SIFF 2019: Week Three+ Preview

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Heading down the home stretch of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, here are some titles to watch out for.

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers – An experiment from mid-80s Japanese cinema about a fictional New Wave band. Directed by Macoto Tezuka, the 22 year old son of legendary comic book creator Osamu Tezuka.

Distinction – Jevons Au was one of the five directors who contributed to the controversial Hong Kong omnibus film Ten Years, and one of three directors who made Trivisa, one of the better HK films of recent years, under the Milkway Image umbrella (where he also co-wrote Romancing in Thin Air). This is his solo directorial debut, a social problem drama about a school musical program for kids with disabilities.

Enamorada – Archival presentation of the 1946 Mexican melodrama starring María Félix and Pedro Armendáriz.

Lynch: A History – David Shields’s film about sports, the media, and American racism, compiled entirely from hundreds of archival clips of Seahawks legend Marshawn Lynch, is the essential film of this year’s festival.

I am Cuba – Mikhail Kalatozov’s ground-breaking 1964 Soviet-Cuban propaganda film is quite simply one of the greatest movies ever made. The cinematography (by Sergei Urusevsky) is wildly innovative, but the story itself, an episodic accounting of the social conditions which paved the way for the Cuban Revolution, is just as breath-taking.

One, Two, Three  – One of Billy Wilder’s greatest comedies, featuring one of James Cagney’d finest performances. He plays a Coca-Cola executive in Cold War West Berlin trying cope with his boss’ daughter’s romance with a Beatnik Commie Red while opening the Soviet market to the wonders of profitably fizzy sugar. Possibly the fastest movie ever made.

Go Back to China – Director Emily Ting follows up her amiable light rom-com It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong with this film about a Chinese-American woman who has to go back to China to work at her father’s toy factory. The father is played by Hong Kong comedy icon Richard Ng.

Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground – Chuck Smith’s documentary about the avant-garde filmmaker and the crazy art world she frequented (Allen Ginsburg, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, etc etc).

I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians – The latest from Romanian director Radu Jude is about a theatre director attempting to stage a show about the massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Odessa after its capture by Romanian troops in 1941.

House of Hummingbird – SIFF calls it “Eighth Grade in South Korea.” But it’s probably better than that sounds.

The Dead Don’t Die – Jim Jarmusch’s zombie movie opens June 13. SIFF has it slightly earlier.

MEMORY – The Origins of Alien – Documentaries about Alien are always welcome. This one “features a treasure trove of never-before-seen material from the O’Bannon and Giger archives, including original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.”

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