SIFF 2019: Week Two Preview

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Here are some of the movies we’re looking forward too during this second week of the Seattle International Film Festival:

Mrs. Purple – Justin Chon’s debut film Gook was well-received when it played here a couple of years ago, and for his follow-up he continues to explore Korean-American family dynamics, this time with what SIFF suggests is a strong Wong Kar-wai/Christopher Doyle influence.

No. 1 Chung Ying Street – One of my favorite under-the-radar films from last year is this protest drama from Derek Chiu. The first half is set during pro-Cultural Revolution/Anti-British riots in Hong Kong in 1967, the second in the aftermath of the Umbrella protests of 2014. Rather than simply having the two mirror each other, rhyming past and present, Chiu instead configures the present as an extension of the past, where the personal and family dramas of 50 years ago remain unresolved. It’s a clever approach to a familiar subject.

The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker – Two Ida Lupino features in SIFF’s archival program, the first is a domestic melodrama starring Lupino, Joan Fontaine and Edmund O’Brien, while the second is a classic film noir, one of the cheap, nasty ones that is tremendously fun.

Cities of Last Things– I don’t know anything about this Taiwanese film, but SIFF says “Three actors portray one tortured Taiwanese police detective in this sci-fi-tinged noir, told in reverse-chronological order, about the significant events that led him down a path of retribution.” Sounds good to me.

In Fabric – Another retro film from Peter Strickland (The Duke of BurgundyBerberian Sound Studio), this one a “fetishistically stylized hommage to giallo that satirizes consumerism as hypnotically as it seduces your senses”

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool – A PBS doc about the great musician and composer that is about as good as these things get. If nothing else, it’s almost two hours of non-stop Miles Davis music.

Non-Fiction – Both Evan and I really dug Olivier Assayas’s comedy about rich people, infidelity, and book publishing when we saw it at VIFF last fall. It’s got Juliette Binoche as an actress in a TV cop show and a bunch of delightfully insufferable French people talking about e-books. It’s the best Woody Allen movie of the past 30 years or so.

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