SIFF 2019: Week One Preview


Here are some of the movies we’re looking forward to this first week of the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival:

The Third Wife – The debut feature from Vietnamese director Ash Mayfair has been making the festival rounds to some acclaim. This period drama, about a young girl who gets married off to a wealthy landlord looks to have some Raise the Red Lantern vibes. Could be the second good Vietnamese movie to hit Seattle Screens this year, after Furie.

The Phantom of the Opera – SIFF’s archival program is one of the highlights of this year’s festival, and it kicks off with this silent version of Phantom starring Lon Chaney. I last saw this more than 20 years ago, on Halloween, in a gothic-style Catholic church in Spokane, where it was accompanied by the church organ. It was pretty cool. It plays here at the Egyptian, with a live score by indie band The Invincible Czars.

A Family Tour – Ying Liang’s mostly autobiographical film about a director who is exiled from China after she directed a movie that looks exactly like Ying’s 2012 film When Night Falls, which got him exiled from China. The director hasn’t seen her mother in years, but they arrange a meet-up during a film festival in Taiwan. A quiet, deeply sad movie about the personal consequences of abstract repression.

3 Faces – The latest from Jafar Panahi promises to be a clever bit of meta filmmaking from the Iranian director mostly famous here in the US for continuing to make movies despite being officially banned from doing so.

The Nightingale – Babadook director Jennifer Kent’s new film is a Western set in 19th Century Tasmania. Her SIFF bio says “she was inspired to become a director after seeing Lars Von Trier’s 2000 film Dancer In The Dark and was able to assist the Danish director on his 2002 film Dogville.”

Storm in My Heart – The latest cinephile doc from Mark Cousins, whose very fine The Eyes of Orson Welles just finished its run at the Film Forum a couple of weeks ago. This one compares and contrasts Lena Horne and Susan Hayward via two of their musicals, Stormy Weather and With a Song in My Heart, respectively.

Ten Years Thailand – An omnibus of short films that imagine the future from four Thai directors, including Tears of the Black Tiger‘s Wisit Sasanatieng, Aditya Assarat (Wonderful Town) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Knife + Heart – A  giallo-inspired film, the second feature from Yann Gonzalez. The Grand Illusion is going to play this on 35mm in June, along with Gonzalez’s first film, You and the Night. I haven’t seen either of these, but Evan tells me they’re good and I’m inclined to believe him.

Invest in Failure (Notes on Film 06-C, Monologue 03) – The SIFF description says that someone named “Norbert Pfaffenbichler pieced together clips from 160 James Mason films to examine the eternally urbane star’s career.” You sold me at “Norbert Pfaffenbichler”.

Between the Lines – A new restoration of Joan Micklin Silver’s 1977 film about an underground newspaper fighting to survive in Boston. Starring Jeff Goldblum and John Heard.

Spione – A revival of Fritz Lang’s 1928 silent film. The only time I saw this was very very late at night while taking care of a newborn, so I don’t really remember much about it. But Fritz Lang enthusiast Evan says it’s one of his very best.

A Faithful Man – Louis Garrel following in the footsteps of his father and every other French director in making a film about infidelity. Garrel also stars, along with his wife, Laetitia Casta, and Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis (who is in Knife + Heart).