Ark Lodge Cinemas:

Mad Max Fury Road (George Miller, 2015) Fri-Thurs Black and Chrome
Spaceballs (Mel Brooks, 1987) Fri-Thurs

Central Cinema:

The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987) Fri-Tues
Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009) Fri-Tues
Under the Cherry Moon (Prince, 1986) Weds Only

SIFF Egyptian:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Century Federal Way:

Carry on Jatta 2 (Smeep Kang) Fri-Thurs
The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs
Beast (Michael Pearce) Fri-Thurs
Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997) Sat Only Subtitled
RoboCop (Paul Verhoeven, 1987) Sat Only
Hitler’s Hollywood (Rudiger Suchsland) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

How To Talk To Girls at Parties (John Cameron Mitchell) Fri-Thurs
Archeopsychic Time Zones: New Films & Videos by Georg Koszulinski Tues Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke) Fri-Thurs
Veere Di Wedding (Shashanka Ghosh) Fri-Thurs
Parmanu (Abhishek Sharma) Fri-Thurs
Officer (Ram Gopal Varma) Fri-Thurs
Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (Vikramaditya Motwane) Fri-Thurs
Raazi (Meghna Gulzar) Fri-Thurs
Bucket List (Tejas Vijay Deoskar) Fri-Thurs
Ee Ma Yove (Lijo Jose Pellissery) Sat Only
Raambo 2 (Anil Kumar) Sun Only
The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

How Long Will I Love U (Su Lun) Fri-Thurs Our Review
First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Beast (Michael Pearce) Fri-Thurs

Northwest Film Forum:

Summer in the Forest (Randall Wright) Fri, Sun & Thurs
The Desert Bride (Cecilia Atán & Valeria Pivato) Fri-Sun
Don’t Break Down: A Film About Jawbreaker (Keith Schieron & Tim Irwin) Fri Only
The Doctor from India (Jeremy Frindel) Weds, Thurs & Next Sun

AMC Pacific Place:

On Chesil Beach (Dominic Cooke) Fri-Thurs
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

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

AMC Seattle:

First Reformed (Paul Schrader) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Disobedience (Sebastián Lelio) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Regal Thornton Place:

The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) Sun & Weds Only

SIFF Uptown:

The 2018 Seattle International Film Festival Full Program

Varsity Theatre:

The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967) Weds 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
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SIFF 2018: Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan, 2018)

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As overstuffed with ideas both political and cinematic as any debut feature you’re likely to see this year is Cathy Yan’s film about the intersecting lives of a family in Shanghai and its environs and their war with both capital and the very concept of property itself. Vivian Wu plays a hair salon owner (her employees gleefully begin the day with a self-affirming song and dance) who doesn’t want to sell her family home to a big corporation, which has plans to develop the area it into a giant Spanish-themed apartment complex surrounding a replica of the Sagrada Familia. Her brother is a pig farmer who finds himself over-extended with a local loan shark after he falls for an investment scam and all his pigs die in a mysterious plague that sweeps the city (eventually some 16,000 pigs end up dumped in local waterways). His son is a busboy working in the city who meets and falls for a rich girl who becomes disillusioned with her club life after a car accident. The brother needs money and so tries to get his sister to sell her house, and alternately appeals to his son (who he mistakenly thinks is earning big money with a real job) for help. The sister refuses: the house is hers, the property is a part of herself and she cannot conceive of relinquishing it. The son tries to help, but all he can come up with is scamming cash off of driving by running into their cars with his bicycle.

Yan skips deftly between the stories, and the drama is leavened by a light touch and a great deal of comedy, ably waling the line between maudlin and silly. The satire is pointed, both in the amoral greed of the corporation and the sympathetic unreasonableness of the sister. But it’s also brightly colored (thank God for Chinese cinema, one of the few cinemas in the world that has yet to abandon pink and green and red in favor of gray and teal and orange) and knows how to bring everything together for a musical sequence, Magnolia-style.

Yan, who was born in China, grew up in Hong Kong and Washington DC, went to Princeton and got both an MBA and MFA from NYU, clearly has a unique insight into the contradictions of global capitalism in an ostensibly class-free society. While most of the characters are recognizable types (the sister as a variation on Yuen Qiu’s landlady in Kung Fu Hustle, the brother as an older version of the striving workers of Jia Zhangke’s films, the girl in the city a wealthier version of Shu Qi’s club girl in Millennium Mambo), the one that seems to resonate most for her is an American architect, from rural Minnesota, who finds himself in charge of this massive project on the other side of the world, where he doesn’t speak the language and may not even be qualified for the job. He’s the human face of capital, muddling along just like the rest of us, increasingly aware that things in our world are all out of whack.

SIFF 2018 Preview: Week Three and Beyond

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There’s a week and a half left in the 2018 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 (twice),  The Bold, the Corrupt, and the BeautifulRedoubtable (aka Godard mon amour)Let the Sunshine In, The Mis-education of Cameron Post, and Matangi/Maya/MIA, with more to come.

Here are some of the movies we’re looking forward to over the last ten days of the festival:

Leave No Trace – Director Debra Granik’s long-awaited fiction film follow-up to her 2010 art house hit Winter’s Bone (she directed the doc Stray Dog in 2014), with Ben Foster as a traumatized vet trying with his teenage daughter to reintegrate into society after living for years in the Oregon wilderness.

 – One of the few experimental films at this year’s SIFF. The festival describes it: “Structural filmmaker Johann Lurf collected all the filmed images of starscapes he could find from high quality sources and assembled them in chronological order, rejecting the clips that had trees or people or spaceships or text. The result is a hypnotic journey through film history starting in 1905 and going all the way through 2017.”

The Empty Hands – Chapman To, who was here a few years ago starring in the film The Mobfathers, directs Stephy Tang in this film about a young directionless woman who inherits half her karate instructor father’s dojo after he dies. She wants to carve it up and sell it off, but her father’s former student (To himself) convinces her to give fighting another chance. A fine film, reminiscent in its best moments of the Johnnie To (no relation) masterpiece Throw Down.

The Crime of Monsieur Lange – The new restoration of Jean Renoir’s 1936 film about “a writer of pulpy Westerns who becomes an improbable hero in order to combat the misdeeds of a slimy, predatory publisher.” It’s one of the Renoir classics I haven’t seen yet and thus one of my most-anticipated Seattle film events of the year.

Ballet Now – The next film in the Tiler Peck Cinematic Universe, as the New York City Ballet dancer (who featured in the fine doc Ballet 422 a few years back) travels to Los Angeles to put on a show.

Susu – “Two Chinese students find themselves in a chilling Gothic tale in a secluded 16th century mansion in the British countryside.” Sounds good to me.

Tyrel – “A comedy where a man realizes that he is the only black man attending a weekend getaway.” Yup.

Good Manners – Brazilian film about a woman who takes a job as a caretaker for a wealthy pregnant woman. With monstrous consequences. One of the better films about parenthood and wolves of recent years.

Girls Always Happy – The debut film from Yang Mingming, who writes, directs and stars as a college graduate who moves back home with her mother. Yang was the editor for the 2015 film Crosscurrent, which played in Seattle for I believe only a single show at the Meridian. But it’s pretty great.

Wrath of Silence – Xin Yukun’s follow-up to his twisty thriller The Coffin in the Mountain, one of the highlights of SIFF 2015. Stars Jiang Wu (last seen here in the Andy Lau film  Shock Wave and the brother of actor/director Jiang Wen) as “a mute Chinese miner (who) sets off to find his missing son using whatever tactics necessary.”